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More of the Multi-unit News You Need to Know

Twice a month 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.

Hand & Stone Massage CEO Links Skincare to Sales Growth

Though it’s smaller in unit count by nearly 900 than the industry giant that is Massage Envy, Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa leads the segment in sales growth percentage for 2016.

Muscle Maker Jumps On Reg A+ Bandwagon

T-shirts and pop-up ads are among the tools Muscle Maker Grill is using to promote its upcoming initial public offering via a new option known as Reg A+, said Bob Morgan, CEO of the franchised restaurant chain seeking just under $20 million. Regulation A+, passed as part of the JOBS Act in 2016, allows any qualified investor to buy shares in an IPO, in the past something that was effectively reserved for institutions and high-rolling insiders.

Goodbye (Public) Ruby Tuesday

NRD Capital is set to take Ruby Tuesday private in a deal that values the storied casual diner at $335 million.

Culver's Founder Took Long Path to Roark Buy

Craig Culver inked a deal last Friday with Roark Capital, the private equity firm that bought a minority stake in the 640-unit Culver’s chain, but it’s a move Culver had resisted for years.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Liberty Tax Situation Not a Problem, General Counsel Says

It may seem awkward if your CEO gets booted by the board of directors but keeps his status as chairman, holds all the Class B shares and so retains the right to name a majority of board members, as happened to founder John Hewitt at Liberty Tax Service last week. But Liberty’s general counsel, Vanessa Szajnoga, doesn’t think so.

Learn, Play & Grow (Really Fast) at The Learning Experience

The franchised education space is morphing from competitive to crowded, mirroring other categories—such as medical franchising—that is undergoing a massive shift away from established systems. The Learning Experience is growing rapidly and focusing on its corporate culture as the education category hits a critical inflection point.

New Pillar to Post Owner Has Sept. 11 Story

This Monday, September 11, was a special day for Matt Robertie of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He became a new franchisee for home inspection franchise Pillar to Post, 16 years to the day after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Joint Employer ‘Could Be Catastrophic’ for Franchise Model, ‘Zees Say

Hundreds of franchisees and franchisors are meeting with representatives and senators on Capitol Hill today as part of the International Franchise Association’s Franchise Action Network event and to push for support of the Save Local Businesses Act.

Franchisors, ‘Zees Gather in D.C. to Talk Joint Employer Issue

Introduced in July by a U.S. House committee, the Save Local Businesses Act counters the NLRB’s August 2015 ruling in the Browning-Ferris Industries case that adopted a broad joint employer standard based on “indirect” or “potential control” of employees, meaning franchisors can be held liable for a franchisee’s employees.

HealthSource Chiropractic Focuses on Injuries, Rehab

Compared with The Joint, a large chiropractic franchise that focuses on maintenance care, Ohio-based HealthSource Chiropractic is different, geared toward patients with fresh injuries looking for progressive rehabilitation treatment.

Hurricane Harvey Relief From ‘Zees and ‘Zors, Part II

Countless other organizations are providing what they can to assist in the recovery efforts, and it’s nearly impossible to list all of them. Here are 10 other national franchise brands and franchisees harnessing their coast-to-coast presence in support.

Hilton’s All Suites Keeps Rocking

Times are good in the hotel biz—really, really good—as a multi-year growth streak continues. As one nugget of continuing good news in the category, Hilton’s All Suites brand just released a midyear update that points to continued growth for the brand, and likely many others in hospitality.

Toppers Pizza’s 'Big, Hairy, Audacious' Goals

With a meaty investment in consumer-facing tech and fast-rising unit growth, Wisconsin-based Toppers Pizza thinks it can challenge the biggest pizza brands after doubling in size over the last three years.

Tropical Smoothie Café Eyes Minnesota Expansion

Tropical Smoothie Café positions itself as a healthier option in the fast-casual segment with flatbreads, sandwiches and wraps to go along with classic and “Superfood” smoothies, which is why company execs believe the concept is a perfect fit for an active, outdoor-focused Twin Cities metro population.

Liberty Tax Founder Gets Boot, but He May Be Hard to Jettison

That bombshell the franchising world felt today was Liberty Tax Service announcing the termination of John Hewitt, who is the founder, chairman and CEO of Liberty Tax as well as the founder of competitor Jackson Hewitt and a giant in the business.

Franchisors and ‘Zees Line Up to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

As the devastation and damage piles up in Houston and in other Texas areas hit by Hurricane Harvey, plenty of franchisors and franchisees are offering what they can to help. Here are 10 franchisors, both big and small, offering their services and resources:

Labor Day Economic Snapshot

Given the level of political instability throughout this year and the heartbreaking disaster unfolding along the Gulf shore, it’s remarkable that the economy has chugged along as well as it has. Here’s a look at some of the latest key economic indicators for a pre-fall check up on the economy.

Subway Launches Striking New Store Design

As it rolls out a dramatically new store design, complete with a new brand logo, Subway is looking to catch up to the fast-casual competition with a new store concept that includes a bright vegetable display front and center. For Subway’s thousands of franchisees, the mandatory remodel program includes three tiers that allow varying levels of equipment reuse.

Franchise Execs Talk Delivering on a Brand's Promise

Franchise leaders gather at annual Faegre Baker Daniels summit to share how they work to develop and maintain a successful franchise system.

We Have the Multi-unit News You Need to Know

Twice a month I’m plucking the key details from dozens of multi-unit franchise 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.

Diving Deeper Into Medical Franchising

We’ve predicted it along with many others: a boom in medical franchising that upends the traditional healthcare industry that creates some massive, new players in the franchise industry. As a reporter who’s received care at several next-generation health players, I see a category that has many unique needs.

Arby’s+Turkey Legs+'Game of Thrones'

I thought it was only my personal life affected by my avoiding "Game of Thrones," but now with Arby’s latest announcement, it is clear this gory and drama-laced show has become required viewing to fit in with contemporary society, like the Soprano’s finale, “Who Shot J.R.?” and every episode of "Unsolved Mysteries."

Chairman Change at Brightway Insurance

Brightway Insurance, a national property/casualty insurance franchise with agencies in 17 states, continues to expand its footprint in 2017, including the signing of new franchisees in Washington, Alabama and Indiana.

Head-Turning Pics Tout McGraw and Snap Fitness Partnership

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.

Perhaps Boring Fits the Bill for New H&R Block Chief

Jeff Jones’ move this week to helm H&R Block after a tumultuous and brief stint at Uber, as announced below on this blog, prompted a look at the tax services sector in franchising. The results are about as boring as, well, preparing your taxes versus following all of the wild news coming out of Uber, and maybe that’s what appealed to Jones.

H&R Block Appoints Jeff Jones, Former Uber Executive, as CEO

Jeff Jones, a former executive with Target Corporation and Uber, was named as H&R Block’s new CEO today. He will succeed Tom Gerke, who will continue to serve as interim president and CEO until October 9.

Need Glasses for the Eclipse? Shoney's Can Help

If you're ready to get your geek on Monday to view the total solar eclipse but find yourself without viewing glasses, Shoney's is ready to help. The Nashville-based franchise will give out free viewing glasses and a free MoonPie with meal purchase while supplies last. Hwy 55 Burgers is getting in the game, too.

‘Purpose Beyond Profit’ Positioning Drives New Snack Concept

A new concept from Remarkable Brands LLC, Purpose Snackery says it’s a snack shop “that encourages its independent franchisees to make an impact in the communities they serve."

Pieology Heads for Mexico City

Mexico City can now add Pieology pizza to its list of attractions, as the California-based franchise embarks on its first international expansion in the Distrito Federal.