Taste success with USA-style pretzels

First falling in love with Auntie Anne's Pretzels while on holiday in the USA, Mahasti Poursaleki bought a franchise which now has a turnover of £276,000 and is set to expand further

Are you looking for something unique with proven success and huge potential for expansion in the UK? Auntie Anne's Pretzels is seeking people who love good, fresh food, giving great service and meeting new people every day.

'Currently trading from eight sites we have excellent locations in prime retail centres all over the UK,' says Director Max Burton. 'With a growth plan of eight stores in 2009 and 10-12 in 2010 you will be joining an exciting and unique franchise with nearly 1,000 stores worldwide. Even in this extremely tough retail climate with several high profile retailers seeing fallings sales and some faring even worse, we have seen sales in the last quarter of 2008 in excess of 2007!'

Founded in the USA in 1989, Auntie Anne's has grown to over 900 locations worldwide and has more than 300 franchisees. From either a store or a kiosk, Auntie Anne's franchisees sell a mixture of sweet and savoury pretzels, as well as hot and cold beverages. The company currently has eight locations in the UK, seven of which are franchises, and is looking for enthusiastic franchisees to expand the brand further.

Since launching her Cheltenham-based franchise, Mahasti Poursaleki has built a successful business, as well as introducing many new customers to the concept of freshly baked, soft pretzels. 'I was on holiday when I first tasted an Auntie Anne's product,' says Mahasti Poursaleki. 'I was so impressed that when I got back to the UK I emailed the company to find out about opening a store and I found out they were just starting to bring the franchise over here.'

Mahasti's interest in bringing the Auntie Anne's product to the UK led to her opening the first UK franchise location in October 2004. 'I was a housewife before I joined Auntie Anne's, however I was ready to start a business and I wanted to try something new so this franchise was perfect for me,' she explains.

'Although I had already had some experience of the catering industry, I was sent on a training course by Auntie Anne's before I launched my franchise to prepare me for running my business. The training course I went on was very thorough, and Auntie Anne's continued to improve its training programmes - franchisees now visit the successful USA network for part of their training. Furthermore, as I operate the busiest Auntie Anne's location in the UK, as part of their training franchisees come to my outlet for a few days for on-the-job experience.

'This is a great business for people who are prepared to work hard and are willing to try something new and challenging,' she reflects. 'I really enjoy working with people and meeting customers. Additionally, the fact that I sell fresh and tasty products straight from the oven is fantastic, and I really enjoy the compliments I get from satisfied customers.'

Last year Mahasti achieved a turnover of £276,000 and she currently employs three full time and four part time staff. However, with the vast potential growth of the Auntie Anne's brand in the UK she is looking to expand her business further: 'I am aiming to open another unit and I'm currently looking for the right location to do this.'

Reported by Derin Ibrahim