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Trip to Mexico Gives Margaritas' Staff Their Shot at Authenticity

Margaritas Mexican Restaurant GM Shawn Barton used to just watch guests watch a video playing on the casual-dining chain’s TVs, but after returning from a management-paid trip to Mexico he now can narrate the travelogue.
07.14.2016

Massage Envy Heading to Australia Via Mega-Partnership

Massage Envy is really huge—to the tune of more than 1,125 domestic units—but it’s fixing to get much bigger and a little more worldly with a recently announced partnership with Australia’s Collective Wellness Group to add approximately 100 units down under over the next 15 years. It will be the franchised massage giant’s first foray outside of the United States.
07.14.2016

Pieology Acquires Competitor, Unleashes Pizza Wars

With so many new fast-casual pizza concepts out there, many industry watchers see Pieology’s recent acquisition of Project Pie as the first move in an eventual wave of consolidation that will trim the number of players in this rocket-fueled segment.
07.14.2016

Marriott Edges Closer to Purchasing Starwood

Marriott International, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, is edging closer to buying Starwood Hotels & Resorts in a $12.2 billion merger that would create one of the world’s largest hotel companies.
07.08.2016

Instant Imprints Gives 'Zees a Tangible Stake

Nearly all franchisors hope to align their interests with their franchisees’, of course, but Instant Imprints believes it is the only franchisor to offer something more tangible in that effort: 10,000 gifted common shares to every existing and new franchisee at no additional cost.
07.07.2016

Great Harvest Bread Co. Builds On Authenticity

Think of the countless good things technology has wrought since the Industrial Age, and then marvel at how bread—something so elemental to human nourishment—has hardly improved at best or, at worst, been reduced to pseudo bakeries in grocery stores where we all buy the same, bland loaves of once-frozen, trucked-in bread. We can do better as a society said Eric Keshin, president, CMO and principal at Great Harvest Bread Company.
07.07.2016

FT Heads to 'Epic, Massive, Ridiculous' UFC 200

The things you learn when getting ready to head to Vegas for UFC 200 this weekend, to cover featherweight contender and UFC Gym owner Frankie Edgar and more.
07.07.2016

Home Instead Elevates Caregiving Profession

Having been a long-term patient at a franchise health system—and, of course, a journalist covering the franchise world—I’ve been curious about how medical franchises attract and retain quality professionals in the face of competition from big, established health systems.
07.07.2016

Magnolia Bakery Continues Franchising Overseas as It Nears 20th Birthday

Now with 25 international locations beyond its home state of New York, Magnolia Bakery CEO Steve Abrams is thinking even bigger as he looks ahead to the brand’s 20th anniversary. Abrams, who has been CEO of the bakery since 2007, is looking to bump the franchise total up into the 150-200 range in the coming year.
07.06.2016

Oh, Happy Day: Happy Birthday Enters the Public Domain

Restaurateurs, raise your hand if you didn’t know you were not allowed to sing 'Happy Birthday' to your guests when they celebrated their birth at your restaurant—unless you paid a licensing fee to a third party.
07.05.2016

How British Franchising Is Dealing With Brexit

We’ve been hearing over the course of the past week or so what Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union, means to Europe and the U.K, but what’s its effect on franchising there?
07.01.2016

Domino's Doubles Down on Cool DXP Delivery Vehicles

With more and more companies investing in delivery technology—restaurant companies and third-party delivery services such as GrubHub and Seamless alike—expect to see more high-tech vehicles and delivery pods in the future. And, in five years or so, look for me to be writing a similar release about new features added to the Domino’s Delivery Drone. I don’t have official confirmation, but believe me when I say it’s coming soon to a window near you.
06.29.2016

Panera Removes Bad Stuff From 'at Home' Grocery Products

Panera Bread announced it will do away with the remaining artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives, and colors from artificial sources in its Panera at Home products. The company expects its entire portfolio of nearly 50 grocery items to be clean, meaning free of its ‘No No List’ additives, by the end of 2016.
06.29.2016

Nayor Joins 44 Business Capital

44 Business Capital, a division of Berkshire Bank, recently hired David Nayor as First Vice President, SBA Lending for the NYC, Westchester County, NY and Fairfield County, Conn. market.
06.27.2016

U.S. Commercial Service Specialist Represents West Bank at IFE

The West Bank isn’t at the top of the list for most U.S franchisors heading to the Middle East, however, franchises such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Domino’s are doing very well there, according to Issa Noursi, the U.S. Commercial Service specialist in the Jerusalem office.
06.27.2016

Consumer Spending Slips Slightly, Travel Soars

Good news for the hospitality and travel industry, as a new report from First Data shows that while overall consumer spending slipped in May, travel spending shot up 6.2 percent, leading all industries tracked by the point-of-sale network.
06.23.2016

IFE Had Attendees Climbing Walls, Eating BeaverTails and Walking the Aisles

The franchise expo in New York City is always the biggest and the brightest of the MFV expos, at least in my humble opinion. For one, come on, it’s in New York City. And two, it has a visible and arranged international presence thanks in part to the U.S. Commercial Service, which imports field staff in for the weekend.
06.21.2016

