Imagine a Cinnabon smothered with cream cheese icing, set amid rows of clones in a flashy food court. Now shrink it to one-tenth the size and switch to Oreo frosting or a Caramel Macchiato spread.
Then go to the opposite end of the mall, and serve it like an artisanal bon bon in a stand-alone shop that looks nothing like its fast-food parent.
Welcome to Bon Bake Shop by Cinnabon, a new chain that the cinnamon roll giant will test in mid-September at Houston's Willowbrook Mall. It's the latest move by a brand that has put its name on vodka, Cream of Wheat, and frosting-filled dessert balls at Taco Bell (YUM +0.20%).
And like Taco Bell, which just opened a higher-end eatery near Los Angeles called U.S. Taco Co. that boasts lobster, milkshakes, and fries, Cinnabon is trying to woo people who don’t eat its food. The 880-calorie Cinnabon Classic roll won't even be on the Bon Bake Shop menu.