This article is part of a series called “Getting Off-Premises”, which examines how to build an off-premises business.
By Jim Rand, catering practice leader
Catering practice leader Jim Rand visits Danika Brown, Growth Initiatives Director of Auntie Anne’s. Danika discusses how Auntie Anne’s got its franchisees aligned to the same goals when it launched its catering program.
Jim Rand: Danika!
Danika Brown: Jim, how are you doing?
Jim Rand: Great. How are you? Great to see you too.
Danika Brown: Welcome to Lancaster.
Jim Rand: Ah, thank you very much. The home of Auntie Anne’s, right?
Danika Brown: Yes, it all started here.
Jim Rand: So I’d love to talk to you guys about what you’re doing. You’ve been doing some really cool stuff with catering, and I’d just love to hear more about it.
Danika Brown: Yes. Well, let’s take a break from all this and head over to my favorite bar here in Lancaster. You’ll find me here on a Sunday drinking a beer and watching football—so I think it’d be a great place to kind of stop and talk about this.
Jim Rand: I think it’s great to get “off-premises” and go do that. So let’s make it happen.
Danika Brown: So, Jim, welcome. This is Station House Tavern, my absolute favorite place to come on a Sunday, enjoy a beer, watch the game.
Jim Rand: Yeah, that’s awesome.
Danika Brown: So, yeah, let’s dive into catering a little bit.
Jim Rand: Yeah, cool. So how did Auntie Anne’s get into catering?
Danika Brown: Yes. So, I mean, we’ve been really successful at selling pretzels and lemonade in the traditional mall space for 30 years now. So we really saw this as a huge opportunity to define what that white space was, and figure out how we could take the pretzels to the people, and how they could just enjoy our product outside.
Jim Rand: I mean, everybody is looking for off-premises food, right? Getting things brought to them. So what are some of the key things you’ve learned working with your franchisees and with the organization that’ll help others as they go down the road to catering?
Danika Brown: Sure. So it’s been a little bit hard to get everyone along the way. We do have a 30-minute freshness guarantee in the store. So when you think of that from a catering perspective, it’s a little hard to get that mentality rolling after 30 years of, you know, doing it one way. So it’s been really important to really have that alignment from the top leadership down to franchisees to managers and crew and really to see the opportunity and put the support behind it. So bringing the franchisees along has been super important for us.
Jim Rand: Are there any other key things that helped to get to where you are today?
Danika Brown: Yeah, I would say just really focusing on execution, great customer service, a solid menu that provides a lot of options for consumers, and really driving home packaging.
Jim Rand: That’s terrific. You guys are really having a lot of success with it.
Danika Brown: We are. We’re super excited.
Jim Rand: Cheers to you and to Auntie Anne’s.
Danika Brown: Thank you.
Learn how to create company-wide support for your catering business.