Fans Flock to Peach Cobbler Factory as New Owners Accelerate Franchising | Franchise News


Cobbler, cinnamon rolls and pudding, oh my. Peach Cobbler Factory aims to stand out in a growing dessert segment.

More than 8,000 people lined up outside Jimmy Plowden’s store in July to snag one of a dozen cobbler flavors, a heaping helping of banana pudding or a cobbler-stuffed cinnamon roll. “Our sweet potato cobbler and blackberry cobbler are becoming fan favorites,” said Plowden, who with wife Andrea opened a Peach Cobbler Factory in Jacksonville, Florida. “Also the New York cheesecake banana pudding.”

Indulgence reigns at Peach Cobbler Factory, and it seems everyone wants a taste. “It’s been overwhelming,” said Plowden. “The key to it is to have a great manager … someone who keeps things simmered down” while customers wait. “We try our best to get them in and out in five minutes.”

After discovering Peach Cobbler Factory while visiting friends in Chattanooga, Tennessee—“It was 20 degrees out with a line out the door,” recalled Plowden—the couple, who have sales backgrounds, met CEO Greg George and decided they wanted to be part of the emerging brand’s growth story. Their second Jacksonville store (the first did more than $180,000 in sales in its first month) is slated to open in November, and they also have development agreements for the St. Augustine and Orlando markets.

“We’re going to revolutionize the dessert industry,” said George, who over his lengthy franchise career has been involved in more than 40 brands, including most recently The Original Hot Dog Factory and Carolina Hemp Company, among others. A friend tipped him off to Peach Cobbler Factory when it opened a store in Louisville, Kentucky, last summer.

“I knew it the moment I walked in,” recalled George as he noted the simplicity of the business started by Juan and Tami Edgerton in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2013 “intrigued me big time.” He began working with the founders to develop the model and start franchising in September 2021.


Greg George, left, and Larry Johnston see sweet potential in Peach Cobbler Factory, partnering to buy the brand in April.

By April, with agreements signed for more than 100 stores, George partnered with former Albertsons Inc. president and CEO Larry Johnston to acquire the brand. “It’s clean, there’s not a lot of grease flying around, you don’t need 20 waitstaff,” said Johnston, who before Albertsons spent nearly 30 years at General Electric, his final role being president and CEO of GE Appliances. “And I was really intrigued by the fact that it wasn’t what you see out there every day.”

The menu evolved to include 12 cobbler flavors, ranging from classic peach to mango peach and sweet potato pecan, plus a dozen banana pudding options and six cinnamon roll varieties. National suppliers provide products to stores, of which there are 15 open, and “everything is prepped and served in-house,” said George, with an average check of about $20. Banana pudding milkshakes are coming next, along with dessert flights. Peach Cobbler Factory stores are 800 to 1,500 square feet, with an initial investment range of $82,507 to $240,137.

The desserts-only segment has seen several new entrants recently, from the fast-growing Crumbl Cookies to Jars, a concept from chef Fabio Viviani that has deals for 20 units and is opening a flagship corporate store this fall in Chicago. At Peach Cobbler Factory, social media is helping fuel demand, said George, and the company is working with TikTok influencers and already has more than 50,000 followers on Instagram. “It’s an extremely viral brand,” he said, but “is not a seasonal business or a fad.”

“This is a concept that has staying power, we believe,” continued George, and the company is also integrating online ordering, a loyalty program and a “peachy pass” so customers can order ahead to skip the line. Stores can get open in about 90 days after a lease is signed, he said, with 35 more locations set to open by the end of the year.

George and Johnston plan to build out the South Florida market, with corporate stores stretching from West Palm Beach to Key West.

“It’s a fun, edgy business,” said Johnston. “I just had a gut feeling that this is going to be a huge, massive franchise company.”

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