Corner Bakery Cafe's renewed emphasis on franchise growth paid off immensely in 2012 with the signing of 10 new Area Development Agreements, more than doubling its best previous year. The new agreements added 125 cafes, raising the total to 288 cafes under development, as the company moves forward on its goal to double its US footprint by the end of 2015.

In addition, the fast casual concept, popular for its ingredient-inspired menu, made fresh to order for breakfast, lunch and dinner, opened 20 new restaurants in 2012, including its first in Florida, Northern California and South Texas.

Based on the successes of 2012, Corner Bakery Cafe has even bolder plans for the coming year.

"Last year was the most significant in Corner Bakery Cafe's franchising history," says Jonathan Benjamin, vice president of franchise sales. "For 2012, we set out to sign agreements representing 108 new cafes and we easily exceeded that goal. Capitalizing on this momentum, we've set our sights to surpass last year's results in 2013."

Much of the growth can be attributed to a renewed focus on expansion through franchising. In addition to bringing in Benjamin to spearhead franchise development, franchise veterans Nick Booras and Gregg Koffler were also added as directors of franchise sales.

"There is no question that Corner Bakery Cafe is the right brand in the right segment for any developer seeking to expand or diversify into the Bakery Cafe segment of Fast Casual," says Benjamin. "I knew the brand had the advantage of strong unit-level economics, and I was really impressed by the strength and quality of the industry-respected leaders who were, and continue to be interested in becoming a part of our growth," Benjamin says. "Our new franchise partners include some of the most successful restaurant professionals in the industry."

Some of the recent franchise partners signed in 2012 include:

Northwest Bakery Cafe, LP, a group of veteran restaurant operators who also own 95 Jack in the Box locations, plans to open 18 new Corner Bakery Cafes in and around Seattle over the next few years.
Four M Bakery, LLC, a group of veteran restaurant operators, which also owns 12 Buffalo Wild Wings through Four M Capital, LLC, has plans to open 7 new Corner Bakery Cafes in Nassau County.

Other 2012 Corner Bakery Cafe signings included 11 new cafes in Kansas City, MO; 16 in Connecticut, 6 in Rhode Island, 7 in Sacramento, CA, 30 in New Jersey, 10 in Tampa, FL, and 20 spread throughout New York in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Suffolk, Rockland, Richland and Orange counties.

Corner Bakery Cafe will get 2013 off to a fast start with upcoming openings in Houston, TX; Longview, TX and Miami, FL over the next few weeks.