By Rieva Lesonsky

For years many have been predicting the death of the cupcake, or at least the end of their reign at the top of the dessert kingdom. And they’ve always been wrong, as new chains and independent stores kept opening attracting lines of hungry customers.

But after a year of cupcakes taking a back seat to more inventive pastries such as Cronuts, their death knell might be ringing as the well-known cupcake chain Crumbs suddenly announced they were immediately closing all their stores (about 48 in all) on July 7th. A spokeswoman for the company told The Wall Street Journal the company might be considering filing for bankruptcy.

Crumbs started in New York City in 2003, went public in 2011 and lost more than $18 million last year, despite posting net sales in excess of $47 million.

Cupcakes have long dominated the dessert scene, fighting off such challengers as cake pops and pies on a stick. But the writing has been on the wall for a while. Another prominent national chain, Sprinkles, has diversified, not only adding ice cream and cookies to its menus, but also building cupcake ATMs, open 24/7 at select locations.

This doesn’t mean cupcakes are completely over (there are plenty of customers at the local chain near my house), but more likely that they’re sharing the spotlight with other yummy treats, including gluten-free goodies. If you’re in the cupcake business, though, you might want to follow Sprinkles’ lead and diversify your offerings, if you haven’t already.


Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+   and and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.