Cinnabon President Kat Cole: Hustling the Gut Bomb

How a former Hooters waitress helped turn Cinnabon into a $1 billion empire

Cinnabon’s signature product is an 880-calorie cinnamon roll that the Dallas Observer has called a “gut bomb.” It’s a swirly pillow of dough dripping with cinnamon, brown sugar, margarine, and cream-cheese frosting. To call it a cult object understates the zombie-like relationship patrons have with Cinnabon’s 1,100 stores, which collectively sell about 100 million rolls each year. Cinnabon is mentioned every 10 seconds on social media. Comedian Jim Gaffigan has said the chain is run by Satan. Consumers in focus groups have told the company they often experience anxiety on their way to Cinnabon. They’re not worried about the calories, though a Classic Roll contains 330 more than a Big Mac. They’re concerned someone ahead of them might get the last fresh one. A fan on Twitter writes, “Just ate a Cinnabon while staring through a window of a gym watching people work out. This is what heroin must be like.”

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