Auntie Anne's: American favourite set to tempt UK tastebuds

One of America's most popular snack food retailers is moving into the UK High Street with the launch of Auntie Anne's hand rolled soft pretzel stores. The master franchise to market Auntie Anne's throughout the UK and Ireland has been acquired by Robert Burton, former owner of the Thrifty Car Rental operation in the UK.

Auntie Anne's provides customers with a variety of hand-rolled soft pretzels, dips and drinks.

The concept is unique in that each store mix's, twists and bakes the pretzels in full view of customers with each pretzel coming with a 30-minute freshness guarantee. The pretzels can be either savoury or sweet and offer a healthier option in the snack food market with significantly less fat than many types of fast foods available.

Pretzels UK Ltd, the new company formed to buy and operate the master franchise, aim to grow the network of Auntie Anne's stores to over 100 locations with the next five to seven years. Auntie Anne's currently operates seven stores in the UK with five owned corporately and two franchise operations.

Managing Director of Pretzels UK Ltd, Robert Burton believes that franchising is the way to grow the business 'Having developed Thrifty Car Rental into one of the leading franchise businesses in the motor industry we want to do the same thing with this excellent brand. I feel that to capture the passion of owner operators and combine this with strict procedures and quality controls we can become a formidable snack retailer in the UK.

'We plan to have an Auntie Anne store in every major shopping mall and town centre in the UK and Ireland and in due course even airports. Wherever there are plenty of customers you will eventually find an Auntie Anne's hand rolled soft pretzel store.'

Auntie Anne's Inc was established in the late '80's as a snack food retailer by Anne Beiler who lived near Philadelphia. Since the first store opened in 1988 the company has grown to over 900 locations worldwide including operating in the USA, Thailand and Hong Kong. Today the company supports locations in 45 States and 12 International Territories and is committed to its threefold philosophy: providing a premium product, in a sparkling clean store, with friendly customer service.

John Roda, International Director of Auntie Anne's Inc based in GAP, Pennsylvania comments 'With the experience we have in the US of rapidly growing our store network and Robert's franchise and business expertise the combination should give us a very strong platform on which to develop the unique brand.

'UK customers will soon learn that pretzels don't have to be small, hard salty snacks but soft, fresh, light and airy, tasty, nutritious snacks.'

Pretzels UK Ltd aim to develop the newly revitalised Auntie Anne's brand working with landlords up and down the country to help them increase the volume of customers who visit their shopping mall or town centre. Professional support on the property front has been put in place with GVA Grimley to ensure that the best sites possible are chosen.

'Auntie Anne's is a name that will become more familiar in the UK as the new stores open and we are confident that when customers try our pretzels they will definitely come back for more,' concludes Burton.