Carte Blanche

Fresh From the Oven

Rick Donohoe owns a brick-and-mortar Cookies In Bloom store in Denver, but when he decided to expand, he wanted to go in a different direction. He called the franchisor, which specializes in cookie-bouquet arrangements, to see if he could branch out with the kiosk format in his local mall. "It's a new format for this type of business," says Donohoe, 43. "Every other Cookies In Bloom has been in a retail strip-[mall] environment." The franchisor was very supportive. Branching out into a kiosk doesn't mean you don't need to own a brick-and-mortar location, Donohoe adds. "The kiosk is too small an environment to produce the cookie arrangements."

Donohoe took special care in choosing the right location for his kiosk--he went right into an area of the Denver marketplace where "there's a lot of discretionary income," he says. Donohoe also notes the difference between a mall shopper who comes to his kiosk and a shopper who visits his brick-and-mortar store. "People who go to the mall want something right there," he says, "while at the retail store, 70 to 80 percent of our orders come in over the phone." Donohoe had to modify his inventory to have more premade cookie arrangements on hand as well as find a way to display and store them in the kiosk environment. He added display cases and signage around the kiosk to entice passersby to stop and check out the product.

With yearly sales from his kiosk at $200,000, Donohoe reports it's "about the fifth highest volume outlet, out of 21 Cookies In Bloom stores in the chain. He hopes to open more kiosks in the Denver area and encourages other franchisees to ask about a kiosk option, even if it's not usually offered.

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This article was originally published in the August 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Carte Blanche.

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