The Major Way Auntie Anne's Is Expanding Its Business Model

Auntie Anne's is arguably one of the most beloved snack foods bought at the mall. Enjoyed by adults and children alike, the Auntie Anne's brand has established itself as a go-to for buttery, soft pretzels known to be pure comfort in a bite. But despite the undeniable love for this brand, there's no question fans are not loving the fact that, until recently, malls were nearly the only place Auntie Anne's could be found.

While the company does have a few out-of-mall and road trip stop locations, many fans of the brand really want them to open new spaces, claiming that if it truly expanded, it would have a much bigger fan base. It seems Auntie Anne heard the fan's pleas. As far back as 2018, Auntie Anne's realized that malls were losing steam, and started a "push by the brand to open more street-side locations in urban environments," says Restaurant Business Online. In 2021, mostly for events, it introduced Auntie Anne trucks into their arsenal. And that's not all.

About a year ago, Auntie Anne's signed a deal to open their very first drive-thru. The drive-thru, which was in part in response to a social media call to action, opened in May 2021 in Wylie, Texas with their sister chain Jamba, according to Restaurant Business Online, and thanks to the pandemic, we can expect a whole lot more.

Driving into the future

Auntie Anne's recently posted a TikTok to announce the good news, saying that while it will remain in malls, it's now also going to be offering drive-thru options. While the video didn't elaborate as to when or where, other sources, like a spokesperson from the team, told Mashed it plans to open 12 new Auntie Anne's drive-thru locations in the next year. Other outlets, like QSR, have noted that in-person Covid restrictions helped franchises like Auntie Anne's realize the opportunities for profit that drive-thrus afford them "in the quick-service segment."

In an address to the public, per QSR, Kristen Hartman, a specialty category president of Focus Brands, said, "I'm incredibly excited to see that through co-branding we are able to add the drive-thru experience to Auntie Anne's portfolio and can't wait to see how guests respond to this enhanced accessibility." And guests already seem to be responding positively, with many hoping the news is true and even more commenting on the cities they'd like Auntie Anne's drive-thrus to come to.

Even other food brands are happy about the news, taking the excitement to the TikTok video with  Subway saying this is "What we've all been waiting for," and Jimmy John's predicting the combination of the two will make for "the best road trip stops."