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What’s love got to do with it? How to avoid trouble with franchisees

“You have to love people. You have to care about them,” declared Dave Mortensen, co-founder of Anytime Fitness at a recent talk about the reasons behind the franchise’s stunning growth, now up to 3,500 units worldwide.

Canary in the coal mine—why small, telltale events matter to franchisors

Because early coal mines had only primitive provisions for ventilation, miners would bring a caged canary into new coal seams. As long as the canary was singing, all was well—or as well as the life of a coal miner could be. But because canaries can detect even small concentrations of gas and react instinctively, a silent canary was the signal for immediate evacuation.

If luck of the Irish isn’t enough, try these tactics to find leads

It’s said that Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, used an ordinary shamrock, the three-leaf clover, to illustrate Christian teachings. Of course, he’d have been quite lucky to stumble upon a four-leaf variety in the first place, with only about one specimen in 10,000 of Trifolium repens having the elusive four leaves.

Leave it to the pros at Burger Fi, FirstLight and Dunkin’

Professional athletes make bundles of money during relatively short careers. Mike Miller, a small forward for the Denver Nuggets, is an exception. The 36-year-old entered the NBA in 2000 and has played ever since.

Ax and you shall receive: an issue full of fun tales

Yeah, I got angry with my kids from time to time when they still lived at home. Sons Ben, now 28, and Sam, 23, caused me some angst at times. Like that time (plural?) I showed up at parent-teacher conferences and I learned assignments were missing.

Executive Ladder

Alex Bingham graduated college with dreams of being a sportscaster, not a member of the franchising industry. Right out of college he obtained a job many in the field dream of, working at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut for several years. While Bingham said it was a fun job, he soon realized it wasn’t the right career path for him over the long haul.


Say what you will about President Donald Trump, his election got the market moving to new heights. But even with the flurry of executive orders, he’s been mostly quiet on one of the biggest opportunities for public companies: corporate taxes. Trump promised to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to “anywhere from 15 to 20 percent” by the end of 2017.

If it was called Kroc’s instead of McDonald’s, would we dine there?

I never thought the time Ray Kroc confiscated the play-by-play microphone at a Padres baseball game and heartlessly apologized for the deplorable way his team was playing would be my Woodstock. I kind of remember being there, although my son asserts he’d remember if we had been.

Food Halls: The Big Retail Trend of ‘17

With as many as 150 new food halls predicted to open in the next few years, these modern day food courts with higher-end food offerings are the bright spots offsetting tough times in the retail scene as many big-name brands are facing what may be their darkest year in business.

Keller Williams expands into Jamaica and Puerto Rico

Keller Williams, the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count, has more than doubled its number of international agents, adding 1,900 new agents in 2016. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, the franchise is now home to 3,345 agents across the 23 countries and regions it has awarded master franchise agreements.

UBreakIFix Opens in Reno

SBA Tweaks Lending Rule, Relieving Some Franchisors

The Small Business Administration temporarily tweaked its new procedures governing lending to franchisees, to the relief of many franchisors and bankers who maintained the new rules would chill franchise lending.

Puzder's Withdrawal Pains Franchise Supporters, but Cheers Workers' Group

Just one day before his long-awaited confirmation hearing for secretary of labor, Andrew Puzder became the lone cabinet nominee to date to not get the nod, a blow to his many supporters in the franchising community who hoped the CEO of CKE Restaurants would set the department on a pro-business track. But at least one workers' group cheered.

New Stats on Women in Franchising

I’m all about encouraging diversity in franchising, and was pleased to see some new statistics on women in franchising from Franchise Business Review. On the whole, FBR’s numbers point to a clear majority enjoying operating the business, while barely more than half feel their work/life is balanced.

Additional 30,000 Temps Power Valentine’s Day Surge at Edible Arrangements

At Edible Arrangements, Valentine’s Day is the single biggest day of the year.

A&W Getting Back in the Game

With fond memories of A&W root beer floats with my parents and brother when I was a kid, I’m happy to hear the news that the brand is back on the gas five years after its sale by Yum. For the first time in more than 10 years, A&W is reporting systemwide revenue and store count growth, as it kicks off a new franchise sales initiative.

Noodles & Company Plans to Shed 55 Restaurants in Next Few Months

Noodles & Company, the fast casual concept struggling with declining sales for better parts of the last year, has announced plans to close approximately 55 “underperforming” restaurants in the coming months.

