This move creates three streams of revenue for franchisees. In addition to sales from cookies and frozen yogurt, franchisees will be able to sell Mrs. Fields gift merchandise, which brought in $50 million for Famous Brands last year.
Dual-brand locations will devote retail space for gift products and include new online ordering kiosks, called Mrs. Fields Gifting Stations, which let customers browse and send gifts to friends, family and business associates through MrsFields.com.
“Our new dual-brand concept is the biggest thing to happen to either brand since Debbi first picked up a cookie pan,´ said Famous Brands’ chief executive Neal Courtney. Debbi Fields opened her first cookie store in Palo Alto, Calif. in 1977.
Famous Brands plans to open the first newly designed dual-brand store this June in Houston.
A handful of co-branded Mrs. Fields/TCBY locations are open, but they do not integrate the two brands to the extent of the new concept. The new stores will have equal branding elements of TCBY and Mrs. Fields, a single point of sale, and they will offer new products that unite both brands, such as cookie-and-yogurt sandwiches and Mrs. Fields brownies mixed in frozen yogurt.
Total initial investment for a dual-branded store ranges from $150,000 to $450,000 depending on unit size. The franchise fee is $35,000, the same as traditional TCBY franchises, meaning the Mrs. Fields $25,000 franchise fee is essentially waived.
Famous Brands is a portfolio company of Z Capital Partners LLC, a private-equity firm with offices in Illinois and New York. It was founded in 2006 with approximately $2 billion of regulatory assets and committed capital under management.