Baskin-Robbins Announces Houston as a Priority Market in 2009; Projects More Than 100 New Stores in Houston

Current Baskin-Robbins Franchisees Experience Success Despite State of Economy

CANTON, Mass., Feb. 2 // PRNewswire // -- Baskin-Robbins -- the top ranked ice cream and frozen dessert franchise by Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500(R) in 2008 and 2009 -- has announced that Houston will be one of its key markets in its 2009 expansion plans. Baskin-Robbins has plans for more than 100 new stores in the Greater Houston area over the next several years.

Despite the recent economic downturn, Baskin-Robbins has embarked on an unprecedented growth campaign designed to double its U.S. presence over time. It is based on a flexible concept portfolio, expanded and comprehensive menu, and system-wide operational simplicity.

"Houston is an important market in Baskin-Robbins' national growth strategy for 2009 and beyond. It's a unique city in that it has experienced recent and significant growth in its job market and has invested millions in economic development and in marketing the city," said Salman Siddiqui, vice president of franchising and development, Baskin-Robbins.

According to a recent Fast Company article, Houston's metro area added 53,000 jobs between August 2007 and 2008 and has a goal of creating 600,000 new jobs by 2016. In addition, the article states that the Greater Houston Partnership's Opportunity Houston effort has committed $40 million to marketing the city.

The city's commitment to expansion fits with Baskin's goals to recruit large area developers in Houston. To fuel its growth in the region, Baskin-Robbins is actively seeking multi-unit, large-area developers willing to own and operate networks ranging from five-to-31 or more stores in Houston and the surrounding area. Currently, Baskin-Robbins operates 33 locations in Houston and more than 90 stores across the state of Texas.

"In today's economy, Baskin-Robbins' product is a good value and it offers a family experience to Houston residents," said Shaw Darwish, Baskin-Robbins' franchisee with one location in Katy and two in Sugarland, Texas. From a business standpoint, he says the key is paying attention to every aspect of the business and not just the cash register. "Customer service is important, but you have to look at operations, marketing and the management of all the stores," he said. In addition, Darwish is very committed to the community and often partners with local businesses, churches and schools.

Both Darwish and Cynthia Barnes, who operates two stores in the Houston area -- one in Pearland and the other in Lake Jackson, Texas, transitioned from other careers into franchising. In fact, Barnes continues to run an accounting practice in addition to her two stores. "Diversification led me to franchising," said Barnes. Baskin-Robbins was one of three franchises she was considering more than five years ago. She selected Baskin not only because she had fond memories of the brand, but because the company worked with her on a business plan and provided her with different options.

"We are confident that 2009 will bring even more value to our existing network of Baskin-Robbins franchisees," said Siddiqui. "We are one of the few brands that offer franchisees the opportunity to grow and develop premium territories in their own backyard."

Recently, Baskin-Robbins was named the top ice cream and frozen dessert franchise and one of the top 20 franchises in the United States by Entrepreneur magazine's 30th annual Franchise 500(R) ranking. In 2008, Baskin-Robbins opened more than 600 stores globally, marking the highest single-year new unit openings in the company's 62-year history. With a domestic footprint of more than 2,700 locations, Baskin-Robbins' growth strategy in 2009 includes expanding in existing markets including California, Florida and Texas, while continuing its emerging growth in Georgia, North Carolina and Indiana, to name a few.

"By continuing our history of developing new product innovations and keeping our focus on customer service for our franchisees, Baskin-Robbins will provide a completely new customer experience in 2009," said Siddiqui. "We share a common objective with our franchisees and large-area developers, which focuses on building the business and strong brand in this increasingly challenging economy."

Over six decades ago, Baskin-Robbins was founded by ice cream enthusiasts Burton "Burt" Baskin and Irvine "Irv" Robbins who shared a dream to create an innovative ice cream store that would be a neighborhood gathering place for families. Today, more than 300 million people visit Baskin-Robbins each year to sample from the more than 1,000 flavors available in its ice cream library, as well as enjoy its full array of frozen treats including ice cream cakes, frozen beverages and sundaes.

About Baskin-Robbins

Named the top ice cream and frozen dessert franchise in the United States by Entrepreneur magazine's 30th annual Franchise 500(R) ranking, Baskin-Robbins is the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty shops. Baskin-Robbins creates and markets innovative, premium ice cream, specialty frozen desserts and beverages, providing quality and value to consumers at more than 5,800 retail shops in more than 36 countries. Baskin-Robbins was founded by two ice cream enthusiasts whose passion led to the creation of more than 1,000 ice cream flavors and a wide variety of delicious treats. Headquartered in Canton, Mass., Baskin-Robbins is part of the Dunkin' Brands, Inc. family of companies.

SOURCE Baskin-Robbins


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