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Pasadena-Based Wetzel’s Pretzels Announces Expansion into Middle East

Published on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 | 8:21 am

Wetzel’s Pretzels, a long-standing innovator in the fresh-baked pretzel business based in Pasadena, today announced it has partnered with the Fawaz Alhokair Group, one of the Middle East’s largest and most influential retail, real estate and development companies, to bring hot and fresh Wetzel’s Pretzels to the region.

Fawaz Alhokair Group is one of the leading groups of companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia focusing on retail and real estate business sectors. The Group started in 1989 as a partnership between three brothers. Today, the Group has diversified from fashion retail business into other sectors. The diversification has further extended to cover non-retail business sectors such as real estate, construction, financial services, health care and hospitality. Highlights of the Group include:

  • Management of more than 80 different brands, totaling 2,100 retail stores encompassing five million sq. feet of mall real estate
  • The oversight of more than 12,000 employees across 17 countries
  • Retail portfolio of Gap, Banana Republic, Zara and Aldo
  • Experience introducing quick service brands to the Middle East, including overseeing more than 100 Cinnabon, Carvel and Seattle’s Best locations

“We were impressed with Wetzel’s Pretzel’s ease of operational execution and various offerings,” said Sultan Alhokair, Group VP Food & Entertainment Fawaz Alhokair Group. “We’ve seen our guests crave simple-ingredient, fresh grab-and-go items, and Wetzel’s products meet those demands. We’re excited to begin introducing our guest to the products.”

The deal is for a minimum of 75 locations over a ten-year period, with the Group’s first Wetzel’s location set to open at during the month of May 2016.

“The Fawaz Alhokair Group has unmatched experience and resources across the retail, real estate and mall development categories,” said Bill Phelps, co-founder and CEO of Wetzel’s Pretzels. “We have no doubt their access and insights will play a significant role in the brand’s success across the Middle East.”

Armed with a vision and a tasty recipe for soft pretzels, Bill Phelps and Rick Wetzel originally opened the first Wetzel’s Pretzels bakery in Redondo Beach, Calif., in 1994. Long lines of hungry customers soon formed, attracted by mouth-watering soft pretzels that were hand-rolled, baked fresh and served hot from the oven. As word spread about these golden-on-the-outside pretzels, the company added additional offerings to its menu.

Today, from its Pasadena headquarters, Wetzel’s Pretzels has grown to more than 300 fresh bakeries across the United States and around the world, including premier locations at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.


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