Thursday, March 24, 2011

Franchisee Profile: Steve McDaniel & John Brumbaugh, Philly Pretzel Factory Franchsiees of Harrisburg, PA

Location: 530 N. Progress Ave
Harrisburg, PA 17110

Something Interesting About Steve’s Story…
Steve is an interesting guy to be sure, and he’s done quite a bit in his lifetime. But now, Steve will fulfill a dream he’s been holding onto for over a decade—together with lifelong friend John Brumbaugh, Steve will open up his own pretzel shop—Philly Pretzel Factory, to be specific: the pretzels voted Best In Philly for several years running will now arrive in Harrisburg for the very first time, and Steven is very excited about being the one to bring them here!

What Steve Did Before Philly Pretzel Factory
Steve McDaniel is the definition of a jack of all trades. In his lifetime, he has held the following positions: State Trooper, Radio DJ, Real Estate Mogul, Life Insurance Salesman, Prison Guard—and now? Pretzel Baker, and owner of Philly Pretzel Factory in Harrisburg, PA, along with his business partner and long-time friend, John Brumbaugh.

How Steve Found Out About Philly Pretzel Factory
One day, Steve was on the job, overseeing a court case in West Chester, PA. During a break, he went to get some pretzels for a snack, and was hugely impressed with Philly Pretzel Factory’s simple yet delicious recipe. His first thought: “Wow! This place has some real potential!” Steve’s only experience in the restaurant industry at that point was a part-time job at a pizza shop in high school, but he knew right away that he’d stumbled upon an excellent business opportunity. He started researching the company about five years ago, visiting franchises across the state, eating and loving the product and appreciating the smoothness of the operation at every store he visited. So, he got together with his friend John Brumbaugh, with whom he’d talked about opening a business since college, and they decided to go for it!

Why Steve Decided to Become a Philly Pretzel Factory Franchisee…
Owning a Philly Pretzel Factory was Steve’s first foray into franchising. According to him, to be a franchisee you have to understand if you have the capacity for such a job, and the ability to take on your own business. You also have to believe strongly in the franchise model that’s already been created. Steve believes that Philly Pretzel Factory has developed a tremendous brand, and is excited about using the strong business model to develop a strong presence in Harrisburg. He appreciates the corporate support and the brand recognition that Philly Pretzel Factory has already obtained.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Franchisee Profile: Scott Kallen, Franchisee of Bridgeville, PA

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Scott Kallen is a serial entrepreneur known for his ability to take a struggling business and turn it into a cash cow. This is why the people at Philly Pretzel Factory enlisted Scott to help them turn around a Philly Pretzel Factory with lots of potential that needed a facelift. Here, Scott tells us about his impressive track record, how he got involved with Philly Pretzel Factory, and where he plans to take the business in the future!

Q: Before Philly Pretzel Factory, what were you involved with?
A: I’ve always been a turnaround guy. I started at age 21 with a pizzeria that was in such bad shape that I was able to buy it for almost nothing. Within two years I managed to quadruple sales and had turned it into a local favorite. Then I did the same thing with one of Rita’s Water Ice’s struggling corporate stores. I went into a business partnership with my father, Steve Kallen, who did construction, and we were able to do another complete turnaround and expand to five locations in eight years. I think the key to successful business is a fresh product and excellent customer service—the kind that goes above and beyond and makes guests want to come back again and again because they’re treated so well each and every time.

Q: How did you get involved with Philly Pretzel Factory?
A: Well, in the middle of my Rita’s Water Ice venture I met a lady from Pittsburgh and ended up selling off all my stores so I could get married and move out to Pittsburgh with her. We bought a house here and had a baby. Things are great but I’m ready to re-establish myself as an entrepreneur here. So, when the people at Philly Pretzel Factory’s corporate office gave me a call and asked if I’d be interested in another revival project, I decided to go for it! I think this Bridgeville location has a ton of potential—it’s a great area and Philly Pretzel Factory has an excellent product and a great franchise system. I’m excited to turn this store into something special.

Q: What have been some career milestones for you/your business?
A: When I bought this store last month, it needed some serious TLC. I think the main issue was that people didn’t even know it was open anymore—it didn’t even have an OPEN sign! Now I’m in the process of a complete turnaround and already things are going great. We’ve already got the store all cleaned up, the lights in the store and parking lot are now working, we’ve gotten signage and put a nice big OPEN sign in the window. On February 5th we had a comeback celebration for the entire community, featuring tons of family-friendly activities including clowns, a magic show, kids twisting their own pretzels, live music, and three free pretzels for every man, woman, and child—no purchase necessary, no strings attached. It was just a fun family event to spread the word that Philly Pretzel Factory of Bridgeville is under new management, back in action and better than ever!

Q: What are your future goals? Development plans?
A: Right now I’m focused on making Philly Pretzel Factory of Bridgeville the best it can be, a neighborhood favorite and the place people go to for the best pretzels and the best atmosphere in town. In the future, who knows? We’ll see!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Philly Soft Pretzel Factory featured in the LaSalle Collegian

Philly Soft Pretzel Factory was recently featured in a great article in The LaSalle Collegian, entitled "Philly Pretzel Factory: More than just pretzels." The article published on Friday, March 4, 2011, and was built from a taste test of the new Buffalo Chicken Pretzel at the local Philly Pretzel Factory in Pittsburgh and in-person interviews with managers Katie Koper and Christopher Dowling. In this article, Cheyenne Shaffer writes about her very positive response to the brand new Buffalo Chicken Pretzel at Philly Pretzel Factory. The store managers weigh in on what sets Philly Pretzel Factory apart from the competition, and why their special ingredients make for the most delicious pretzels in town. Cheyenne discusses the franchise’s growth and success in the region. Click here to view the full article.

Philly Pretzel Factory: More than just pretzels
By Cheyenne Shaffer

With a business that continues to expand, Philly Soft Pretzel Factory has set the standard for Philadelphia soft pretzels. Their newest creation, the buffalo chicken pretzel, is a spicy addition to the menu.

The introduction of the buffalo chicken pretzel was marked with an event, that included a massive chicken egg hunt at Love Park, free prizes and samples of the new product. I was able to try the new pretzel recently and wasn’t disappointed. The pretzel is stuffed with chicken, mozzarella cheese, and a special buffalo sauce. The pretzel struck a sufficient balance, being spicy and enjoyable. However, if you are looking for something a bit more fiery and intense, extra buffalo sauce is available.

(Read More)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Philly Pretzel Factory featured in SmartCEO Philadelphia

Philly Pretzel Factory was recently featured in a great article in SmartCEO Philadelphia entitled, “What Makes a Successful Franchisee? Franchisors Share Their Lessons.” The article was built from an in-depth interview with Dan DiZio, where he provides advice to franchisees on finding success in their individual system. The article includes multiple franchisors that are based in the Philadelphia region, where each states some lesson that they have learned from experiences with franchisees. Dan discusses the importance of listening to your franchisees’ ideas and being transparent as a franchisor to continuously make your franchisees feel comfortable with every aspect of the business. Below is the PDF of the article:

Philly Pretzel Factory featured in SmartCEO Philadelphia
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