There’s no software embedded in the gooey center of a Classic Roll. No app that dispatches dough from oven to frosting tray, no algorithm to calculate and dispense the precise amount of a toothsome concoction of sugar and cream cheese. Despite the absence of these, Cinnabon’s president Kat Cole runs the company like a tech startup–albeit a very large one.
From hacking product development to partnerships with disruptors in the food and beverage industry, Cole’s infused the business of peddling calorie soaked indulgences with a heady mix of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.
In her three years at the helm, Cinnabon added over 200 bakeries and launched a host of branded products including an Air Wick air freshener, a cinnamon flavored vodka with Pinnacle, and a cinnamon spiced Keurig coffee blend. This expansion in franchises as well as branded products in grocery, retail, and Taco Bell and Burger King, gives Cinnabon about 50,000 global points of distribution that accounted for approximately $1 billion in retail sales last year.