12 Things You Might Not Know About Crumbl Cookies

Crumbl cookies' social media pages show warm cookies being pulled apart to reveal gooey, melted chocolate and finger-licking frosting. The irresistible allure of these sugary baked circles is simply undeniable; that's why the chain has a whopping 6.6 million followers on TikTok alone. Its enticing advertising has made the brand a viral sensation and helped propel its storefronts into hundreds of towns across America.

Crumbl cookies are baked fresh at each location every day and come in luxuriously high-end flavors like French silk pie, Kentucky butter cake, or New York cheesecake. You can grab a single cookie, but where's the fun in that? You'll definitely want to try them all; that's why the chain offers boxes of four, six, or 12.

The company founders were well aware of the fact that anyone can bake yummy cookies right in their own kitchen, so they had to offer something spectacular. That's why the chain puts a lot of work into R&D to come up with unique creations inspired by candy, cakes, and all kinds of foods. The cookie company's delicious recipes and use of tech have led to its rapid expansion making its business model as impressive as its classic milk chocolate chip. Let's take a deeper dive into the company's cookie kingdom with 12 things you might not know about Crumbl.

1. Crumbl is a family affair

Creating a cookie conglomerate was a family affair for Crumbl cookies. The company was started by two self-proclaimed "crazy" cousins, CEO Jason McGowan and COO Sawyer Hemsley, with the goal of "bringing family together over a box of cookies." The pair wanted to start a "fun and cool" business together that utilized technology and branding and took the risk.

"We're cousins and so our families have loved baking and stuff growing up. And so we're like, 'Let's just do something really cool and we're going to do cookies.' When we got started, we didn't know anything about baking. So we didn't even know how to mix properly, we didn't own any recipes," McGowan said in an interview with Mashed.

Since the pair didn't have any professional baking experience, they hired people to teach them how to mix, bake, and make the cookies they dreamed up in their minds. Hemsley was still in college at Utah State University when the business was started. His mom was originally going to join the cousins in their business endeavor but opted out to spend time with her grandchildren. After seeing what a success the first location was, she jumped back on board to help grow the business and opened its first franchise.

2. Crumbl had a lot of fails before it succeeded

Creating a perfect cookie operation wasn't a straightforward and simple task. The founders spent thousands of dollars on ingredients to craft the best dough they could make. Most of it wound up in the trash in the quest to produce the perfect recipe. They admitted that some of the concoctions they put together were "just plain embarrassing."

"When we had our first cookie, we baked it and it was like a pancake, a huge, flat ... And we looked at each other and we're like, 'Oh my goodness, this is not good,'" McGowan told Mashed.

Despite the many failed attempts, the founders didn't give up and kept trying until they finally found a recipe that they were happy with. But they didn't come across their eventual success all on their own; they spent a lot of time asking people to test their recipes in order to get feedback. That's how they wound up with "the world's best chocolate chip cookie." 

To ensure the chain's continued success, Crumbl still uses this testing and feedback process today on all of its cookies. In fact, certain locations serve as testing facilities where customers can try new flavors to see if they are good enough to be put on the nationwide menu. These flavors are referred to as a "Cookie in Testing."

3. Crumbl is rapidly expanding

When the Crumbl cousins first told their family about their dream to start a cookie company, they didn't get the biggest show of support. In fact, they were told they were "crazy" and that "no one's going to buy cookies like this." But they didn't listen. "We said, 'You know what? We believe in it, and it's something that's special and we love it,'" McGowan told Mashed.

The first Crumbl Cookies store was opened in Logan, Utah, in 2017 and only served freshly-baked milk chocolate chip cookies, which were available for pick up or delivery. Now there are more than 600 locations throughout 47 states. The cookie conglomerate has also added shipping and catering to its offering. Restaurant Business has even deemed Crumbl as one of "America's fastest-growing chains."

"No matter how big the brand becomes, Crumbl is a family-owned business and is proud to contribute to the livelihoods of its thousands of local franchise partners, managers, and bakers," the company promises on its website.

4. Crumbl keeps customers coming back with a rotating menu

There's always a cookie you haven't tried at Crumbl. The company's menu of cookies changes every week and keeps customers coming back. The chain started its weekly rotating menu in December 2018. You'll always find the milk chocolate chip and classic pink sugar cookies on the menu along with four gourmet flavors that get switched up. "Best cookies hands down! You can smell how good they are before you even walk in. The weekly menu never disappoints," one customer wrote on Yelp

Hemsley says the weekly cookie drop helps to "keep people excited, coming back for more." Some recipes get repeated every two to three months but you never know when that will be. "You can only get them for that week and if you miss out, you don't know when they're going to come back," McGowan said.

Crumbl also offers seasonal and holiday lineups of confections. Some locations even have a Mystery Cookie where each franchise can offer a secret flavor of their choice. You can use the website's cookie map to find out what the Mystery Cookie is at your neighborhood shop. 

5. Crumbl cookies are multiple desserts in one

Crumbl cookies aren't just cookies; they are cupcakes, pies, and sometimes even breakfast disguised as a cookie. The various flavors often mimic other desserts and foods, like the buttermilk cookie topped with maple frosting, bacon bits, and maple syrup, which is similar to pancakes, or the Key Lime pie, which features a graham cracker cookie with lime filling, a touch of whipped cream, a sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs, and a lime wedge.

These inventive recipes are what make Crumbl stand out among all other purveyors of baked goods. It helped the business to really elevate its products and made the chain an industry leader while solidifying the brand in the minds of customers.

"Sawyer and his team and everyone just started working on all these different unique flavors, whether you get waffle, with syrup on top of the cookie, and just all these extremely fun flavors that really resonated with people on TikTok and all things like that," McGowan said.

