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Steps Toward Expansion
Yummy Cupcakes last year appointed as its director of franchising Dennis Mulgannon, a 30-year veteran of franchising who has specialized in working with startups.
“It was working with Dennis and his assistant that allowed us to grow in the beginning a little slower so that we have all the pieces in place,” Soforenko said.
In addition to hiring Mulgannon, Yummy Cupcakes has taken other recent steps to facilitate its franchising plan and simplify processes for franchisees, Soforenko said.
To grow the brand, Yummy Cupcakes recently formed a strategic partnership with Javelin Solutions, a real estate and site selection service to the franchise industry, and F.C. Dadson, a single-source provider of custom retail environments. Both partnerships will help to accelerate growth and provide new franchisees with high-level franchise expertise, according to the company.
Finally, Yummy Cupcakes is also developing partnerships with other brands to help create awareness. For example, Maker’s Mark bourbon and House of Blues have been collaborative in promoting the company’s cocktail line of cupcakes, particularly those made with Maker’s Mark.
Connection to Celebrities
According to Mulgannon, Yummy Cupcakes is becoming more aggressive in attracting new franchisees through traditional means such as portals. Plus, the media attention the brand has received in the Los Angeles market has gone a long way in creating brand awareness, even by that doyenne of all things domestic Martha Stewart. Yummy Cupcakes, Cupcakie Pies, Cupcakes on a Stick, and Cupcake in a Jar were recently recommended by Stewart’s The Bride’s Guide as creative desserts for weddings.
With celebrity endorsements for her cakes coming from various sources, Soforenko has become somewhat of a celebrity herself, having been featured with her Cupcake in a Jar on Food Network’s “Unwrapped” and her cupcake biscotti on the Rachael Ray show. She has also been a guest on ABC, KTLA, Fox, Travel Channel, Fox Business News, and “Extra.”
As it moves beyond the Southern California market, the company will continue to use its “hub and spoke” model to bring units to new markets, Soforenko said. The model has franchisees setting up a large facility that they use as the bakery and distribution center for a number of smaller, satellite locations that will function as retail spaces and contact points for pre-orders.