Noodles & Company plans to close 55 “underperforming” locations

Fast casual giant Noodles & Company said Thursday it will close 55 underperforming restaurants, more than 10 percent of its current store count.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Enters 2017 by Celebrating 85 Consecutive Months of Record Growth

In 2016, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® experienced 10 percent growth in year-over-year sales compared to the year before, ultimately completing more than 500,000 moves nationwide.

TGI Fridays introduces two new executive hires

Marketer Stephanie Perdue and long-time restaurateur Jerry Comstock have joined TGI Fridays as chief marketing officer and president & chief operating officer, respectively.

Arby’s completes 25-restaurant development agreement with new franchisee, AR Chain of Restaurants

Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (ARG), parent company of the franchisor of the Arby’s brand, announced that it has reached a new development agreement with franchisee, AR Chain of Restaurants, to open 25 new restaurants over the next six years with a focus on Pennsylvania and New York.

UBreakIFix Opens in Cutler Bay

Training New Drivers When Schools Won't

Things have changed since most of us received our driver education training during our teenage years. What used to be within the purview of brave school teachers has now been passed off to the private sector as many school systems have cut funding for in-school driver’s ed courses. As this trend spread throughout the United States, Washington-based 911 Driving School has profited and expanded to fill the void.

Franchise Exec Takes Unexpected Medical Detour While On the Road

One of the best decisions Marc Mushkin made in his lengthy career in international franchising is not putting the 'Do Not Disturb' sign on his hotel door in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).

Domino’s Introduces Pizza Wedding Registry

Just weeks after my Franchise Times cover story on Domino's, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based pizza giant has outdone itself with a pizza wedding registry. Seriously.

Following big gains, Captain D’s expects strong 2017

It was another terrific year for seafood franchising giant Captain D’s, as the company obtained a record-high systemwide AUV in 2016. It saw fourth quarter system wide sales increase 1.3 percent, along with a 2.3 percent systemwide same-store sales increase over the year. This marks six consecutive years of sales growth for the Nashville-based company.

Diversity on Display at IFA

Two days into my third trip to the IFA annual convention in Las Vegas, I’ve once again seen the remarkable diversity representative of the amazing, global shifts underway in franchising. And I’m not just saying that because it was part of my presentation on the first day.

At the Movies: 'The Founder' Is Made for Followers of Franchising

Restaurants are said to be a pennies business, so it was only fitting that when the Ray Kroc character in the film, 'The Founder,' meets his future wife, Joan, playing the organ at a fine-dining restaurant in St. Paul, he joins the attractive blonde at the keyboard to lustfully sing 'Pennies From Heaven.'

Forget Overtime; Undertime Is Real Villain, Anytime Fitness Says

Franchise operators spend a lot of time worrying about overtime, but the real villain in their businesses is undertime—the amount of money employers pay for disengaged workers who are present only physically. That’s advice from the kilt-wearing Dave Mortensen and Chuck Runyon, co-founders of Anytime Fitness, who gave a lively keynote address today at the IFA's annual convention.

There's Work to Do, IFA Chair Urges Convention Attendees

“It took 50 years to create this misperception about franchising. It will not be undone in 50 weeks,” declared Aziz Hashim, chair of the International Franchise Association board of directors, in the opening general session of its annual convention in Las Vegas yesterday.

Tim Hortons expanding its North American footprint to Mexico

Last week, Restaurant Brands International (NYSE: QSR) announced its brand, Tim Hortons, would expand into Mexico. The company says it will form a master franchise joint venture with an unidentified group of investors.

Restaurant Brands International Inc. announces master franchise joint venture to launch the Tim Hortons brand

Restaurant Brands International Inc. ("RBI") has announced the establishment of a master franchise joint venture with a group of investors in Mexico. The joint venture company will be the master franchisee of the Tim Hortons brand in Mexico, responsible for developing and growing the brand in the country.

Advice Abounds for Would-Be Owners in Zor Awards Package

How do top-performing operators select the franchise brands that are right for them? We’re getting an earful on the topic, from multiple franchisees we’re featuring in our upcoming Franchise Times Zor Awards package, which will identify the best franchises to buy in each of 10 categories, to be published in March.

