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Growth Advice From Three Big Multi-Unit Franchisees

Becoming more than a one- two- or three-unit franchisee is no easy task. What brands to go with? How far from home can you wander? We talked to a few of the biggest multi-unit franchisees in the biz for their advice on growing a larger franchise operation. As a bonus, we asked them what to expect in the economy for the rest of 2016.

12 Win Prestigious FT Dealmakers Awards

Franchise Times today announces winners of the 2016 Franchise Times Dealmakers awards, the fourth annual project recognizing the boldest players driving mergers and acquisitions in franchising.

Keller Williams Crushing the Real Estate Game

Based off some impressive new numbers extending Keller Williams' lead as the world’s largest real estate franchise, the fast-growing company is riding the recovery wave to the top of its game. We recently spoke with the company’s president, John Davis, to find out what’s behind the great numbers and what are the most interesting things happening in America’s real estate market.

Metaphorical Franchising

At this week’s Franchise Forward event held in the Twin Cities, a great panel of franchise experts delved into a variety of topics impacting the industry, while host John Francis used his keynote address to compare multi-unit franchising to the life cycle of people. It was an interesting approach.

Planet Fitness Knows How to Make the Most of Its Moments

We’re reporting our Fast and Serious cover story for March right now, and enjoying the opportunity to pick the brains of 40 CEOs of the smartest-growing franchise brands, to learn how they drive sustainable growth. Along the way, we’re picking up some interesting stories, like the experience of Planet Fitness when it went public last August, and did so in a big way.

Dickey's Heir Holds on to Grandpa's Passion, Lets Go the Smoke

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is another one of our Fast and Serious Brands, which we’ll cover in the March issue when we reveal our ranking of the 40 smartest-growing franchises. Roland Dickey Jr., grandson of the founder, had plenty to say about how he and his team are using metrics and analysis to slim down the restaurant’s footprint and in the process boost average unit volumes. But he also got to recalling his grandfather.

Introducing The Urbane Franchisor

Everyone who knows me is well aware of my urban obsession. Now with the upcoming March issue of Franchise Times, everyone in franchising will know, too, with the start of my new column: The Urbane Franchisor.

In Tale of Two Cities, Employers Get First Say on Sick Pay

Anyone in private business who thinks they could have made a career in public policy, consider this a cautionary tale, as we report on "listening sessions" held by a Minneapolis city council work group contemplating mandated sick pay policies.

…But From Workers' Standpoint, It's a Different Story

In Minnesota, it’s against the law to force a sick employee in foodservice to come to work, or more to the point, to knowingly allow a sick employee to stay at work. But that’s not stopping the anti-public health and -humanity practice, according to four employee panelists on a Minneapolis City Council work group that’s contemplating sick pay mandates.

New IFA Leader Addresses Issues, Fundraising

Former International Franchise Association CEO Steve Caldeira was a fantastic PAC fundraiser, his successor Robert Cresanti told the audience at the IFA Franchise Business Network luncheon in Minneapolis January 21. “I am not,” he added.

NRD Capital's Aziz Hashim on Unlocking Multi-Unit Growth

Aziz Hashim, general partner at NRD Capital and chairman of the IFA, on how to smartly grow a large, multi-unit franchise operation.

Tackling European Development from 'A-near'

When Michele Fishman, vice president of International Development with The Alternative Board (TAB), decided to tackle the European market back in late 2014, she leased an apartment in Madrid, Spain, for six weeks. Here's some of what she learned.

Franchising Rides the Cheap Oil Whitewater

On the continuum of good to bad, I’m strongly of the mindset that cheap oil is good for the franchise economy. Even as some economists sound their warning bells as further oil price drops coincide with significant stock market free falls, more money in the pocket of everyday consumers will undoubtedly flow to service-oriented businesses in the coming months.

On The Loose in New York City

This is the first in a series of articles from Franchise Times' Editor at Large on her adventures in the U.S. and abroad. Spoiler Alert: This particular blog only has one franchise reference, but if you enjoy eating for more than just sustenance, you should be able to overlook that one shortcoming.

Six Questions w/New Two Men and a Truck CEO Jeff Wesley

Jeff Wesley was recently named CEO of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK after serving as CFO for the brand for almost eight years. He took over for Brig Sorber, one of the original "Two Men" of the company. This comes on the heels of 57 consecutive months of growth for TMT.

12 Newcomers Make FT's Exclusive Fast & Serious List

Twelve newcomers appear on the new Fast & Serious list, our annual ranking of the 40 smartest-growing franchises, based on a nine-point, proprietary formula.

