From a single pretzel shop to more than 340 locations throughout the country Wetzel’s Pretzels is a brand that resonates with consumers wherever it serves up its signature scratch-made pretzels or fresh lemonade. On Friday, the brand announced that it will soon be offerings its iconic West Coast pretzel to residents and travelers in China, with the first location scheduled to open in mid 2018.
The brand’s initial China growth will focus on Shanghai, eventually expanding into Beijing and South China. The expansion is led by Wetzel’s Pretzel’s master franchisee Will Zhu, his company, Golden Wheel Investment & Management, and its China branch, Bakery (Shanghai) Restaurant Management Co., Ltd. With this strategic partnership in place, Wetzel’s Pretzel’s plans to open 50 locations by 2021.
“Wetzel’s Pretzel’s provides a fresh product that I believe will be appreciated and embraced by the local community,” says Zhu. “Additionally, the brand’s operations are simple and streamlined, enabling our team to provide the fantastic experience to our guests which Wetzel’s has become synonymous with.”
“An experienced operator with retail and restaurant experience and holdings in advertising, real estate and construction companies across China, Will’s passion for excellence and for Wetzel’s Pretzels will translate well into the execution of the brand in China,” said Doug Flaig, Wetzel’s Pretzel’s Vice President of Franchise Development.
The brand will launch with its signature offerings such as made-from-scratch pretzels, Bitz, Wetzel Dogs and Fresh and Frozen Lemonade, and will introduce custom offerings seasonally to meet local flavor profiles and demand.
“With a growing middle class, consumer passion for foreign brands, and the uniqueness and freshness of our pretzel products, the timing is right to enter this market,” says Jennifer Schuler, Wetzel’s Pretzel’s President. “The high-traffic venues in China are looking for new, fresh concepts that resonate with consumers. Wetzel’s Pretzels is simply a great fit, and we’re looking forward to opening our first location in Shanghai, and continuing our growth both domestically and internationally.”