Speed Was Key to Closing Gigi's Sale to FundCorp

Who says cupcakes are dead, the rise and fall of Crumbs notwithstanding? Not FundCorp, the Texas private equity firm that bought Gigi’s Cupcakes from founder Gina Butler earlier this month.
06.17.2016

Staid to Sexy for Surfside, New PizzaRev Operator in Miami

Chris Mellgren, CEO of Surfside Coffee, built his Dunkin’ Donuts operation in and around Miami to 68 stores in a mere two years. Now he’s signed with PizzaRev to add 45 restaurants in the same locales, in a move that could be called stable to sexy.
06.17.2016

Making Money in America’s Most Walkable Cities

Judging from anecdotal surveys of millennials and appreciating home values (that are rising faster in areas with higher WalkScores), it’s clear the next waves of American growth will happen in the densest, most pedestrian-friendly cities in the country.
06.16.2016

Sign of the Times as McDonald’s Moves Downtown

As the 800-pound gorilla of the restaurant industry moves its headquarters from the Chicagoland suburbs into a new downtown campus, the rest of the franchise world—’zors to multi-unit ‘zees—needs to think about its own location and how that impacts employee recruitment and retention.
06.14.2016

Mr. Mac’s, Latest Mac and Cheese Concept, Begins Franchising

When asked if he thinks that macaroni and cheese could be one of the next big restaurant categories, Patrick Cain of Mr. Mac’s Macaroni and Cheese said, “I do, but don’t tell anybody.” Given the popularity of the cheesy staple and millennials’ limitless craving for nostalgia, it’ll be hard to keep it a secret for long.
06.10.2016

Who Wins Social? NetBase Ranks Restaurant Brands

Ben & Jerry’s came in No. 1 with the most positive social mentions in 2015, followed by Wingstop and then Applebee’s, according to NetBase’s first Social Media Industry Report 2016: Restaurant Brands.
06.10.2016

UFC Champ Edgar to Open New Jersey Gym

Frankie Edgar, the former UFC lightweight champion and current featherweight contender, will take his fighting skills to the business arena this weekend for the grand opening of a signature UFC Gym in North Brunswick, New Jersey.
06.10.2016

Arby's Lynch Nabs (Much-Deserved) CMO of the Year

With some offbeat but undeniably effective Arby’s advertising in his back pocket, Arby’s CMO Rob Lynch has been a key part of the brand’s revival—and he just received some well-deserved recognition being honored as Chief Marketing Officer of the Year by PR World Awards.
06.09.2016

As Feds Meddle, Kure Bets on Future of Vaping

I’ve seen the booths for e-cig and vape shops at franchise shows for years, but never had much interest, assuming the category was bound to be taken down by regulations or, worse yet, studies showing them to be as dangerous as some have predicted. With more data, and even more uncertainty, I’ve changed my mind and am digging into this industry for an upcoming feature in Franchise Times.
06.08.2016

The Lawyer's Coloring Book: Color My Suit Gray, My Money Green and My Underpants Important

If today’s flood of adult coloring books chose law firms as a subject, a rainbow of Crayola colors would be required to adequately capture a law firm’s vibe. This was not the case in the 1950s, when the only crayons needed were gray for the men’s suits, white for their faces and mahogany for their desks.
06.08.2016

Mix-and-Match Value Meals on the Rise in QSR

Ever since Wendy’s created the first official value menu in October 1989, franchises such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Arby’s have created value and dollar menus of their own to give consumers fast and cheap options.
06.02.2016

Driven Brands Focuses on Fleets Amid Shared-Car Rise

Americans love and need cars, but that’s all set to change thanks to the inevitable rise of autonomous cars (closer than you think) and cars on demand through the likes of Uber and Lyft, which is definitely already here and rapidly attracting investment from established oil and auto stalwarts.
06.02.2016

Title Boxing Bags New International Name and All-star Investment Team

When Title Boxing Club seeks overseas investors, it will have a smaller box and a new title—Everlast Fitness—and an all-star cast of investors, including football great Drew Brees.
06.01.2016

Why We Want to Win Whataburger's Coloring Contest

What an idea Whataburger had: A coloring contest for adults in honor of National Burger Month in May. Although Franchise Times’ editorial staff is known more for their writing skill than their coloring aptitude (hey, we write colorful stories), we decided to enter the burger chain’s Facebook contest in hopes of winning the grand prize: $2,500.
05.31.2016

Memorial Day Economic Snapshot

Just like the dentist says, regular checkups are best. I’m talking economic indicators, rather than whatever might be going on with your molars. As we head into the first big summertime holiday of 2016, here’s some fodder for friends and family who might tell you America is no longer great: car sales, residential home sales and weekly unemployment gains are in record positive territory.
05.26.2016

Starbucks Ups 'Experience Retail' Ante With Reserve Roastery

There’s experiential retail—today’s mandate that every store or restaurant must offer an experience, not just food or drink or jogging pants—and then there’s the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, which I visited after talking with the MOD Pizza folks last week for an upcoming story.
05.25.2016

Arby’s Makes Middle East Move Amid Urban Push in U.S.

