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Pretzelmaker: an Affordable and Profitable Franchise (2023)

Pretzelmaker franchises key figures

Franchise fee$20,000
Royalty fee7.0%
Marketing fee3.5%
Investment (mid-point)$261,000
Average sales$226,000
Sales to investment ratio0.9x
Payback period*8 years
Minimum net worth$250,000
Minimum liquid capital$100,000
* using 15% net profit margin

🔎 How does Pretzelmaker compare vs. other franchises? Check the ranking

What is Pretzelmaker?

Pretzelmaker is a Georgia-based restaurant chain that serves hand-rolled pretzels, cold beverages, and smoothies. It is a subsidiary of FAT brands, founded in 1991 by Jeffery Tripp.

Pretzelmaker’s menu includes soft pretzel bites, mini pretzel dogs, dipping sauces, blended drinks, lemonades, and mozzarella stuffed bites. 

The first ever Pretzelmaker store was launched in 1991 in Trumbull, Connecticut, and incorporated as Mr. Pretzel Inc. 

It started franchising in 1992 as its popularity increased, ultimately changing its name to Pretzel Time and, later, Pretzelmaker. Today, the quick service restaurant has 280 stores in the US and other global locations such as Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Guam.

Pretzelmaker franchises pros and cons


  • Flexible business model: Pretzelmaker allows franchisees to choose the most suitable store model depending on their preferences. The flexible business model allows franchisees to sell soft pretzels from virtually any location. Traditional (for example, a small store in a shopping mall) and non-traditional (for example, a kiosk-sized store in an airport) franchising models ensure franchisees only choose what’s best for their target market. 
  • Modern supply chain: the franchisor offers a modern, well-coordinated, and built-in supply chain to reduce costs and maximize efficiency. 
  • An expansive corporate network for comprehensive support: the franchisor has a complete support system to help brand owners launch their stores from the ground. The investment journey starts from the pre-opening phase and won’t end until the restaurant owner has opened a successful franchise. 
  • Training: Pretzelmaker offers quality training to help franchisees learn the basics of restaurant management. Franchisees must complete the food training course and at least 3 days of on-the-job training to satisfy the franchisor’s requirements for opening a franchise. The franchisor may schedule an advanced training program if they deem it fit. 


  • Full-time investment: store owners can’t run the business part-time. Franchisees must devote their time, skills, and effort to running the business. 
  • No exclusive territory: the franchisor doesn’t grant restaurant owners exclusive territories. Franchisees may compete for clients with other brands operating in the same area. 
  • No financial assistance: the franchisor doesn’t provide direct or indirect financing. It doesn’t arrange for any third-party funding and has no intention to sell, assign, or source any part of the financial arrangement to its affiliates. 
  • No absentee ownership: the franchisor expects restaurant owners to be actively involved in all the practical aspects of the business operation from physical locations. 
  • No part-time operations: Pretzelmaker doesn’t allow passive or part-time business operations. Franchisees must demonstrate a solid commitment to running the franchise as a full-time investment, operating within the specified working hours.
  • Competition: despite its strong brand appeal, Pretzelmaker is rivaled by other competitive pretzels brands such as Wetzel’s Pretzels and Auntie Anne’s

How much does a Pretzelmaker franchise cost?

You would have to invest on average $261,100 to open a new Pretzelmaker franchise restaurant.

This is the investment required for a single store, which is either a traditional store or a non-traditional store. Indeed, the vast majority of stores are traditional (156 out of the 161 total franchised restaurants).

To clarify, there are 2 kinds of formats of restaurants you can choose: the Single store, and Satellite location

Here’s the full breakdown of costs per restaurant format:

Single store

Type of costAmount
Franchise fee$15,000 – $25,000
Furniture, fixtures and equipment$65,000 – $90,000
Leasehold improvements$85,000 – $140,000
Professional fees$1,000 – $6,000
3 months working capital$8,000 – $12,000
Other$26,200 – $49,000
Total$200,200 – $322,000

Satellite location

Type of costAmount
Franchise fee$5,000
Furniture, fixtures and equipment$25,600-$48,000
Professional fees$1,000 – $6,000
3 months working capital$1,000 – $5,000
Other$63,400 – $129,394
Total$96,000 – $193,394

How much sales does a Pretzelmaker franchise make?

On average, a Pretzelmaker franchise makes $226,435 in sales per year

This is the average sales per traditional store for the 156 of the 161 franchised stores that were open for all of 2020.

How profitable is a Pretzelmaker franchise?

On average, a Pretzelmaker franchise makes $57,884 profits per year. This corresponds to a 26% profit margin (adjusted EBITDA margin).

Pretzelmaker is a profitable franchise. We calculated this number using the information available in the Franchise Disclosure Document 2021.

Unfortunately, Pretzelmaker has not provided detailed information on the cost of goods sold (COGS), and labor costs. Therefore, we used 25% and 29% of sales respectively, as per industry benchmarks.

Profit and lossAmount% sales
Royalty + marketing fees($23,776)10.5%
Adjusted EBITDA$57,884~26.0%
* industry average // Source: Franchise Disclosure Document (2021)

Is a Pretzelmaker franchise a good investment?

