GREENVILLE – A different kind of food franchise is planning a major expansion into Ohio this year and is specifically targeting Greenville as “exactly the right kind of demographic” for its products.
“It’s a really exciting time for us right now,” said Tom Monoghan, Chief Development Officer for Philly Pretzel Factory. “We’ve had significant growth over the past year.”
Monoghan said the company, which first opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1998, currently operates stores in 12 states but it “kind of skipped Ohio” as it grew. This year, the company is making a concerted effort to recitify that oversight, with a planned expansion of as many as 50 new stores in Ohio alone.
“Now we are full-bore focusing on the development of our locations in Ohio, especially western Ohio,” Monoghan said.
Philly Pretzel Factory is known best for two products – its pretzels and its cheesesteak.
The pretzels come in a variety of options, from soft sticks to nuggets to twists with several dips for different including mustards, cheeses and sweet flavors.
The party trays are one of the biggest sellers, as appropriate for tailgates and football parties as it is for business gatherings or family gatherings.
“Because its a social product, we’re looking for a social owner,” Monoghan said of the search for the perfect local franchisee. “We’re looking for the ‘pretzel mayor’ of that town, one who’s out in the community at events and fundraisers.”
The pretzel stuffed with Philly cheesesteak is a handy lunch for one, but platters and packs are for friends.
“It’s such a great value,” Monoghan said. “You come in and see 12 pretzels for $5, and you’re going to get it and share it just because it’s such a good deal – hot outta the oven and sharing the love, we like to say.”
And Monoghan calls the pretzels “mom-approved” because they are fat-free and high in protein. The products are handmade in-house using a proprietary blend flour created specially for the soft pretzels.
Monoghan said the average store is going to be a $275,000 to $300,000 investment, so the company is looking for the franchise owner who will be a good fit for the company and really want to make it a success.
“The best bet is to see what our culture is about and what our product is about,” Monoghan said.
With 158 locations currently in 12 states and 30 more stores being built right now, Monoghan said “over the next five years, we’ve got some very ambitious growth goals.” He said the current growth trajectory will have at least 500 locations operating in all 50 states in the next five years.
Monoghan said another advantage for Greenville is that it is home to a Walmart.
“We specifically have partnered with Walmart for locations inside,” Monoghan said. “It’s a ‘store in a store’ location, and one of those can typically be opened for under $200,000.” An advantage of such a location, he added, is the built-in customer base, noting that the Greenville Walmart location has about 1.6 million transactions per year.
The company was founded in 1998 by Dan DiZio and his college roommate, Len Lehman. DiZio began selling pretzels on street corners at age 11, and after graduating college, he and his roommate opened their first store in Philadelphia. They began franchising in 2004.
For more information about the company, the products and franchise opportunities, visit the website at phillypretzelfactory.com.