Wetzel's Pretzels (Wetzel's), the leader in snacking for pretzel lovers across the nation, formulated the perfect recipe for 2022. The iconic brand drove 11.3% same-store-sales growth, building upon the nearly 24% increase the year prior versus 2019, combining for a jaw-dropping 3-year improvement of 35%. Unrelenting sales growth and national brand exposure have catapulted franchise interest to an all-time high, creating an unprecedented store pipeline for the year ahead.
"Wetzel's continues to outdo itself, setting the bar higher and higher each year. At the end of 2021, an average franchised store's gross revenue was $850,000. Since, we've only seen AUVs continue to climb, reaching new all-time highs. Strong topline, coupled with a laser focus in providing a simple, streamlined menu and business model, allows us to keep delivering strong margins," said Jennifer Schuler, Chief Executive Officer of Wetzel's Pretzels. "In 2023, we will have the biggest pipeline of new locations in franchise history, including the opening of our historic 400th location. This momentum will only carry on in the years ahead with plans in place to expand our growth strategy, discover new real estate opportunities and further develop our brand as the leader in snacking."
Pretzel passion spread from the Wetzside to 29 new stores, including high profile locations like LAX airport and the expansion into new formats, such as the debut of its Macy's partnership, where Wetzel's exists inside the retailer's footprint. Plus, 2022 proved to be a pivotal time to set the stage for future countrywide growth, as fresh franchise deals added to the brand's robust development pipeline, which now nears 60 units. As the good times keep rolling into 2023, Wetzel's will expand into new venues and formats, quickly growing its food truck fleet, as well as presence in Walmarts, Macy's, airports and traditional mall locations coast to coast. Franchise unit growth in 2023 is anticipated to be more than a 50% increase over 2022, which already was a banner year for the company.
"One of the great things about Wetzel's is its flexibility to adapt to a wide variety of compelling formats, making it possible to provide warm, fresh pretzels wherever our fans are," said Jon Fischer, Chief Development Officer at Wetzel's. "The demand for Wetzel's only continues to increase and with flexible formats, such as our innovative food truck concept, we're more equipped than ever to satisfy those cravings."
Wetzel's used its category leadership to advocate for greater diversity and inclusion within the restaurant industry. Through the creation of its Access to Equity Program, the company aims to increase owner representation by providing financial discounts, as well as educational and mentorship opportunities to women and ethnic minorities, with its first candidate set to open a store this year. The brand was recognized for its work in making franchise ownership more accessible, being named to Entrepreneur's "50 Franchise Companies Doing the Most to Champion Diversity" list.
"While our pretzels are a delicious treat, they represent something bigger to our franchisees, and that is a dream of entrepreneurship coming to fruition," said Schuler. "We've been hard at work designing this program to both level the playing field and elevate conversations within our system and across the industry about diversity and inclusion. Our franchisees make it possible to 'Bring Pretzels to the People,' so our top priority is providing them with the support they need to succeed."
As a brand passionate about delivering crave-worthy snacks and engaging its fans with high-visibility marketing programs, 2022 was a momentous year for Wetzel's. Kicking off the year strong, Wetzel's had its historic debut at the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's Day, celebrating its fun, fresh take on soft pretzels and it's Southern California roots. Wetzel's also reinforced its pop culture status, earning mentions from Jimmy Kimmel, Saturday Night Live, Cardi B, David Dobrik, Meghan Trainor, David Chang, Jax and Mindy Kaling, just to name a few.