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Search Results for: pretzel time

Follow up on the NexCen Pretzel Acquisition

From a NexCen Press Release: The combined purchase price for the transaction is $29.4 million, and consists of $22.1 million of cash, and NexCen common stock valued at approximately $7.3 million. These transactions double the number of brands in NexCen’s quick service restaurant (QSR) portfolio, which also includes the premium, hand-mixed ice cream chains MaggieMoo’s(R) and Marble Slab Creamery(R).As of June 30, 2007, Pretzel Time and Pretzelmaker had a combined 376 franchised or licensed units worldwide. Of those, 327 are in the United States, with the remaining 49 international locations located in six countries. For the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2007, aggregate unaudited revenues for the Pretzel Time and Pretzelmaker brands were approximately $6.4 million. NexCen estimates that aggregate revenues for the two businesses for the full year 2007 will be approximately $6.7 million. Based upon the partial year of ownership, NexCen expects to recognize approximately $2.7 million of revenue from the businesses for the remainder of 2007. NexCen expects these transactions to be accretive in 2007 and, after integration into NexCen’s operations, to generate combined operating margins of approximately 60%, consistent with NexCen’s expectations for its QSR franchising operations. First, paying 5x revenue is absurdly high for an established traditional business with low barriers to entry and similar competitors. Most companies would pay 5 times EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), and I imagine an organization like Pretzel Time and Pretzelmaker have expenses and obligations or close to the revenue figure. The stock market noticed the same overpriced acquisition along with other trouble at NexCen as the stock price dropped by almost 50% in the past few months: Not good. NexCen also owns brands The Athlete’s Foot, Bill Blass, MaggieMoo’s, and Marble Slab.

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The Pretzel Business

I have close friends in the pretzel and snack-food business (and worked in the snack food industry for a short time), so I think I can speak from an especially knowledgeable perspective on this. Stores like Auntie Anne’s, We’re Rolling Pretzel Company, Pretzel Time (by Mrs. Fields), and Wetzel’s Pretzels must have some of the highest margins in the QSR business. The dough is literally a few pennies per serving, if that. The seasoning and butter is another few pennies, and your selling the product for almost $2 each. I’m sure the franchisors significantly increase the cost of dough and supplies force margins more inline with the typical mall store. Fresh pretzel businesses need very little square footage, and can often be served from a kiosk. They have the added advantage of smell in a mall, drawing people in with the scent of fresh baked buttery bread (OK, can you tell I love soft pretzels?). Most malls already have at least two pretzel franchises, but some do not. Depending on the rent, storefronts along a busy downtown street can capture enough of the afternoon foot-traffic to possibly turn a profit. Let’s look at some fees charged by franchisors: Pretzel Time: Initial Franchise Fee: $25,000 Ongoing Royalties: 7% of Gross Sales Advertising Fee: 1-3% of Gross Sales Initial Training Fee: No charge for first two individuals Total Estimated Initial Investment: $107,000 – $238,500 Wetzel’s Pretzels: Initial Franchise Fee: $30,000 Ongoing Royalties: 6% of Gross Sales Advertising Fee: 1% of Gross Sales Initial Training Fee: No charge for first two individuals Total Estimated Initial Investment: $102,000 – $211,000 Auntie Anne’s: Initial Franchise Fee: $30,000 Ongoing Royalties: 7% of Gross Sales (paid weekly) Regional Advisory Council Dues: $300/year Audit Fee: All expenses unless if receipts were understated by more than 2% Advertising …

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Tooting My Stock Predicting Horn

Back in August 2007, I gave a NexCen Brands an “I wouldn’t buy it” rating after they grossly overpaid for the Pretzel Time and Pretzelmaker acquisition by paying 5x revenue.  At the time the stock price was around $7…fast forward 2 years and yesterday it closed at 36 cents and has been as low 5 cents in 2009.Your welcome!

