The Cronut, a Frankenstein combination of the croissant and the donut, has been the hot dessert for nearly a year, ever since it popped out of the oven of the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City.
As with anything trendy, a version will soon make its way to retail chain shelves. Crumbs Bake Shop (CRMBW) recently inked a deal with BJ's Wholesale Club for the latter to carry a host of its offerings. Prominent among these is the Crumbnut, the bakery's version of Ansel's trademarked treat.
Starbucks on the Shelves
Brick-and-mortar stores can only sell so much product, so some of the more muscular food and beverage companies have moved into the supermarket with retail versions. Selling their goods in retail outlets provides a substantial growth opportunity.
Starbucks (SBUX) is a good example. It makes extra coin selling its coffee in various iterations, such as VIA instant mix and single-serve pods for coffee machines manufactured by Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR).
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Starbucks groups its retail offerings into a business segment called "channel development." In fiscal 2013, net revenues grew by 10 percent on a year-over-year basis to $1.4 billion. Operating income clocked in at $416 million, for a nice margin of almost 30 percent. That $1.4 billion contributed just under 10 percent to Starbucks' overall top line, a strong contribution considering how tightly identified the company is with its chain of cafes.
Similarly, fellow java slinger Dunkin' Donuts -- the core business unit of Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) -- also occupies retail space in the supermarket coffee section thanks to a distribution agreement with jelly giant J.M. Smucker (SJM). According to J.M. Smucker, sales of Dunkin' Donuts ground coffee by volume grew at an annual rate of 11 percent in fiscal 2013.
In fact, a customer could easily make a multi-course meal with supermarket versions of brick-and-mortar comestible offerings, such as those from California Pizza Kitchen, Boston Market and Cheesecake Factory (CAKE).
Picking Up the Crumbs
Those sorts of numbers are undoubtedly enticing for a food retailer like Crumbs. The food service business is a difficult one, with high overhead (rent for stores isn't cheap these days), and plenty of competition no matter the market niche.
Crumbs needs help. Its initial public offering followed the surge in popularity of designer cupcakes, the "in" dessert before the Cronut started crowding the oven. But attempting to capitalize on cupcakes hasn't paid off for Crumbs. In the last fiscal three years, in spite of not-bad revenue growth, its attributable net loss has snowballed, from $1.5 million in 2011 to $7.7 million the following year, to a queasy $15.3 million in 2013.
Motley Fool contributor Eric Volkman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Keurig Green Mountain and Starbucks and owns shares of Starbucks.
12 Ways to Save Money on Food
Treats From Your Favorite Restaurants Now In Stores
This advice applies to adults and kids alike. Plan out your shopping list before you head to the grocery store so you’re not tempted by impulse buys, and let any children along for the ride know that you plan on sticking with that list. Small expenditures add up to big money, so try to avoid giving in to any last-minute requests.
If your children continue to insist that you purchase their requested items, then ask them to bring their own piggy bank money. Remind your children they are only allowed to pick something they can afford. It's good practice for grown-up budgeting.
You might not have 20 hours a week to scour multiple publications for the best deals, but if you focus on searching for online coupons, you'll end up saving just as much. Search online for products with the word "coupon" afterward. For instance, if you're looking for Cascade dish soap, search for "Cascade dish soap coupons."
To make sure that you don't waste money on impulse buys, schedule your shopping around paydays. The day or day after you get paid should be your shopping day. Before you go shopping, make a list and make sure it has everything you'll need until the next shopping day on it. Now make a commitment to yourself that you will make what you're going to purchase last until the next shopping day.
Stocking your freezer with frozen meals can help you save money on lunch, since they cost just about $5 each. It can even be a healthier option because they help you practice portion control. Just make sure you're purchasing meals that have no preservatives, and watch out for sodium levels.
Don't waste your time making a sack lunch every day. Instead, prepare a week's worth of lunches on Sunday, and your body will thank you for the extra 10 to 30 minutes of sleep you'll gain each night. If you cook one big meal on Sunday, make sure it's easy to change up throughout the week. Chicken, rice and vegetables all cook quickly and taste great with different sauces and cheeses.
Most families throw away so much food on a weekly basis. A better idea is to turn your dinner leftovers into a lunchtime feast. Apps like BigOven help you use your leftovers to make yummy, new dishes. All you have to do is enter the ingredients you have, and the app will show you different recipe options for your leftovers. You'll save money using food that would have been thrown out.
If you know you have $400 to spend per month on your food budget, that's roughly $100 a week. Whether you shop once or twice per week or use cash or credit doesn't matter as long as you stay within your spending limits. Just be sure to only spend the amount you allotted per week.
Keep your shopping list in a set location so all members of the household can access it. Write estimated prices of the items you are going to buy next to each item on the checklist. It can serve a dual purpose as a price book you can use to guess how much you will spend.
If you've ordered from the kids menu at a restaurant recently, then you know how big the meals are – they're almost as big as meals for adults, and they can cost up to $10 each. If you have multiple children, an easy way to cut down on this expense is to have them share a meal. Not only does this lower the cost of feeding everyone, but it also cuts down on food waste.
Most stores are open late, and without the distraction of announcements, people and maybe even your kids, you can have your own Zen moment. When you are clearheaded, you're more likely to zone in on what you really need and leave out what you really don't. Plus, it's easier to give the cashier coupons without causing any delays for the people in line behind you.
We are a society consumed by all sorts of apps, but if you want to grocery shop, save money and still be lazy, let Favado, an app created by Savings.com, do the work for you. The app will tell you about items on sale from different stores, and if there is a store coupon or manufacturer coupon, it will also let you know that too. (Of course, you can just use it to scan the weekly ads to keep things simple.) And if you're already glued to your smartphone, it's easy to incorporate into your shopping routine.