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What Can Independents Learn From Chain Restaurants?

The session was titled “Revenge of the Independents: How Multi-unit Independents and Chefs Are Shaking Up Legacy Chains.” But as the discussion progressed on the last day of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas, it became clear independents actually look to emulate chains in some ways.

Why CKE's Andy Puzder Thinks the Government Doesn't Understand Job Creation

By the time CKE’s CEO Andy Puzder was introduced on the second day of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas, no introduction was needed.

Restaurant Founders Share Success Strategies at RFDC

Launching Freshii, the Toronto-based fast casual restaurant concept focused on health and wellness, was “scrappy and at times quite painful,” founder Matthew Corrin told those gathered for the founders panel at RFDC. “But now we maximize every dollar we spend."

One Small Step at a Time for Astronaut Kelly, Speaking at RFDC

“It’s great to be here,” said astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Scott Kelly, to open his keynote address at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference today. “After being in space for a year it’s great to be anywhere with gravity.”

RFDC Speaker Tells How to Survive 'Sugar Water Revolution'

Goodbye, Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla. Hello, probiotic-infused drinking vinegars. That’s the gist of the beverage forecast from George Hiller, Hiller & Associates, who presented on “The Sugar Water Revolution” at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference today.

Hewitt, Williams Agree on This: No One Saw Trump Coming

“Anyone who tells you they saw it coming is lying—the data was not there to support the outcome,” said Hugh Hewitt, a radio commentator and a conservative political analyst on NBC, speaking, of course, about Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, along with Juan Williams, a Democrat who opines for Fox News.

Fast & Serious Execs Share Mottos That Drive Growth

C-level officers of the smartest-growing franchises are sharing their wisdom with our reporters, as we prepare our exclusive Fast & Serious ranking for the January issue. Here are a few of my favorites so far, with many more to come.

Del Taco to Expand Arizona Presence with 14 New Locations

Leading Mexican QSR Chain Inks Two Multi-Unit Franchise Development Agreements

Franchising in the Age of Trump

A changing U.S. administration will likely represent a major course change at the International Franchise Association now that several of its most pressing issues are teed up for a more favorable outcome under the future President Trump.

Arby's Attracts Parikh Brothers With 50-Store Deal

The Parikh brothers added a new brand to their restaurant portfolio, inking a development agreement this week to open 50 new Arby’s restaurants over the next eight years, and purchasing 18 corporate-owned Arby’s restaurants in Baltimore, Maryland, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

It’s No Fantasy: There Is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

I wasn’t really complaining when I wrote last month’s Franchise Times column about our fruitless quest to have a medium Pizza Hut box delivered at work so our FT Fantasy Football league could play the chain’s flick football game.

Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. Inks Deal with Parikh Network, LLC to Open 50 New Restaurants

Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (ARG), parent company of the franchisor of the Arby’s brand, has announced a new development agreement with Parikh Network, LLC, a new franchisee to the Arby’s brand, to open 50 new restaurants over the next eight years.

Crunch Time at Franchise Times

As we prepare for our annual Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas next week, it’s the busiest time of the year here at Franchise Times. With more interviews on my plate than any other month thus far in 2016, here’s a look at what we’re working on as our nation collectively bites its nails on Election Day.

Cubs Historic Win Opens Floodgate for Freshii Offer

“It was just electric!” exclaimed David Grossman, the diehard Cubs fan and master franchisee in Chicago for Freshii, who was in Cleveland for Game 7 of the World Series when the Cubs reversed the curse and won it all. By this morning, applications were still flooding in for Freshii’s offer to waive the $30,000 franchise fee for a rabid Cubs fan—if the Cubs went all the way.

Dinnertime Was Source of Innovation for Chicken Salad Chick

Stacy Brown’s entrepreneurial roots go back to family conversations around the dinner table, said the CEO and founder of Chicken Salad Chick, an Auburn, Alabama-based franchise. She was on a recent conference call to prepare for a Restaurant Finance & Development Conference panel in Las Vegas on November 15.

Hilton hires 10,000 veterans in three years, Reaching Operation: Opportunity hiring goal two years early

Hilton (HLT) today announced that its corporate offices, owned and managed hotels, and franchisees have hired 10,000 veterans, spouses and dependents in the United States since 2013.