Coffee Pro Pivots to Building Dog Utopias

Neil Gill is the president and CEO of Phoenix-based Dogtopia, and is very enthusiastic about the business, but comes from Praise International, a subsidiary of Gloria Jeans Coffees where he helped turnaround and reenergize the brand in North America. He’s hoping to pull the same old tricks in the franchised dog space.

HoneyBaked Ham names Linda Heasley as its new CEO

The Honey Baked Ham Company, LLC, (HoneyBaked Ham), announced Linda Heasley as its new chief executive officer effective Feb. 6, 2017. Heasley, former president and CEO of Ascena Retail Group's plus size fashion segment, succeeds HoneyBaked Ham Chairman and interim CEO Paul Roth.

10 Win Prestigious FT Dealmakers Awards

Franchise Times today announces winners of the 2017 Franchise Times Dealmakers awards, the fifth annual project recognizing the boldest players driving mergers and acquisitions in franchising.

Why Domino’s will eat Pizza Hut’s lunch

As the second-largest pizza chain eclipses $10 billion in sales and goes all-in as a high-tech pioneer, it expects to overtake Pizza Hut before 2020. CEO Patrick Doyle describes the fateful decisions that started Domino’s fast run-up.

‘Simple’ Wingstop opens 1,000th location

Dallas-based Wingstop has opened location No. 1,000, a major milestone for a brand defined by its simplicity.

We Rock the Spectrum aims to power a movement

“Finally a place where you never have to say ’m sorry.” Dina Kimmel’s voice caught as she recited her company’s motto and recalled the countless times she found herself apologizing for the behavior of her son, Gabriel, who in 2009 at the age of 2 was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Who’s advancing in the burger blitzkrieg?

The mission: See how the legacy burger joints stack up against the better burger guys. The players: The plucky editorial team at Franchise Times: Beth Ewen, Tom Kaiser, Laura Michaels and Nicholas Upton. The results: From ugh to wow, and everything in between.

Arby's CEO on Record Sales, Maintaining Growth in QSR

Arby’s CEO Paul Brown announced record systemwide sales of more than $3.6 billion, a 25% increase in AUVs and 3.8% same-store sales growth—more than double the growth rate of the QSR category. Those numbers represent 25 consecutive quarters of of same-store sales growth and 11 consecutive quarters of transaction growth for the Atlanta-based brand.

Drones help operators phone in their work

A few franchises are testing the latest equipment craze—drones, to do everything from deliver drugstore staples to monitor remote locations. We checked out a few early adopters, including ‘the dronemeister,’ who says ‘the sky is opening up.’

Whirlwind return to India, Sri Lanka, reveals change

Governments in India and Sri Lanka are both trying to be more business-friendly. In India the challenge is that a large, populous country can’t “turn on a dime,” and in Sir Lanka, it’s recovering from civil war and debt. And still, seven U.S. franchisors met interested partners.

Surprise SBA rules needn’t spook franchisors

Attorneys are offering advice to franchisors surprised by new U.S. Small Business Administration rules, issued last December and upending the usually routine business of making government-backed loans to franchisees.

Jerky vegans get their comeuppance

Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, and apparently in a parallel universe they don’t let them be vegans either.

Drew Brees adds Dunkin’ to holdings

As speculation mounts about how long Drew Brees will continue as quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, it’s becoming clearer that one of the most famous and talented players in the NFL has teed himself up to be a major player in the franchise world for many seasons to come.

Brainiest cities are good bets for franchisors

My childhood was more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than Friday Night Lights, so I’ve always enjoyed that Bill Gates quote about being nice to nerds, lest you find yourself working for one.

Salt Suite tries to shake up industry

Anyone who has ever escaped to the sea to breathe in the medicinal properties of salt air soon may have a less scenic, but closer to home, solution thanks to franchising.

Deal is home run for Real Property

Lukas Krause’s baseball dreams fizzled after a stint in the minor leagues, but the 37-year-old CEO of Real Property Management can boast he’s batting at least .300 as his Salt Lake City-based company profits from tectonic shifts in American real estate.

Great Harvest works for better bread

Some things never change, but bread—elemental to human nourishment—has changed mightily since the first loaves were baked in the B.C. era of ancient Egypt. In more recent times, bread’s evolution has resembled a race to the bottom with supermarkets peddling simpler, cost effective, less- healthy breads.