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April 2015

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In this issue

Coconut’s Fish Café brings Hawaii to the mainland.

After retiring to Hawaii at 40, Michael Phillips started a fish restaurant and then brought in his daughter and son-in-law to franchise it. The family motto is one reason it works: Mistakes are ‘tabled forever,’ once rectified.

Rusty Taco gets assist from Buffalo Wild Wings.

Of all the taco joints in the world, Buffalo Wild Wings’ emerging brands team walked into theirs, and Rusty Taco is reaping the rewards of being under the established brand’s wing.

Why Bella Bridesmaids and Fabulous Frocks like weddings.

When her oldest daughter Erin Casey Wolf’s bridesmaids were treated like “second-class citizens” at a bridal boutique, Kathleen Casey told her daughter they should open a Bella Bridesmaids franchise. Casey had seen an ad for the franchise in a fashion magazine at a time when both mother and daughter were seeking small-business opportunities. Casey Wolf just happened to be traveling to San Francisco where the flagship store was located and on Mother’s Day, she presented her mother with a framed picture of the store and an invitation to be business partners.

9Round boxing franchise says ‘get fit, don’t hit.’

9Round’s founder eliminated the ‘getting hit part’ of kickboxing in order to attract more women to the 30-minute circuit workout that can burn as many as 500 calories. ‘Get fit, never hit’ is the mantra.

Wendy’s remodel offers ‘no ROI,’ DavCo counters.

DavCo is Wendy’s fourth-largest franchisee and the first to publicly defy Wendy’s mandated remodeling program. Its counterclaim to Wendy’s lawsuit is attracting attention, including by its franchisee association.

Sweeto Burrito is comeback bid for TV producer.

Four years ago, J.P. Francia was broke. So how has he signed his 200th restaurant and is pushing beyond? With ‘party food’ that he believes gives the almighty Chipotle a run for its money.

Friendly's works to live up to name.

Friendly’s CEO calls recent high-profile closures ‘medicine that should’ve been taken years ago.’ His tough approach to right the brand includes a mandate to be, well, friendly. Turns out that’s not as easy as it sounds.

How 10 Franchise Times Dealmakers hunt down capital

Flynn Restaurant Group landed this year’s Franchise Times Deal of the Year when CEO Greg Flynn, above left, bypassed the middleman and attracted the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund as an investor. Heidi Ganahl of Camp Bow Wow, middle, and Chuck Runyon of Anytime Fitness, right, landed big deals of their own, along with seven more savvy operators. What lessons can they share about the art of the deal? Read on.

Liberty Tax founder aims to beat namesake firm, now his rival.

When Dave Prokupek, above left, joined Smashburger, it had zero stores. When he left it had 275. Can he apply his golden touch to Jackson Hewitt, where he’s CEO?

Scooter’s ramps up to chase Starbucks, faces long road.

CEO Don Eckles seeks to build one of the country’s top coffee chains in the next several years, using a ‘flood the market’ strategy, and including drive-thrus. A deal with a large grocery chain is another tactic.

Fresh from the C-suite, more execs try service franchises

The budgets are much tighter for former executives who try their hand at franchising. But the freedom is greater, and skills honed at large corporations can be applied to their own shops.

Tips for the negotiating table as rents rise.

Expect higher rents the next time you face your landlord, real estate brokers say, especially if you cut a deal during the recession. The keys to negotiation are to start well in advance, know your assets and pounce quickly.

Franchise Times Legal Eagles names top lawyers in franchising.

The Franchise Times Legal Eagles of 2015 were quick to share their best advice for clients, when we sent them three intriguing questions. We’ve published as many as possible in the pages that follow.

Kiwis are more formal than Aussies, plus more franchise-friendly.

There are surprisingly few countries on Edwards Global Services’ ranking for 2015 that are in the red—the color designating the highest potential for franchising. Our country focus this month, New Zealand, made the list—plus Canada, the U.S., Panama, Chile, Poland, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Japan. The map was handed out during an international session at the International Franchise Association’s convention in February (see related story on page 70.)

Pragmatism rules in New Zealand, and laws trump emotions.

New Zealanders aren’t afraid to say ‘no’ during negotiations. Their style is closer to the British reserve than their neighbors in Australia. And don’t use the ‘V is for victory’ sign when you succeed, as it’s considered rude.

Advice for franchisors thinking about global expansion.

Going international is not black and white, there are 50 shades of gray to almost every decision. Here are some protections to consider before leaping into international expansion.

Three CEOs work every angle to find capital for their systems.

‘Show me the money’ is that famous line from Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movies. It could also be the mantra for the three CEOs we’re following all year. Here are their approaches to ensure the till never runs dry.

Executive Ladder

Kathy Thiessen, former director of sales at Merry Maids, has been named vice president of franchise operations at 101 Mobility. “We have already seen a positive impact as she has worked to implement some of her many ideas and initiatives after just a few short weeks with the company,” said President Dave Pazgan.

Unrepentant, Moe’s Southwest founder touts judge’s ruling.

Martin Sprock, co-founder of Moe’s Southwest Grill and the now-defunct Raving Brands, says he’s back in the franchise sales business after a federal judge in February rejected “100 percent” of the claims against the system he formerly owned. An attorney for the plaintiffs disagrees with Sprock’s characterization, and seven remaining franchisee groups are deciding whether to appeal.

Three legacy brands still have juice and room to grow.

Jim McClure concedes it’s probably his background as a land-owning pig farmer that makes him want to own acreage and buildings in addition to the franchise. A Captain D’s franchisee since 2003, McClure operates five of the fried seafood outposts in the mountains of northern Georgia. They are all ground-ups.

Surprising, and humbling, findings at IFA’s annual confab.

Dateline: Las Vegas By this time—the International Franchise Association in its 55th year, roughly a half century since the United States began to introduce franchising to the rest of the world—one would have thought there would be no more surprises. One would be wrong.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

Don’t make me call you

When sons Ben and Sam, now ages 26 and 21, respectively, were in elementary school, I more than once advised them, “Don’t make the teacher call me. I will not be happy.”

Loose Ends

Art’s in the eye of the beholder, unless it’s mom

Years ago in another lifetime I taught a Mommy & Me class for preschoolers and their parents. The moms were a competitive bunch, some more interested in having refrigerator-quality art from their 2-year-olds than in the child’s amateur attempts. Art projects often were finished by the mothers, while the child sat by watching or went off to play in another part of the room. If any of my students ever grows up to become the next Picasso, his biographer will marvel at the sophistication of his artwork during the early preschool years.
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