Yum unit Taco Bell to increase U.S. presence to 9,000 restaurants by 2022

Taco Bell Corp said on Friday that it was planning to increase the number of restaurants in the United States to 9,000 and create 100,000 jobs by the end of 2022.

Athletic Republic Launches First Center In Korea Under The Xion Brand

XION has become the newest member of the Athletic Republic Network with the opening of their new sports training center in Seoul, Korea this week

Checking in on Captain D’s

From countless interviews every year, I write about a lot of brands. Some of these stick with me—for a variety of reasons—while others fade to background knowledge. One restaurant brand I’m still itching to try and that I enjoy following is Captain D’s, a 50-year-old seafood brand based in Tennessee.

Wingstop signs deal to open 30 locations in Columbia and Panama

Wingstop, Inc., the award-winning wing concept with more than 900 locations worldwide, announced that it has entered into an international expansion agreement with Colowing S.A. de C.V. to open 30 locally operated franchise locations in Colombia and Panama over the next five years, starting in 2017.

A Pre-Election Economic Update

A cold shadow has fallen over America as we enter a new moon phase this Halloween weekend. Election jitters have people drawing the shades and staying close to home. This autumn is more foreboding than most, but rosy economic numbers offer a sharp contrast to our current period of angst and uncertainty.

Dog Haus Deal Started With Dream Email

Usually huge development deals never actually get completed, especially when an emerging brand with just 21 units is the franchisor, but a massive contract to build 300 Dog Haus locations in 12 states over the next seven years just may be the exception, if co-founder Andre Vener’s math holds up.

Hilton Breaking the (Prototype) Rules

As a frequent traveler, I’ve become a hotel snob. When it’s time to pick out a room for my next trip, I look for something unique rather than a cookie-cutter hotel that could be in any city or under any flag.

Sonic Drive-In announces new senior director of franchise sales and development

According to a company press release, Sonic Drive-In, the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants, announced the hiring of Sam Wong, new senior director of franchise sales and development.

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. appoints Alexander H. Ware as Chief Financial Officer

Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. (NASDAQ: BWLD), announced today the appointment of Alexander (Alex) H. Ware as executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO), effective October 31, 2016.

Golden Corral Restaurants offer 16th Annual Free Dinner on Military Appreciation Night

On Monday, November 14, for the 16th consecutive year Golden Corral will once again thank more than 330,000 active duty and retired United States military personnel for their service with a free dinner buffet and beverage, while also raising donations for DAV (Disabled American Veterans).

Freshii Jumps on 'Huge' Cubs Story With Promo

A big win by the Chicago Cubs last night puts Freshii’s promotional campaign one step closer to reality. If the Cubs win the World Series, the healthy fast-casual chain says it will give away a free franchise to an applicant who also expresses undying Cubs love.

Learning on the job never ends, and never gets old

I’m older. I’ve figured some things out. It’s not like I’m back at the first Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, the dealmaking event put on by our sister publication, The Restaurant Finance Monitor, every November. I was a mere youngster back then, and was one of the few women in the room at the time, and for the next few years after that, as well.

The rest is gravy for poutine champions

It only took 10 minutes for Joey “Jaws” Chestnut to snatch victory from the jaws of Matt “the Megatoad” Stonie during the 7th Annual Smoke’s Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship in Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, October 1.

More standouts from our Top 200+ project

In a year with stunning sales drops at some of franchising’s largest brands, it’s equally notable how many brands posted excellent systemwide sales growth numbers.

Burger 21 mixes up its store models

This world’s a cruel place, and even well-intentioned, high-quality restaurant concepts will fail with so many new competitors. This dog-eat-dog mantra applies doubly in overheated categories like pizza, burritos and, of course, better burgers.

Design makes a difference for four firms

Consider the plight of an architect working with a brand that’s starting to franchise. On one hand is the founder. “They’ve put their heart and soul and passion into creating the brand and the culture,” says Greg Terry, design director at Studio Four Design in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Nature’s Table was healthy before it was cool

Rich Wagner’s life has gotten easier in recent years. As the co-founder and senior vice president of Nature’s Table, a 68-unit healthier-eating fast-casual concept started in Florida in the late 1980’s, he’s seen the concept pick up some momentum as Americans have generally started favoring healthier and more transparent restaurants.