At FT Dealmakers Time, Notable M&A Trends Emerge

It’s Dealmakers time at Franchise Times, when we evaluate the mergers and acquisitions in franchising nominated last quarter by all sorts of players for our annual project.

2015's Franchise Stock Market Winners & Losers

Last year was a strange one for investors. The DJIA gained only 130 points during the year and many fast-casual restaurant concepts went public to mixed results. Now that we’re into a new, equally weird year, let’s take a look at the winners and losers in franchising as determined by stock market performance.

Are Roomy Pants Hot or Not? FT and Others Weigh In

“What’s Hot? What’s Not?” was the topic for real estate and retail pros gathered this week in Minneapolis to hear fashion, restaurant and franchise gurus, including our own Tom Kaiser of Franchise Times, at a Minnesota Shopping Center Association event. Some were obvious and others contentious.

Brothers' Bond is Bread

Behind every freelance writer lurks another career option. We originally wrote a longer story on Robert Lillegard's bakery experience for our sister publication, Foodservice News, but thought Franchise Times readers would enjoy this family business profile, too.

Is Industrial Chic on Its Way Out?

Whether you’re renovating your home or dreaming up a new look for your restaurant, it may be time to look beyond mixing metal and glass with distressed, barnwood-like wood. If it’s a large-scale redesign covering several/many units, you should be even more on top of these shifting winds, as a design lasting 5-15-plus years needs to be as timeless as possible.

'Zombies' in the Restaurant Biz May Falter, Panelists Say

A slew of restaurant closings are coming, predicted panelists at a Minnesota Shopping Center Association event this week, as soon as patrons use up their holiday gift cards. “There’s a lot of zombies out there who are dead and they just don’t know it,” said Stephanie March, senior editor at Mpls.St. Paul Magazine. “February will be the reckoning.”

No Skin in the Game?

Having started my career as a business reporter right before the good times ground to a halt in 2008, I'm especially sensitive to the warning signs cropping back up in the economy. The latest? Franchisors offering enormous discounts or even waiving the franchisee fee altogether. This cannot be a good thing.

Can Buster Bluth erase Jared Fogle?

Whether it’s his portrayal of Buster Bluth in Arrested Development or Gary Walsh in Veep, Tony Hale is a delight who is regarded fondly by a wide audience. Subway is wise to use his talents in a new ad campaign clearly designed to turn the page from the Jared Fogle era.

Franchise Times Top 15 Stories of 2015

Looking back on the last 12 months proves it's been a great year here at Franchise Times. We've added two new staff writers (myself included!), created some great content, won some industry awards and have even seen a dramatic increase in our web traffic. Not bad for a year's work! Below is a list of our 15 most-clicked stories throughout the year.

Dogs Get a Leg Up on Holiday Spending

Americans are on track to spend $60 billion on their pets this year, according to Pet Supplies Plus. Naughty pets, as well as nice ones, can expect a gift valued at around $30 from their guardians. Not to mention what they can beg, borrow or steal from under the tree.

Anytime Fitness Plus More on our New 20 to Watch List

Coming soon in a Franchise Times issue near you is our annual 20 to Watch feature, which highlights the people, brands and ideas in franchising that we think will be trending next year.

Thinking of Selling? Tips to Getting the Best Price

“There is no greater opportunity to make money other than selling your business,” declared John Gordon, founder of Pacific Management Consulting Group, and he explained seven things to nail down before you do so, at a Restaurant Finance & Development Conference panel last month. A few highlights:

Dear Chipotle, Get Well Soon

Poor Chipotle. With its formerly shiny reputation and lofty goals of locally raised, happy chickens marching straight to your plate, it has become the Jack In The Box of the 2010s. As is often the case with hindsight, nobody saw this coming, but it makes sense that the poster child for locally sourced clean eating now struggles to contain the damage from multiple outbreaks of foodborne unpleasantness.

Better Food Movement is Now Unstoppable

Regardless of the motivation or science, there is no stopping the "better food" freight train and your restaurant brand (or supply company) better be prepared.

Site Selection Gets Boost from Data, Captain D's Exec Says

“It’s a great time to do site selection because of all the tools out there and all the data out there,” said Michael Arrowsmith, chief development officer with Captain D’s, in a new video interview with Franchise Times.

Get the Model Right Before Stepping on Gas, BIP Partner Says

Mike Rotondo is CEO of Tropical Smoothie Café and Tin Drum, and he said in a new video interview the first step in franchising is to make the model profitable before starting to grow.

