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Gigi's May Be Poised to Live Up to Her Story


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Gina Butler was featured on the cover of Franchise Times in January 2015.

It’s been just over a year since I interviewed Gina Butler, the founder of Gigi’s Cupcakes, and shared her country music-singing, cleaning company-founding, Bible-believing story on the cover of Franchise Times. Not much has really changed since then, but the brand has a chance to break out this year. 

On the first day of the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas today, she radiated the same homespun energy. “I didn’t go to an Ivy League university. I do not have elite culinary training. But what I do have? Passion. Passion to be the best brand, the best in customer service and the best bakery. You don’t just eat at Gigi’s Cupcakes. You experience it,” she said.

And then she signed off: “So do I gamble? You bet your ass I do. Every day.”

One other thing hasn’t changed either, since that interview: Gigi’s still sits at about 100 units, the same as more than a year ago, but Chad Fitzhugh, the CFO, told the audience they have put some important elements in place to get the growth going.

The biggest change: they’ve brought in outside capital from investors for the first time, which should help. They’ve also added a much deeper management team. “Quite frankly, two years ago” when they presented at this conference, “we did not have the proper infrastructure and we were undercapitalized,” he said.

Butler herself is now completely focused on being brand ambassador, and she was very excited about her stint on "Undercover Boss" last year. “What I found out, we were consistently inconsistent,” she said. I’ll be watching to see whether the rhetoric turns into reality over the next year. Butler says she is looking to get to 250 stores in the next five years, and that will take more than a well-worn tale.

The Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference continues through Wednesday noon at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, featuring more than 30 franchise execs presenting their brand stories to an audience of financiers, lenders and operators.

 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is staff writer at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 
Nancy WeingartnerNancy Weingartner is editor-at-large of Franchise Times magazine and the editor of the Food On Demand media project. You can reach her at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com.
Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nanweingartner.
 

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