Love at first bite!

An international snack food retailer selling a range of freshly baked sweet and savoury pretzels and a variety of drinks, Auntie Anne's has grown to 1,000 stores across the USA and 19 other international territories in the last 21 years. The company is now poised to build on the success of the existing UK network and drive its expansion nationwide.

Auntie Anne's was founded in 1988 on solid principles that remain the same today as they always have been: "At Auntie Anne's we serve fresh, hot, golden brown pretzels with friendly, courteous customer service from a sparkling clean store". The UK operations are headed by an experienced master franchise owner with over 20 years of experience in franchising.

"After selling our previous franchise business we looked for a new challenge and fell in love with the product and brand behind Auntie Anne's," says Managing Director Robert Burton. "Our investment in this business came after sampling the product at an Auntie Anne's store, noting its freshness and quality. We have every confidence that when you try it you too will have the same passion that all the Auntie Anne's franchise owners share."

For many consumers in the UK a soft, freshly baked pretzel will be a new product. Auntie Anne's products are made fresh onsite - not reheated - and as such are never more than 30 minutes out of the oven! The pretzels are mixed, twisted, baked and served fresh making Auntie Anne's a unique offering in today's busy shopping centre, high street, train station or airport environment.

Auntie Anne's pretzels are also free of additives and trans-fats making them much healthier than most snacking options. "With several varieties very low in fat it makes for a delicious and healthy option when you are out and about," says Robert. "We can guarantee that once customers try the product the vast majority will become regular customers, coming back time and time again to purchase what is the tastiest, freshest grab and go snack on the market today."

Auntie Anne's has a proven business model with high margins that provide an excellent return on the franchise owner's investment, hard work and passion for outstanding customer service. "We are committed to giving our customers outstanding service and a perfect pretzel every time and the same principle applies to the support we provide to each and every one of our franchise owners," continues Robert. "The partnership begins as soon as our first meeting and from that moment on we will work tirelessly to ensure the smooth opening process and exciting launch occur with as little fuss and as much fanfare as possible.

"To that end we will provide extensive training to make sure that the franchise owner feels confidant to run the store and motivate their team to make it passionate, magnetic and fun. Training starts with a one week training course at Auntie Anne's Home Office in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Upon their return the franchise owner will then spend some time in one of our stores before beginning their own in-store training with our Training Manager. This extends to ongoing operational support so that the franchise owner never feels on their own."

Auntie Anne's will be opening two to three new stores before Christmas, the first being a prime kiosk location in the North London scheme Brent Cross Shopping Centre. "Brent Cross was the UK's first large enclosed shopping centre when it opened in 1976 and it has been improving and updating ever since," reflects Robert. "We will be adding to this improvement as a new product and brand to join the eclectic mix of retailers already trading there."

The second new site is confirmed to open in the Eldon Square Shopping Centre, in the heart of Newcastle's city centre. "Again we have taken a prime kiosk location," says Robert. "We've applied our exciting new design to attract the huge number of regular customers who use the centre every day."

Stephen Downey, Castle Court, Belfast

Former Car Dealership Owner Stephen opened with a bang a little over a year ago and has traded fantastically well every month introducing the population of Belfast to the Auntie Anne's Pretzel. He works with several members of his family and is hugely passionate about customer service and product quality. He and his staff make sure that every customer regardless of whether they are buying one pretzel or even a bag of 10 pretzels has a Pretzel Perfect experience every time! Stephen is already in the process of working with Auntie Anne's to open a new site next spring to start his expansion throughout Northern Ireland.