🦄 From Side Hustle To Unicorn

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🦄 From Side Hustle To Unicorn

What began as a ‘crazy’ side hustle in 2017, is now one of the fastest-growing food companies of the 21st century.

In the last 7 years, founders Sawyer Hemsley and Jason McGowan have bootstrapped their weekend project to a Unicorn company worth $500M.

Since 2022, the’ve made over $1B in annual sales.

By late 2023, they had over 950 locations throughout the US.

The name?

Crumbl Cookies. 

The 1st Crumbl location (Utah) in a closed Domino’s Pizza

Last year, the Crumbl app was ranked #8 in downloads on the IOS store for food, beating Subway and Instacart.

How did they do it?

What’s so special about a 720-calorie cookie?

Is it their secret chocolate chip formula? Their eye-catching pink box? Or their talent for going viral on social media?

Great question.

Here’s what we got for ya:

  • 🍪 The Rotating Menu

  • 💰 The Secret To Pricing

  • 📱 The $1B Content Loop

Read Time: 4 min 48 sec

🍪 The Rotating Menu

Every Sunday, Crumbl changes its flavors for the week.

Here are the flavors for this week:

To consumers, it’s simply a rotating menu with one flavor remaining the same - the chocolate chip cookie (my favorite one btw).

But to business owners…

Crumbl has completely disrupted the entire food industry.

Most restaurants have one menu that they have used for years - give or take a few items.

But not Crumbl. Why?

Well, two reasons:

  1. It’s extremely expensive to store the ingredients for all 250 flavors

  2. It gives customers a reason to order cookies every week

If the Peanut Butter Cookie is available only once every 3 months, I have no choice but to order that week.

But why not rotate all 6 flavors?

Well just like Trader Joe's and Supreme…

Crumbl understands The MAYA Theory:

“To sell something surprising, make it familiar. To sell something familiar, make it surprising.” - Raymond Loewy

You need staples that guarantee returning customers and a successful trip if no other flavors sound appetizing.

But most won’t go every week for a chocolate chip.

Keep it familiar, yet surprising.

The risk is low if they don’t like it, but the potential reward for something new is high.

And that brings us to their next tactic…

More on this:

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💰 The Secret To Pricing

After you pick a Crumbl location on the Crumbl app, you’re given 4 pricing options:

Customer 1 - “I’m on a diet, I only want one. $3.98 for a cookie the size of my hand? What a steal!”

Customer 2 - “I want to try all 5 new flavors. I’ll just buy the 6 count and save the 6th for later.”

Customer 3 - “I can get all flavors in 1 box? Great! I’ll take the 6 count.”

The 1 count and 6 count are the highest cost-per cookie. This is on purpose. 

Some customers want only one, and an extra 20 cents won’t be a deal breaker.

Other customers want to try all 5 new flavors and are willing to buy a 6th cookie - even if it is a bit more expensive.

This is the power of dynamic pricing.

Starbucks uses a similar strategy to push buyers to a more expensive option…

Notice how the middle option is closer in price to the most expensive drink.

By having an ‘average’ middle option, then a better option for just $1 more, buyers are pushed to the larger option for a better deal.

More on this:

📱 The $1B Content Loop

Every Sunday, Crumbl posts an “Unbox The Pink Box” video on YouTube to release their new cookies…

But even though Crumbl has 4.3M followers on Instagram…

1.8M subs on YouTube….

And even 7.3M followers on TikTok…

None of the Crumbl social media accounts are responsible for Crumbl’s skyrocketing growth.

So what is?

A hashtag.

#crumblcookies

In 2021, #crumblcookies reviews went viral on TikTok.

Now, every Sunday thousands of influencers post their weekly flavor reviews under the #crumblcookies hashtag and attach their referral link.

Then, Crumbl posts the top-performing videos on their channel which creates a competition between creators to create the best-performing video.

Genius.

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