BEAUTIFUL BRANDS Partner Program: Behind the Hype
January 14, 2013
Beautiful Brands International (BBI) claims that its franchise development “partnership” program can turn a small business into a “franchise leader” and an “international multi-unit success!”
Franchise & restaurant industry publications regularly publish excited BBI announcements that they have signed a new frozen yogurt, or sushi, or casual dining concept that they are going to make the next franchise sensation(!).
A while back, UnhappyFranchisee.Com began to notice that many of these BBI “partner brands” (21 so far, by our count) are not heard from again after the initial press release frenzy.
In fact, these BBI partner brands are listed proudly in the Beautiful Brands portfolio list for a while, then seem to be quietly replaced by new brands that are going to be the next franchise sensations.
So we compiled the list (see below) of the small companies that BBI has identified as their partner brands within the past three years.
And we set out to find out how many of the 21 partners are now franchise leaders who have attained international multi-unit success.
Beautiful Brands Partners: More than half have left or are no longer in business*
BBI CEO David Rutkauskas recently stated “We have major plans to add at least 12 new brands in 2013.”
We wondered: What is the status of the 21 brands who signed up as Beautiful Brands partners (and paid the upfront development fee – currently $50K we are told)?
We’ve found evidence that more than half have either left the BBI partnership program without selling franchises, or are no longer in business.
Of the 8 currently listed as partners, only two appear to have sold franchises through BBI.
Here’s our best guess as to the status of the 21 partner brands:
- 1 is a current partners being promoted and selling franchises (CherryBerry).
- 2 are listed as current partners but haven’t sold any franchises through BBI (Roxberry, NYPD Pizza).
- 2 are current partners/newbies in development (Hard Knox Pizza, Yard Sheriff).
- 6 seem to have dropped the BBI partnership and are franchising on their own (Greenz, Sonny Bryan’s, In The Raw Sushi, Sushi Freak, Blazing Onion, Top That! Pizza, SmallCakes).
- 2 seem to have dropped the BBI partnership and are back running single-unit restaurants (Café Ole, Caz’s Chowhouse, Ludger’s).
- 6 seem to be out of business altogether (Dixie Cream Donuts, Crust Croissant, The Bread & Butter Bistro, St. Michael’s Alley, Le Beau Rouleau, Fresco)
Beautiful Brands Partner List (as of 1/13/13) by Date Joined
|BBI “Partner” Brand||Partnership Announced||Principal (s)/Owner(s)||Still BBI Partners?*||Notes|
|1)||Dixie Cream Donut Co.||11/21/08||Jason Bond||NO||Only US unit closed, Middle East partner is suing|
|2)||The Crusty Croissant||3/5/09||Sean & Kristie Savage, Chuck Gibbs(?)||NO||Out of Business|
|3)||Greenz Salads||4/5/09||Casie Caldwell||NO||Franchising, 3 units, No franchises sold by BBI|
|4)||Caz’s Chowhouse||7/21/09||Jeff & Amy Castleberry||NO||Single unit, no franchises|
|5)||Sonny Bryan’s BBQ||9/27/09||Brent Harman||NO||Franchising. None sold by BBI.|
|6)||Café Ole||8/20/09||Candy Dunn & Paula Underwood||NO||Single unit, no franchise info on website|
|7)||The Bread & Butter Bistro||10/09 (?)||?||NO||No info could be found|
|8)||St. Michael’s Alley||11/09 (?)||?||NO||Original SMA rest. is closed|
|9)||In The Raw Sushi||12/14/09||Greg & Tara Hughes||NO||4 locations, franchising|
|10)||Le Beau Rouleau Crepes and Croissants||2/10||Sean & Kristie Savage||NO||TM registered by Crusty Croissant.|
|11)||Blazing Onion Burger Company||4/5/10||David and Lorri Jones||NO||5 locations, not franchising yet|
|12)||Top That! Pizza||11/2/10||Jeff and Lori Walderich||NO||Franchising, 9 locations, none sold by BBI|
|13)||Smallcakes A Cupcakery||1/4/11||Jeff & Brandy Martin||NO||Severed ties Nov. 2012|
|14)||CherryBerry frozen yogurt||6/22/11||Dallas and Robyn Jones||??? – relationship is unclear
||In an April 2013 article, Franchise Times reported CherryBerry only uses BBI “for legal work.” 108 locations, 9% closed in 2012|
|15)||Ludger’s Bavarian Cakery||9/7/11||Chris & Allison Dickens||NO||1 location, severed ties January, 2013|
|16)||Roxberry Juice Co.||12/1/11||Brad Davis||YES||Franchising, 8 locations, none added since partnering with BBI|
|17)||Fresco Italian Kitchen||12/13/11||Dean & Jill Bastian||NO||Prototype to franchise was to open 2012; Taken off BBI portfolio Jan. 2012|
|18)||Sushi Freak||2/9/12||Michael Broder & Jenifer Duarte||NO||Franchising, 1 location, none sold by BBI|
|19)||NYPD Pizza||11/1/12||Paul Russo||YES||6 locations still open (1 less than signing with BBI), 22 or more may have closed in recent years.|
|20)||Hard Knox Pizza||11/11/12||Dean & Jill Bastian||YES||Franchising, 1 unit, 1st franchise top open Spring, 2013|
|21)||Yard Sheriff||12/13/12||Shannon Watterson***||YES||1 unit, lawn mowing & weeding|
|22)||Papalani Gelato||February 11, 2013||Marck and Lauren Shipley||YES||2 unit chain|
|23)||The Soup Kitchen||April 8, 2013||Bob & Jean Bardorf, Rick Ford(?)||YES||3 unit chain|
|24)||The Big Salad||March 28, 2013||John Bornoty||YES||5 unit chain based in Detroit|
|Bull Chicks, Doc Popcorn, The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., Planet Beach, Chock Full o Nuts, Segafredo Zanetti Espresso, Blue Coast Burrito||Appears they may have a non-exclusive commission arrangement with BBI|
* We have put this list together from information compiled from publicly available sources. We have asked BBI for confirmation or correction, but have not heard back yet. If you are considering joining the Beautiful Brands partnership program – or writing about it – please do you own investigation. If you know of details we got wrong – please post a correction below.
** as of 1/13/13
*** Also President of BBI’s PR firm
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We have contacted Beautiful Brands for verification of the accuracy of this information, and to solicit any statements, reactions, corrections or rebuttals. So far, they have not responded.
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