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Orangetheory Continues to Accelerate Growth in Q1

In announcing its first quarter growth numbers today, Orangetheory Fitness noted its 61 new studio openings throughout the world, along with the franchise's 54 signed lease agreements and 34 franchise agreements.

China, Saudi Arabia Up Next as Sylvan Learning Expands Overseas

Sylvan Learning is taking its tutoring programs to China, where the franchise has plans to develop 200 locations over the next 10 years. In Saudi Arabia, franchisee Haitham Ahmed is set to open his first Sylvan location this month, with a goal to open at least 10 total.

Who Will Do Our Stuff For Us?

As more of our economy is digitized and desk based, American consumers increasingly rely on the manual labor of others to enable our cushy lifestyles. With almost-crippling labor shortages in everything from quick-service restaurants to handyman-style companies that clean, care, repair and renovate, who’s going to actually do this work as the labor pool shrinks even more?

Marco’s Opens 900th Location in Puerto Rico

It’s truly hard to imagine what life is like for our fellow Americans down in Puerto Rico, who are still grinding their way through many lingering aftereffects of Hurricane Maria’s devastation. On a brighter note, Marco’s Pizza has announced that its 900th location has opened in the island city of Bayamόn—a minuscule piece of good news on an island that was already in dire straits before the hurricane ever made landfall.

Restaurants Expect High Traffic for 4/20 Offers

A lot of hungry, funny smelling people are out and about today and restaurants are taking full advantage.

Relationships First, Then Advocacy, Believes Primrose CEO

Jo Kirchner, CEO of Primrose Schools, believes effective advocacy starts long before a leader pushes to get something done. “The key is building trusted relationships, and before they’re needed,” she told Franchise Times. Kirchner received the Bonnie LeVine Award from the International Franchise Association.

A Traffic-Driving Veggie Burger? ‘Impossible’

The days of veggie loaf, bean patties and cardboard with corn are coming to an end.

Clean Juice Is ‘First and Only,’ as Founder Will Tell FFGC

Different is good for Landon Eckles, co-founder of Clean Juice, who will present his brand’s story at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference, May 7-9 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

With ‘Hotspots’ Launch, Domino’s Delivers to Parks, Beaches

With its announcement Monday of the launch of Domino’s Hotspots, the pizza chain will now deliver to more than 150,000 outdoor locations that don’t have a traditional addresses—parks, beaches, sports fields and landmarks such as the Las Vegas welcome sign or the Atlantic City boardwalk.

Court Speaks: 7-Eleven Operators Are Not Employees

A U.S. District Court judge for central California rejected a claim that 7-Eleven’s franchisees are actually employees, dismissing Haitayan et al. v 7-Eleven Inc. with prejudice, meaning the suit cannot be brought to trial again.

KFC Offers Personal Financial Program to Employees

KFC has been in the news recently for its out-there ads, but the brand recently launched a program to help its employees with personal financial planning that sounds even crispier to this reporter. The KFC Foundation, an independent non-profit organization funded by KFC franchisees, is partnering with MyChange, a charitable offering for employees at participating U.S. restaurants.

Middle America Stars in Hardee’s ‘Re-Launch’

In a new ad campaign, Hardee’s is being “re-launched” with messaging directed right at the brand’s Middle America niche.

Nominations Open for Franchising Gives Back Awards

Now in its fourth year, the IFA and its Educational Foundation are seeking nominations that highlight the charitable efforts of franchisors, franchisees and industry suppliers. One winner in each of five categories will receive a Gold award presented on stage during the Franchising Gives Back Celebration and Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., on September 10.

Meeting Bobbie and Hosting a Great Soft Opening

I’ve attended my fair share of soft openings, witnessing everything from dazzling to disaster. With franchisors more savvy than ever and more franchisees realizing the importance of opening with a bang, I’d like to share my thoughts on what makes a good soft opening or media invite in the wake of a fine experience at a new Capriotti’s.

Future of Dippin’ Dots, 45 More Brands Detailed at FFGC​

Scott Fischer, CEO of Dippin’ Dots and a speaker at the upcoming Franchise Finance & Growth Conference, isn’t one to shy away from controversy. Last year he famously invited Sean Spicer, then the White House press secretary, to a Dippin’ Dots ice cream social after Spicer criticized the brand.

NRD Foundation Supports Jibu with First Philanthropic Pledge

Jibu, the Kenyan-based social enterprise has a few new backers in a successful, $7 million funding round that included the new NRD Foundation.

Get the Multi-unit Franchise News You Need to Know

Twice a month in the Development Deal Tracker, I’m plucking the key details from dozens of multi-unit development agreements to give you everything you need to know to stay informed and, of course, keep an eye on what the competition is doing.

