Wetzel's Pretzels

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Wetzel's Pretzels
Fast food franchise
Industry Restaurants
Founded 1994
Founder Rick Wetzel
Bill Phelps
Headquarters Pasadena, California
Number of locations
Key people
Bill Phelps, CEO
Products Pretzels
Website wetzels.com

Wetzel's Pretzels is a Pasadena, California-based franchise of fast-food restaurants. The first Wetzel's Pretzels location opened in 1994 at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, California. Currently, Wetzel's Pretzels has 300+ locations in the United States and six other countries worldwide.


In 1994, Rick Wetzel and Bill Phelps were working in marketing at Nestle USA. On a business trip to Seattle, the colleagues, though not friends at the time, started kicking around the idea of pretzels as a new snack-food business. An eavesdropping stranger told them soft fresh-baked bread pretzels were really tasty. The pair got excited and started mapping out a business plan that night at a bar. They wrestled with finding a name that could be trademarked. Everything Phelps wanted had already been taken. Wetzel, who had been teased in the schoolyard with "Hey Wetzel, you pretzel," kept his mouth shut. A friend who was a marketing consultant finally pointed out the obvious for a name. The chain expanded quickly, and in 1997, Hollywood movie producer John Davis came in with $1 million raised from angel investors. Only after opening a company-owned flagship store at Disneyland in 2001 did the pair realize they had made it. "It was one of the top retailers in all of Downtown Disney per square foot," Phelps said.[1]

In 1996, Wetzel's began franchising their brand, and now has a co-branding relationship with Cold Stone Creamery, Juice It Up!, Swensen's and more.[2]


Los Angeles private equity firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners Inc. bought a majority stake in the company in 2007 for an undisclosed amount. Phelps still owns a 20% share, while Wetzel holds a smaller stake.[3][4]

In October 2016, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners sold majority stake to Dallas-based private equity firm CenterOak Partners LLC. after holding the majority stake for 9 years.[5]


Wetzel's Pretzels, along with Rick Caruso of Caruso Affiliated, each donate $7,500 to the Beyond the Bell program of the Los Angeles Unified School District.[6]


As of 2016, Wetzel’s Pretzels has 305 locations in 28 states and six countries. Its stores are located in shopping malls, outlet centers, theme parks, select discount retail stores, train stations, and airports.[7]



  • Pretzels, consisting of several different flavors such as...

Wetzel’s Original (buttered): Hand rolled, baked fresh, and lightly buttered & salted. Wetzel’s Original (non-buttered): Hand rolled, baked fresh, and lightly salted without butter. Sinful Cinnamon™: A sweet, sinful treat coated with cinnamon & sugar. Almond Crunch: Slightly sweet with a crunchy almond topping. Sour Cream & Onion: Mild sweet onion flavor and a hint of sour cream. Cin-A-Yum®: Coated with melted cinnamon butter, then topped with sweet glaze. They also have baked cheese pretzels like the Cheese Meltdown: Fresh-baked pretzel topped with hot, melted cheese. Grateful Garlic™: Hot, melted cheese with a light garlic flavor. Pepperoni Twist: Fresh baked cheese pretzel topped with pepperoni slices. Jalapeno Cheese Melt: Big, juicy slices of jalapeno and hot, melted cheese. Jalaroni™: Fresh baked cheese pretzel topped with pepperoni slices and big, juicy slices of jalapeno.

They also have other pretzel items such as... Wetzel Dog: Fresh baked pretzel wrapped around an all-beef hot dog. Cheese Dog: Hot, baked cheese melted over our all-beef Wetzel Dog. Wetzel Bitz: Bite-sized pieces of our fresh baked pretzel, topped with your choice of butter & salt or cinnamon & sugar. Kid’s Bitz: Half size portion of our popular Wetzel Bitz.

They have tasty dips for pretzels and Wetzel dogs as well such as... Cheese, Jalapeño Cheese, Pizza Sauce, Caramel, Cream Cheese


  • Frozen Lemonade, sold in a variety of flavors.
  • Frozen Granita, a frozen version of the Italian dessert.[8]