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Employees Just Want to Belong, Dwyer COO Says

Everybody is talking about the labor shortage these days, and one of the most respected names in franchising, Mary Kennedy Thompson of the Dwyer Group, has several astute things to say on the topic as well as research to back it up.

Fitlife Wants Bigger Piece of Prepared Meals Pie

Here’s the latest entry on the prepared meal scene—Tampa-based Fitlife Foods, which operates stores that sell nothing but already cooked meals ready for customers to pick up or to have delivered. Fitlife spent more than six years improving its business model, and is now rolling out a franchise program in Florida.

‘On the Leading Edge,’ Kiddie Academy Climbs Franchise Times Top 200+ Rankings

Millions of parents need child care and increasingly, as our recently released Franchise Times Top 200+ segment numbers show, they want that care to include education. It’s double-digit sales increases all around for this year’s top three early education and care provider concepts, with Kiddie Academy leading the way.

Consistency, not Magic, Propels Jersey Mike’s Up the Franchise Times Top 200+

Jersey Mike's jumps 14 spots to No. 102 on our annual ranking, and while the company’s president says he wishes he could point to one defining move Jersey Mike’s made last year to boost sales, the reason for the notable growth is much more basic.

Conserva Irrigation Expands With New Deals

I interview a lot of business people about countless interesting companies in franchising, but every now and then one really sticks with me and gets my gears turning. The latest such example is Conserva Irrigation, a MN-based brand under the Outdoor Living portfolio that bills itself as the only national outdoor irrigation company founded on the concept of water conservation.

Power Trio Backs DMK Burger Bar

Michael Kornick is not a very good person to talk to when you’re hungry and stuck in the office. He’s a five-time James Beard-nominated chef and one of three partners rolling out a franchising program for DMK Burger Bar, and he described the burger pictured nearby, along with the favorites of his partners’, in mouth-watering and excruciating detail one day this week, at lunchtime.

Research Complete, Rave Tests New Ideas

Scott Crane joined Dallas-based Rave Restaurant Group as CEO in January, after the parent company of Pie Five Pizza and Pizza Inn had turned in some tough quarters and the former CEO was gone. Several months of research have led to some promising tests, especially of delivery at Pie Five.

Planet Fitness Rises in the Franchise Times Top 200+ Ranks

For the big box, value-priced gym concept, it’s a leap President and CFO Dorvin Lively attributes to three factors: brand positioning, franchisees’ growth and attracting members.

Gen Z Dipping Its Toes Into Home Buying

Who’s sick of reading about millennials? I am, and I am one, albeit on the crustier end of the scale. A new report from Zillow shows that Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2010, are beginning to enter the housing market. It’s time to learn about these little tikes, and start drafting plans with their interests in mind.

Your Guide to 2017's Top 200+

Now in its 19th year, 2017’s Top 200+ is bigger than ever before, with additional coverage and analysis throughout the Franchise Times website and in our October issue.

Subway’s CEO Leads Lineup of Top 200+ Interviews

“It is our strategic plan to improve every consumer touch point,” says Suzanne Greco, the CEO of Subway and sister of its late founder, Fred DeLuca, in an exclusive interview with Franchise Times’ contributor Julie Bennett, available today in print and online. She is one of four CEOs profiled in the Franchise Times Top 200+ package, our annual ranking of the 500 largest franchise brands by global sales.

CEO Dave Long On Orangetheory’s Explosive Growth

Fueled by franchisee development and a high-intensity, group interval training model that’s attracted tens of thousands of members, Orangetheory Fitness rocketed to No. 153 on the Franchise Times Top 200+, our exclusive ranking of the 500 largest franchises.

Monster Tree Service Branching Out

Did you know that almost everything is franchised? It’s true, including tree removal services. From my own experience as a new homeowner, I know how much money can be made in this field. At Pennsylvania-based Monster Tree Service, recent growth has been coming at a breakneck pace—with expectations of growing the system 30 percent by the end of 2017.

Franchising Deserves a Stake in Urban Planning

I’ve passed a milestone I’m quietly celebrating on this fine fall day. My first-ever magazine column, The Urbane Franchisor, is going strong after a year and a half in the pages of Franchise Times. Now more than ever, I’m convinced the franchise industry has much to gain by learning about modern trends in urban planning.

Are Brand Events the Next Big Thing?

After writing a story about Tough Mudder transitioning from (somewhat crazy) endurance races into low-cost exercise gyms, I wondered what other brands might find value in creating an in-person event.

Operator Adds 'No Buy' Push to Complaint Against Dunkin'

A franchisee claiming widespread discrimination against African-American women by Dunkin’ Donuts added a second punch to her lawsuit filed today: a coupon saying “Dunkin’ Discriminates” and urging people not to buy Dunkin’ products, which she plans to circulate on social media. Dunkin' Brands "categorically denies" the allegations of discrimination.

