Crumbl Cookies is a brand that has gone viral, so if you use social media at all, you have probably come across them. A Local Profile report describes them as “dense, ultra crumbly, and crunchy (yet soft) treats.” The toffee undertones in their chocolate chip cookies are heavenly, and the cookies practically melt in your mouth.
Crumbl Cookies has amassed 1.9 million followers on TikTok thanks to a combination of viral videos and careful curation of the page. Given the proliferation of posts praising the deliciousness of these cookies across social media, it would be foolish to ignore their rising fame. In addition, Crumbl’s TikTok page regularly posts irresistible videos of slow, gooey cookie pulls.
Even more impressive is the fact that the company reportedly does not put any resources into influencer relations, as reported by Modern Retail.
So they’ve done it all on their own and become a viral sensation. The cute little pink boxes of treats are available for purchase in over 200 locations nationwide. But before you do, here’s some additional information about this delectable business.
It’s all in the family
Crumbl was established by Jason McGowan and Sawyer Hemsley, who also happen to be cousins. They started working together while Hemsley was still in school. With Jason’s interest in technology and Sawyer’s knack for marketing, the two cousins saw an opportunity to launch a business, and they settled on the slogan “Let’s just do something cool and we’re going to do cookies.”
Sawyer Hemsley’s mother even pitched in to help out while the Crumbl founders were in school and working elsewhere, as the duo revealed in an interview with Mashed. But it was on McGowan and Hemsley to get Crumbl off to a good start.
While the cousins were more adept at business management, making delicious cookies was more of a challenge. It took several attempts to create a dessert that would work well for mass production before the ideal cookie was found. When it came out of the oven, McGowan told Mashed, “it was like a pancake, a huge, flat… And we looked at each other and we were like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is not good.'”
Crumbl’s first storefront opened in Logan, Utah, in 2017. They say the rest is history.
Crumbl Is the Nation’s Fastest-Growing Cookie Company
The company claims on its website that it is “the fastest-growing cookie company in the nation” because in just four years after its initial launch in Logan, it now has more than 200 bakeries in 32 states across the country. If you’re wondering how they did it, the answer is one amazing cookie recipe combined with a brilliant branding and social media marketing strategy.
Every Crumbl Cookies location is unique, but according to a press release distributed by Globe Newswire, they all feature an open layout where customers can watch bakers create delicious new batches of cookies daily. The press release from August 2020 describes each store as having a “bright, open concept” and “team members buzzing about as they prepare goods for excited customers,” drawing comparisons to Apple stores.
The cookie store chain only had 100 locations at the time of publication. In just one year, this impressive number has grown to 248 locations. In addition, gourmet cookies are available for purchase on the website.
Crumbl Is Very Tech-Driven
In addition to their 2.6 million Instagram followers, Crumbl Cookies has over 5.6 million TikTok followers (and 56.9 million likes). The popular cookies from this chain have prompted a trending hashtag on TikTok, #CrumblReview, with 498 million views as of this writing. Despite Crumbl’s stated aversion to influencer relations, the participation of social media stars like James Charles in this series has helped expand the company’s audience.
Crumbl’s founders have tech experience and knew they needed to launch a digitally progressive company to keep up with national trends, which helped the company rapidly grow its social media following. The Silicon Review notes that the incorporation of technologies like iPads and self-service ordering kiosks into brick-and-mortar establishments has improved the quality of service provided to customers.
According to McGowan, who was quoted in a magazine article, “Crumbl prides itself on being an ‘Instagram-able brand.’ The business’ social-heavy marketing strategy has proved impactful based on the brand’s explosive growth…. Crumbl likes to keep its online content trendy and fresh.”
The Menu Rotates Weekly, Always Offering Something ‘fresh’
Crumbl’s first and perhaps most famous cookie is the classic chocolate chip, but the bakery has so many other options that even the pickiest eater is likely to find something they enjoy. Certainly not just your standard peanut butter and snickerdoodles! You’ll never get tired of the number of flavor selections at this cookie bakery, which include newcomers like Mango Frozen Yogurt and Kentucky Butter Cake in addition to tried-and-true favorites like Funfetti and Coconut Lime (as reported by Global Newswire).
The catch is that every week, four or five of the menu items will be replaced. Crumbl’s menu is continually evolving, which is both a point of contention and a well-known truth about the restaurant.
