Auntie Anne's Pretzels recently reached a company milestone with the opening of its 400th international location, according to a company press release. The newest Thailand store comes shortly after the brand's official entrance into Brunei and Turkey and precedes aggressive overseas expansion plans for 2014.
The 400th international unit opened in mid-November in Central Festival Chang Mai in Thailand, a country that continues to be a significant driver for Auntie Anne's growth abroad with a total of 114 existing locations, according to the release.
With recently signed agreements in Israel, Indonesia and Guatemala, Auntie Anne's will have entered five new countries this year, surpassing its 2013 goals.
Franchise partner Ismet Ozbakir with SEAS Group owns and operates the Turkey territory and plans to open 14 locations by the end of 2018, in addition to the inaugural location situated in Istanbul's Maltepe Park Mall. Delicious Jo Food, franchise partner for the Brunei territory,
opened the country's first Auntie Anne's shop in Freshco Mall in Abdul Razak Plaza in Batu Satu, Brunei. Launched with the core menu, plus Almond Choco Balls and the Chocolate Chip Pretzel, the Brunei store already has a throng of loyal customers, according to the release. Sales exceeded expectations by more than 300 percent compared to projections and continue to trend positively, a welcomed response as the franchisor plans to open another five units in Brunei.
"The response in Brunei has been unbelievable and overwhelming. Customers start lining up at least 30 minutes before the store opens," said Mike Shattuck, president of FOCUS Brands International, Auntie Anne's parent company. "Most are familiar with the Auntie Anne's brand and have tried it in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand. We're looking forward to
strengthening our presence in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East by leveraging our tremendous franchise partners and universally appealing, freshly baked pretzels."
Earlier this year, Auntie Anne's also entered India and the Bahamas and brought six locations to Vietnam. Looking ahead to 2014, the brand has set its sights on further international development around the world including Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and China, Shattuck said.
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