Mrs. Fields

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Mrs. Fields Original Cookies Inc.
FoundedPalo Alto, California (August 16, 1977; 42 years ago (1977-08-16))
FounderDebbi Fields
United States
Number of locations
300 locations in the United States and 100 locations in 33 countries (2015)[1]
Key people
Dustin Lyman, CEO[2]
ProductsBaked goods
OwnerFamous Brands International
Number of employees

Mrs. Fields' Original Cookies Inc. is an American franchisor in the snack food industry, with Mrs. Fields and TCBY as its core brands. Through its franchisees' retail stores, it is one of the largest retailers of freshly baked, on-premises specialty cookies and brownies in the United States[3] and the largest retailer of soft-serve frozen yogurt in the country.[3] In addition, it operates a gifts and branded retail business, entering into many licensing arrangements. Its franchise systems includes over 300 franchised and licensed locations throughout the United States and in 22 other countries. It also offers retail grocery products and a gifting catalog under the name of Mrs. Fields Gifts. It is headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado.[4]


Mrs. Fields Cookies was founded by Debbi Fields in the late 1970s. She and her husband Randy opened their first of many stores in 1977 in Palo Alto, California, selling homemade-style cookies which quickly grew in popularity. Stalls were located in many U.S. airports and shopping malls. In 1982, they moved their headquarters to Park City, Utah.[5] In the early 1990s, the company was sold to an investment firm.

During the 1990s, the company acquired several other brands including Original Cookie Company, Great American Cookies, Pretzel Time, Pretzelmaker, Hot Sam Pretzel Bakery, and TCBY.

In 2007, Mrs. Fields celebrated its 30th anniversary with a national search for a new cookie. Chandler, Arizona resident Carrie Lawrence's recipe for "Oatmeal Peanut Butter Scotchies" was chosen over 700 other recipe entries as Mrs. Fields' 30th Anniversary Cookie in August 2007.

In May 2012, Mrs. Fields announced it was moving its headquarters to the Denver area in Colorado. According to then CEO Tim Casey, the move was because "Many casual/quick service franchise companies were launched from and are based in Denver, making it an ideal environment for idea sharing."[6]

The company acquired long-standing licensee Maxfield Candy and high quality nut, dried fruit, and popcorn brand Nutty Guys in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 24, 2014.[7]

Mrs. Fields cookie wrapper obverse

The chain letter recipe[edit]

In the late 1980s a recipe circulated through the mail that claimed to contain the secret recipe for Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies along with a story that it was purchased from one of the cookie stores for $250. However it was a fake and the story that accompanied it was adapted from an urban legend attached to recipes for cookies from Neiman Marcus and Waldorf-Astoria for red velvet cake.[8]

In response to the chain letter, a sign attributed to Debbi was posted in Mrs. Fields stores:

Mrs. Fields recipe has never been sold. There is a rumor circulating that the recipe was sold to a woman at a cost of $250. A chocolate-chip cookie recipe was attached to the story. I would like to tell all my customers that this story is not true, this is not my recipe and I have not sold the recipe to anyone. Mrs. Fields recipe is a delicious trade secret.[8]

Financial history[edit]

In 2007, Nexcen Brands, Inc. purchased the Pretzel Time and Pretzelmaker brands from Mrs. Fields Famous Brands. Great American Cookies was then sold to Nexcen in February 2008.[9] Mrs. Fields experienced layoffs due to restructuring caused by sale of these brands. In 2008, Mrs. Fields attempted to restructure their debt to bondholders[10] before filing for Chapter 11 protection.[11]

Mrs. Fields narrowly avoided another bankruptcy in 2011 by agreeing to cede control of the company to its creditors, Z Capital and Carlyle.[12][13] Z Capital became the sole owner of Mrs. Fields in 2013.[14] Mrs. Fields promoted Neil Courtney from COO to CEO.[15]


  1. ^ "About Us". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  2. ^ "Famous Brands Names Dustin Lyman CEO". Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Mrs. Fields Granted Approval of All First Day Motions".
  4. ^ "Mrs. Fields CEO: Denver area picked from several sites for HQ". Denver Business Journal. June 15, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  5. ^ "The Deseret News - Google News Archive Search".
  6. ^ "Mrs. Fields moving HQ from Utah to Denver". The Salt Lake Tribune. May 4, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  7. ^ "Mrs. Fields Confections Acquires Assets of Maxfield Candy Company". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  8. ^ a b "(Costs a) Fortune Cookie".
  9. ^ "NexCen pays $93.7m for second Mrs. Fields chain". Archived from the original on July 14, 2012.
  10. ^ "Mrs. Fields warns bankruptcy may be near".[dead link]
  11. ^ "Mrs. Fields Files Prepackaged Chapter 11 Bankruptcy". Archived from the original on February 4, 2016.
  12. ^ Keehner, Jonathan (November 18, 2011). "Mrs. Fields Near Ceding Control to Creditors – Bloomberg". Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  13. ^ Palank, Jacqueline (November 18, 2011). "Mrs. Fields Baking Up Restructuring". The Wall Street Journal.
  14. ^ "Z Capital Partners Buys Famous Brands from The Carlyle Group". PE HUB.
  15. ^ "Famous Brands CEO Neal Courtney discusses future of TCBY, Mrs. Fields".

External links[edit]