BrightStar Acquires Iowa’s HomeChoice Senior Care

In move to extend its nationwide presence, in-home care franchise BrightStar Care acquired HomeChoice Senior Care, an Iowa-based provider of non-medical care, housekeeping and 24-hour assistance. The deal gives Chicago-based BrightStar a presence in Iowa markets including Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Des Moines.

Former Yum CEO Takes Aim at ‘Toxic Leadership’

When David Novak was CEO of Yum Brands, he said his greatest pleasure was teaching leadership development programs reaching 4,000 people in the company until his retirement in 2016. Now he’s taking those lessons to anyone who wants them through a new program focused on helping companies develop their leaders.

Waze Targets Franchisees With New Ad Options

Franchisees have a new spot to market locally, and one that might bring literal traffic.

Art of the Deal Panel Is Highlight of Upcoming FFGC

It’s not news to Susan Beth, COO of NRD Capital, that plenty of people questioned why the Atlanta-based private equity firm purchased Ruby Tuesday. She will talk about the ins and outs of that deal, along with two other award winners in the Franchise Times Dealmakers project, at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference, May 7-9 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

Delta Disaster Services Now Part of HRI Holdings

Adding to its stable of home and commercial services brands, the parent company of Chem-Dry Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning and N-Hance Wood Refinishing acquired restoration concept Delta Disaster Services in a deal announced this week.

Melting Pot Wants to Capitalize on Fondue’s Appeal Abroad

International franchise expansion is on the menu for The Melting Pot now that it has refined its criteria to target established franchisee partners with the infrastructure to develop at least three restaurants.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Adds New Parks in U.S., Canada

As Yogi Bear enjoys his return to the spotlight thanks to the recent Quicken Loans TV commercials, his day job—Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts—announced the addition of two new campgrounds in Tennessee and Newfoundland.

NBA Star Draymond Green Signs With Blink Fitness

With excellent timing as March Madness brings basketball to the fore, NBA star Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors has signed a franchise development deal to bring at least 20 Blink Fitness gyms to Michigan and Illinois.

Founding Couples: Architects and Engineers

The big theme among founders is not always distinctly separate duties, but the role of strategy and operations.

Regis Inks Multi-Year MLB Partnership

Even though snowflakes are still flying, baseball is in the air as Regis Corporation announces an industry-exclusive, multi-year partnership with Major League Baseball for Supercuts by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Supercuts is now the official hair salon and official hair stylists of MLB.

McDonald’s Targets Greenhouse Gas Emissions

McDonald’s is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as news drops that the famed Pacific Ocean garbage patch has grown to twice the size of Texas. McDonald’s is partnering with franchisees and suppliers to reduce its system-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent by 2030.

Beware the ‘Tyranny of Legacy,’ Olo’s Founder Tells Restaurateurs

Food delivery is “not some cute fad” as some restaurant CEOs would suggest. “This is a fundamental shift,” declared Noah Glass, founder and CEO of Olo, speaking at the first Food On Demand Conference in Dallas today.

Food on Demand Just Getting Started, DoorDash COO Says

“It’s the very earliest innings of on-demand food delivery,” says Christopher Payne, COO of DoorDash, the third-party restaurant delivery service that is now in 60 markets and 600 cities and is about to blow up to three times that, he said during an on-stage interview at the debut Food On Demand Conference in Dallas today.

Burger King ‘Zee Expands Reach in Colorado

Denver-based Ocedon, a restaurant management company and Burger King franchisee, added to its unit count in Colorado with the acquisition of 11 additional BK stores in the Denver area.

Flattery Will Get You Nowhere With Me, But a KISS Song?

Everyone knows you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but what about a clever and complimentary email seeking coverage from yours truly that includes the immortal words of the great KISS song: “Beth, what can I do?” That's what Tony Lamb of Kona Ice did.

In a World Divided, Anytime Fitness Finds Common Truth

Anytime Fitness will open its 4,000th gym March 16 in Shanghai, China, and then will pursue plans to open at least one new gym in Antarctica. That’s according to Mark Daly, national media director, who has produced a video in celebration that answers a burning question.

Saudi Arabia Eyes Growth in Franchising

Saudi Arabia is launching a major initiative as part of its Kingdom 2030 Vision to support the growth and development of franchising.

Former Panera Exec Joins Workplace Catering Brand

Jim Rand, a longtime restaurant exec who built the catering business at Panera Bread and P.F. Chang’s, has joined ezCater, a national marketplace for business catering that’s revolutionizing the game of feeding hungry corporate offices.

