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Smallcakes Makes Big Gains in Franchise Growth

Smallcakes Makes Big Gains in Franchise Growth


Sales at the Kansas City-based Smallcakes Cupcakery franchisor topped $110 million in 2016 and nearly doubled its $60 million in sales during 2015. Launched in 2008 by former Atlanta chef Jeff Martin and his wife Brandy, Smallcakes has experienced sweet success as franchises with 200 locations across the U.S. and overseas.

In 2016, Smallcakes opened new stores in California, Minnesota and New York. Internationally, it has stores in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. As a franchise, Smallcakes requires a lower royalty percentage, giving owners a faster return on investment and more money to market and grow their stores.

Even as Martin eyes new markets for expansion, including Dallas, he has another business concept in mind. He plans to launch the business in the second quarter of 2017 under the umbrella of Smallcakes’ parent company, Sweet Brands, International.

“I can’t confirm any new concepts yet,” said Martin, while traveling in Saudi Arabia. “However, I have plans to expand into new markets with unique dessert and beverage concepts to address evolving trends.”

Martin believes Kansas City remains a prime test market for business concepts and products.

“We started here. Customers know us and provide a great deal of honest feedback,” said Martin. “The smaller demographic area keeps us from getting lost in a bigger city and has great demographics for testing new concepts. Plus, Kansas City is growing into a hotbed for foodies.”

Martin launched Smallcakes from the kitchen of his Kansas City area home. After opening a small retail storefront, his cupcakes sold out the first day. Soon Martin was making and selling 700 cupcakes daily out of one shop.

Appearances on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars (Seasons 1, 2 and 7) and The View helped boost Martin’s visibility and the Smallcakes brand, further driving sales and franchise growth.

Martin took a bold step in 2010 and began selling Smallcakes Cupcakery franchises himself. In 2014, Martin opened SmallCakes Creamery & Novelties in Overland Park. Today, the menu features 250 traditional and modern cupcake flavors and 15 flavors of small-batch ice cream. Last year, he also unveiled a second concept, Decadent, a coffee and dessert bar in Overland Park.

Smallcakes was the Thinking Bigger Business cover story in January 2014.


Written by

Pete Dulin is a freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. He is also the author of Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland, KC Ale Trail, Last Bite: 100 Recipes from Kansas City's Best Chefs and Cooks, and Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries in Central Kansas and Missouri. // www.petedulin.com

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