It's always Saturday morning at Cereality. At the fast-food chain, pajama-clad servers offer more than 30 varieties of cereals (from Oatmeal to Lucky Charms) and 40 toppings (from bananas to malted milk balls) while cartoons play nonstop on featured TVs. For under $4, you can get a full meal: Two cups of your fave cereal or one of the specials plus one topping plus a small coffee.
“Could this be the next Starbucks?” asks Annette McEvoy of Independent Specialty Retail Consulting. “It takes something very familiar and popular and puts it into a fun environment and experience.”
Now, Cereality wants to expand. As it screens potential franchisees, it's also scouting for sites that could include retail stores and shopping centers. The franchisees will be selected sometime later this year.
Kiosks, from 200 square feet to 1,200 square feet, would be ideal settings, according to Cereality's founders, marketing entrepreneur David Roth, 43, and his designer partner Rick Bacher, 38. An in-line café of 1,000 to 2,000 square feet is proposed for lifestyle centers. And a mobile unit, a customized Dodge Sprinter van, is available for everything from sporting events to parking lots — anywhere people gather in large numbers. The look is Seinfeld-esque, mimicking the ultimate cereal fan's see-through kitchen cabinets.
The first Cereality store opened at the University of Arizona about two years ago. The others are located near the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, in Chicago's financial district (the first for grown-ups, developed after Roth discovered a closeted Cocoa Puffs addict, a Wall Street executive, sneaking handfuls of carbohydrates from his briefcase) and on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.