Cinnabon Opens 100th Pilot Flying J Site

Cinnamon roll baker says travel centers have fueled its growth

Published in CSP Daily News

ATLANTA -- Cinnabon Inc. this month celebrated the 100th opening with Pilot Flying J Inc., a partnership that the baked goods company said has fueled its fast growth in travel centers and plazas across the country.

The 100th bakery opened Aug. 1 at the Pilot Travel Center in Mebane, N.C. Grand opening festivities included a ribbon cutting along with Cinnabon Classic Roll and Pilot Flying J coffee giveaways to commuters throughout the morning.

This milestone opening signifies a successful partnership between Cinnabon and Pilot Flying J, which dates back to 2011 when the first Cinnabon bakery opened in Knoxville, Tenn. Since then, the partnership has led to 100 locations, with nearly 40 bakeries opening in 2013 alone. By the end of 2015, the company estimates that 150 Pilot Flying J locations will carry fresh-baked Cinnabon products.

Pilot Flying J is one of the few locations where consumers can find Cinnabon treats 24 hours a day. This year, Cinnabon has sold more than 2.5 million classic rolls throughout the country.

"Travel centers and plazas are an exciting growth vehicle for the Cinnabon brand," said Cinnabon president Kat Cole. "We are thrilled to spread our footprint across accessible venues for those looking for a moment of satisfaction amid their busy schedules."

Pilot Flying J Travel Centers and Plazas are focused on providing superior coffee, food and beverage options and customer experience to travelers--all attributes that line up with the Cinnabon core offerings. Meeting the demand for more-portable, on-the-go products, Pilot Flying J was the first venue to nationally roll out the newest Cinnabon menu item, CinnaSweeties, bite-sized doughnut treats tossed in signature Makara cinnamon and sugar, made for dipping in a variety of flavored frostings.

"We want to deliver a unique and special experience to our customers," said Whitney Haslam Johnson, director of brand and customer experience at Pilot Flying J. "Partnering with Cinnabon was a perfect fit. We share the same goals and values--we are fast and efficient, we always deliver high quality and we both strive to make our guest say, 'Wow!'."

At Pilot Flying J, customers can purchase a number of warm, fresh-baked treats, including Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Rolls, topped with signature cream cheese frosting, as well as the Caramel Pecanbon roll, and Center of the Roll, offering the "ooey gooey goodness" of the middle of the roll. Other grab-and-go favorites are CinnaSweeties and the Classic Roll CinnaPack, available in six- and nine-count boxes.

Founded in Seattle in 1985 and now based in Atlanta, Cinnabon serves fresh, aromatic, oven-hot cinnamon rolls, as well as a variety of other baked goods and specialty beverages. Cinnabon currently operates more than 1,100 franchised locations worldwide, primarily in high-traffic venues such as shopping malls, airports, train stations, travel plazas, entertainment centers and military establishments. Cinnabon is also a multi-channel licensor, partnering with other companies to provide brand licensed products at foodservice and retail venues.
Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America, has more than 650 retail locations.

Part of CSP's 2014 Convenience Top 101 retailers