How to buy a pretzel franchise

Written by gail cohen
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How to buy a pretzel franchise
Research many pretzel franchise operations to decide which one works for you. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

There's more than one way to mix and bake a pretzel, as evidenced by the list of pretzel companies looking to franchise brands. Buying into a successful pretzel business can save months -- maybe years -- because you get a turnkey operation that's up and running fast in return for your cash investment. A variety of pretzel franchisers are looking for new partners, so consider several and before you know it you'll be twisting the dough and raking it in.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Research pretzel franchisers. A bounty of national and local businesses are looking for new owners, including Wetzel's Pretzels, Pretzelmakers, Auntie Anne's, Pretzel Time and Philly Soft. Look for companies that have been in business for extended periods with multiple franchises. Ideally, find a franchiser looking to penetrate new markets; if you can fill a geographic void, you'll be in prime position to capture and hold a territory.

  2. 2

    Compare pretzels to pretzels to make a decision about which franchise to choose. You'll be buying everything when you write that check: the name, the operating systems, established marketing and sales programs, pretzel recipes, ingredients and reputation. Examine and compare on-site training at each pretzel company's headquarters and if you can wangle it, spend time making pretzels at one or more pretzel shops so you're able to see, first hand, how individual pretzel shops operate.

  3. 3

    Obtain funding from a local lender or venture capitalist. Wetzel's Pretzel's required an investment upwards of £240,500 in 2011 plus a franchise fee for a 10-year, renewable agreement. Also, you must be able to substantiate your personal financial liquidity before you can slide that first twisted pretzel into the oven. Auntie Anne's, one of the most high-profile pretzel shop names in the country, sets its franchise fees at upward of £288,600 and the company's terms of agreement cover just 5 years. Choose the franchise with the best combination of investment and contractual terms.

  4. 4

    Ask your attorney to vet the contract you sign with the pretzel company you've selected. The Philly Pretzel Factory Franchise Disclosure Statement, for example, is a daunting document requiring careful inspection before it's signed; you'll encounter equally complex documents if you choose Pretzel Time or any of the others. Philly Pretzel produces a long list of study aids -- including "The Educated Franchisee" and FAQ sheets -- but using these aids to make a decision is no substitute for legal advice.

  5. 5

    Set up your pretzel business under the guidance of the franchiser. The Global Franchise Group, for example, helps Pretzelmakers franchisees plough through the maze of documentation that leads to the partnership -- from introducing the brand to overseeing the issuance of a Letter of Intent that seals the deal. A franchise development manager is usually assigned to new franchisees so questions that run the gamut from flavoured pretzel recipes to choosing mustard dips are answered. Your pretzel franchiser wants you to be successful so take advantage of all of these resources.

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