Industry News | June 4, 2013

Auntie Anne's New Home: Amusement Parks

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Just in time for summer road trips and family vacations, Auntie Anne's Pretzels added amusement parks to its nontraditional venue portfolio. This spring, the 25-year-old soft pretzel brand opened locations at three amusement parks, including Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio; Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri; and Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, after entering into an agreement with Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. Executives with Auntie Anne’s will continue to target amusement parks as an avenue for nontraditional growth in the coming months.

“The No. 1 objective at our amusement parks is to provide our guests with a best-day-of-the-summer experience each and every time they visit one of our parks,” says Craig Grimes, corporate vice president of food and beverage with Cedar Fair L.P. “We’ve heard the demand from our loyal guests for additional portable dining options, and after conducting extensive research, we found a partnership with Auntie Anne’s to be a natural fit. We look forward to a long and successful relationship.” 

Recognizing an opportunity to further expand the brand’s appeal in locations outside the shopping mall, Auntie Anne’s can now be found in nontraditional venues including entertainment centers, military bases, colleges and universities, large retailers, and transportation sites such as airports, train stations, and travel plazas. Auntie Anne’s first amusement park openings come on the heels of a banner company year in which it opened 73 nontraditional stores. By the end of 2013, company executives expect to open another 150 nontraditional units.

“Amusement parks represent an untapped yet sustainable growth vehicle for Auntie Anne’s, and because of our success across all venues, we’re now poised for even further nontraditional penetration,” says Brian Boycan, director of strategic development for Auntie Anne’s. “The response from both consumers and the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company has been overwhelmingly positive thus far, and we’re committed to follow this blueprint in other markets nationwide.”

Auntie Anne’s, which turned 25 in February 2013, earned its 23rd year of positive sales growth in 2012 and opened its 1,000th domestic location in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. With Auntie Anne’s, there is no “one size fits all” store model. Instead, the company has the ability to tailor stores to better appeal to the venue and its traffic count. Auntie Anne’s typical store layouts include in-line stores, baking kiosks, and satellite retail units, and it offers flexible store design prototypes to accommodate the versatile requirements of today’s traditional and nontraditional venues.