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Slapfish to launch in Albuquerque before Balloon Fiesta

Slapfish, the nation’s largest fast casual seafood restaurant chain, has started construction at its newest location at Holly Center in Albuquerque. With a target opening date of late September, Albuquerque diners will soon be enjoying Instagram-famous Lobster Rolls and Chowder fries at Slapfish.

Pizza Press Giving Away 1,000 Pizzas for Florida Grand Opening

Orlando pizza fans have reason to celebrate as Southern California's fastest growing build-your-own pizzeria, The Pizza Press, is opening its first Florida restaurant in Celebration off US 192. The Pizza Press, known for its high quality ingredients, wide array of local craft beer, and fun 1920s newspaper theme, will open a location at 6079 West Irlo Bronson Highway 192 in Celebration on Saturday, July 8th.

Culver's Honors Wisconsin Roots with Limited-Time Pub Burger

Driving to Wisconsin to taste world-famous cheese made by a renowned cheesemaker isn't always practical. Going to Culver's for the Wisconsin Big Cheese Pub Burger, a three-cheese ButterBurger® inspired by some of the state's most iconic cheeses, is.

Arby's Named One of the Best Millennial Workplaces

Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (ARG) has been named to FORTUNE’s 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials list. Arby’s is one of three restaurant brands recognized and is the only quick-service restaurant selected. This is the first time Arby’s has been named to the list.

Marilyn Monroe Spas CEO Lewis Talks International Franchising

Marilyn Monroe Spas inked its first international deal to bring the salon and spa concept to India. We'll have more on this deal in the August issue of Franchise Times, but first, some interview outtakes.

'Disloyal' Jimmy John's Workers Lost their Protections

A federal appeals court ruled in favor of MikLin Enterprises, a franchisee of 10 Jimmy John’s shops in Minnesota, saying employees there were “so disloyal” they were not covered by labor rules protecting unionization activity.

More From Qdoba 'Zees: We're Not Disgruntled

“We do believe in the brand,” declared Ron Stokes, president of the newly formed Qdoba Franchisee Association and president and CEO of the system’s largest operator, with 55 stores. I called him because the announcement followed the rapid formation of two new franchisee groups for Tim Hortons, in Canada and the U.S., who have multiple grievances against their franchisor, and I wanted to see if the Qdoba situation was similar.

Ordering McDonald’s Delivery With UberEATS

Is delivery faster and more convenient than ordering McDonald’s at a drive-thru? We tested McDonald’s new delivery partnership with UberEATS to see how the fast-food giant’s sandwiches, fries, Happy Meals and so-called artisan burgers weathered the journey to our office with a driver, rather than just driving down the road to get it ourselves.

Amid Franchisor ‘Uncertainty,’ Qdoba Franchisees Organize

By forming an independent franchisee association, Qdoba Mexican Eats operators aim to “protect and enhance their $250 million collective investment” in the brand. This announcement comes as parent company Jack in the Box Inc., concerned that operating two different brands is negatively impacting the company’s value, continues to evaluate potentially selling the Qdoba brand.

Time to Embrace the Lactose Intolerant

For all the R&D that’s gone into gluten-free foods, catering to some that science proves aren’t actually sensitive to anything, it’s time for restaurants and ice cream brands to embrace a hot new crowd everybody’s talking about: the lactose intolerants. From my very personal experience, I can tell you that we’re kinder than those gluten peeps, we’re asking nicely and have fun money to spend with whoever starts bringing dairy-free frozen treats to the mainstream.

We’re On the Cusp of … Something

I’m old enough to remember the Dow Jones Industrial Average first cracking 10K on March 29, 1999. I was a junior in high school, and it felt like the whole country—and me, especially— was on the cusp of greatness. Eighteen years and 11,392 points later, it once again feels like change is afoot.

For U.S. Diners, Experience Is the Influencer

Sixty-three percent of diners agree that visiting restaurants is a form of entertainment for them. For franchise restaurants looking to stand out, particularly as dining dollars are being spread across more off-premise channels such as delivery and carryout, this means focusing on differentiating elements such as convenience, atmosphere and social sharing.

IFA’s Cresanti on D.C. Chaos, Mega ‘Zees & More

Sitting down with IFA Chairman Robert Cresanti for a conversation about working through the current chaos in Washington, the impacts of ever-larger multi-unit franchise groups and where he sees the biggest growth opportunities in the industry’s future.

Putting Culture First, Funky Sausage Concept Dat Dog Expands

COO Bill DiPaola sees franchising as a way for Dat Dog to be viewed as a local restaurant, one where owners have the “touch and relationship with the community.” Restaurants serve a menu of unconventional sausages including those made from alligator and crawfish, plus dozens of toppings.

An Insider's Look at Drug Testing, by Fastest Labs Boss

When it comes to drug testing, David Claflin has seen and heard it all. “I could write a book on it,” says the CEO of Fastest Labs. “We have people that try to trick us every single day. And the funniest thing is when they get caught they just say, ‘OK, you got me.’”

