BEAUTIFUL BRANDS Partner Program: Behind the Hype

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:  Most have left or are no longer in business*

Crusty CroissantBBI 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 – Relationship terminated
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 – Relationship terminated
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 – Relationship terminated
5 locations, not franchising yet
12) Top That! Pizza 11/2/10 Jeff and Lori Walderich NO – Relationship terminated
Franchising, 9 locations, none sold by BBI
13) Smallcakes A Cupcakery 1/4/11 Jeff & Brandy Martin NO – Relationship terminated
Severed ties Nov. 2012
14) CherryBerry frozen yogurt 6/22/11 Dallas and Robyn Jones NO – Relationship terminatedBitter legal battle between former Cherryberry owners BBI and went to arbitration in Feb. 2015
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 – Relationship terminated
1 location, severed ties January, 2013
16) Roxberry Juice Co. 12/1/11 Brad Davis No longer listed on BBI website
Franchising, 7 locations, down 1 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 – Relationship terminated
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 Sold the business and are no longer affiliated with BBI
Franchising, 1 unit.  BBI sold 1 franchise.
21) Yard Sheriff 12/13/12 Shannon Watterson*** YES – but Yard Sheriff is not franchised
1 unit, lawn mowing & weeding
 22)  Papalani Gelato February 11, 2013  Marck and Lauren Shipley  ? No longer listed on BBI website
 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   ? No longer listed on BBI website  5 unit chain based in Detroit
 25)  Palm Beach Vapors  July, 2013  Chip Paul, Cynthia Paul, Angie Stokes  NO – Relationship terminated December 2013
December, 2013 PBV says BBI is no longer authorized to represent PBV

* 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

Also read our posts about:

Beautiful Brands


Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe

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.




TAGS: Beautiful Brands, Beautiful Brands partners, BBI partners, Beautiful Brands International, David Rutkauskas, franchise consultants, franchise development, franchise development firms, franchise developers, franchise sales companies, Unhappy Franchisee, CherryBerry, CherryBerry Frozen Yogurt, Smallcakes Cupcakery,

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