The company’s website claims that this practice was implemented somewhere in the latter half of 2018 in response to rising demand for experimental menu items in the expanding business. There is one constant on the Crumbl menu, though: the year-round availability of both the famed Milk Chocolate Chip cookie and the Chilled Sugar cookie (via the Daily Herald).
The Trademark Pink Boxes Are Both Aesthetic and Functional
Crumbl Cookies are packaged in their signature pink takeout boxes, which were created with portability in mind. Because of their distinctively elongated form, they attract attention wherever they go and are picture-perfect for Instagram.
Crumbl’s website states that in 2018, when the firm was in its infancy, co-founder Sawyer Hemsley collaborated with some of his Utah State University classmates to create the “first-of-its-kind” box. “When you see a pink box, it’s Crumbl,” the store’s original owner, Erik Willis, told the BYU Scroll newspaper.
The boxes have become so well-known that the Crumbl HQ staff has dedicated an entire YouTube series to unboxing and reviewing every single one of them.
Also, the packaging is so eye-catching that no one could resist buying more than one cookie. There are four, six, or twelve items in each box. So next time you’re out on a “cookie run,” you have no excuse for not picking up some extra treats to share with loved ones.
Crumbl Offers Baked-In Freshness
Crumbl’s distinctive snacks are baked fresh every day, so you can enjoy them with confidence knowing they haven’t been sitting in a factory freezer for weeks on end and still have their great flavor. Crumbl’s treats are always made to order, so entering one of their stores is like plunging your hand into a warm cookie directly from the oven. The reason for this is that the staff at Crumbl is always baking fresh cookies to serve its clients.
Visitors to Crumbl can observe the entire cookie-making procedure live, from the mixing of the dough to the application of the frosting. In this way, we can guarantee that all of our cookies are baked fresh for every one of our visitors. In an interview with Mashed, McGowan, and Hemsley explained their motivation for creating this unique bakery experience:
“They see us cracking the eggs, measuring out the ingredients, turning on the big mixers, balling the dough, putting it in the oven. And the experience is what excites people, customers, and franchise partners alike to b. good.”
Crumbl’s First Cookie Was a Crowd Pleaser
Crumbl’s menu was inspired by the all-time favorite milk chocolate chip cookie. Finding solid ground for Crumbl required perfecting this important recipe. To reiterate what Sawyer Hemsley has already mentioned: “We honestly thought we had the best chocolate chip recipe that was out there and we were confident in ourselves.”
Crumbl caters to the public by consistently offering the same famous dessert on the menu every day of the week (don’t worry, we’ll get to that world-famous menu in a minute).
Crumbl’s characteristic iced pink sugar cookie made its debut shortly after the shop opened, and it has since been a semi-permanent menu staple alongside the chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chip (warm) and pink sugar (cold) cookies may be counted on to appear on the menu at least once a week. You can count on some fan favorites being offered every day even if you aren’t crazy about the rotating weekly varieties.
Despite its modest origins, Crumbl’s menu has grown to include more than a hundred unique tastes. The next obstacle would be satisfying a rising demand for cookies of all different kinds.
The Company Still Needs to Work on Gluten-Free and Vegan Offerings
However, Crumbl Cookies doesn’t seem to be in sync with contemporary dietary trends, as the website does not provide any gluten-free, vegan, or Kosher options.
This Instagram post from March 2019 shows that many customers are eager for the company to start offering vegan and gluten-free choices. Cookies made for people with specific dietary restrictions are still not commercially available.
And as was mentioned earlier, it’s unlikely that a customer will leave a Crumbl shop with only one cookie. They plan to carry home an entire pink box, and any guests who have food allergies or sensitivities will have to sit this one out. Hopefully, that will be included in future products by a company that regularly releases new flavor combinations.
You can make your imitations, like this recipe from Allergy Cookie, while you wait. And may Crumbl soon bake a chocolate chip cookie that pleases all taste buds!
The Cookies Sometimes Come with A Sprinkle of Pop Culture
Crumbl’s specialized cookie flavors represent its willingness to adapt to whatever is top of mind for customers at any given time, as evidenced by the company’s successful use of viral social media marketing.
The seasonal menu not only changes its flavors every week but also sometimes celebrates cultural events like Shark Week by giving it’s signature sugar cookie an underwater twist (featuring blue frosting and gummy sharks).
