Cupcake chain heads for Korea

America’s largest cupcake and baked goods chain is to make its first overseas foray – into Korea.

Gigi’s Cupcakes has signed a master franchise agreement to develop 100 locations in South Korea “in coming years”. The company says the deal marks the brand’s first international expansion and “highlights the global demand for cupcakes”.

“The fast growth we are experiencing at home and abroad proves there’s a strong, enduring demand for gourmet cupcakes and baked treats, which Gigi’s Cupcakes plans to fill.”

Master franchisee Sung Shin-je will develop the specialty bakeries throughout the country, the first of which is projected to open in Seoul in early 2015. Shin-je, an experienced restaurateur, was previously the master franchisee for Pizza Hut in South Korea and opened more than 50 locations for the American pizza chain throughout the country.

Gigi's cupcake store

“Based on my experience building American brands in South Korea, I’m confident Gigi’s Cupcakes will be a huge success,” said Shin-je. “I was drawn to Gigi’s Cupcakes because of its proven business model and offering of best-in-class cupcakes and baked goods you can’t get anywhere else in South Korea.”

Domestically, Gigi’s Cupcakes plans to open 25 franchise bakeries in 2015 and is actively seeking franchisees to develop additional locations throughout the United States. In recent years, Gigi’s Cupcakes has diversified its menu, adding cheesecakes, cookies, pies and other specialty baked treats, to increase store visits and appeal to more consumers.

Gigi’s Cupcakes was founded in 2008 as a local boutique bakery in Nashville, Tennessee and has grown to more than 92 locations in 23 states.

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