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Hot Cheetos vs S’Mores at Wetzel's Twisted Kitchen


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Fruity Pebbles, front, and other tasty concoctions were on offer at Wetzel's Pretzels Twisted Kitchen in Pasadena, California.

Decisions, decisions. That’s the conundrum when visiting Wetzel's Pretzels Twisted Kitchen at its headquarters in Pasadena, California, and choosing among the concoctions the food stylist and marketing team are whipping up.

Will it be Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Maple & Bacon, part of a flight of pretzels that CEO Jennifer Schuler calls part of its “preakfast” line (pretzels for breakfast, obviously).

Or how about S’Mores? There’s so much chocolate, graham cracker bits and marshmallowy drizzle to put the taster into an instant sugar coma, complete with very sticky fingers afterward that hinder the ability to help FT’s favorite LA-based photographer, Scott Witter, as he sets up for the photo shoot.

Schuler, chief executive at Wetzel's Pretzels since January and the subject of an upcoming story in Franchise Times, uses the Twisted Kitchen to generate social media buzz about the brand and also come up with new ways to present pretzels that draw the Instagram crowd. 

Only about one every couple of years will make the cut and be rolled out to stores, because she has a rigorous standard: Pretzels must sell in high enough volume to make the effort worthwhile and they cannot flummox the teams in the stores when they try to assemble.

“Is this too fiddly,” is a question she’ll ask people who have to assemble it, and if so, it’s deep-sixed.

Finally we get to the savory flight, which is right up my alley, especially the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos pretzel, which makes the mouth burn in that fabulous, stuff-your-face way you remember from your youth, when Cheetos could be dinner, washed down with Tab. Dyno-mite.

Thanks to Deanna Durst, Wetzel’s marketing director who made with the team sample after sample for us to try and even offered to send us home with our favorite, and Josh Levitt, the outside PR man who hooked us up for an interesting story on food innovation.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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