The chain just announced an agreement with Kharafi Global to open 25 locations in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia over the next seven years. It’s the first international move for Arby’s since 2010 when it inked a development agreement to open 100 restaurants in Turkey over 10 years.
05.25.2016

Eating Gluten Free at Today's Top Franchises

Last Friday, I walked in on a personal dietary nightmare. It was lunch during my first day as an intern at Franchise Times, and the entire staff was dining on an array of pizza, bread and cheesy salad from Davanni’s.
05.24.2016

Flying Around with Drew Brees—No Big Deal

“This is totally normal,” I joked to myself while following insanely popular Saints QB Drew Brees through the kitchen of a restaurant before walking into a wild mob scene inside. The restaurant, the New Orleans-themed Walk-On’s sports bar.
05.24.2016

Menchie's to Freshii: Froyo Is too a Good Business

From the “least surprising development” file comes this: Menchie’s CEO Amit Kleinberger believes the frozen-yogurt business has staying power, and his PR person shot back this reply to Freshii CEO Matthew Corrin’s potshot at the industry a mere three days after I posted it last week.
05.23.2016

Talking UberEats With Jason Droege

Could there soon be an Uber for everything? I had the chance to sit down with the man whose actual title is Head of UberEverything after he spoke as part of the National Restaurant Association’s Signature ’16 keynote presentation Sunday, May 22, during the annual NRA Show in Chicago.
05.23.2016

Exploring America’s Walkability Capital

So much of America is sadly dedicated to the car, which contributes to urban sprawl and obesity, but there are more and more places that are geared toward pedestrians. None are more famous (or older) here in the United States than the French Quarter of New Orleans.
05.20.2016

Freshii CEO Makes Play for Unprofitable 'Zees

“Cupcakes are dead. Froyo is finished. Juice is next.” So declares the CEO and founder of Freshii, Matthew Corrin, who yesterday released an open letter to franchisees, urging them to ditch their “unprofitable frozen yogurt and juice bar” franchises “around the world” and convert to a Freshii. Until July 4, he’ll even waive the franchise fee for those who convert.
05.17.2016

Thanks to Arby's, We, too, Got the Meats

There is such a thing as a free lunch—isn't there? Who could resist meats liberally stacked on a star-cut bun to make up 15 Bourbon Bacon & Brisket sandwiches from Arby’s.
05.17.2016

Yum Brands' Novak Exclaims Over Recognition in New Book

David Novak is on a mission to combat the “global recognition deficit,” as he calls it, and to turn the world on to “the awesome power of recognition.” His words carry more clout than many: He is the co-founder and former CEO of Yum Brands, and just launched OGO, also known as O Great One.
05.13.2016

Dinner in the Sky Still Airborne, Despite Vegas Setback

It seemed like a pie-in-the-sky idea—strap guests onto a platform, hoist them 200 feet in the air and serve them dinner. But Dinner in the Sky, as the concept is known, has reached its 10-year anniversary and is in 56 countries—although the first permanent location, planned for Las Vegas, is closed for now.
05.13.2016

Artificial Intelligence Is the Next (Really) Big Thing in Retail

With huge advancements in artificial intelligence, individuals and companies alike should prepare for a massive leap in everyday convenience, capabilities and labor savings in the near future.
05.13.2016

JAB buys U.S. exposure in $1.35 Krispy acquisition

JAB nabs Krispy Kreme and a foothold in U.S. retail for $1.35 billion.
05.12.2016

Something to Add to Your Bucket List: KFC Finger-Licking Good Nail Polish

In the United States, KFC diners will just have to be content with licking the chicken grease off their fingers in order to get the same effect their counterparts in Hong Kong can get by polishing their nails with KFC’s latest promotion: chicken-flavored nail polish.
05.11.2016

Gearing Up to Explore NOLA

Mother Nature didn’t cooperate the last time I visited New Orleans. It didn’t just rain, it poured, seemingly every time I left my hotel to explore the city. Even so, I still got a taste for the signature food, architecture and history of this amazing city. I also had the chance to pilot speedboats on the bayou and eat frogmore stew with Phil Robertson of transgender bathroom backlash fame—but that’s another story altogether.
05.11.2016

ERA Focusing on 18-Hour Cities

ERA Real Estate CEO Charlie Young was recently chatting with a friend who floated an investment idea his way. Specifically, she asked him about investing in real estate in some college towns throughout the Southeastern U.S.
05.06.2016

To Speak Up or Not? Two PR Pros Weigh In

Two PR pros advise whether franchise execs should take a stand when controversial issues arise, like the new laws passed in North Carolina and Mississippi.
05.04.2016

Feasting With the Sharks

Through reporting, networking and Franchise Times’ own events, I get to see a lot of companies pitch the virtues of their concepts to industry experts, developers and financiers. This morning, I got another taste of that chum as part of a local event modeled (and named) after ABC’s popular Shark Tank show.
05.04.2016
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