July 26, 2019
By Amanda Weston
As some consumers and investors speculate over the idea of a "retail apocalypse," one mall-based snack stand is continuing to drive sales.
Jennifer Schuler, CEO of Wetzel's Pretzels, told Cheddar Friday she believes that the "malls are dying" headlines are "a bit overstated."
"There's no denying there's a challenge in the mall landscape as you see people transitioning their shopping patterns to online," Schuler said. "Luckily for our pretzel company, you can buy your jeans online; you can't buy your pretzel online. So the food businesses in the mall are continuing to see success."
But the company has begun to feel out their place in the tech space. It tested online delivery using a "ghost kitchen" ー a shared work kitchen that restaurants can use for delivery-only service.
While traditionally the looks and smells of Wetzel's Pretzals have driven sales in their brick-and-mortar shops, Schuler said the online-delivery shop showed that "with the trend towards convenience, and when your brand is strong enough, you can drive sales even without the smell of an enticing pretzel."
Schuler says the company also continues to stay in the forefront of its industry by focusing closely on consumers. "When we're doing innovation, we're looking at what's happening in terms of consumer trends around taste, flavor, desire for protein."
And, of course, she says social media plays a role. "Now, more than ever, with trends on Instagram, it's visual."