Florian and Shannon Radke instantly bonded over their shared love of plant-based foods. It was only a matter of time until they decided to channel their passion for healthy indulgences into a unique business proposition: to create delicious, 100% vegan cinnamon rolls.
Cinnaholic was first stirred up in 2010 in Berkeley, California. After years of perfecting their recipes for cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats like brownies and cookies — all of which are free of dairy, eggs, and lactose — Florian and Shannon brought their talents to a national stage by pitching and winning on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2014. After finding success in the tank, they knew they had something truly special on their hands.
Today, the create-your-own cinnamon roll bakery has grown to nearly 40 locations in North America by adopting a franchise business model. In terms of furthering the bakery’s success, CEO Daryl Dollinger is optimistic that Cinnaholic will open several more stores within the year.
“We have franchise stores open all over, and continue to grow,” said Dollinger. “Hopefully, by the end of 2020, we should have about 60 locations open throughout the U.S. and Canada.”
This level of rapid expansion has presented a number of challenges, but, with the help of Square, Cinnaholic has been able to keep its focus on its recipe for growth success.
Craving a seamless business operation
In order to focus on business expansion and growth, a top priority for Cinnaholic has been to keep in check the number of moving parts needed to run its franchise.
For Rachel Cunningham, director of operations, that meant limiting the number of business solution providers — from credit card processing and point of sale to marketing, payroll, and more — as much as possible. With Square, these solutions are seamless.
“We contact one account rep, and they help us with whatever we need. We don’t have to go to five different vendors for an answer,” says Cunningham.
In addition to streamlining the number of business systems needed to run its flourishing franchise, Cinnaholic wanted to ensure franchisees could focus on hiring and managing employees without getting overwhelmed by logging employee hours, integrating schedules, and getting tax information.
Utilizing Square Payroll has simplified team and employee management, and having everything synced through the bakery’s point of sale is especially convenient.
“They love it so much. It’s easy, efficient, and saves them so much time,” says LeAnne Cavallaro, franchise operations manager.
The right ingredients for loyal customers
For bakeries, cafes, and other specialty food and beverage shops, ensuring customers come back to satisfy their cravings for sweet treats with you instead of your competitors is a key aspect of jump-starting business growth.
Customer loyalty programs are one way to differentiate your business and increase foot traffic with repeat customers.
“Loyalty marketing in this industry goes back to competition,” says Heather Stennis, director of marketing. “There’s so much out there, and you have to reward the people that are coming into your business. Square has given us a really easy, user-friendly tool to do so.”
With Square Loyalty, Cinnaholic saw in 2019 that enrolled customers visited a store 40% more than customers who weren’t part of the loyalty program.
Part of the program’s popularity comes from how simple it is for customers to sign up and take part. There’s also an aspect of gamifying the customer experience — Cinnaholic customers have said that they enjoy checking their rewards and look forward to receiving rewards for their visits.
Sweetening the deal with marketing
In addition to retaining existing customers with a loyalty program, Cinnaholic fuels additional growth with email marketing to new and existing customers.
By setting up franchisees with Square Marketing, Cinnaholic empowers each bakery owner to create, send, and track email campaigns specific to their location, without needing complicated software or compromising the Cinnaholic brand.
“Our franchise partners really like Square Marketing because they’re able to go in and create their own campaigns. It’s very user-friendly to create email,” says Stennis.
“We provide them with the graphics and images for our brand, and then they’re able to create their offer and word it according to their market.”
With this partnership between franchisees and the brand at large being facilitated through Square Marketing, Stennis cites, on average, a minimum of $650 in attributable sales from each marketing campaign sent.
This level of success is something that franchise partners see and appreciate.
“The Square Marketing program, I find, is very helpful to my business. It’s the one thing that I can measure that I know for sure is working for marketing my business,” says Tom Franks, a Cinnaholic franchise owner in Atlanta.
Cinnaholic expects more customer and business growth in the near future as the franchise continues to expand in North America, with Square at the center of its operations.
“Square is going to grow with us. So any time we open a store, Square is going to be there, and they’ll be there to help our newly opened stores combine a simple and scalable product,” Cunningham says.