Top 10 Baked Goods Franchises: AUV, Cost & Stats (2023)

If you’re considering getting into the baked goods industry, buying a franchise can be a great option. Yet, which franchise should you choose? From cakes, sweets, pretzels, donuts, etc. there are many franchises you can choose from, each with their own pros and cons.

In this article we are giving you our top 10 picks of the best baked goods franchises in the US.

For each we’re giving you the key financials: the average initial investment cost and Average Unit Volume (AUV). Also, if you want to dig deeper, you’ll find the links to our complete review for each franchise below.

FranchiseUS franchised unitsInvestmentAUVNet worthLiquid capital
Auntie Anne's1,126230,000343,000300,000100,000
Nothing Bundt Cakes427539,0001,307,000600,000150,000
Krispy Kreme373824,0003,400,0002,000,000300,000
Einstein Bros. Bagels368750,000885,0001,000,000536,500
Great American Cookies363385,000453,000250,000100,000
Crumbl Cookies326507,0001,582,000300,000150,000
Wetzel's Pretzels309378,000749,000300,00050,000
Duck Donuts107446,000427,000350,000150,000

Auntie Anne’s

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume

Auntie Anne’s is an American chain of pretzel shops with over 2,000 stores in the US and 30 other countries. It serves freshly baked soft pretzels, dips, and other related foods and beverages.

A subsidiary of Focus Brands Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the chain was founded in 1988 in Pennsylvania when Anne F. Beiler (Auntie Anne) and her husband bought a stand in a Pennsylvania farmer’s market.

Auntie Anne’s began franchising in 1989, with its first international location opening in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1995.


US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume

Cinnabon is an American chain of bakeries and baked goods shops synonymous with its signature cinnamon roll. The chain was founded in 1985 in Seattle, Washington, by Rich Komen and his son, Greg Komen.

Its menu includes cinnamon rolls, coffee, milkshakes, and churros. Cinnabon locations are commonly found in high-traffic areas such as malls, airports, and rest stops.

Cinnabon began franchising in 1986 and opened its first franchise in Pennsylvania. It is owned by Focus Brands Inc., headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

Cinnabon now has over 1,600 locations in the United States and 50 other countries.

Nothing Bundt Cakes

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume

Founded in 1997 in Las Vegas, Nothing Bundt Cakes sells handcrafted Bundt Cakes. The company was founded by Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz.

Apart from Bundt cakes, the bakery also offers various retail items like décor and gift, party supplies, etc., making it a perfect one-stop shop for parties and celebrations.

Today, this baked goods restaurant brand has over 430 bakeries operating in the US and Canada.

Krispy Kreme

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume

Krispy Kreme is a leading American multinational doughnut and coffee shop chain store with 373 in the US and over 1,600 locations worldwide. The chain offers glazed doughnuts, coffee, and other beverages, treats, and sweets.

Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Krispy-Kreme was founded by Vernon Rudolph in 1937.

The Krispy Kreme franchise started in the 1950s and the company went public in 2000 as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. 

Shortly after, the company opened its first stores overseas: in Canada in 2001, in Australia, and the UK in 2003.

Since then, Krispy Kreme has opened over 361 stores in the US and over 1,700 other locations across 31 countries.

Einstein Bros. Bagels

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume

Einstein Bros. Bagels is an American restaurant chain that operates the country’s largest casual fast bagel franchise. The brand offers bagels, breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, coffee, catering items, and related foods.

It was founded in 1995 under the parent company, Boston Chicken (now Boston Market), in 2004 in Golden, Colorado. Headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, Einstein Bros. Bagels is part of the Panera family, along with Panera Bread and Caribou coffee.

It started its franchising journey in 2006 and now has over 700 stores in 40 states in the US of which 53% are franchised-owned.

Great American Cookies

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume

Great American Cookies is an American chain of independently owned franchise stores that specialize in gourmet cookies and cookie cakes.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the chain was founded in 1977 by Michael J. Coles and Arthur Karp.

It offers freshly baked cookies, cookie cakes, double doozies, and brownies.

The brand began franchising in 1978, and now it has over 300 bakeries in the US.

It is owned by FAT Brands along with Round Table Pizza, Hot Dog on a Stick, Marble Slab Creamery, and Pretzel Maker.

Crumbl Cookies

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume

Crumbl Cookies is a fast-growing gourmet cookie chain with over 600 stores in 47 states in the US.

Headquartered in Orem, Utah, Crumbl Cookies was founded by two cousins, Sawyer Hemsley and Jason McGowan, in 2017.

The cookie franchise specializes in making large cookies and ice cream and is best known for its award-winning milk chocolate chip cookie.

The Crumbl Cookies franchising journey began in 2018 under the brand name Crumbl LLC.

The chain store has taken the market by storm, and as of 2022, it had 689 bakeries in the US. It is one of the fastest-growing cookie franchises with a unique social media marketing strategy.

Wetzel’s Pretzel

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume

Wetzel’s Pretzels is an American fast-food chain that specializes in pretzels and hotdogs and lemonades.

Headquartered in Pasadena, California, the brand was founded in 1994 by Rick Wetzel and Bill Phelps. Its first location was in the South Bay Galleria.

Its franchising journey began in 1996, and now the brand has over 340 stores in the US, Canada, Central America, and around the world.


US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume

Pretzelmaker is a Georgia-based restaurant chain that serves hand-rolled pretzels, cold beverages, and smoothies. It is a subsidiary of FAT brands, founded in 1991 by Jeffery Tripp.

Pretzelmaker’s menu includes soft pretzel bites, mini pretzel dogs, dipping sauces, blended drinks, lemonades, and mozzarella stuffed bites. 

The first ever Pretzelmaker store was launched in 1991 in Trumbull, Connecticut, and incorporated as Mr. Pretzel Inc. 

It started franchising in 1992 as its popularity increased, ultimately changing its name to Pretzel Time and, later, Pretzelmaker. Today, the quick service restaurant has 280 stores in the US and other global locations such as Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Guam.

Duck Donuts

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume

Duck Donuts is an American quick-serve chain of doughnut shops headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

The chain was founded in 2006 by Russ DiGilio and Robin Griffith in Duck, North Carolina.

It serves customizable, made-to-order doughnuts, other baked goods, sandwiches, coffee, desserts, and beverages.

Duck Donuts started franchising in 2013 and now has more than 100 restaurants in the US.

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