Our strong leadership resources include the unbeatable support of FOCUS Brands® and Auntie Anne’s®.
FOCUS Brands® is a leading developer of iconic, global foodservice franchise systems. They’re the indirect parent company of Auntie Anne’s® and six other iconic foodservice brands.
Together, FOCUS Brands® and the Auntie Anne’s® Leadership Teams bring years of experience and expertise to support every area of your franchise business.
Just like the delicious products we sell, we have to stay fresh. We continue to evolve our business model and innovate, whether it’s developing new recipes or scouting out new places to delight our guests. Like our pretzels, life is full of twists and turns, so we stay nimble and look for new opportunities in order to maximize your investment. The following support teams help to keep all of our Auntie Anne’s® locations up fresh:
Operations & Supply Chain
You are provided with operational support from a Franchise Business Consultant to ensure your store is running efficiently, while a full supply chain team optimizes your menu to help you get the best price for all your ingredients. When it comes to purchasing power, franchise owners benefit from leveraging the buying power of a supply chain that encompasses 49 states and more than 25 foreign countries.
Training includes no less than two weeks of classes to help you and your team understand the Auntie Anne’s® menu, operations standards, and philosophy of hospitality. The program also includes on-the-job experience in a successful, high-volume Auntie Anne’s® store. There are also training programs available for your managers.
Our in-house Marketing Team knows the ins and outs of the Auntie Anne’s® guest profile and has developed a marketing plan that will drive store traffic and sales. The national marketing calendar includes quarterly and seasonal campaigns and Limited Time Only (LTO) menu offerings. A Field Marketing Manager is also assigned to each of your stores to help you create a local marketing plan specific to your market.
Our Culinary Team’s state-of-the-art test kitchen facilities, broad base of culinary and food science skills, and unmatched drive to innovate make us one of the best-positioned foodservice franchises in the business.
The Design and Construction Team enables Auntie Anne’s® franchise owners to spend less time building their stores and more time building their business. The team helps ensure the brand’s operational and image standards are upheld, establishes relationships with local and national vendors, and helps you monitor the construction timeline. The Real Estate Team also assists franchise owners with site selection and the leasing process.
Our robust digital platform gives us intelligence gathering and benchmarking abilities to help you meet the needs of today’s connected consumers. Auntie Anne’s® IT Team helps to ensure your consumer-facing and operational tools are functioning properly in order to provide a positive user experience.
Our foodservice experts bring a lot to the table.
Chief Development Officer
Chief Brand Officer
As Chief Development Officer, Brian Krause is responsible for driving strategic, high-quality growth for our seven brands domestically, getting restaurants open, and liaising with our brand teams and owners to create an all-around best development program in the industry.
Most recently, Brian served as Chief Development Officer of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, responsible for overseeing the Franchising, Real Estate, Development Planning, and Design and Construction departments for the Brand.
Prior to Jimmy John’s, Brian was Senior Vice President, Franchise Development for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, responsible for the growth of the company’s more than 18 Brands throughout the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada. Joining Wyndham in 2005, Krause held several leadership roles in the company’s franchise development organization as well as Brand operations, as vice president, for the Hotel Group’s number one consumer rated mid-scale limited service brand, responsible for franchise business growth, strategic direction, operational management and customer satisfaction for the midscale brand’s 157 hotels throughout North America.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Communications from the University of Connecticut.
Alisa Gmelich joined Auntie Anne’s as chief brand officer in December 2020, where she leads the global brand’s operations, marketing and brand management. Alisa has more than 25 years of experience leading marketing and strategic planning to grow brands and drive sales for top restaurant brands including McDonald’s, Burger King and most recently IHOP as vice president of Marketing. Gmelich has a strong background in franchising and has driven results as a focused leader, team builder, marketer and strategist.
