Q&A: Does Auntie Anne's Pretzels Franchise in the UK?

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Auntie Anne's

Have you ever considered starting a pretzel business? At a time when UK consumers are turning towards food to ‘eat on the go’, investing in an outlet selling tasty snacks could be a wise move. Here, we ask: does Auntie Anne’s Pretzels franchise?

Auntie Anne’s is an internationally recognised food chain selling American pretzels and other dough-based snacks. The business was established in 1988 when founder Anne Beiler set up a stall in a Pennsylvania farmers market. After seeing success with her signature soft pretzels, she started to bake more and launched the brand as we know it.

Does Auntie Anne’s franchise?

Yes! Auntie Anne’s uses the franchise model to expand across the globe. The chain is looking for savvy investors to set up business units in their local territories.

History of Auntie Anne’s

The Auntie Anne’s Pretzels franchise story began in 1988, when Anne Beiler began baking and selling pretzels at a stall in her local farmers market. The aim was to raise funds for her husband to open a therapy centre and provide free family counselling services in the local community. But the venture was so successful, Anne decided to grow her business and open Auntie Anne’s stores. By 1992, 100 Auntie Anne’s stores were up and running in the US. In 1995, the brand expanded internationally, with an outlet in Indonesia.

1995 also saw the launch of the Auntie Anne’s C.A.R.E.S. (Community Action Requires Employee Support) Committee, a non-profit organisation helping local people. Since then, the pretzel franchise has established partnerships with hunger relief organisations to reduce the amount of food it wastes. As of 2010, more than 11 million Auntie Anne’s products have been donated via the Food Donation Connection.

The snack business also works alongside Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), which supports the mission to find a cure for childhood cancer. So far, over £3 million has been raised for ALSF by in-store fundraising campaigns, donation boxes, collaborative events and the annual C.A.R.E.S. golf tournament.

In the 21st century, the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels franchise launched new concepts that remain on the menu to this day. For example, in 2004 the chain introduced ‘pretzel dogs’ – hotdogs baked in pretzel dough – which were followed by ‘mini pretzel dogs’ in 2013.

In fact, Auntie Anne’s has developed an enormous range of products over the years and its menu now includes 32 different pastries. Customers can choose from ‘original’ pretzels, twists on the classic, flavoured pretzel nuggets, breakfast buns and larger ‘snack as a meal’ products. There are even innovative items such as cheese-stuffed pretzel nuggets, pretzel pizzas and dough-wrapped chocolate bars.

Food quality is incredibly important to the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels franchise. That’s why 90 percent of its ingredients are sourced locally, and all pretzels are handmade on-site, baked ‘on the spot to hit the spot’, and sold within half an hour of being cooked. No pretzels are pre-made or frozen.

What’s more, the brand offers to replace any pretzel that the customer doesn’t love, and offers pairing suggestions on its website through its “Try it with…” feature. Most importantly, Auntie Anne’s provides clear and accurate nutritional and allergy information for each product online.

Inclusivity is another major consideration for Auntie Anne’s. The pretzel franchise caters to vegetarian and vegan customers by making products without butter if requested. Consumers following a plant-based diet can also enjoy the company’s marinara sauce and sweet pretzel dip, as well as most of its drinks.

Recently, the Auntie Anne’s franchise has expanded to incorporate food trucks selling pretzels at amusement parks. The business builds on its success by making sure it moves with the times, so in 2014, it launched its own ‘My Pretzel Perks’ app, which rewards loyal customers. Today, Auntie Anne’s has more than 1,800 locations across 25 countries.

Starting an Auntie Anne’s franchise

Here’s a little bit more about joining the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels franchise.

  • Becoming an Auntie Anne’s franchisee: You’ll bake pretzels from scratch on site and sell them within 30 minutes. If you choose to invest in the network, you’ll join a network of 36 UK franchisees.
  • How much you need to invest: Investors looking to benefit from the Auntie Anne’s business model will need to make a total investment of £145,000. Of this, around £40,000 will go towards equipment and £75,000 will be spent on construction fees. All franchisees must also pay an ongoing eight percent royalty fee.
  • What you get for your investment: Auntie Anne’s supports its franchisees in all aspects of the company, providing training in business operations and practices, marketing and HR. Auntie Anne’s will also teach franchisees how to bake the perfect pretzel before the store opening, and offer ongoing support to make sure the business lives up to its full potential.

If you’re interested in becoming an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels franchisee and setting up your own food store, you can choose from a range of business models. Options include the standard shop unit, kiosk unit and retail satellite unit.

The standard store requires a footprint of 400-500 square feet for seating, a gelato cabinet, coffee-making equipment and breakfast and sandwich foods, as well as the pretzel products. A kiosk unit requires a much smaller footprint of just 100-150 square feet. A retail satellite unit, or SRU, offers a slightly different model, giving you the chance to sell products baked at a larger store and transported to the SRU. You could also work from a branded Auntie Anne’s food truck.

Whatever your ambitions, this pretzel franchise likely offers a model to suit you. Across its retail options, you could launch a business in a shopping centre, airport, university, train station or even a pop-up store.

Discover more franchises in the food service industry

If you’d like to explore other investment opportunities, you can browse our list of food franchises on the lookout for new franchisees. Alternatively, take a look at our bakery franchises or dessert franchises if you’re set on selling tasty snacks.

>> Read more articles on the Food and Beverage sector

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