The company is very focused on expanding the food truck part of the company, but it isn’t the only part of its out-of-the-box growth strategy. Stand-alone locations are popping up around the country with a new location recently opening in Bronx, New York. Stand-alone Auntie Anne’s stores can be found at 16 different universities, which is also a space where the company sees potential growth.
“We’ve been in the university space for quite a while,” Neary says. “A lot of times it’s a great convenience snack and it’s part of the food program at many of the universities. It’s a chance for guests at schools and students at school that know our pretzels from childhood to grow up with pretzels in college as well.”
Auntie Anne’s has been celebrating its 30th birthday throughout 2018. The company is continuing to explore these out-of-the-box growth opportunities, which it hopes to continue to develop and capitalize on over the next 30 years.
“We believe strongly in taking pretzels to the people,” Neary says. “We know guests love our pretzels. There’s a strong emotional connection there for our guests to our pretzels, so we are looking at lots of different places where people gather where they could enjoy a pretzel. For us it’s important to take our pretzels beyond our four walls and reach our guests wherever and whenever they want our pretzels.”
Delivery and catering are another part of this growth strategy. Food trucks contribute to the increased popularity of Auntie Anne’s at weddings and other occasions, but catering and delivery can also bring pretzels to these special events. Neary says there are more snacking opportunities in many different places with the growing popularity of these channels.
“So, say for an afternoon business meeting, instead of having teas and coffee we can serve amazing pretzels with our great cheese dip,” Neary says. “There’s lots of different venues for us to take pretzels to the people with third party delivery like GrubHub and Door Dash. We partner with a lot of those organizations to continue the accessibility of the brand in new and unexpected locations.”
Neary adds, “Auntie Anne’s has been around since 1988 and as we prepare for the next 30 years we continue to evolve and look outside of the box for ways to grow the brand. Catering is one of them. Food trucks is one of them. We also just launched a very popular LTO product, our Birthday Cake Pretzel Nuggets, that are selling like hot cakes or pretzels as the case may be and our guests are really loving that.”