We estimate the payback period for a Pretzelmaker franchise to be 7.7 years, assuming a 15% net profit margin. This means you would need to wait 7.7 years for the future profits to repay the startup costs of $261,100.

Whilst not necessarily excellent, it’s a payback period on the higher end of the average we found for restaurant franchises (5 to 6 years on average). Therefore it’s not necessarily the best investment and it’s not as good as Wetzel’s Pretzels for example with a payback period of 3.4 years.

Yet, keep in mind that your decision should not be limited to financials. Factors like training, brand name, competition and others should also be taken into account when choosing your franchise.

Pretzelmaker franchise business plan template

Download the Pretzelmaker franchise business plan and get your franchise funded

Including a 5-year financial plan built with the latest Franchise Disclosure Document numbers

How does it compare vs. other restaurant franchises?

FranchiseInvestment ($)Sales ($)Payback (years)Min. net worth ($)Min. liquid capital ($)
Dunkin' Donuts,0001,056,5211.44.9500,000250,000
Krispy Kreme,0003,400,0004.11.62,000,000300,000
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Taco Bell,4131,650,0003.61.91,500,000750,000
Smoothie King,108573,2690.88.0300,000100,000
Jersey Mike's,3231,220,5862.14.7300,000100,000
Nothing Bundt Cakes,6501,307,2802.42.7600,000150,000
Jimmy John's,650874,8451.73.9300,00080,000
Texas Roadhouse,209,5002,955,5340.79.5n.a.200,000
Kung Fu Tea tea250,125353,2371.44.7n.a.25,000
Burger King,242,9501,215,9701.06.81,500,000500,000
Sonic Drive-In,467,0831,617,0001.16.01,000,000500,000
Panera Bread,290,5002,599,4321.15.97,500,0003,000,000
Pizza Hut,575906,9111.06.9700,000350,000
Dairy Queen Cream1,404,2201,143,1800.88.2750,000400,000
Jack in the Box,195,8001,755,5030.812.51,000,000250,000
Papa John’s,6951,101,1273.12.1750,000250,000
Five Guys,2251,203,3662.42.8500,000250,000
Carl’s Jr.,860,3351,419,5160.88.71,000,000500,000
Baskin-Robbins Cream465,100316,8150.79.8250,000125,000
Applebee’s American5,137,9662,356,9650.514.51,000,000500,000
Denny's American3,785,4591,639,5490.415.41,000,000500,000
Papa Murphy's,174580,4411.35.0275,000125,000
Auntie Anne's,692343,1351.55.6300,000100,000
Firehouse Subs,186888,3561.44.6350,000100,000
Tropical Smoothie Cafe,500961,9692.23.0350,000125,000
Marco’s Pizza,625895,5232.03.3400,000100,000
Cold Stone Creamery Cream310,956417,5881.35.0250,000100,000
Church’s Chicken,195,1471,395,0881.25.71,000,000300,000
Moe’s Southwest Grill,3701,013,3611.35.21,000,000100,000
Tim Hortons,242,7501,188,2401.07.0500,000100,000
Checkers & Rally's,8471,039,7731.25.4750,000250,000
Charleys Philly Steaks,806786,2331.54.3500,000100,000
Buffalo Wild Wings,546,9002,534,1480.79.31,500,000750,000
Rita's Ice Cream215,839248,3401.25.8300,000100,000
A&W Restaurants,750851,2121.16.2350,000150,000
Hungry Howie’s Pizza,682806,8991.93.5750,000200,000
McAlister’s Deli,424,9631,865,8611.35.11,000,000500,000
Round Table Pizza,2501,037,8161.35.0500,000200,000
Qdoba Mexican Eats,250972,9621.54.5
Taco John’s,119,0001,124,9801.06.61,000,000400,000
Scooter’s Coffee,143,250797,1010.79.6500,000200,000
Einstein Bros. Bagels,075885,0111.25.71,000,000536,500
Great American Cookies,275452,7711.25.7250,000100,000
Wienerschnitzel dogs873,300880,9801.06.6600,000250,000
Blaze Pizza,4501,096,4321.37.9500,000300,000
Wetzel's Pretzels,571748,8572.03.4300,00050,000
Pizza Ranch,268,3001,174,0880.418.61,000,000297,000
Del Taco,406,8501,345,3411.07.02,000,000500,000
Schlotzsky’s, Salads1,102,9331,053,3330.322.21,000,000300,000
Captain D’s,7781,067,8160.419.01,000,000350,000
Biggby Coffee,575648,3520.320.0300,000100,000
Which Wich,375281,8860.322.2500,000150,000
Marble Slab Creamery Cream407,360251,0520.416.7250,000100,000
Mountain Mike's Pizza,900865,7130.320.0300,000100,000
Huddle House,743712,4280.513.3600,000300,000
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue,350612,9210.333.3500,000150,000
Chicken Salad Chick, Salads651,0001,202,0200.320.0750,000250,000
Golden Chick,975917,6092.52.62,000,000425,000
Waba Grill,000466,5361.06.51,000,000250,000
Bruster’s Ice Cream Cream663,925466,6960.79.5375,000150,000