SINGAPORE – Cinnabon, the famed American cinnamon roll chain known for its sticky, gooey buns in Tiffany-blue boxes, officially opens on Thursday at Raffles City Shopping Centre.
Prior to its grand opening, the 600 sq ft outlet will soft launch from 11am to 2pm (or while stocks last) on Tuesday and Wednesday.
About 200 Cinnapacks will be available, and customers can buy up to two boxes (four original-size Cinnabons or Minibons in a box, from $16.30).
A signature Classic roll, smothered in cream cheese frosting, is priced at $4.20 (mini) or $6.80 (original size).
There are also two sizes – $4.80 (mini) or $7.60 – for the Caramel Pecanbon, which is drenched in caramel and topped with crunchy toasted pecans.
Chocolate lovers can go for the mini Chocobon ($4.50) – sans the cinnamon – which has a chocolate spread amid the swirls, cream cheese frosting and dark chocolate drizzle.
Handy on-the-go items include the Roll-On-The-Go ($4), with bite-size pieces of the rolls; and addictive Cinnachips ($4), crunchy pieces of cinnamon rolls made with the odd ends.
No frozen dough here, as all cinnamon rolls are made from scratch at the outlet by staff who trained at Cinnabon’s training centre in Manila.
The brand, which has more than 1,500 outlets across 50 countries, was established in 1985 in Seattle.
Its entrance into Singapore is made possible by master franchisee Alvin Ng, 39, who gave The Straits Times an exclusive sneak peek at Cinnabon on Monday.
He is also the master franchisee of Hong Kong bakery Hang Heung as well as Japanese brands Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory and LeTao. The former two brands are located at Raffles City as well.
While the Cinnabon menu is largely the same as at other outlets worldwide, which all use Makara cinnamon from Indonesia, the recipes are tweaked slightly to be less sweet.
Ingredients used are halal-certified, and Mr Ng is working to eventually get halal certification.
So far, the only Singapore-exclusive item is the Sweetheart Lemonberry drink ($4.50), a refreshing strawberry lemonade meant to cut the richness and sweetness of the cinnamon rolls.
Mr Ng, a fan of cinnamon rolls since his childhood days, had approached American company Focus Brands, which owns Cinnabon, in 2019 to bring the brand to Singapore.
The 20-seat Raffles City outlet is the brand’s flagship store, and the game plan is to open 10 outlets in five years, he adds.
Some outlets may just be kiosk concepts, with expansion in town first, before heading to the heartlands.
After business stabilises, he will introduce new and localised flavours such as biscoff or kaya, as well as grilled paninis made with the same soft, chewy dough that is used for the rolls.
Cinnamon rolls became popular here when Canadian brand Saint Cinnamon set up shop in Singapore in 1996. According to Mr Ng, Cinnabon had an outlet in Orchard Road which closed in 2002. He does not have further details as it was before the brand came under Focus Brands.
There are now several players in the market including Rrooll and home-based business Guilt Free Food.
Despite this, Mr Ng believes Cinnabon will do well.
“If you have the right brand and the right product, it can still work regardless of the timing,” he says, adding that Hang Heung – which opened during the pandemic in August 2020 – is still doing well. “We want to do the brand justice this time around.”
Cinnabon officially opens on Thursday at B1-60 Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Road, from 11am to 8.30pm daily (or while stocks last).