Auntie Anne’s is cooking up new methods to bring its famed hot pretzels to consumers.
The chain, a near-omnipresent sight at transportation hubs like train stations and airports, has rolled out what it’s calling a “Recline-to-Dine” chair, which allows whoever sits in it to order pretzels with the pull of a lever. The chair is a one-of-a-kind innovation.
Auntie Anne’s teamed up with innovation agency T3 to create the chair, as well as a social campaign that will run with it. The chair is equipped with a small Raspberry Pi computer built inside of it, which detects the level of recline the chair is at through the footbed’s position—that recline level, made with a certain number of ‘cranks’ of the lever, has a direct correlation with an Auntie Anne’s order. The first is Primetime Pretzels, which is two Pretzel Nugget cups, two dips and two drinks; Nuggets and Chill, one Pretzel Nugget Bucket, four dips and four drinks); the last is Bingemode Buckets, two pretzel nugget buckets, six dips and six drinks.
The innovation hopes to bring the Auntie Anne’s experience in a new way to consumers who were missing the chain during the coronavirus closures.
“Over the last several months, we heard from our fans that they missed Auntie Anne’s,” said Heather Neary, president of Auntie Anne’s. “As we launched our new contactless mobile ordering and pickup options, we wanted to truly celebrate by developing a fun and unique way for fans to fulfill their pretzel cravings.”
It’s also a way to promote the many ways customers can get their Auntie Anne’s: Contactless delivery, curbside pickup or in-store pickup.
“We always had a lot of heart for ‘The Chair’, but seeing the fans’ real reactions was priceless,” said Bonnie Rohan, creative director at T3. “We honestly couldn’t have scripted better responses if we tried. Between the novelty of the chair and the smell of the pretzels, it was all smiles, big laughs and lots of pretzel eating.”
A corresponding social campaign that shows customers testing out the chair—taped pre-Covid—will run on Facebook and Instagram.