Even the company’s birthday parties are well-organized. Crumbl celebrated its fourth year in business by introducing a funfetti milkshake flavor. Every time Crumbl celebrates its anniversary, customers eagerly anticipate the release of a new flavor. Crumbl also introduces limited-time flavors that reflect the seasons, such as pumpkin pie in the fall and peppermint bark in the winter.
Crumbl’s social media following has proven to be an invaluable tool in discovering new flavor profiles for the brand’s products. The top popular flavors have been ranked multiple times, including on Mashed, and they continue to dominate the company’s sales.
Most of Crumbl’s Cookies Are Limited-Time Offerings
The proprietors of Crumbl aren’t kidding around when they say they rotate the cookies onto the menu every week. Crumbl updates its menu at the start of each week, giving consumers a full week to try out the new offerings before they rotate out. But, Crumbl enthusiasts may have to wait quite sometime before their favorite taste returns once the week is up and a new menu is revealed.
When asked about how often Crumbl’s cookies are released on the calendar, co-founders Jason McGowan and Sawyer Hemsley told Mashable, “Typically, cookies only come out on the calendar once or twice a year, since that’s how many flavors we have.
We have roughly 170 plus kinds.” Crumbl is constantly developing new cookie flavors, so if you like to experiment with different kinds of treats, you probably won’t have to wait too long before you can try something new.
The lesson here could be to stock up on your favorite taste and keep it frozen until you’re ready to use it.
It’s More than Just a Cookie Shop
The cookies at Crumbl are the real draw, so let’s be honest about that. In addition, Crumbl is, first and foremost, a cookie business. Crumbl’s now-famous sweet sweets are irresistible, but the business has expanded to include other options for those with a sweet tooth.
Seeking relief from the summer heat? You may have ice cream at Crumbl as well. Just like with their cookies, the company’s ice cream comes in both traditional and experimental flavors. Classics like Vanilla sit beside more adventurous options like Raspberry Cheesecake for sale to customers. The range of products, however, does not stop there. Crumbl also sells a branded water product called “Crumbl Water,” which was introduced on Earth Day in 2020. The alkaline water is packaged in a recyclable and reusable aluminum bottle with a BPA-free inner liner.
Crumbl also offers a variety of swag that you can buy and take with you wherever you go. In addition to the usual t-shirts, sweatshirts, and baseball caps, merch now includes things like water bottles, cookie-scented candles, and stickers. Crumbl has just collaborated with swimwear company Kortni Jeane to launch a new collection of swimwear with a cookie theme.
Crumbl sells its cookie cutter
Crumbl, as we’ve established, offers cookies that are larger than the norm ” (4.5″ wide to be exact). To aid, Crumbl offers for sale a pink plastic cookie cutter that, when used properly, neatly divides the massive cookies into four equal portions. Using an ordinary knife to slice the cookies would work, but it wouldn’t be much fun, would it? The cookie cutter makes it convenient to sample multiple tastes without having to bake a full batch of cookies for each.
Crumbl’s cookies may look unusually enormous, but that’s not by accident. Crumbl’s 4.5 out of 5 stars is a welcome sight in a time when “shrinkflation” (where product sizes decrease but costs stay the same) appears to be on the rise in the food industry “The cookie portions were designed to be shared.
In an interview with Mashed, Crumbl co-founder Sawyer Hemsley said, “Our cookies are meant to be cut in fours or into eights and you bring your friends together and you’re taste-testing those new flavors that are out that week.” This makes it much easier to sample all of the available flavors in a single box.
There was a Utah cookie showdown
In 2023, Crumbl filed a lawsuit against two Utah-based competitors, Dirty Dough and Crave Cookies, alleging that they infringed on Crumbl’s trademarks and packaging “Both Defendants formed competing businesses that use confusingly similar trademarks, trade dress, and procedures to those of Crumbl. Both defendants, despite their denials, have special connections to Crumbl.”
In line with McGowan’s statement, both cookie firms have denied the charges and plan to fight Crumbl in court. A statement from Dirty Dough read: “We continue to refute the allegations and intend to actively defend against and defeat Crumbl’s legal claims.”
Called “The case prompted the two smaller companies to leverage the situation to their advantage, with Dirty Dough announcing new billboards with statements like “Cookies so excellent we’re being sued!”