Consumers have developed a healthy appetite for fast casual restaurants in recent years. A recent report from NPD shows the segment is on pace to lead restaurant growth for the sixth consecutive year. Leading the charge in 2014 was Corner Bakery Cafe, which dominated the fast casual industry by adding 27 new cafes and an additional 9 franchise development agreements, including recent signings in Montana and Virginia. Buzz surrounding the brand has gained speed this year with the addition of key executives, technological upgrades in new and existing cafes and a strong presence at industry trade shows.
"2014 was a turning point for our brand. We experienced success in years past but never of this magnitude. Our guests have responded to quality, made-to-order menu items leading to customer loyalty and frequency at our cafes," says Gary Price, president of Corner Bakery Cafe. "While the restaurant landscape has seen plenty of activity this year, and will again next year, we continue to build on our market share dominance and make waves in the industry. Our accomplishments this year have set a new pace for us as a brand, and we are on track to exceed that pace in 2015."
Notable achievements for Corner Bakery Cafe in 2014 included technology upgrades that improve the franchise's overall economic model, as well as award recognition for the brand's commitment to energy efficiency. The charge was led by the brand's strong management team, which continues to grow with the success of the company. In May, Corner Bakery Cafe hired Mike Nolan, who brings more than 25 years of restaurant and development experience to his position as the brand's first Chief Development Officer in company history. In late 2014, the brand appointed Salil Bapat as Chief Financial Officer based on his extensive financial, franchise and restaurant industry background.
With its eyes set on leading the fast casual category, 2015 is poised to be Corner Bakery Cafe's best year in the company's history. The brand is planning for the rollout of its new cafe prototype, a design set to improve overall efficiency and reduce costs. Additionally, the brand will continue to integrate its new back-of-house technological system to further improve margins and simplify operations in new and existing cafes.
"The future of Corner Bakery Cafe is as bright as ever as we expand the brand to new markets and acquire proven and knowledgeable franchise partners with a clear understanding of the industry and what it takes to succeed. The strength and tenure of our franchise partners, as well as our senior management team is unrivaled by our competition," says Gregg Koffler, vice president of franchise sales for Corner Bakery Cafe. "We continue to innovate in the space with game changing efficiency upgrades that put our franchise partners in the position to succeed. It seems as though we are making all the right moves at all the right times and look for that trend to continue into next year."