One Can Never Overdose on Too Much RFDC Coverage

When writing our coverage of our Restaurant Finance & Development Conference for our January issue, we decided to take the New York Times approach with a slight modification. Ours is all the news that fits in print.

Looking Ahead to 2016

Groan, I know, here comes all the “year end” articles and lists, but I can’t resist! After joining the franchise industry a year ago, I’m anxiously looking forward to many things in the coming year, while being very thankful for everything that’s happening up to the present.

The Joint Demonstrates Power of Franchising in Health Care

Have you heard of The Joint? It’s a franchised chiropractic chain that’s exemplary of the more modern vision of alternative health care without all the bulky infrastructure and insurance influence. As a recent and recurring patient, I see this company’s efforts as revolutionary for chiropractic, and it’s easy to see other health clinics following a similar path.

It's a Borrower's World and Then Some, TD Bank Exec Says

Brian Frank of TD Bank says it’s a borrower’s market on steroids for restaurant operators seeking capital, in a new video interview.

People are Worth Trusting Despite Risk, MOD's Boss Says

Scott Svenson, co-founder of MOD Pizza, discusses how hard it is to keep a strong company culture as a franchise brand grows, in a new video interview.

Dogs in the Franchise Spotlight

According to the American Pet Product Association (APPA), Americans spent approximately $47.7 billion on pet products and services in 2010, an increase of 4.8 percent over 2009. That’s a lot of puppy money.

The Art of Team Building with a Twist

When Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney, founders of Painting with a Twist, added team-building sessions about two years ago, they envisioned a completely different offering than their consumer-oriented paint-and-sip classes.

Golden Corral Franchisee Dishes Out Helpings from the Heart

Now a successful businessman and the franchise owner of Metro Corral Partners, with 31 Golden Corrals in the Florida/Georgia area, Eric Holm has made a second career out of serving Thanksgiving meals.

DLA Piper's (and FT's) Zeidman Gains Free Enterprise Award

Philip Zeidman, senior partner at DLA Piper and general counsel for the International Franchise Association, is the first recipient of the IFA Dennis Wieczorek Free Enterprise Award. He will accept the award during the IFA’s annual convention, Feb. 20-23 in San Antonio.

Don't Miss the Delivery Boat!

We’re only months—a few years at most—away from drone delivery of everything from toilet paper to cheeseburgers, but many franchise brands are seemingly missing out on the wave of restaurant delivery companies like BiteSquad, DoorDash, GrubHub and Seamless.

How Enlightened Brands Are Transforming Their Teams

Every employer wants his employees present, i.e. at their desk or workstation, and he, or she, also wants them engaged (in their work, not to another employee). But it’s not enough in the hospitality industry to just show up to work, Fred LeFranc, CEO of Results Thru Strategy, said during his panel at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas earlier in November.

A Few Notes from Anaheim

As I begin to recognize more faces on the franchise expo circuit, I'm still amazed by the kindness of people in the franchise industry.

Three Operators Display Power of the 'Zee at RFDC Panel

Anyone who doubts large, multi-unit operators can wield more power than their franchisors wasn’t at the “success breakfast” featuring three entrepreneurs on the last day of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference. Franchisors who want to attract such owners—and who doesn’t?—should note the mindset of such entrepreneurs.

Smaller Operators have Outsized Hopes for Growth

Small to mid-sized restaurant operators are a bullish bunch, with 69 percent of respondents to a new survey by RSM expecting top-line growth next year and a mere 4 percent worrying about a decline, according to a Restaurant Finance & Development Conference presentation.

Around the Restaurant Industry in 60 Minutes

It was almost like speed dating, as nine experts at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference provided quick market snapshots and nuggets of information from their unique corner of the restaurant industry.

T-shirts from Franchise Brands Ship Out to Iraq

Not every thank you has to be a grand gesture. Sometimes showing appreciation to our military can be as simple as providing them what they ask for.

Famous Chef Weighs in on the Taxing Issue of Tipping

During the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin, considered one of the best restaurants in the world, had a different take on the hot issue of eliminating tipping.

Decoding Success of Triple Bottom-Line Brands

A new crop of companies have emerged in recent years, in the mold of Whole Foods Market, with a purpose that goes beyond profits. Encompassing people and the planet alongside profits, so-called triple bottom-line brands are an interesting phenomenon, and were the subject of a seminar at this year’s Restaurant Finance & Development Conference.