Operations

Focus Brands tops $3.9B in systemwide sales

Fiscal 2022 was a good year for the multi-brand franchisor, which highlighted the "power of the portfolio" and plans to double down on co-branding.
Dual-branded Jamba Auntie Anne's
About 50 dual- or tri-branded units will open this year./Photo courtesy of Focus Brands.

Focus Brands said fiscal 2022 was a remarkable year.

The private company this week shared some milestones hit across its multi-brand platform, and also highlighted the benefits of its portfolio-wide synergies.

“The Power of the Portfolio,” as Focus Brands puts it, is a priority for the Atlanta-based parent to seven brands, including Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli and Schlotzsky’s, which together comprise more than 6,600 mostly franchised restaurants around the globe.

In 2022, for example, Focus Brands, which recently bolstered its executive team, said it exceeded $3.9 billion in systemwide sales for the first time in its history.  The company signed nearly 650 franchise deals, and more than 400 units opened. And 4.1 million new loyalty members were added across the portfolio.

And that portfolio has helped create efficiencies and shared resources—a strategy that many platform companies are hoping to communicate at a time when margins are particularly tight and high costs are threatening to hinder growth.

In the past week, for example, Mongolian Concepts CEO Gregg Majewski launched a new platform company called Craveworthy with four young, emerging brands and more to come. Similarly, Untamed Brands, the parent of Taim Mediterranean Kitchen and Hot Chicken Takeover, unveiled plans to add a third brand to the family, following a similar multi-brand platform model.

For Focus Brands, 2022 marked the first full year with a reimagined supply chain organization, which was brought in house to rationalize hundreds of SKUs across its brands, the company said.

The shared infrastructure also boosted Focus Brands’ longtime licensing program for consumer packaged goods. Last year the Global Channels Licensing Division had nine launches across multiple brands, including two new Cinnabon products through foodservice partnerships, as well as five new grocery products, ranging from Cinnabon Cookie Dough to Oat Milk Ice Cream Cake by Carvel.

This year, Focus Brands plans to replicate the digital platform across all seven brands, so consumers have better digital ordering experiences and owners see higher conversion rates. Focus Brands has set a goal of capturing 50% of its business from digital and loyalty channels within the next five years.

Focus Brands is also leaning into co-branding.

This year, more than 50 dual and tri-branded units are expected to open, many with drive thrus. The portfolio already includes 175 dual-branded units and the company said 65 are in development. Auntie Anne’s, for example, pairs well with Cinnabon, Carvel or Jamba. Cinnabon also pairs with Carvel—so much so that Focus Brands plans to debut a more blurred ice cream/bakery brand that will be called Cinnabon Swirl.

“Dual branding is the future of our brands, especially on the specialty side of the business,” said Brian Krause, Focus Brands’ chief development officer, in a statement earlier this month. “There will always be a place in malls, but there is an immense amount of growth opportunity in streetside venues, and, by dual branding, there is more opportunity for enhanced revenue.”

Focus Brands CEO Jim Holthouser also hinted that the company is planning growth via M&A “as we expand with concepts that complement our existing brands and allow us to continue to grow in new markets.”

He did not, however, give any hints about what a potential M&A target might be.

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