You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

From a humble start in 1996 in a kiosk at Tulsa’s Woodland Hills Mall, that first Camille’s Sidewalk Café has ballooned to 111 locations in the U.S.
After working hard at home, even restaurant chains could use a summer vacation in the Caribbean. Beautiful Brands International, parent company to Camille’s Sidewalk Café, opened its first international Camille’s Sidewalk Café location in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in May and is already showing record sales, said Beautiful Brands International CEO David Rutkauskas. The restaurant is under the direction of franchisee Arno Rodriguez.
Camille’s will expand in Puerto Rico with 27 more locations. Eight are now under construction.
“What’s cool about our Puerto Rico franchisees is they’ve also bought the rights to all of Latin America, all of the Caribbean Basin. They’re going to country to country and grow Camille’s,” Rutkauskas said.
While Rutkauskas aims to grow the number of domestic Camille’s locations to 700-800, Camille’s Franchise System Inc. and Camille’s Interamerica Development Inc. plan to open 40 Camille’s Sidewalk Café restaurants internationally in the next eight years.
“We pinch ourselves everyday,” he said of he and his wife Camille, for whom their first concept is named. “In the beginning, we just wanted to open a successful restaurant, we didn’t want to work for anybody else and we wanted to make $150,000. We accomplished that relatively quickly, and I came up with the idea to franchise it out. We started selling franchises in 1999, and our first ones opened in 2000. They became successful, and one thing led to another, and it just started to explode.”
BBI plans to expand its other brands, including Coney Beach, a gourmet hotdog, burger and fries café, and FreshBerry, a smoothie and frozen yogurt concept. Coney Beach has already opened in Tulsa at 111th and Memorial, and the first FreshBerry will open next door in eight weeks. BBI is not stopping there – David and Camille are working with several fast-casual concepts to find their next hit.
“Ultimately, the goal would be to go into a market and buy the land, build the building and have a franchisee put 5-6 of our concepts in the same building.”

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