Dunkin’ Donuts coffee now available for Amtrak travelers

With the expanded partnership, Dunkin’ Donuts’ signature hot coffee will be available to nearly 12 million customers who ride Northeast Regional and Acela Express services each year.

Hyatt Selects Mark Vondrasek as its new executive vice president

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) today announced the selection of Mark Vondrasek as executive vice president, global head of loyalty & new business platforms, reporting to Mark Hoplamazian, president and chief executive officer.

Juice It Up! reports seventh consecutive growth quarter

Juice It Up!, one of the nation’s leading raw juice bar and hand-crafted smoothie franchises, announced that system-wide third quarter sales increased four percent over quarter three of 2016, and year-to-date are up five percent.

Ranking the biggest brands in franchising

The 10 largest franchise brands roared back in 2016 after losing sales the prior year for the first time in the history of the Franchise Times Top 200+.

Exclusive interview with Subway CEO Suzanne Greco

Suzanne Greco was seven years old when her big brother, Fred DeLuca, opened what became the first Subway restaurant in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1965. “I stayed in the background while everyone else was working,” Greco said, “but I aspired to be a worker, too. Fred and our mother gave me little chores, like sweeping the floor and drying dishes.”

The newcomer: BoConcept makes U.S. push

Judging on appearances, everything looks better in Scandinavia—the peaceful lifestyle, colorful cottages, lush fjords, sleek Volvos wagons and, of course, the breathtaking, gorgeous furniture that elevates daily living to an art form. It’s a look that’s becoming more common, showing up everywhere from apparel to automobiles.

The turnaround: A&W’s on the road again

Nearly six years after A&W’s disgruntled and demoralized U.S. franchisee association banded together with its largest international franchisee and former President Kevin Bazner to purchase the brand from Yum, now-CEO Bazner is feeling confident as the nearly 100-year-old brand is back to growing sales and adding units.

The up-and-comer: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

What does it take to run a company for Warren Buffett? Ask Gino Blefari, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, one of the few Buffett acquisitions that have been allowed to use the hallowed Berkshire Hathaway name.

Top Kuwait operator, M.H. Alshaya, brings Blaze to Middle East

Already with more than 30 American brands in its portfolio, M.H. Alshaya Co. adds a fast-casual pizza concept it believes has immense potential and ‘will fit well in a market that prizes individuality, quality and convenience.’

No Spandex required at Beeline Bikes

Typical bike shops can be intimidating for casual bikers whose self image is not defined by a car-free lifestyle. The shorts are form-fitting, the proprietary lingo is pervasive, prices for quality equipment and accessories are often high, and booking an appointment during peak riding season can be a challenge.

Head-turning partnership for Snap Fitness and McGraw

You don’t send out photos of Tim McGraw doing handstands and crunches without a shirt and expect to be ignored by the press—and sure enough, Snap Fitness’s new partnership with the country music superstar and the fitness club called Tru Mav is drawing lots of attention.

Outdoor spaces require extra planning

Whether a deal-breaker or the ‘cherry on top’ of a location, many franchises have cracked the code for making outdoor spaces work. Watch for overly expensive build-outs, though, as well as zoning and regulations that can pinch. Then there’s the weather…

Start now to meet new rule from FASB

Big changes are coming to the accounting department, but few companies have done much about new Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) rules. Dubbed revenue from contracts with customers, the handful of new rules will change things for restaurant franchisors especially.

How to crack the tourist trap code

Tourist towns are an entirely different offshoot of the non-traditional real estate game, and choosing the right location is like prospecting for oil—time-consuming during front-end research, costly and disappointing if you make a mistake, but a gusher of cash if you’ve successfully drilled down into a prosperous deposit.

RFDC: Come for the deals, stay for the Flay

When people ask why they should attend the Restaurant Finance and Development Conference, it’s difficult to name just one reason—or even five.

NRD’s Susan Beth and her ‘amazeball’ answers

Susan Beth’s car may not be as clean as it used to be, but she still thinks the best job in franchising just found her. Susan (we should refer to her by her last name, but it would just sound like we’re calling her by her first name, so why bother?), the COO of NRD Capital Management, an un-private equity fund started by Aziz Hashim, is the most bubbly M&A adviser you’ll ever run into. “I’m a Type A when I need to be,” Susan says, reassuringly.