Fish sticks & rice fueled Two Maids founder

The name Two Maids and a Mop makes perfect sense for a residential cleaning service, until you begin to hear about the franchisor’s extreme thriftiness while growing the business, and you start to do the math. And then you can’t help worrying, which maid gets the mop?

How dirty grout inspired a franchise

Jeff Gill sat with his head in his hands, unsure of what he was going to do next. It was the early 2000s, and he had bought a business opportunity called Chips Away, which repaired paint chips and bumper scuffs on high-end cars.

‘Don’t quit’ is motto for Shoney’s operator

‘What truck just hit me’ is a question many multi-unit operators ask. But for Rory Smith of Shoney’s, the answer is always to get up and press on.

Valerie Daniels-Carter, the ultimate do-good franchisee

If there had been an opening in our cover story line-up earlier than November, I would have been the one to break the news that Valerie Daniels-Carter is the coolest woman in Wisconsin. As it was, e-magazine PureWow chose Daniels-Carter back in September to represent Wisconsin in its state-by-state listing of cool women doing impressive things.

For MidiCi, 329 units sold but none open

Amit Kleinberger, CEO of Menchie’s, has a great story to tell at first glance: More than 300 MidiCi pizza franchises, his second brand, have flown out the door since 2015. But not a single one has opened. Can this operation be sustained?

Where to find camu camu fruit

When acai berries and mangosteen are key parts of your menu, hunting them down is a challenge. ‘The tricky thing is you want stuff to show up the same way every day,” says a CoreLife exec.

‘Crossover’ is watchword when planning LTOs

Timing is everything when chefs create limited-time offers. ‘We’re not the leader of the pack but we don’t want to be an ankle biter,’ said Buffalo Wings & Rings’ chef. Add the mandate to be ‘operationally feasible,’ and it’s tough.

Four fast-casual concepts enter U.S.

The concept: Paris Baguette has built an iconic image worldwide with more than 3,700 locations, most of them in South Korea.

Building the World of Beer

In 2011 Minnesota passed the Taproom Bill, allowing breweries to sell beer onsite and fueling the growth of a local industry that’s ballooned from fewer than 30 in-state breweries to more than 100 in just five years.

Who pays is challenge for senior care

It’s not only the American population that’s aging. The demographics have galvanized U.S.-based senior care franchises who have set their sights on global expansion and pursued a variety of strategies to get there.

Looking for space in all the odd places

A Doc Popcorn in a car wash? Why not, when the aroma of caramel corn is a sure-fire draw. As the land grab continues for restaurant brands, more franchises are going the non-traditional route.

New tone at IFA as franchisees storm Capitol Hill

When Robert Cresanti replaced Steve Caldeira as president and CEO of the International Franchise Association in the fall of 2015, a cooling vibe washed over the industry-leading association as it switched from red-faced partisanship to a calmer, more bipartisan approach.

What’s your plan for business succession?

Despite common misconceptions, succession planning is not necessarily solely about retirement. Rather it’s about opening doors for franchise owners and helping them take advantage of emerging business opportunities.

Ten cases rise to top for two attorneys

There were no blockbusters this past year in franchise legal cases, but rather a number of decisions that illuminated the need for attorneys to be vigilant, according to two franchise attorneys.

But what if the numbers are misleading?

Charles Modell, a deservedly-so prominent franchisor lawyer, in his guest column in the September issue of Franchise Times, correctly opined that a thoroughly prepared financial performance representation is a pivotal piece. A carefully prepared Item 19, which has a reasonable basis and full and fair disclosure of the material facts and assumptions underlying it, is key information that a prospective franchisee seeks to obtain and can help a franchisor lawfully sell franchises.

High-tech traffic counters dig deep

Continued innovation in site selection tools is making it easier for franchise groups to identify high-traffic hot spots. In the past five years, site selection firms have stepped up their game in delivering traffic count data that is more accurate, timely, granular and hyperlocal.

Moe’s has ‘exemplary’ Item 19

In 2007, Focus Brands of Atlanta purchased Moe’s Southwest Grill from Raving Brands, headed by Martin Sprock who also founded Planet Smoothie, for an undisclosed sum.