would like to highlight Giggles N' Hugs, Inc.
), a first-of-its-kind, award-winning family restaurant and play space that combines organic gourmet food with the play elements for children in a 2500-square-foot play space in the middle of the restaurant. The concept is similar to Chuck E. Cheese, but offers a unique healthier, high-end version for health conscious parents and families. Parents eat and relax while the kids have an incredible time playing in the custom-made play area with giant climbers, dragons, castles, pirate ships slides and swings and a multitude of other toys.
In the company’s news,
Giggles N’ Hugs, a family-friendly eatery focused on providing organic, locally-sourced menu items, in combination with a giant (typically around 2,5000 square feet) Gymboree-style supervised play area for kids and an upscale casual dining area for parents, is now at a major turning point in the company’s evolution. Poised to expand nationwide, with 12 company-owned locations slated for development by the end of 2017, GIGL is also looking to franchise its already proven business model and has some of the biggest national and international names in mall ownership knocking on its door, including General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP), Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG), and the Westfield Group (ASX: WDC).
Having established its existing footprint of three locations in LA at some of the area’s hottest upscale shopping centers, GIGL has really made a name for itself over the past few years of operation, landing an A-list celebrity clientele that includes such media attention-grabbing stars as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Alba, and Colombian pop star (turned reality television singing competition star) Shakira. The company has quite naturally received its fair share of media coverage and then some, with features in such widely-consumed celebrity and human-interest publications as Time’s (NYSE: TIME) People, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA; CMCSK) subsidiary NBCUniversal’s E! Online, and Hollywood Life, as well as such publications as Bloomberg Businessweek, the Los Angeles Times, and News Corp’s (NASDAQ: NWSA) The Wall Street Journal. Giggles N’ Hugs was even rated the number one place for both pizza and birthday parties in LA by children’s television network Nickelodeon, as well as being voted the best indoor playspace by social media savvy Red Tricycle, an online community for parents who like to have fun with their kids that single-handedly drives huge word-of-mouth traffic, with over five million people a month connecting across its ever-growing digital media footprint.
Given the attractiveness of the business model to shopping centers and malls, GIGL is able to boast such expansion-driving advantages as 75 percent discounts on average when it comes to commercial space outlays for rent, and as much as $750,000 in up-front cash tenant allowances to cover new location build-outs. Little wonder when you consider that, beyond being one of the most exciting concepts in family-friendly dining to ever emerge, GIGL also offers such first-of-its-kind features as a drop-off service for parents. The drop-off service is an incredibly ingenious feature that speaks directly to the hearts and minds of increasingly time-strapped parents, allowing them to rest easy knowing the kids are safe, having fun and getting healthy play time in a supervised environment, and thus enabling them to focus on some serious “me time” shopping, either alone or with friends. A group of moms, for instance, can take their kids to Giggles N’ Hugs, drop them off, and be free to shop at their leisure for an extended period of time without worry or the hassle of having kids in tow. It is this kind of synergistic amenity offering that has mall owners aggressively courting the company to open new locations, eager to draw in consumers with such perks and up their shopping center’s overall business volume.
The real beauty of Giggles N’ Hugs is that it offers parents of under 12 children entirely new options when it comes to eating out. Instead of dragging the kids to some upscale restaurant where they are forced to behave in a fashion that most kids under 12 simply do not understand, or going to eat comparatively unhealthy food at someplace like McDonalds (NYSE: MCD), Giggles N’ Hugs gives parents the option to go someplace they know the food is fresh and delicious, with a wide selection of gluten free and organic choices readily available for themselves and their children, where the kids can be at ease, and just be themselves. Giggles N’ Hugs is a restaurant where young kids can act their age without fear of being scolded, or there being any kind of embarrassing imposition on parents if they are rambunctious. It is a restaurant where parents can eat a high-end organic meal and even have have a beer or glass of wine, all while the kids romp around in a custom-crafted playspace full of climbers, ball pits and themed elements like castles, dragons and pirate ships. Giggles N’ Hugs even has periodic entertainment like puppet shows, musical sing-a-longs, or arts and crafts, and a trained staff is always on hand to keep a not-too-tight lid on all the action.
Solid Q2 performance figures released by the company in August, including a 5.5 percent YOY uptick in sales at the Glendale Galleria location and a 3.4 percent YOY increase in private party rentals and other sales, underscores an expansion strategy that starts with backfilling the prime target markets throughout Southern California, before growing into other key markets on a per-location basis, in similarly receptive regions such as the Pacific Northwest, and the East Coast. The company has some serious muscle with proven track records in the industry on deck too, in order to help seal the deal when it comes to expansion plans, such as the company’s president, John Kaufman, and the CFO, Philip Gay. These two men were instrumental in growing California Pizza Kitchen from its humble roots, into a multimillion dollar a year operation with over 100 locations, a success story that was subsequently bought up by PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP). No surprise then that the company is getting nods for its delicious pizzas and organic menu options, what with a deep bench of industry veterans at its disposal. Kaufman is also the guy who went on from California Pizza Kitchen to become president of Luby’s (NYSE: LUB) Koo Koo Roo Chicken Bistro, one of the hottest restaurant brands on the west coast.
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