Sprinkles and Picnik Restaurants named Justin Murakami as COO on Thursday, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive. Sprinkles is a cupcake brand with over 70 units, which operates out of a combination of bakeries and so-called cupcake “ATMs,” or branded cupcake vending machines. Picnik operates several restaurants in major cities in Texas.
Murakami joined Sprinkles in 2017 as a regional manager, eventually climbing to the post of SVP of operations in 2021, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Murakami played an “instrumental role in developing and implementing foundational systems and processes”
and laid the groundwork in expanding the brand’s physical footprint with both company owned and franchised locations,” according to the press release. He was responsible, the company said, for taking its cupcake ATMs beyond the basic brick-and-mortar locations previously targeted by the company to non-traditional spaces, like airports, malls and lifestyle centers.
The company said his promotion “signals a pivotal phase in executing Sprinkles’ growth strategies domestically and internationally.”
Murakami will have specific responsibilities encompassing “operations, training, supply chain, culinary, franchise operations, and new bakery and restaurant openings. His responsibilities include partnering with cross-functional departments, identifying opportunities and gaps, formulating and implementing robust processes and systems to ensure scalability,” according to the press release.
According to Sprinkles’ franchise disclosure documents, the company is developing a mix of “production” and “pantry” bakeries; the former prepare ingredients used by the latter and require a greater initial investment. The company’s first franchisee opened its first unit in 2022, while affiliates of the company operated 22 bakeries; four were excluded from the company’s discussion of the financial performance of its units. Two of the excluded units were commissaries that did not sell to the public and the other two opened during 2022.
Divided by gross sales, the top-performing third of Sprinkles’ 18 bakeries included in its FDD’s discussion of store-level earnings had an AUV of $2,937,781, the middle third had $2,013,113, and the bottom third saw and average of $1,462,277 in sales.