In the last six months, or year (I can’t keep track anymore), several Crumbs stores have opened in the suburban malls near me, and one mall also has a kiosk. Mall space is not cheap, so the business model that works in suburban downtown streets may not translate over into a profitable mall store. Crumbs also tends to not have many (or any) seats in its stores, so if you are looking to sit down, you would probably hit the food court or one of the coffee stands with big comfy chairs nearby. I’m also a little perplexed by the fast expansion – there’s little time to build up the brand name in the area before trying to support multiple stores.
Georgetown Cupcake has opened a very successful store on Newbury Street, but it’s also in a perfect spot to stop in for a quick snack amidst shopping. “Quick snack” is perhaps the operative term: Georgetown has amazing, small cupcakes, perfect for one person to eat and not go into diabetic coma. (It’s also socially acceptable to plop oneself down on the benches on Newbury with one’s nibbles.) Crumbs cupcakes are American non-decadence: gigantic monster things that appear to make up for in size what they lack in quality.
I wouldn’t know a diet if it walked up to me in a bar and bought me a Perrier, but Crumbs cupcakes are just off-putting. If I wanted that much dessert, I would go to the Cheesecake Factory (and at least not feel like a dork as I walked home with leftovers). They aren’t an impulse buy; those things are a serious commitment to a meal. There are a lot of suburban-mall impulse-buy desserts, such as a marzipan heart at Godiva, a cupcake or macaroon at Au Bon Pain, chocolate-chip cookies at Starbucks or Bex, or ice cream at Haagen-Daz. “Massive cupcakes at a store with no seating” doesn’t make that list.
The cupcake craze happened (IMHO) because healthy, food-snob Americans who like their sweets found their Eden. Crumbs cupcakes would be at home on the dessert menu at Applebee’s.