Kono Pizza ditches bricks and mortar

In 2012, the owners of Kono Pizza’s American arm set out to change the way Americans eat pizza—out of a cone-shaped crust. Their game plan centered on smaller footprints than traditional quick-service brands. At the time, it had 18 U.S. locations, with intentions of greatly scaling up through the sale of three-, five- and 10-pack store deals, most of which were to be located in traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Ego’s in check for Halal Guys operator

‘When you’re filled with ego, you’re focused on yourself, not finding someone to help,’ declares a Halal Guys operator in Southern California. Paul Tran and his four partners came together for their love of the brand.

Philippines ripe for food expansion

Each element has a meaning. Blue stands for peace and justice, red symbolizes courage, and the white equal-sided triangle represents equality. The eight rays of the sun recall the first eight provinces that sought independence from Spain, while the stars represent the three major geographical divisions of the country: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Digital strategy is crucial to reach consumers

Effective marketing is all about getting people’s attention. Videos work wonders for Spray-Net, while traditional mixes with digital marketing at Watermill Express. For Blink Fitness, geo-targeting delivers results.

‘Answers sought, answers denied’ as Tim Hortons/RBI union sours

The honeymoon is over for Restaurant Brands International, the company formed by Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital that bought the iconic Tim Hortons donuts-and-coffee chain in December 2014 for $12.5 billion.

Over South Korea, a cloud, even if not of the mushroom variety

The headlines are filled with the rapid developments in the steadily deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and North Korea. By the time this column has been published the alarm could subside—or it could have accelerated into one of the most perilous and threatening periods in our lifetime.

If General Patton were here to helm the pay-per-click battlefield

You’ll find two types of soldiers on the front lines of battle: those who stand paralyzed by fear and those who are emboldened by pure grit and sound strategy. Likewise, the pay-per-click (PPC) battlefield is peppered with franchise players that are either fighting blind or frozen in place, with only a select few who charge forward with a winning strategy.

A neophyte tackles Bruster’s, while an old pro takes on 64 Sonics

Dan Tarkoff is stepping into his first franchise venture—an ice cream shop called Bruster’s Real Ice Cream. Yaron Goldman is launching his fourth—the iconic Sonic Drive-In. Though their experience level differs dramatically, both franchisees expect to grow their respective brands and reap financial rewards.

We’ve done the hard work so relax, enjoy the show

If you are a regular reader of this column, you may remember last month I opened with an accounting of my first jobs as a teenager, one of which was the unenviable task of “walking beans” on my grandfather’s farm, which means walking down rows of soybeans with a hoe in tow, pulling the weeds. (Soybeans sold with weeds in the mix lowered the price.)

Scoreboard

The franchising sector is beating the pants off other industries. According to Hachemi Aliouche, director of the Rosenberg International Franchise Center at the University of New Hampshire, the industry is doing incredibly well, and it has since 2000, when the center started watching.

Executive Ladder

Randon Clayton was hired as technology associate at Assisting Hands Home Care’s home office. Preparing for expansion, Mici Handcrafted Italian hired Elliot Shiffer as partner and CEO.

Why I’m a newfound fan of rereading what I’ve written in the distant past

I came up with the idea for this column after interviewing Dear Abby’s grandson, Dean Phillips, who is operating a coffee shop chain while running for Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District seat (the interview was for our sister publication Foodservice News).

Arby's Named One of Best Workplaces for Women

Arby’s has been named to FORTUNE’s 100 Best Workplaces for Women list. Arby’s is the highest-ranked restaurant brand on the list and is the only quick-service restaurant selected.

Golden Corral announces partnership with Coca-Cola

The Golden Corral Corporation, the nation’s largest grill-buffet chain, recently awarded its beverage agreement to The Coca-Cola Company.

Starting a Juice Concept With 5 Kids in Tow

Two young parents with five young kids stumbled upon an idea that seems crazy from an outside perspective: starting a food-based franchise from scratch as a way of improving their work-life balance. With seemingly no fear, they took the plunge and launched Clean Juice Bar in 2014.

These 4 ‘Super Elements’ Are Key to Hiring the Right People

Last week’s IFA Franchise Action Network event in Washington, D.C., put the politics impacting franchising front and center. But mixed in with the various labor law concerns and worry about the joint employer rule was the general sentiment that it’s never been more difficult to find and hire the right person.

The UPS Store hits 5000 retail locations

The UPS Store, Inc., the nation’s largest franchise system of retail shipping, print and business service centers, is now 5,000+ locations strong, the company announced today.

Ethics Complaint Dismissed in SoR Case, 'Ambiguity' Remains

An ethics complaint against Craig Tractenberg, a prominent franchise attorney for Fox Rothschild in Philadelphia who represented School of Rock, was dismissed September 7 by the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, but the contents of a letter “expressing this office’s concerns regarding his conduct” will not be made public under board rules.