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NexCen Brands R&D Facility for QSRs

NexCen Brands is the franchisor for Great American Cookies, MaggieMoo’s, Marble Slab Creamery, Pretzelmaker and Pretzel Time.  The recently opened up a research and development facility for their restaurant concepts.  At first glance, this looks great, despite it being a tiny 1,200 square feet.   My nitpicking then creeped in.  Here are a few issues I see: The manager of the R&D center is the VP of Plant Operations.  I would much rather see someone with an innovation, marketing or chef background, not someone who coordinates a warehouse or manufacturing facility. The article states that the R&D facility is “supported” by NexCen’s top vendors – bread, chocolate and dairy vendors.  Ummmmm…..bias?  It’s a great deal for franchisor NexCen who gets their vendors to sponsor the facility and research, but do you think this will produce the best innovations for the franchisees?  Will the vendors spend their time “innovating” their particular product offerings more into the menu? I’m being hard on NexGen, I know.  Hopefully the R&D facility will produce some winners, but the issues noted above make me believe NexGen chose the absolute cheapest way to create the image of R&D. What’s the best way to create better and cheaper offerings, faster? After professional research with customers and franchisees, you can identify promising ideas, develop them with your chefs, professionally test the ideas with customers, and repeat the process until you get a winner.  Let your marketing, finance and purchasing teams have input.  Then roll it out to franchisees.

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Franchisor Mentions

VERY OUT OF DATE.  Do a search instead.  This was manually updated March 21, 2006 Companies Mentioned in Posts (likely incomplete):Automotive 1-800 RADIATORS Oil Butler Lube N’ Go On-Site-Lube Business & Home Services 1-800-WATER-DAMAGE Bartercard Garagetek Help-U-Sell Home Instead Homewatch Caregivers My Girl Friday PropertyGuys.com Sears Carpet & Upholstery Tax Centers of America Cleaning & Maintenance none Computer & Internet (some are listed in “Retail”) Screenz Food and Restaurant Arby’s Auntie Anne’s Blimpies Cheeburger Cheeburger Chipotle Dippin’ Dots Dream Dinners Doc Green’s Gourmet Salad Dominic’s of New York The Dugout Durango Grill Fazoli’s Fire of Brazil Fogo de Chao Goldstar Chili Jamba Juice Jerq’zine Krispy Kream Lenny’s Sub Shops Mauwi Wauwi Original Hamburger Stand Panaderia Taza Papa John’s Pizza Factory Pizza Patron Pretzel Time Quiznos Red Rock Chili San Francisco Soup Co Shane’s Rib Shack Skyline Chili Smoothie King Smotthie Planet Soup Nazi Steak-out Subway Submarina Sub Station II Super Suppers The Soup Box Supercuts Suzanne’s Kitchen We’re Rolling Pretzel Company Wetzel’s Pretzels Z Pizza Zoup! Fresh Soup Co (List all sub franchises) Health & Fitness Curves Liberty Fitness Home Building & Repair Services See “Business and Home Services” above Personnel & Staffing none Pet Retail and Services Camp Bow Wow Doody Calls The Pet Pantry Wag My Tail Interquest Detection Canines Pets Are Inn Retail Franchises Ace Hardware AuctionDrop Battery Plus Best Cuts GNC Educational Outfitters Fantastic Sams Fastframe Foot Solutions Friendly Computers Geeks on Call GNC Hair Cuttery Herman’s World of Sports Imagine This Sold Orbit Drop Play It Again Sports QuikDrop Roosters Men’s Grooming Centers Screenz Snips Its Sports Clips Stone Mountain Carpet Mill Tom’s Foods We the People Categories: eBay drop offs (generally) Hair Travel & Hotel none Industry Lists & Research 2004 Same Store Sales Growth of QSRs (quick service restaurants) Royalty and Advertising …

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Franchise Valuations, an Auntie Anne example

What is one way to gather sample financial results for franchises when the franchisor refuses to make optional financial disclosures in their UFOC? Check out the classified ads of businesses for sale. While the classified ads will generally disclose very basic and very vague financial information, such as annual sales and net income or cash flow, you will start to get a picture of the going valuations and metrics used (such as a multiple of earnings before income, taxes, depreciation and amortization; or a multiple of free cash flow), all of which will help you understand the financial models and drivers for the business. The financial disclosures in classified ads should be taken with a grain of salt. Why? You need to understand accounting and finance, or hire someone to help you with the valuation and explain the tax and valuation factors used in determining what type of free cash flow and return on your invested capital and time you can expect to reap. You also need to understand finance to know if you are comparing apples to apples. For example, all of these will make a huge difference in what the valuation means to you: Seller’s Loan payments and interest rates Lease payments Upcoming or postponed capital improvements Wages per employee, total wages per day Wages and distributions paid to the owner, if any Competition near location (knowing that there are several competitors in the mall is better, because if there are no competitors you know that sales will mostly drop when a competitors moves in) Your(buyer’s) financing options and interest rates Expenditures for accounting/legal (did they owner do their own accounting, or pay an accountant, what will you do?) Cash/theft rates Franchise renewals – how soon before the franchise agreement expires, and will there be required remodeling …

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