Citing Appeal of City, AtWork Opens Birmingham Office

As the author of our Urbane Franchisor column, my ears perk up whenever a franchise mentions the appeal of the city in its business plans. The latest example is national staffing franchise, AtWork Group, which opened its newest office in greater Birmingham as the company pushes toward 100 locations.

Avoid 3 Common Mistakes, Advises Mooyah’s Owner

Anand Gala is a long-time franchisee of Jack in the Box, Del Taco, Famous Dave’s and others, and he has now crossed the aisle to form Gala Capital and purchase his first franchisor, Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes. He believes many franchises stumble over a few common mistakes, which he plans to avoid at Mooyah and any additional brands he buys.

New CEO at Troubled Liberty Says Power to the ‘Zee

Nicole Ossenfort had been CEO and president of Liberty Tax for just two-and-a-half weeks when reached Thursday, but she was already putting her focus squarely on franchisees. “I believe that happy, successful franchisees and employees are the basis and essential for the success of this company. They are the reason we exist, and we have to start making decisions and strategies that support that core belief,” said Ossenfort, the third CEO in six months at Liberty Tax. “In fact, we believe that so much, we changed our mission statement: creating happy, successful franchisees and employees.”

Hardee’s Honors Loyal Crime Author

QSR brand marketing continues to get weirder and more personal, with the latest example being Hardee’s who has gone all out for award-winning author Brad Parks, who’s been using his local Hardee’s as the backdrop for his famous crime series.

Major Food Brands Partnering on Climate Change, Healthy Soil

As more brands and customers add social and environmental responsibility to their list of must-haves, the latest announcement is several major food brands banding together to improve the health of agricultural soils and fend off climate change.

WFF Aims for Gender Equality in Food Industry by 2025

Cheers, upbeat music and a general sense of female empowerment dominate the WFF’s Annual Leadership Development Conference, where career advancement and leadership growth of women in the food industry are the focus and premier speakers champion the strides made. It was a sobering start to the day, then, when Celia Huber, a senior partner at McKinsey & Co., pulled up a slide reading: “At current rates, it will take more than 100 years to reach gender equality in the C-suite.”

The Big Get Bigger as JAE Group Acquires 34 Wendy’s

Wendy’s sold the restaurants to JAE Restaurant Group as part of its System Optimization Initiative, a shift from company-owned to franchise transactions with the goal of Wendy’s owning just 5 percent of its 6,500 restaurants.

Who’s On First? Browning-Ferris Back in Effect for Now

The Browning-Ferris standard for joint employer—which many in franchising despise— is back in business for now, after the National Labor Relations Board on Monday vacated its Hy-Brand decision on the grounds that one of its board members, William Emmanuel, had a conflict of interest and should have recused himself. “Which means that, for now anyway, Browning-Ferris is again operative law,” explained David Kaufmann with Kaufmann Gildin & Robbins in an email Monday,

Courtyard Launches Dapper New Bistro Bars

Courtyard by Marriott took the wraps off its new Bistro Bars this week, which the company bills as an “elevated evening experience” for business travels and lobby bar enthusiasts like the Franchise Times edit staff.

Sky Zone's Purchase by CircusTrix Adds Capital, Rules

CircusTrix Holdings of Provo, Utah, bought Sky Zone last month, bringing the 195-unit trampoline park chain under its umbrella and changing the game for Jeff Platt, former CEO of Sky Zone and now president, reporting to the founder and CEO of CircusTrix.

Subway Launches New Loyalty Program

After the dust-up created by its recent $4.99 footlong sandwich promotion, which several franchisees said was a strain on their profit margins, here’s hoping Subway’s upgraded loyalty program is better received by its franchisee network.

What Does Tax Reform Mean for the Franchise Business Owner?

Franchise Times and RSM had a webcast on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 to discuss the recently passed tax bill. You can now watch a replay of that session here.

As Part of Growth Plan, ComForCare Acquires CarePatrol

With its new CEO in place, in-home care franchise ComForCare took another step in executing its strategic growth plan with the acquisition of CarePatrol, a senior placement franchise.

Donutology’s Founder Stands Out in NextGen Contest

A detailed knowledge of the numbers set Andrew Cameron and his fledgling Donutology franchise apart from the rest of the contenders in last week’s NextGen competition at the International Franchise Association’s annual conference.

When the Meatless (Um, Beet?) Juices Drip Down Your Chin

Two franchised burger chains expanded the Impossible Burger this week to the masses, with Fatburger and Wahlburgers bringing the meatless option that is made entirely from plants available to its customers—which raises the question: how can a product made entirely from plants cook, taste and smell like ground beef from cows?