Mountain Express, Pilot Welcome Focus Brands’ Food Offerings

Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s enter c-stores as company expands into nontraditional locations
Logos of Focus Brands, Pilot and Mountain Express

ATLANTA — Convenience stores are among the nontraditional locations being targeted by Focus Brands, the parent company of Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Schlotzsky’s.

Pilot plans to welcome 10 new Cinnabons nationwide, while Mountain Express is bringing 50 Schlotzsky’s and five Moe’s Southwest Grill locations to travel plazas in the Southeast.

With consumer accessibility and convenience top of mind, Atlanta-based Focus Brands also is accelerating expansion to nontraditional locations such as airports, amusement parks, colleges and ghost kitchens, the company said. Today, across the family of brands, there are 954 nontraditional units open across the United States with another 313 units in the pipeline.

“We’re fortunate to have a variety of brands in multiple verticals that have the brand awareness and development prototypes ideal for nontraditional locations,” said Brian Krause, chief development officer of Focus Brands. “As we continue to grow, it’s crucial in this competitive market to identify nontraditional opportunities that will build awareness for our brands, while turning profits for our brands’ franchisees. Knowing that there’s high demand for our brands, we want to expand in the right nontraditional venues to ensure we’re building accessibility and giving our guests more opportunities to enjoy their favorite food and beverage.”

Nontraditional growth exploded for the Focus family of brands in 2021, signing deals and opening locations in new venues.

In addition to c-stores, in airports, Cinnabon, which is in CSP’s20 Great Coffee Programs for 2021, opened its first location in the Charleston International Airport, owned by the first-ever African-American female franchisee. HMSHost will open a Jamba location in the Salt Lake City International Airport this winter.

Also, a Jamba location will open at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., early this year.

At amusement parks, Auntie Anne’s plans to open two locations at Six Flags over Texas in Arlington in the coming months; these will be the first such locations in a Six Flags park.

Also, in addition to bringing its brands to college campuses across the country, Focus Brands is targeting “college-edge” markets for its four specialty brands, Jamba, Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s and Carvel, to bring nontraditional locations to high-traffic, downtown college towns.

A Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s co-branded location opened near the University of Cincinnati in October, and a Jamba and Auntie Anne’s co-branded location near Auburn University is set to open this year.

In addition, Jamba recently opened its second robotic kiosk pilot location in Stonewood Center in Downey, Calif. The program, called Jamba by Blendid, allows for the brand to enter venues such as big-box retailers, travel centers, hospitals and college campuses where a full Jamba store might not be viable.

Cinnabon also has opened nine new locations with Ghost Kitchen Brands in the U.S. and Canada.

Focus Brands, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,000 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops and bakeries in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and more than 50 other countries under the brand names Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli and Schlotzsky’s, as well as Seattle’s Best Coffee on certain military bases and in certain international markets.

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