When his family took over Auntie Anne’s Philippines as a master franchisee, Mikkel Paris’ was assigned to handle the operations of all 17 stores. With his eight years of experience managing an 80-retailer shopping center in Liverpool Street railway station in London, he was able to open more than 30 new Auntie Anne’s locations and plans to double the figure by 2020.
How was he able to do that?
According to Mikkel, the biggest challenge was for him to learn the operational intricacies of Auntie Anne’s. Though he was able to manage convenience stores and supermarkets before, this one is different.
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The expansion was an easier task. They needed to find the right sites and negotiate with the malls. Good thing that his London experience, working on the other side of the table, made it easier for him to settle.
The first order of business
The first thing they did was to renovate all 17 stores within the first year or two. Someone from Auntie Anne’s parent company came in and showed him how everything is done in the stores. They also kept the existing staff and retrained them.
Under the new management
Advertising and marketing is a massive thing in the Philippines. While billboards dominate the streets, Mikkel’s company does not have the budget for it.
What Mikkel did instead was to start Auntie Anne Philippines Facebook Page using his cellphone. Within a few months, he learned that people engage more with photos of pretzels inside a warmer than a photoshopped one.
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They started to cut up the pretzels and served them in nuggets form in a cup so people can walk around the mall while munching on it. They also began to introduce new flavors such as the almond crunch pretzel and nuggets and the cream cheese sticks. When the cream cheese variant did well, they decided to add fruits—blueberry and strawberry. Both did well, too.
Right now, they are looking at adding mangoes since Filipinos love it. Mikkel said that Auntie Anne’s products are so versatile, and that is the beauty of the brand that his family saw at the beginning.
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