Tiff's Treats: Sharing Warm Moments Through Ooey-Gooey Goodness

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Tiff’s Treats has become iconic for bringing hot, fresh-from-the-oven cookies and brownies to sweets lovers throughout Texas and its eight-state footprint. In 1999, two college sophomores at the University of Texas at Austin, Leon Chen and Tiffany Taylor Chen, unexpectedly became entrepreneurs leading a delivery revolution that was years ahead of its time. From a modest beginning in Leon’s college apartment with just $20, a cell phone and a dream, Tiff’s Treats emerged as the first warm cookie delivery company in the nation. Today it continues to grow through brick-and-mortar stores, delivery-only locations, and online sales.

Known for its baked-to-order cookies that are delivered warm, the company has a cult-like following from customers who love to connect with friends, family and co-workers through the simple pleasure of gifting and receiving a warm treat.

The success of its brand and business model has allowed Tiff’s Treats to grow to over 110 locations and 1,700 employees, with even more growth to come. But it all started with a sweet apology.

An Apology Never Tasted So Good

A 19-year-old business major at UT-Austin, Leon grew up in an entrepreneurial family where talking business at the dinner table was a regular occurrence. His girlfriend, Tiffany, came from an artist family and was majoring in advertising. In a now legendary story, to make amends for accidentally standing Leon up for a date, Tiffany baked him a batch of cookies and delivered them fresh from the oven while they were still warm. Leon, who had never experienced homemade cookies in this way, was hooked. He immediately decided that delivering warm cookies, much like you’d have a hot pizza delivered, was a unique business opportunity they should pursue. After some initial hesitation, Tiffany saw the vision and agreed to try it out as long as it was a side venture that allowed them to continue living the lives of traditional college students. 

They started out small, advertising in college dorms and baking cookies in Leon’s apartment. Their mission was simple and has remained to this day, make amazing cookies from high-quality ingredients and bake them when they’re ordered, so they can be delivered warm and fresh.

As their business grew, and eventually became full-time, they discovered the potential for a wider audience. As college students went home for the summer, they uncovered a need in the corporate space for gifts that created connections. Their cookies hit the spot. Corporate clients would order cookies for holidays and events, people would send cookie deliveries to the office, and a magical thing happened. Warm moments were created when the cookies were shared with co-workers or at home with family and friends, and Tiff’s Treats became a part of its customers’ stories.

Exceptional Customer Service Leads to Rapid Growth

At the core of Tiff’s Treats’ customer experience is a commitment to customer service, where the customer is always right. If a customer is unhappy with their order for any reason, Tiff’s Treats will redo the order. However, mere satisfaction is not the goal—going the extra mile is standard practice. The team at Tiff’s Treats consistently exceeds expectations to ensure customers receive precisely the experience they desire, fostering loyalty and driving repeat business. This dedication to exceptional service has not only resulted in repeat clientele but also sustained growth for the company, driven by customer demand.

After only a year in business, the couple moved Tiff’s Treats out of Leon’s apartment and into a shared kitchen in 2000. By 2003 they’d grown into their own stand-alone location in Central Austin. The company continued to grow throughout Texas opening locations in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio to name a few.

Banking on Growth with a Trusted Partner

By 2015, Leon and Tiffany were ready to take Tiff's Treats’ expansion to the next level. They turned to experienced commercial banker Donna Day to help execute a highly nimble growth strategy, starting a powerful partnership.

In 2018, facing an inflection point, Leon and Tiffany asked Donna for creative ways to keep growing the business. Focusing on Tiff’s Treats’ core Texas locations helped Donna get comfortable with the revenue Tiff's Treats was grossing. Knowing money from equity sponsors would be used to build out a national platform and other markets, she could develop creative options for further financing. Donna structured a loan that used debt to fuel planned rapid store expansion, allowing Leon and Tiffany to protect the company’s ownership stake to fuel key goals and future value.

“That creativity and flexibility really enabled us to make the best business decision for us, not the best cash decision. Having someone that understands the difference between how your core business is doing versus what you are investing in has allowed us to make the proper investments and the proper business decisions,” shares Leon. “Because of our relationship, we have been able to make the best business decisions we can make knowing we have someone in our corner.”