Tim Muir joined Focus Brands in January, 2017, bringing more than 25 years of successful franchise sales and development experience to the organization as its first-ever Chief Development Officer. Known throughout the industry as an effective, hands-on leader, before joining Fcous Brands, Tim successfully managed signature brands as Vice President, Franchise Sales and Development for Choice Hotels. Prior to Choice Hotels, Tim served as the Senior Vice President of Franchise Sales and Development for Wyndham Hotel Group, where he effectively directed construction of new brands in North America and led an aggressive, strategic approach to create new growth opportunities. Additionally, Tim helped drive monumental growth for the Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Crown Plaza brands through his role as Vice President, Franchise Development for IHG. An active and passionate figure in the franchise business industry, Tim was a founding member of U.S. Franchise Systems and used his expertise to help launch and transform four start-up hotel brands into global brands. He continues to serve as a mentor for several leaders in the hotel business, and serves on the advisory board at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Hotel School, his alma-matter.
Mike McCoy, Vice President of Franchise Sales
Mike joined Auntie Anne’s® as a Store Support Representative in 1993 and has since served as Associate Director of the Northeast Region, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Director of Store Support, Director of Franchise Development and International Operations. Most recently, he served as the Regional Vice President of International for FOCUS Brands® where he oversaw the operations and development for all FOCUS Brands® locations in Europe, Russia, Canada, and Hawaii. Mike earned his B.A. in International Relations from Bucknell University.
Tom Richards, Vice President of Non-Traditional Development
Tom is a top-performing and visionary business development executive specializing in the retail restaurant industry, with a prolific track record in strategic unit and channel development, sales development, license/franchise administration, and key account management. Tom joined the FOCUS Brands® Family in 2017 as the Vice President of Non-Traditional Development. He is in charge of expanding the footprint of Auntie Anne’s® as well as FOCUS Brands®’ six other iconic brands to airports, universities, travel center channels and other venues. Previously, Tom held roles as the Executive Director of Non-Traditional Development at DineEquity and National Director, Channel Development at Yum! Brands, Inc., which operates at KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. Tom holds a BA in Chemistry from Northwestern University and an MBA specializing in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin.
Okey Reese, Vice President of Sales & Real Estate Retail Markets
Okey oversees the Traditional Franchise Development Real Estate and Specialty Retail departments for Auntie Anne’s®. His responsibilities include the strategic oversight of identifying new growth opportunities throughout the United States, developing landlord/broker partnerships, and discovering locations for franchisees. He has been with Auntie Anne’s® since 2010 and served as a Leasing Representative before being promoted to Director of Real Estate-West Coast in 2012. Prior to joining Auntie Anne’s®, Okey spent seven years at CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. leasing regional malls. Okey earned his B.S. in Finance from The Pennsylvania State University.
Sean Keyes, Vice President of Design & Construction
As Vice President of Design and Construction, Sean oversees new store openings, remodels, and satellite openings for the Auntie Anne’s® system. Sean joined Auntie Anne’s® in 2003 as a designer and project manager before being promoted to Director of Design and Construction. He received his B.S. in Design from Millersville University.
Dale Smucker, Vice President of Supply Chain
Dale manages the supply chain, ensuring all paper products, food items, smallwares, and equipment used by Auntie Anne’s® stores are distributed accurately and efficiently. The longest tenured current Auntie Anne’s® associate, Dale joined the company in 1991 as one of the first full-time employees. Prior to joining Auntie Anne’s®, he was employed by Ford New Holland-North America.
Marcel Nahm, Vice President of Marketing
Marcel is a general manager, brand builder, innovator, and marketing executive with more than 20 years of U.S. and global experience ranging from CPG leaders to entrepreneurial startups. He brings a global, multicultural perspective, with fluency in Portuguese (native), Spanish, and English. Marcel currently serves as Vice President of Marketing for Auntie Anne’s®. Previously, Marcel served as Vice President and General Manager of The Hershey Company’s Snacks business and General Manager of Hershey’s chocolate portfolio across the Americas. He has also held roles at Mott’s and Anheuser-Busch. Marcel earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.