Corner Bakery Cafe Continues Holistic Brand Revitalization in 2024

by Katie Lee

Dallas — When SSCP acquired Corner Bakery Cafe in June 2023, its goal was to stabilize the brand and lay a strong foundation that would drive growth of the 100+ unit chain in 2024 and beyond. Less than 6 months later, Corner Bakery Cafe’s comprehensive brand revitalization efforts are well underway — already resulting in positive sales growth, steady employee retention and improved guest experience.

In addition, Corner Bakery Cafe is embarking on a comprehensive plan to remodel most of its corporate cafes in the coming months. Simultaneously, the brand is diligently developing a prototype to set the stage for future corporate and franchise growth. Corner Bakery Cafe is set to open 5-7 new cafes in 2024.

The company’s positive momentum resulted in a $200,000 increase in system average unit volume (AUV) across its cafes in the last 6 months. This trajectory is expected to continue accelerating throughout 2024 with growth led by catering sales and much improved counter sales.

Corner Bakery Cafe has deployed a variety of new initiatives, including improved training programs (back to basics), prioritization of providing robust career opportunities, recognition programs and new employee incentives — which have already played a role in regaining trust and re-energizing the team.

“Our plan from Day 1 was to invest back into the business in virtually every area, from developing and providing growth opportunities to our people to ensuring that our cafes are refreshed and inviting to our guests,” says Chris Dharod, SSCP president and Corner Bakery Cafe CEO. “We see so much potential for the Corner Bakery Cafe brand, and we’re thrilled that our efforts are already paying dividends and have laid a strong foundation for growth in the year ahead.”

Central to Corner Bakery Cafe’s revitalization efforts was stacking the brand’s executive suite with a team of industry leaders to guide its evolution. Among these heavy hitters are two Corner Bakery Cafe veterans: COO Erin Hasselgren and VP of Development Bob Hartmann who returned to leadership roles, bringing back to the brand their collective 27 years of experience. Other key members of the team include industry marketing expert, Melanie Barichivich, who is the company’s head of marketing, and Glenn Hurley, procurement consultant. Hurley is already making strides in optimizing Corner Bakery Cafe’s supply chain and driving profitability.

“I had the privilege of helping drive our growth over the course of nearly two decades, and I am honored to rejoin the Corner Bakery Cafe family alongside some of the industry’s best and brightest as we propel the brand to new heights in the years ahead,” says COO Hasselgren. “I believe we are better positioned for rapid success than at any time in our 33-year history. Corner Bakery Cafe’s ‘glory days’ are yet to come.”

As part of its overarching turnaround strategy, Corner Bakery Cafe has teamed up with a variety of new partners to optimize its day-to-day operations and community engagement. The company carefully vetted potential vendors, identified the top performers in each of their respective categories and enlisted their support to ensure maximum success throughout the organization’s current and future evolution — fueling its aggressive growth trajectory. Among those new partners are:

• Qualtrics: Corner Bakery Cafe selected XM technology provider Qualtrics to measure and improve employee and customer experience across all touchpoints. The software provides visibility into every customer interaction and experience via survey intercepts both in-cafe and online. Corner Bakery Cafe launched Qualtrics’ solution on Dec. 11, 2023, at its 66 corporate cafes and based on the platform’s performance throughout testing and initial deployment, plans to roll out the technology across its franchise system in Q1 of 2024.

• Stingray/Bite: The company is partnering with both Stingray Business and Bite to test new kiosk ordering technology. Corner Bakery Cafe is planning to utilize kiosks in a pilot program to be tested at two Dallas-Fort Worth locations in the first quarter of 2024. The goal is to make in-cafe ordering quick, efficient and frictionless, while also creating new revenue opportunities through suggestive selling and reducing labor costs.

• Champion: To drive brand awareness and customer engagement, Corner Bakery Cafe enlisted the support of Champion, one of the most recognized integrated marketing agencies in the restaurant industry. The Champion team developed and is currently deploying a brand awareness program to ignite Corner Bakery Cafe’s social and digital presence.

Corner Bakery Cafe is a fast-casual restaurant serving kitchen-crafted breakfast, lunch, dinner and catering to guests in 18 states and Washington, D.C. For the last 33 years, Corner Bakery Cafes have been a neighborhood favorite. Corner Bakery Cafe is owned by an affiliate of SSCP. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Corner Bakery Cafe

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