Pickup USA Appeals to Aging Hoopsters, Like Me

After five-plus years at Franchise Times I have finally found the franchise for me: Pickup USA, which offers basketball-based boot camps for fitness and most notably organized, officiated pick-up basketball games for a monthly fee under 59 bucks. Are you kidding me?

Tim Hortons Suit 'Need Not Have Happened,' Attorney Says

A $500-million lawsuit filed this week by Tim Hortons franchisees in Canada didn’t have to happen, says John Sotos, the attorney at Sotos LLP in Toronto who is pressing the case against Restaurant Brands International, the owner of the coffee-and-donuts chain since December 2014.

Jani-King's Win 'A Blow' to DOL, Gardere Lawyer Says

A win for Jani-King of Oklahoma in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor is “a blow to the government’s overall goal to classify franchisees as employees of their franchisors,” declares Carrie Hoffman, one of the attorneys at Gardere law firm who argued for Jani-King.

Walking the Streets of NYC at IFE '17

Those of us on the “show circuit” know the various expos can blend together, with a lot of the same usual suspects. This year’s International Franchise Expo in New York City last week was an exception, with many new concepts, cool new startup companies and a diversity that highlights all that’s great in franchising.

KFC Zinger Heads Into Space

For all the Jetsons episodes that glamorized life in the space age, they never mentioned where George, Jane and company would get access to delicious fried chicken. Here on planet Earth, that problem has allegedly been solved as KFC and space flight experts World View announced they are partnering to launch the Zinger chicken sandwich to the edge of space—really.

Boosting Confidence Is Job One for FranSelect Hire

Barbara Marshall, a newly hired coach at FranSelect, had inspiring words when I reached her last week, to buck up anyone who has ever struggled in school or any aspiring business owner who could use a confidence boost—in other words, quite a lot of people.

Sharp Advice on Franchisee Self Promotion

Ryan McEnaney knows how to pitch a good story, and as the PR director for his family’s fifth-generation business and as a franchisee and communications manager for Frenchies Modern Nail Salon, his skills at weaving a personal narrative pay off in real-world benefits for both of his brands.

DOL Rolls Back Joint Employer Standard a Bit

A short statement by the Department of Labor last week—that Obama-era guidance on joint employer is being rolled back—has franchisors and their attorneys resting more easily. Workers’ advocates, of course, would not be pleased.

Long John Silver’s adds deep fried Twinkies to its menus

Long John Silver’s is testing the waters with gold on the menu – fried golden sponge cake to be exact. America’s favorite seafood restaurant launched the Hostess Deep Fried Twinkie in two test markets this spring and is expected to launch the classic treat to the rest of the country in the coming months.

Subway's 'Green Room' Aims to Attract Music Festival Crowd

As an attendee of a major camping music festival last summer, there were three big pain points: lack of showers, adequate food and overwhelming heat during the daytime hours. Subway is attempting to tackle at least two of these issues with a summer festival roadshow, offering free mini sandwiches in its air conditioned “Green Room.”

Franchise Chefs Deserve More Credit

Stealing a phrase from Special Agent Dale Cooper, there’s some “damn fine” food in franchising. I would know, because in my three years as a reporter at Franchise Times, I have been on a competitive eating marathon that has exposed me to some extremely tasty food -- and not just for a franchise.

Del Taco names John D. Cappasola Jr. as chief executive officer

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc., (NASDAQ:TACO), the second largest Mexican-American QSR chain by units in the United States, today announced that President and Chief Brand Officer John D. Cappasola, Jr. has been named as chief executive officer, to succeed Paul J.B. Murphy, III.

NPC In, DavCo Out as Wendy's Puts to Rest 3-Year Dispute

Wendy’s has resolved its three-year battle with DavCo Restaurants, formerly one of its top franchisees that started with the brand in 1976, by buying 140 restaurants from DavCo and selling them to NPC International of Overland Park, Kansas, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing June 1.

Pet Obsession, Franchising Boosts Pet Supplies Plus

As Pet Supplies Plus CEO Chris Rowland tells it—and as I’ve seen through the increasing number of cats and dogs in family Christmas photos—it’s become an increasing trend for pets to be seen as “members of the family.” He’s has seen the evolution firsthand, through his parents—and his fast-growing retail brand.

Facebook Diving Into Food Delivery

We use it to announce the best and worst news of our lives, to stalk exes and find new love, to read the news of the world and complain about current events—so why shouldn’t Facebook just feed us already? Fear not, socialites, as California-based Facebook has announced plans to add meal delivery to its all-encompassing function set.

Marcato Wins Buffalo Wild Wings Board Battle, Smith to Retire

The contentious proxy battle for the Buffalo Wild Wings board is over, and Marcato is the clear winner. The activist hedge fund of Mick McGuire took three board seats and Sally Smith is set to retire.

Thoughts on Law and Life From Award-Winning Zeidman

Philip Zeidman, longtime Franchise Times columnist and DLA Piper partner, showed off his way with words when accepting the Who’s Who Legal Lifetime Achievement Award last month, including musing about his early days in the profession as a litigator.

