Auntie Anne's: US favourite tempts 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 makes the mix, 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, aims 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 by capturing the passion of owner operators and combining 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.'