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Wayback Burgers, Juice It Up, Gigi's Cupcakes Report Solid Growth in 2017

23 Jan 2018 - Wayback Burgers, Juice it Up and Gigi's Cupcakes may not seem to have much in common, but the three fast casual brands reported solid numbers in 2017, with several openings and plans for continuing the expansion into this year. See below for the details.

Wayback Burgers finishes 2017 with 26 openings

Wayback Burgers reported that it opened 26 units during 2017, ending the year with 148 units and plans to keep growing, according to a company press release.

In Q4, Wayback Burgers expanded its reach into Africa, recently opening a restaurant in Sudan. Further, Wayback Burgers had its eyes set on the Netherlands and Bangladesh as well, closing deals with master franchisees in both countries.

In total, Q4 saw 11 restaurant openings for Wayback Burgers. In addition to the Sudan location, Wayback Burgers opened 10 domestic locations. It also signed four new leases and announced 12 other locations now in construction.

"2017 was a year defined by unprecedented expansion into new communities all over the world, the development of innovative and appetizing new menu items, the embracing of new technological trends, and impressive improvements to all Wayback Burgers online properties," Wayback Burgers Executive Vice President Bill Chemero, said in the release. "I am proud of our progress and anticipate even greater accomplishments in the future."

The momentum of 2017 will quickly carry into 2018 for Wayback Burgers, Chemero said.

"Wayback Burgers is poised and well positioned, through comprehensive strategies and calculated negotiations, to continue our domestic and international growth," he said. "Our brand has built a strong reputation here in America, and in points around the globe, and there are several overseas who are clamoring to introduce Wayback Burgers to a brand new clientele. This serves as a testament to the men and women who have worked hard daily to build Wayback Burgers into one of the world's fastest growing burger franchises."

Founded in 1991, in Newark, Delaware, Wayback Burgers operates in 28 states with more than 148 locations nationally and internationally in Argentina, Brunei, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia

Juice It Up reports 8th consecutive positive sales quarter Juice It Up ended its fiscal year 2017 with same-store sales up 4 percent and average unit volume up 1 percent over 2016. This marks the second consecutive year of positive sales for the brand, according to a company press release.

Juice It Up's Q4 success can be attributed to the brand's growth initiatives and exciting new offerings introduced over the past year, said Carol DeNembo, Juice It Up's vice president of business development. The brand, for example, launched several offerings including a Chili Lime Mango Smoothie, a Turmeric Raw Fusion and a Peanut Butter Protein Açaí Bowl. It brought back seasonal favorites like the Pumpkin Pleaser. Along with new product launches, the brand's strong financials can be credited to new store openings, in both new and existing markets, DeNembo said.

"Juice It Up performed tremendously in 2017, due in large part to the creations dreamt up by our fantastic R&D team and fulltime nutritionist, who develop each new product with an equal focus on functionality and taste," DeNembo said. "We've also placed more importance on nutritional education, and transparency, enabling our guest to make the best choices based on their specific wants and needs."

"It is important that we show every customer exactly what is going into their products, and how their products are prepared, especially in this age of food safety concerns. These changes have helped to strengthen Juice It Up's position as a lifestyle brand while continuing to gain consumer confidence."

Additionally, a comprehensive remodel program is underway to incorporate the company's transparent prototype design into existing locations, which features an increased focus on the bowl category. The new design, which has been rolling out to select stores in phases, now brings production of Juice It Up's three mainline products, raw juices, smoothies and bowls, right in front of the customers, which builds trust, and ultimately increases brand loyalty and store revenues, according to the release.

With more than 100 locations open and in development across California, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Florida, Juice It Up is awarding a variety of franchise opportunities that include area development, single unit, and non-traditional store fronts such as college campuses, airports, mall kiosks, convenience stores and gyms. Ideal franchisees possess an entrepreneurial spirit, a creative local store marketing mindset, and are passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, according to the release.

Gigi's Cupcakes growing strong into 2018 For Gigi's Cupcakes, 2017 was a year of growth with the brand opening five units, signing 10 agreements and breaking ground on eight units set to open in 2018. The five openings were in Richardson, Texas; Cleveland and Mason, Ohio; Virginia Beach, Virgina and Oak Creek, Wisconsin, according to a company press releases.

Part of that expansion is westward with a location in Logan, Utah, slated to open in the spring of 2018, marking the 24th state for the brand. Gigi's will also continue expanding across Texas, with a new Austin location opening in 2018, owned by three former University of Texas Longhorns football players, including Brian Orakpo, who plays for the Tennessee Titans, according to the release.

The brand rolled out a variety of seasonal flavors and also opened several units unit with its updated design. Design elements included digital menu boards, a refrigerated case for new cheesecakes, rich wall colors and more seating, Judy Renfrow, CEO of Gigi's Cupcakes, said in the release.

"This was an incredible year of growth and accomplishment for Gigi's as we continued to enter new cities and bolster our product offerings," she said. "The ‘wow' factor of our gourmet products provides an opportunity to celebrate 365 days a year. Our attention to detail, from the Gigi's signature swirl to our beautiful packaging and our incredible variety of flavors, continue to enhance the Gigi's brand's great growth potential."

Founded in 2008, by Gina "Gigi" Butler as a local boutique bakery in downtown Nashville, Tennesee, Gigi's Cupcakes has grown to nearly 100 locations nationwide.

Fast Casual