Aslam Khan’s Plan for TGI Fridays: Transparency, Accountability

Aslam Khan is known to many as the successful leader of Falcon Holdings, but now he's joining a new wave of successful franchisees turned franchisor leaders at the top of TGI Fridays.

One Day to Go, BWW 'Zees Stand Behind Management

Franchisees of Buffalo Wild Wings are still backing corporate in the fight against activist investor Marcato Capital Management, saying in a statement Tuesday that Marcato’s plan to sell off most of the 634 company-owned restaurants to franchisees is “heavily flawed.” The company’s annual meeting is tomorrow.

McDonald’s Accelerates Delivery Rollout with UberEats

Underscoring the seismic shift to delivery in all corners of the restaurant world, McDonald’s is ramping up its trial of third-party delivery with UberEats, doubling the number of U.S. locations delivering Big Macs, Egg McMuffins, and McNuggets.

Most important ‘National Days’ for franchises this summer

Major franchises have taken advantage of more conventional national days to promote their products or offer exclusive deals. Others have had the foresight to actually create their own national holidays.

RE/MAX names Adam Contos co-CEO

RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: RMAX), announced today the appointment, effective immediately, of Chief Operating Officer (COO) Adam Contos to RE/MAX co-chief executive officer (co-CEO), sharing responsibilities with Dave Liniger, the company's former co-founder and now co-CEO.

Jamba Juice opens first location in Thailand, marking the company’s 70th international location

Jamba, Inc. (Nasdaq: JMBA), announced the opening of its first Thailand location on May 25th, operated by franchise partner, King of Juices Company, LTD (“King of Juices”). The store is located in the Siam Paragon Mall in Bangkok.

Two Men and a Truck Goes Long Distance With Value Flex Program

Long distance moving can be a terrifying prospect. To add to the uncertainty of moving to a completely new area, families and individuals ditch their belongings for days at a time, hoping they arrive safely to their new address. Having a verified company they can trust makes that process a little bit easier.

Pyrotechnics, confetti and the stars igniting Rock & Brews

In a couple of hours, Paul Stanley will have a black star circling his right eye and a furry tail attached to his skintight black pants, and Gene Simmons’ silver tongue will be stained blood red. But first they are playing an acoustic set for the superfans, sans their signature white face paint and 30-pound platform boots.

About-face for Juice it Up operator

When U.S. Marines veteran Willie Smith treated his employees at Juice it Up like, well, Marines, he washed out. ‘They all had attitudes,’ he says. So he changed his way of thinking.

Capriotti’s uses big-time connections to grow

Nine years after buying the brand, CEO Ashley Morris networked his way to what he and his new partners believe will be a growth spurt. He wants to guard against putting one on every corner, though, because by doing so ‘you destroy the economic model.’

Ace Actively Fueling Store Growth

Ace Hardware is a sleeper in the franchise world—much bigger than many people would suspect with nearly $15 billion in annual global sales, nearly 4,500 U.S. locations and a No. 6 ranking in the Franchise Times Top 200+ list of the largest franchisors. As it seeks to fuel additional growth, Ace announced a new financing program to help owners scale up.

Lawsuit a drag on Fresh Healthy plan

Fresh Healthy Vending founder Nick Yates has been pushing hard to pivot his young franchise away from selling healthier-snack machines and into robotic frozen yogurt dispensers. But a recent million-dollar judgment against the company complicates plans for the new venture, which he has organized under a new umbrella name, GenerationNext Franchise Brands.

'You’ve got to stand up,’ says Great Harvest boss, after shot at Panera

Can a franchise with under 200 stores, Great Harvest Bread Co., derail the sale of the mighty Panera Bread, at 2,000 stores and counting, to JAB Holding Co., the German conglomerate that offered $7.5 billion or $315 a share in April?

Kuwait’s Gourmania stretches Ruby Tuesday

There’s nothing casual about Gourmania International’s approach to expanding Ruby Tuesday’s presence throughout the Middle East and North Africa, where the Kuwait-based master franchisee says family dining is still ‘a big hit.’

Brides find their own way to prep for ‘I do’

As someone who has witnessed her unfair share of raunchy bachelorette parties traipsing around the Mall of America and other locales (is it really in good taste to ask strangers for money to remove Life Savers stapled to your shirt?), I applaud companies creating fun environments for young women celebrating their upcoming nuptials.

What romance novels, KFC and moms have in common

KFC cooked up something special in May: its first romance novella titled “Tender Wings of Desire” as a thank-you to all the moms.

Blast & Brew wants pour-it-yourselfers

Build-it-yourself Neapolitan pizza and burgers, a wall of pour-it-yourself craft beer with “beer geniuses” recommending ideal pairings, an in-store experience designed to evoke social media posts, a real estate strategy focused on urban locations and brand positioning splitting the difference between casual and fast-casual—California-based Blast & Brew is an upstart pizza-focused franchise hitting more than a few millennial buzzwords.

A&W’s CEO On Growing a 98-year-old Brand

Riding in the car with A&W CEO Kevin Bazner on our way to a third-generation restaurant in Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to ask more questions than any gracious source should be subjected to. We talked about jazzing up the menu, shifting the marketing message and bolstering the profits of a 98-year-old brand.