Leon and Tiffany consider Donna an essential part of Tiff’s Treats’ trusted team. Through bank moves and mergers, growth and even a pandemic, Donna has stuck with Tiff’s Treats and vice versa. When Donna moved to Sunflower Bank, through the acquisition of Pioneer Bank in 2022, Leon and Tiffany came with her.

“Donna and Sunflower Bank understand our business,” says Leon. “Our growth is not a straight line. We’re not a steady state company, where every year we know exactly how much profit we’re going to bring in. Donna and Sunflower Bank get that, and they see where we’re making investments. We work together with Sunflower Bank as a partnership to build the business. I think that is very rare with a bank.”

Tiff’s Treats has opened locations in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Florida, while continuing to grow their Texas footprint. While brick-and-mortar company stores where fans can purchase a couple of cookies for a snack or order their cookies for delivery will always be part of the Tiff’s Treats blueprint, the future of the company lies in its delivery-only model.

Further Expanding Its Reach through Delivery-Only Locations

From its inception, technology has been a cornerstone of the Tiff’s Treats company strategy. Today it operates as a hybrid, blending the traditional brick-and-mortar bakery model with a direct-to-consumer digital platform. Leon and Tiffany were pioneers in offering online ordering and on-demand food delivery, long before it became an industry standard. As Leon likes to say, they are in the business of cookie delivery, not the cookie business. Their early investment in technology has enabled Tiff’s Treats to thrive in areas where demand is at its peak, driving successful growth.

“Through the website, we started tracking where people are trying to get cookies, but can’t,” says Leon. “We’re able to take this technology and put stores where the demand is.”

As Tiff’s Treats looks to the future, it’s focused on new ways to grow the business. Certified Tiff’s Treats Bakeries streamline cookie delivery in high-demand markets, ensuring capital efficiency. By employing a delivery-only model, Tiff’s Treats can enter cookie-craving markets without the hefty upfront investment required for traditional brick-and-mortar stores. This strategy accelerates growth while maintaining the brand's renowned product quality and customer experience. 

Innovative Banking for a Sweet Future

Sunflower Bank is honored to partner with Tiffany and Leon to develop creative banking solutions to meet their growing needs.

From deposit accounts to treasury management, financing to innovative lines of credit serving as C-level retention tools, Sunflower Bank is delighted to collaborate with the Tiff’s Treats' team, addressing their challenges and aiding in making the right decisions for their business.

Looking for commercial banking and financing to turn your goals into reality? Reach out to one of our bankers today.

Learn more about Tiff’s Treats.
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About Tiff's Treats

  • Headquarters:

    Austin, TX

  • Founded:


  • Leadership:

    Leon and Tiffany Chen

  • Mission:

    Make amazing cookies from high-quality ingredients and bake them when they're ordered, so they can be delivered warm and fresh.

  • Customers:

    Corporate and consumer audience looking to gift cookies and share warm moments

  • States with Tiff's Treats Stores:

    Texas, California, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Colorado, Florida and Kentucky

  • Number of Locations:

    Over 110 locations and growing

  • Number of Employees:

    1,700-2,000 fluctuating seasonally

  • Banking Relationship:

    Commercial Lending, Treasury Management, Deposit Accounts

  • Top Seller:

    Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • Interesting Cookie Stat:

    Tiff's Treats has baked and delivered over 300 million cookies!

two people with graduation caps and gownsLeon and Tiffany at college graduation from the University of Texas at Austin

display of cookies in a box and plate with a glass of milk

"Donna and Sunflower Bank understand our business. Our growth is not a straight line. We’re not a steady state company, where every year we know exactly how much profit we’re going to bring in. Donna and Sunflower Bank get that, and they see where we’re making investments. We work together with Sunflower Bank as a partnership to build the business. I think that is very rare with a bank.”

Leon Chen, Co-Founder of Tiff's Treats

a lot of people standing outside a grand opening with balloonsGrand opening of Tiff's Treats in Raleigh, NC

two individuals in a kitchen with a cookbook