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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Put People Ahead of Profits

Host Hattie Bryant says that the time she spent with Anne Beiler revealed an authentic, hard-working founder who truly believes that people are more important than money.  

Key Question:


Spend more time thinking about people than about profits.

Q: Why do feelings matter in the workplace?

A: Because when people feel good, they do good and when they feel bad, they do bad. The essence of Anne's customer service philosophy is to be nice. She says, just be nice to customers. The problem with this is, you can't be nice if you feel bad. There are so many books, and audio tapes and motivational speakers running around with this message it seems as if we should all know this by now.

Our job here though is to understand why any one business is successful and in the case of Auntie Anne's, she says her number one job as founder has always been to take care of people's feelings. Today, more than ever, she is free to do this.

As much as any business owner we have studied here, Anne Beiler focuses on feelings. Granted, this idea may be more important when the workforce you manage is on the frontline with customers everyday. In other words, maybe your IT guy who never sees a customer doesn't have to feel good to do good.

Ideally, every person should be happy in life and therefore happy in work. But that is simply not the case. Anne believes that the old boss-talking-down-to-subordinate model is passe because it makes most people feel bad, including the boss. It doesn't work anymore because most people are not like Gordon Gekko. Most people aren't just interested in money. They are interested in feeling good, doing good and making their world better.

Think about it

What do you do that you know makes people feel good? What do you do that you know makes people feel bad? Do you think about how people feel when you in the room? Would the people who work for you rather you be in the room or out of the room? Do you think Anne's number one job should be your number one job? Do you think that reaching $232 million in sales has anything to do with Anne's understanding of what makes people tick?

Clip from: Auntie Annes Pretzels

Anne Beiler says that everyone is teachable and lovable.

Gap, Pennsylvania:   An angel investor stood by her while bank after bank turned her down because the purpose of this business was to make money then give it away.

Meet Anne Beiler, founder f Auntie Anne's Pretzels.  Anne's generous spirit is infused throughout this company and it is their secret ingredient.  Anne has proven that her franchisees want to run a business built on love. While most franchise companies have to market to find new owners, Anne has to turn away hundreds who want to buy into her concept. Products topped with her love of people make Anne Beiler a leadership example to follow.

In 1988 Anne Beiler turned a mistake into a new product. Today, Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels are baked fresh in over 800 locations and are the perfect high carbohydrate, low-fat, back-to-the-basics snack so many people crave. Customers will part with over $500 million a year to enjoy this hot treat.

So now, we travel out to Gap in Pennsylvania's Amish Country; it is a simpler place. And though it may be an unlikely place to be running a fast-growing business, maybe there are lessons here for all of us in these hostile times.  This business is based on love and on giving. This is the American Dream. It has come alive for all the right reasons.

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Auntie Anne's Inc.

Anne Beiler, Founder

160-A Route 41
Gap, PA 17527

Visit our web site:

Office: 717-435-1610

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1988

Put People Ahead of Profits

HATTIE: Start with a "Wow" product that sells itself.

Put systems in place.
Add good people who want to do good things and watch the profits pile up.

Making money is just not a good enough reason for Anne and the team at Auntie Anne's to come to work. And CFOs, CPAs and bankers measure success with dollars signs, but it is producing good feelings that matter most to the hundreds of franchise owners and the corporate support staff. Anne has built a business that is on the way to $300 million in sales because she puts people and their feelings above profits.

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