Wetzel's Pretzels
Wetzel's Pretzels is the second largest owner and franchiser of soft pretzel stores.

DALLAS — CenterOak Partners L.L.C., a Dallas-based private equity firm, has completed a majority investment in Wetzel’s Pretzels L.L.C. Basedin Pasadena, Calif., Wetzel’s Pretzels is the second largest owner and franchiser of soft pretzel stores. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1994 by Bill Phelps and Rick Wetzel, Wetzel’s Pretzels offers pretzels in a variety of flavors with several complementary toppings and dips. In addition to its signature hand-rolled soft pretzels, its menu includes Wetzel Dogs, Wetzel Bitz pretzel bites, lemonade, granita and other beverages. Today, Wetzel’s Pretzels has more than 300 company-owned and franchise locations in 28 states and 6 countries. Its stores are located in shopping malls, outlet centers, theme parks, select discount retail stores, train stations and airports.

Randall Fojtasek, CenterOak
Randall Fojtasek, managing partner of CenterOak

“We are excited to partner with the company and its tenured and successful management team,” said Randall Fojtasek, managing partner of CenterOak. “The company has demonstrated consistent, stable growth in its more than two decades of operation and has developed an exceptional brand. CenterOak’s proven approach of identifying opportunities for operational improvement and experience expanding companies’ product offerings and reach makes us well suited to support the company and its management team’s strategic vision.”

Mr. Phelps, chief executive officer of Wetzel’s Pretzels, cited CenterOak’s track record of building value in consumer companies as well as its ability to partner with companies to expand its footprint within the United States.

Bill Phelps, Wetzel's Pretzels
Bill Phelps, co-founder of Wetzel's Pretzels

“We look forward to leveraging the firm’s expertise to continue to support and grow our network of franchise partners and to bring innovative new products to market,” Mr. Phelps said.

CenterOak Partners invested in Wetzel’s Pretzels with capital from its $420 million CenterOak Equity Fund I, L.P.