6. Crumbl sells more than cookies

What's better than a delicious, warm soft cookie? All that scrumptiousness topped with some silky smooth ice cream. Some Crumbl locations also sell Crumbl Cream in flavors such as snickerdoodle, raspberry cheesecake, and peanut butter brittle. But not all locations regularly carry it. According to a 2022 Facebook post, the company was working diligently to make ice cream available in all of its stores.

Pairing them together to make the ultimate ice cream sandwich is highly encouraged. In fact, customers say both products go hand-in-hand. "I think the Crumbl Cream is really just meant to compliment the cookies. It's like it is a lighter ice cream as to avoid an absolute sugar overload. Sure, super sugary ice cream would be way better, but light ice cream does make sense to an extent," one Redditor commented.

In addition to cookies and ice cream, the chain is also in the merchandise business. You'll find all sorts of cool branded products from sweatshirts, beach towels, wrapping paper, hats, and cozy blankets from its merch shop.

7. Crumbl's cookie boxes and stores are pink for a reason

Crumbl cookies come in pretty packages of pink, and it's for a very good reason. The moment the founders laid eyes on the pink box prototype they knew it was the one. Not only because it was unique and made the brand easily recognizable but because of how the elongated feminine-styled box makes you feel.

The company's founders likened the Crumbl box to a flower box. It's difficult to describe how a pretty box filled with perfectly positioned flowers or cookies makes you feel, but you don't have to use words when you can just snap a photo of it for the 'gram. University students came up with several prototypes for Crumbl and the company then took the favorite boxes and let its customers vote on their favorite.

The design was tweaked a touch and the chain's iconic color scheme was born. It is used in the store, for packaging, and for merch .

8. Crumbl cookie recipes are top secret

Crumbl spent a lot of time and effort perfecting its recipes, so it's no wonder the company does its best to keep them as heavily-guarded secrets. One Redditor claiming to be a company employee says that recipes are only for use in the bakery and are "confidential outside of the workplace." Another employee on Reddit claimed that they had to sign a non-disclosure agreement "and was warned multiple times that I could get sued over if I ever revealed it [cookies recipes]."

A manager revealed on Reddit that there's no way for employees to actually know the exact recipe. This is because there are a certain amount of fresh ingredients employees use to make freshly baked cookies everyday. However, the final ingredients come in what is referred to as "packets,” which contain secret ingredients to conceal the full recipe. You can, however, still find copycat recipes for Crumbl Cookies online.

9. A Crumbl cookie is meant to be shared

A single Crumbl cookie can be almost 1,000 calories alone. The company's cookie dough flavor is about 920 calories per cookie. This is one of the reasons why the 6-ounce confections, which are about 4½ inches in diameter, are meant to be shared.

The company's website notes that a single serving size is ¼ of a cookie. The idea is to buy a box of different flavors and cut them into fours so that you can taste all of them. The company even sells an $8 plastic cutter that will divvy them up into equal parts. 

"Our cookies are meant to be cut in fours or into eighths and you bring your friends together and you're taste-testing those new flavors that are out that week, and you're sharing your thoughts and your feedback, or you're jumping on TikTok and leaving a rating review," Hemsley told Mashed.

10. Crumbl allows you to earn free cookies

Crumbl likes to say thank you to its best customers by giving them free cookies. To get in on the fun, join Crumbl Loyalty, which you can do at your closest location, through the website, or by downloading the app. Enter your account info every time you make a purchase by giving the staff your phone number at checkout or having them scan your Crumbl Card on the app. You can also add your Crumbl Card info when making purchases online or in the app.

With Crumb Loyalty, you'll get one "Crumb” for every dollar you spend. Catering orders are a bit different and earn you a single point for every $2 you spend. Once you earn 100 Crumbs, you get $10 in Crumbl Cash you can use towards a new purchase. Shipping orders are excluded. The app will also give you a heads up about Double Crumb Days where you can score extra Crumbs. The company also likes to make sure customers feel special on their birthdays with a free cookie every year on their big day.

11. Some Crumbl franchises were fined for violating child labor laws

In 2022, Crumbl ran into legal trouble after the U.S. Department of Labor found 11 franchises to be in violation of child labor laws. Forty-six minors, mostly aged 14 and 15, worked longer hours than the law permits for children of their age. The U.S. Department of Labor also deemed some Crumbl franchises to have allowed teen workers to conduct business in "hazardous or prohibited conditions” since they were assigned to operate ovens and machinery deemed as "potentially dangerous." Only individuals over 18 are permitted to work under these circumstances.

"We were deeply disappointed to learn that a small number of our franchised locations were found to be in violation of these laws," the company said in a statement to ABC 4. " We apologize to any of our franchisees' employees who may have been affected by this situation and want to assure the public that we are committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and compliance at every Crumbl location."

The stores were fined thousands of dollars collectively totaling about $58,000. Crumbl's website currently states that you must be 16 or older in order to be employed at its stores.

12. Crumbl relies heavily on tech

Don't let the pink colors fool you. This isn't your mom's bakery; it's a "tech-driven" cookie company. If you've ever seen Crumbl's Instagram or TikTok pages, you'll see that the company invests heavily in promoting its products on social media. But tech is also weaved into many other parts of the business. "We decided we were going to make technology a part of everything," McGowan said in an interview with Utah Business.

The company's loyalty program, POS system, mobile app, and ticketing systems were built from scratch. When COVID hit, the company's engineers came up with tech that would allow orders to be placed for curbside pick-up within two weeks. Crumbl also has a Crew App that updates recipes for all of its bakers and tracks data points, like how many cookies each baker makes, how long it took to produce an order, labor costs, and revenue. Franchises can also use this info to see how they measure up against other locations and find out where they need to make improvements.

Static Media owns and operates Daily Meal and Mashed.