My Favorite Muffin
Q&A with My Favorite Muffin CEO Michael Evans and Franchise Development Lead Brian Evans
My Favorite Muffin® father-son executive duo Michael and Brian Evans detail what drew them to the brand and their vision for the future.
What initially drew you to My Favorite Muffin?
Michael Evans: After I began franchising the Big Apple Bagels® concept, I quickly became tired of watching people with Starbucks cups come into our stores, get a bagel and leave, so I bought a local brand called Brewster’s® Coffee so we could brew our own branded coffee in our stores. To complement our offering even more, I began seeking a sweet treat product to incorporate. A friend told me about My Favorite Muffin, which was based out of New Jersey at the time. We visited one of the Chicago area franchises to taste the muffins and my wife said they were unlike any muffin she had ever tasted.
Thanks to the excellent proprietary product, we bought the brand to incorporate into our existing stores. The brand was operating primarily as a mall-based concept that also served sandwiches and such at the time, but there was one store in Louisville, Kentucky that never included an expanded menu. After taking a closer look at that particular store, especially the low cost of goods sold and the tremendous gifting program the store was running, I realized this model focusing squarely on the muffin business was ripe for expansion through franchising.
Brian Evans: One of the driving forces for me was the positive feedback we were continuously receiving from customer reviews. We had prospective franchisees of Big Apple Bagels talking about their experience with My Favorite Muffin as customers, the overwhelming majority of whom loved the product. Coupled with the sales numbers Louisville was putting up, the cost of goods sold and the popularity of other single-product franchises, all of the pieces fell into place to take My Favorite Muffin Gourmet Muffin Bakery to the market as a standalone franchise going forward.
What about My Favorite Muffin makes it unique within its industry?
Michael: For me, it starts with our proprietary product and specialized offering. What makes us stand out is our 100-plus varieties and unsurpassed flavor profile.
Brian: Our franchisees benefit from a threefold offering of gifts, retail and catering. With this concept, you're able to generate all three of these revenue streams within the same small store footprint. Plus, from a product standpoint, our offering is unique because simply put, there's no one else doing it. Sure, other concepts sell muffins, but none do it exclusively with the backing of a national franchise. We have the opportunity to break in and create the market.
What plans does the brand have in the coming years?
Brian: We’re excited to capitalize on the fact we’re the first muffin concept in the market, which allows us to offer franchisees an unmatched opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Our most successful Big Apple Bagels franchisees were the first bagel franchises in their respective markets and were able to build up tremendous brand loyalty due to their early arrival. Our strategy is to establish a presence in key markets quickly, grow quickly and take the market share.
Why is My Favorite Muffin a good investment?
Michael: Our sales-to-investment ratio and cost of goods sold are great. Plus, our operations cease in the early afternoon, meaning owner-operators get to spend the evening with their families. Factoring in our low cost of entry, My Favorite Muffin is a great brand for operators looking to diversify their portfolio and not put all of their eggs in one basket because you can open about three units for what it would cost to invest in a single unit of another restaurant concept.
Brian: The diverse way we get our product out to consumers—through gift-giving, retail and catering—is a huge point of differentiation for our brand in my eyes. That, plus our high average ticket volume and simple operations due to our single, specialized offering make our franchise opportunity a lucrative one. My Favorite Muffin is a viable option for owner-operators as well as those seeking an owner-GM concept, which lends itself well to scaling in various markets.
How does My Favorite Muffin support franchisees?
Michael: It’s rare that a franchise brand has a CEO who was once a franchisee. Too often, franchisees experience what I did, where brands invite entrepreneurs into their system as franchisees only to put handcuffs on them, giving them no flexibility and no say. We don’t do that. It’s extremely important for us to let our franchisees be entrepreneurs within our system. We pride ourselves on listening to their ideas and feedback. Our money is made through royalties and we know that, so we invest in the people within our system.
Brian: We provide operational support from the moment of inquiry until long after our franchisees’ stores are up and running. We field questions about inventory, store buildout and everything in between. We also have a team of business consultants whose sole job is to act as the go-to operations resource for our franchisees and visit stores in regular cadence to provide that hands-on support. Our franchisees also benefit from the expertise within our marketing department and extensive training from our corporate headquarters.
What does success look like to you?
Michael: Our success is fully contingent upon the success of our franchisees. Everything we do as a corporate team is done to make our franchisees as successful as possible. They're our salesforce and our lifeblood—their success is our success.
Brian: Agreed. We measure our success based on franchisee satisfaction and profitability. We want them to be successful so we can continue growing, creating jobs and helping others realize their entrepreneurial goals.