Crumbl Should Keep An Eye On Its Competition

The Cookie Wars have left the courtroom. Now customers must decide: Crumbl or Dirty Dough?

After a messy legal battle, Crumbl's direct competitor, Dirty Dough, has not only made it out alive, but has found a home in the Craveworthy Brands portfolio where major growth is planned for the cookie chain, Restaurant Business reports.

Crumbl, the viral bakery brand known for its weekly flavor drops, sued Dirty Dough in May 2022 for trademark infringement. The lawsuit also alleged Dirty Dough's founders, who previously worked for Crumbl, stole trade secrets and other information about Crumbl's business to benefit their own interests. In their time at Crumbl, Dirty Dough's founders did have access to proprietary information such as Crumbl's recipes and the brand's "cookie calendar," which details the weekly flavor drops.

The lawsuit is now settled, though the terms of the settlement have not been made public. "Crumbl and Dirty Dough are pleased that they have been able to work together to resolve this dispute, and each remains dedicated to serving its customers with excellence," Crumbl said in a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune. "Crumbl and Dirty Dough wish each other success in their future endeavors."

Following the settlement, Craveworthy Brands, which owns a number of chains and virtual restaurants, acquired a significant stake in Dirty Dough and will now serve as its managing partner. Dirty Dough has more than 50 locations nationwide, with 40 new locations currently under construction; the brand also has 250 signed agreements for more locations, amounting to a grand total of about 450 restaurants. Meanwhile, Crumbl has 984 locations.

Dirty Dough is certainly working fast to get out from under Crumbl's shadow. As part of its deal with Craveworthy Brands, the company is operating a cookie dough manufacturing plant in Utah, which ships the dough frozen to Dirty Dough shops. Craveworthy CEO Gregg Majewski says the plan is to use the plant to develop a frozen cookie dough product that can be sold in grocery stores.

"As with every brand I come into contact with, there is an evolution," Majewski told Restaurant Business. "We're working on rolling out three other revenue streams with cookie-inspired items for Dirty Dough franchisees to become more successful."

The legal battle may have come to a close, but this cookie war may rage on in a new arena.