Wetzel’s Pretzels’ newest fleet of food trucks in Northern Orange County, California, represents more than just a business venture—it’s a family affair deeply rooted in a passion for pretzels and business. This multi-generational team, composed of grandmother Lorna Braley, her daughter Stacey Hooper, and Stacey’s daughters Alexis Pullon and Jadyn Hooper, brings a diverse range of experience and a shared dedication to delivering delicious snacks on wheels.

As one of the leading players in the pretzel snacking segment, Wetzel’s is capitalizing on the growing demand for adapatable franchise opportunities, attracting prospective operators nationwide. 

With a remarkable two years of explosive growth under its belt, the brand boasts average unit volumes of $856,000 and has a robust pipeline of multi-unit operators embracing the addition of food trucks to its fleet. The program aligns with Wetzel’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity, particularly through its Access to Equity program, which empowers women and minority entrepreneurs.

For the Braley-Hooper-Pullon family, entrepreneurship is a way of life and passed down from generation to generation. Lorna’s successful ownership of a pizza parlor in the past laid the groundwork for her family’s latest endeavor. The allure of operating a new restaurant together was too strong to resist after Alexis and Jadyn came to Stacey and Lorna with a ripe business opportunity. 

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Lorna says she was immediately interested in being roped back into the foodservice industry, and Stacey jumped at the chance to have fun with her daughters after their family friend obtained a similar food truck and hit the road. 

Reflecting on her family’s urge to be their own boss, Alexis reminisces, “I think entrepreneurship is passed down in our family. We’re all naturally very hard working,” Alexis says. “I’ve always loved that we all wanted to own our own business … [Jadyn and I] thought the food truck would be the perfect thing for us to do together.”

The family’s connection with Wetzel’s Pretzels runs deep. Both Alexis and Jadyn started their Wetzel’s journey as employees at the brick-and-mortar location in Ontario Mills during their teenage years. 

They worked their way up the ranks to become managers, gaining invaluable knowledge, forging lasting memories, and building connections with the brand. Their firsthand experience, paired with Wetzel’s warm reception from the community, solidified their decision to pursue the food truck. 

“We knew [Wetzel’s] was the right fit for us because we love seeing how happy our community gets over the pretzels,” Alexis adds. “We’re bringing happiness to people … We’ve never had a dull day with the brand, and we like the idea of being there for the community during their happiest events, like weddings and birthday parties.”

The benefits of Wetzel’s food trucks lie in their flexibility, allowing the family to balance their day-to-day commitments alongside their aspirations. Lorna, a seasoned business owner, continues to support her family, while Alexis juggles her role as a teacher and Stacey continues her career as a court reporter. Jadyn, at just 19, is obtaining her business degree at California State University, San Bernardino.

“Balancing organization and scheduling are incredibly important to make this work,” Stacey says. “We all understand each other and what’s going on in our lives outside of the food truck, and the flexibility helps us work around that.” 

Operating a food truck has enabled the family to actively engage with their guests, attend local events, and create meaningful connections with customers. The ability to tailor their schedule based on demand has played a huge role in their success, allowing them to follow the crowd and cater to their customers’ needs on a whim.

“We’ll go to an event, and we’ll get people calling us the next day asking if we can go to another, or when we’re coming back,” Stacey adds. “It feels good knowing everyone loves the truck and that they don’t mind waiting in line when we come to them.”

The franchisees leverage outreach through traditional word-of-mouth and Instagram promotion. Alexis says they’ll often receive messages from their followers requesting locations and specific events.

“We post where we’re at on Instagram frequently, and we find it’s been a great tool in capturing guests and being family-friendly,” Alexis says. “It’s exciting to feel like we’re really wanted in an area.”

For Lorna, Stacey, Alexis, and Jadyn, working together as a family has been both a challenge and a blessing. Learning to navigate business dynamics while strengthening their familial bonds has taught them patience, communication, and balance. However, Alexis says it was never too difficult to manage, and if anything, it’s brought them closer together. 

“The hardest part is also the best part for us, which is being together,” Alexis says. “The Wetzel’s truck has brought us closer together in our relationships … I get to spend a lot of time with my mom, my sister, and my grandma in a work environment, and a lot of people don’t get a chance like that.” 

Their collective dedication has accelerated the family’s food truck venture. As they celebrate their first anniversary in Northern Orange County, they are already setting their sights on expansion. From university campuses to local swap meets, the family is eager to introduce more communities to the joy of Wetzel’s.

As Wetzel’s prepares to mark its 30th anniversary, it continues to thrive on the dedication of franchisees like the Braley-Hooper-Pullon family. With the opening of its 400th store, Wetzel’s is poised for further growth, fueled by passionate operators committed to serving their communities.

“We’re grateful for Wetzels,” Lorna says. “We’re happy to be a part of the brand … and as a business owner, it feels good knowing that your hard work is paying off. It’s not just us reaping the benefits … It’s the community too.” 

Fast Food, Franchising, Story, Women in Restaurant Leadership, Wetzel's Pretzels