- Craveworthy Brands, owner of 10 restaurant chains including Genghis Grill and Lucky Cat Poke, will buy “a significant stake” in Dirty Dough Cookies, the companies announced Wednesday. The precise percentage Craveworthy will acquire was not disclosed.
- Gregg Majewski, founder and CEO of Craveworthy, is replacing Jill Summerhays as CEO of Dirty Dough. He will guide the company through a growth push: The cookie brand has over 40 units under construction and 450 franchised locations in its pipeline, building on its current footprint of 55 units and 10 food trucks.
- This deal marks Craveworthy’s first investment in a snack brand, and reflects growing industry interest in concepts and menus that target diner spending between traditional dayparts.
Major restaurant chains are tapping into the “afternoon slump” to grow sluggish traffic and connect with younger consumers who see snack occasions as an affordable, mid-day pick-me-up.
McDonald’s new CosMc’s brand offers customized, caffeinated sweet drinks and blended beverages as afternoon meal occasions, and earlier this week Subway debuted a snacking menu consisting of footlong Cinnabon Churros, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and a cookie. Last fall, Starbucks reported that food accounted for nearly $6 billion in North American sales, and CMO Brady Brewer told investors the chain will create new snacking platforms to attract more afternoon visits.
Dirty Dough’s founder, Bennet Maxwell, said Majewski’s leadership and Craveworthy’s resources — including supply chain, menu development and franchise development — “opens up exciting new horizons.” Dirty Dough’s corporate employees will continue to oversee day to-day operations and report to Majewski. It’s unclear if Summerhays will serve in an advisory capacity of any kind.
"We super-charge amazing brands and give them what they need to thrive. Bennett and his team have grown very fast in a very short amount of time, which makes this the perfect point in their development trajectory for a partner like Craveworthy Brands,” Majewski said in a statement.
Last year, Dirty Dough settled a lawsuit filed by rival cookie chain Crumbl Cookies, which accused it of trademark infringement over packaging design and overall brand identity. Craveworthy and Dirty Dough appear to reference the lawsuit as the “cookie war” in the press release announcing the deal.