Cookies are easy to get right and difficult to get wrong. The texture of the perfect cookie has crispy edges and a gooey center. The flavor of the perfect cookie is the balanced level of sweetness sweet, but not too sweet. In recent years, Crumbl Cookies has become the most popular cookie company in the US. But how did they do it?

How Crumbl Cookies started

Crumbl Cookies was co-founded by Jason McGowan (CEO) & Sawyer Hemsley (COO) who went on a quest to find the perfect cookie. For years, with no baking experience, they tested different cookie recipes. Eventually they reached out to the public for feedback and continued testing flavor combinations until they finally created the “world’s best chocolate chip cookie”. Since opening in 2017, Crumbl expanded to over 800 bakeries in 49 states in the US. In 2023, Crumbl expanded internationally with the opening of 2 stores in Canada. This rapid expansion has made Crumbl Cookies the fastest-growing cookie company in the U.S.

Crumbl is becoming exponentially popular. This must mean that they created the perfect cookie recipe, right?

It’s hard to say. Despite being known for many flavors and visually appealing cookies, it seems as though Crumbl cookies have got it all wrong when it comes to actually eating the cookies. The texture of the cookies is far too soft, even mushy at times. And the flavors, a major component of a cookie, are distasteful and extreme. The menu describes cookies that sound and look appealing, but in fact, layer on so many types of sweet that they are far too sweet for most customers. The sugar-on-sugar-on-sugar cookies make the first bite a painful experience and leaves subsequent bites undesired.

Crumbl’s success, despite their inferior and arguably irredeemable cookies, is for two reasons: a rotating menu and a whole lot of social media.

Crumbl’s rotating menu

Crumbl’s menu of cookie flavors changes every week. Highlighting different flavors each week gives the illusion of “new” products that influence customers to buy existing flavors with the feeling of a new experience. Selling cookie flavors in this manner also puts cookie flavors against each other, creating a competition style of promotion.

This week, the 6-flavor rotation include the Classic Milk Chocolate Chip, Birthday Cake (Patriotic), Brownie Sundae, Strawberry Shortcake, Cowboy Cookie, and Classic Pink Sugar.

Social media and the famous pink box

Social media has been the key to the widespread expansion of Crumbl. With unpalatable, or mediocre at best, taste, Crumbl cookies rely on the presentation and aesthetic beauty of the cookies. When selling based on appearance, social media is the best way of accomplishing this. Crumbl significantly relies on social media to promote their product, betting particularly on TikTok, where the company has nearly 7 million followers (nearly four times as many followers as Starbucks).

The unique shape of the box, as well as its uncommon yet memorable pink color, makes Crumbl cookies perfectly Instagrammable for photos and boomerangs. Meanwhile, the various cookie flavors make it easy to taste and review the cookies on TikTok reviews. The rotating menu provides creators with new content of reviewing and comparing different flavors each week as an increasing number of social media accounts are solely dedicated to reviewing Crumbl cookies.

The investment into Crumbl merch which includes t-shirts, plushies, hats, and accessories, alongside catering services and their Earn Crumbs program have also made it easier for Crumbl to advertise their products and incentivize customers to continue purchasing their cookies. But Crumbl merch isn’t what brings in the dramatic sale numbers.

Are Crumbl Cookies visually appealing? Yes. But are they enjoyable to consume? Not really. Unless you’re buying one to review for social media, save yourself the $4 on an overhyped cookie.