Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) recently listed the top 25 restaurants in the nation for growth, and Preston native Sawyer Hemsley’s Crumbl cookie franchise topped the list.
Hemsley, a 2010 graduate of Preston High School, opened up his first store in Logan, Utah, in 2017, while studying at Utah State University and serving as the school’s Student Event Vice President, as well as on the USUSA Student Government and Involvement Office.
From the store’s first menu of one cookie flavor, chocolate chip, four years ago, to today’s menu of about 150 flavors in 252 stores across the states, the franchise has taken a giant leap up.
NRN states that Crumbl enjoyed $53.4 million in sales during 2020, a 93% increase of sales over the year before. The next restaurant chain on the list was Wahlburgers, which had $76 million in sales and a 37% increase in sales. Most of the other restaurants on the list enjoyed about a 20% increase in sales over the same time period.
“While 93% was our estimation, I believe we reached out to Crumbl and they declined to confirm that number, suggesting that it might actually be higher,” said Sam Oches, editor of the publication.
“...93% growth is exceedingly rare. For emerging brands such as this, it’s a bit of a different situation since that sales growth is attributed to such fast store expansion,” he said.
Indeed, several of the other 25 restaurants had higher sales over the year, but they are older companies.
Hemsley’s family members are his biggest supporters and are fully vested in the company. His parents and siblings fill corporate positions or own their own stores.
Channing has a store, Bret helps Sawyer develop cookie flavors. Laiken, and their father, Lance, all work at corporate, which is located in Orem, Utah.
“We think it’s crazy,” said Hemsley’s mother, Laurie. She attributes the company’s success to Sawyer’s perfectionism.
“Sawyer’s always been really driven and a perfectionist. Everything has to be exact,” she said. But although “the cookies sell themselves,” she said, the company’s technology and marketing are just as much a part of the company’s success as are their recipes.
“Their technology is top of the line. They develop all their technology for their stores. It’s really quite amazing. We can do our delivery. They’ve developed our own money system that we use. They are really top of the line technologically. And their advertising, how they get the word out, is good,” she said.
Channing agrees. “The marketing and branding is simple and unique,” he said. How? Well, pink, for one. “Pink is kind of an iconic color,” he said.
“They are really developing technology all the time. Crumbl is always changing because they are always changing with whatever is coming out that’s better,” Laurie said.
But back to the cookies. Fans are dedicated.
“People really love what the weekly flavor is. They are almost mad if (it is posted) late. They are waiting at 6 p.m.,” when the corporate office posts the weekly flavor, said Laurie.