• Q&A with Ted Faulkner

  • Capriotti’s Keeps It Real

  • Student Perspective of On-Campus Foodservice

  • 2017 Beverage Series: House-made and Infused Lead Non-Alcoholic Creations

  • Next-Gen College and University Foodservice Leaders

  • A Pro You Should Know: Kirk Rodriguez, Managing Director of Hospitality Services, Texas Tech University

Blog Network

jCarbonara
Joe Carbonara

College Foodservice: Innovative by Design

For so many members of my generation, the lasting image of college foodservice remains a less than positive one. We entered meal periods hoping for the best but never truly knowing what we would get. Naturally, when looking at today's college foodservice environment, we can't help but marvel at the progress this industry segment continues to make.

Read more...

jStiegler
Jerry Stiegler

Restaurant and Bar Sales Decline in June, Chipotle Introduces New Concept, Customers Want Memorable Interactions, and More

Sales at restaurants and bars declined in June. The spread between food-away-from-home prices and food-at-home prices narrows. A consulting firm focuses on how restaurants can improve their customers’ experience. Chipotle introduces a new concept. These stories and a lot more This Week in Foodservice.

  Read more...

Highlights

Chain Innvovators: Auntie Anne’s Pretzels

Auntie Anne's celebrates the simple pretzel in a wide range of sweet, savory and surprising ways. It's a formula that's given rise to one of the largest fresh, hand-rolled pretzel companies in the world since its founding in 1988 by Anne and Jonas Beiler.

Auntie Anne's PretzelsProduct innovation has long been part of the company's legacy. Soon after its founding, Anne began coming up with new flavor variations. In the mid-1990s, the chain added R&D and food technology capabilities to its infrastructure, and a collaborative approach to menu innovation has been nurtured using input from franchisees and customers alike, says CEO Bill Dunn.

More recent product twists brought proteins into the mix. A few years ago, Auntie Anne's introduced the Pretzel Dog, featuring fresh pretzel dough wrapped around a 100 percent all-beef hot dog. More recently, the Pepperoni Pretzel — a traditional pretzel topped with pepperoni and a three-cheese blend — was introduced. Beverages have also been a focus, with the chain adding frozen lemonade mixers, blended shakes, lattes and smoothies, says Dale Smucker, director of construction.

The existing equipment package has thus far handled the chain's expanding menu, but one big change is in the works. Auntie Anne's is rolling out a new, customized two-tier warming and display cabinet. "It's a real focal point for us. It's now in about 70 stores and is expected to roll out to more soon and will be part of the standard package for new stores. It's proving to be very successful for its merchandising value, the volume of product we can display, and its ability to deliver on product quality," says Dunn.

Fast Facts

  • Year founded: 1988
  • Headquarters: Lancaster, Pa.
  • Menu specialties: Hand-rolled soft pretzels
  • Service model: Quick service
  • Ownership: FOCUS Brands
  • Units (as of 2010): 875 domestic, 251 international (99 percent franchised)
  • 2010 sales: $394 million
  • 2010 growth: 9 percent in revenue, added 58 units (domestic and international)
  • Projected 2011 growth: 9.5 percent increase in revenue, 119 units (domestic and international)
  • Typical location: Shopping malls, airports, train stations, colleges/universities
  • Average unit size: 450–500 sq. ft.
  • Average kitchen space: 50 percent of the unit or 225–275 sq. ft.
  • Average check: $4.50
  • Average unit investment: $197,875–$364,100
  • Average kitchen investment per unit: $90,000–$175,000

Key Players

  • President and COO: William Dunn Jr.
  • Chief Administrative Officer: Beth Monaghan
  • Chief Financial Officer: Jim Moss
  • Director of Construction: Dale Smucker
  • Smallwares and Equipment: Andy Fausnacht, supply chain analyst
  • Architect and Design: Sean Keyes, director of construction
Related Articles

DOY Gala Winners

Dealer of the Year Winners