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Credit Compliance Issue No Death Knell for Famous Dave’s

The headlines about Famous Dave’s aren’t pretty. Turmoil, chaos, dive, darkest hour—this isn’t what you want to see from a quarterly earnings report. But Famous Dave’s might not be in that bad of shape despite the news the barbecue company is out of compliance with creditor Wells Fargo.

What Happens when 800 Lawyers Meet Franchising's Bogeymen

Two of franchising’s biggest bogeymen, Dr. David Weil of the Department of Labor and Richard Griffin of the National Labor Relations Board, appeared before a group of franchise lawyers at their annual get-together last month—and it turned out they don’t have horns.

Road to Crowdfunding Gets Shorter with New Federal Rules

It’s been a long time coming—more than three-and-a-half years—but the Securities & Exchange Commission approved last week final rules for Regulation Crowdfunding, also known as Reg CF and the last remaining component of the JOBS Act of 2012.

The People Problem in Franchising

My day started with two divergent visuals on the challenge of hiring employees. First, a friend contacted me on behalf of his new-to-franchising father who’s having trouble finding employees. Then, I saw the horrible video of the (former) Taco Bell employee drunkenly assaulting his Uber driver. I don’t envy anyone whose livelihood depends on finding and keeping high-quality people.

A Saucy Marco's Clear Winner in GOP Debate

Apparently, pizza makes watching the GOP debates more palatable. According to a survey of 650 Marco’s Pizza stores in 35 states, pizza sales spiked 28.5 percent during the most recent televised debate, October 28. Since the debate’s theme was the economy, we’re thinking maybe it got people thinking about dough.

Driven Brands Adds Carstar to Burgeoning Holdings

Driven Brands continues its acquisition tear with the purchase of Carstar, the second-largest auto body repair franchise, which it’s adding to a new Paint & Collision division behind first-place Maaco.

NextGen Young Entrepreneurs Program Gets Cash Infusion

David McKinnon, co-founder of ServiceBrands International, pledged a significant endowment to the IFA Educational Foundation, which will be used to bolster the coffers of the IFA’s NextGen In Franchising program.

CEOs to Describe Brand Transformation at Restaurant Finance Confab

“The company was literally out of cash in September of 2008,” recalls James White about Jamba Juice, the company he was hired as CEO to fix that year. “For me to just save the company was job one.” White will detail how he transformed the brand, along with Scott Svenson of MOD Pizza and Phil Greifeld of Captain D’s, at a CEO panel at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, Nov. 9-11 at the Wynn in Las Vegas.

Exclusive: Dave Anderson on Returning to Famous Dave’s

Earlier this week, we brought you the story about “Famous Dave” Anderson rejoining his namesake company, Famous Dave’s. Now we’ve got Anderson’s thoughts on choosing to return to the brand he founded in 1994 and left in 2014, as well as his plans for his fast-casual Jimmie’s Old Southern BBQ Smokehouse he founded last spring.

Dave Anderson Puts Fame Back into Famous Dave’s

“Famous Dave” Anderson, founder of Famous Dave’s of America, has rejoined the company as part of a reorganization seeking to reverse the fortunes of the Minneapolis-based barbecue chain beset by falling sales and a succession of leadership changes.

Kono Pizza Heading Into Walmart

Kono Pizza, the innovative pizza-in-a-cone brand started in 2013, is planning its first store location within a Walmart, as well as an aggressive 10-store expansion deal in the Dallas area.

McDonald's Delivers First Quarterly SSS Growth in Years

Finally, McDonald’s has something good to talk about besides all-day breakfast. According to the company’s third-quarter earnings release, almost all the numbers look great, or at least better than the much-maligned fast-food giant has in the past few years.

How to Carry On, Plus Other Tips From Globe Trotters

Every time I find myself in the company of world-travelers I ask for tips on how to make it less painful. Here are some of the tips I scored from participants on the recent trade mission to Latin America. Be sure to read to the very end; the last two are invaluable to anyone who travels for a living.​

Full Circle for Smoothie King CEO, who Sells Korean Units

Wan Kim was Smoothie King’s biggest franchisee by far, building 105 stores in South Korea before buying the brand, moving to New Orleans and becoming CEO, in 2012. Now he’s sold those Korean stores to Shinsegae Group for $16.5 million, as the dominant department store retailer plans to add stores in South Korea and push into Vietnam.

Earning Your Business Chops

In China, chops are almost like a fingerprint. They are distinctive, hard to duplicate, and when sealing an envelope, proof that no one has tampered with it. For Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, their chop is their logo.

Call for Nominations: Who Will Make Franchise News in 2016?

Franchise Times is seeking nominations for our annual “20 to Watch” feature, presenting 20 notable people, companies and trends in franchising that will be making news in 2016.

Kolaches: The Freshest Idea in Franchising?

There are so many franchises in the United States—approximately 780,000, according to the International Franchise Association. I love hearing about so many creative businesses on a daily basis. My latest fling? The Kolache Factory. There’s truly a niche for everyone.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit Unveils Lean New Layout

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is celebrating the first week of a radically redesigned new restaurant layout in Dallas.

Selecting Your First Franchise

The number of franchise opportunities is staggering, and they’re not all good ones. As a reporter constantly evaluating various franchises, here are a few bedrock principles for investigating and choosing your first franchise investment.

If Loyalty Programs Annoy You, It Could be Your Age

I had just been thinking how most loyalty programs annoy the heck out of me, when a new study by Colloquy arrived explaining why.

Minneapolis Dumps Scheduling Rules after Outcry

Under intense pressure from business owners, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges yesterday dumped proposals to require employers in the city to schedule workers weeks in advance and offer “predictability pay” when schedules were changed. She is pressing ahead with the other half of a set of controversial proposals, requiring sick pay.

A Peek at the Culinary Scene Via a Trade Mission to Latin America

My recent trip to Latin America wasn’t supposed to be a culinary experience, but, hey, a girl’s gotta eat, right?

How to Throw a Great Trade Mission Stop

The last time Franchise Times’ readers met Nicole DeSilvis was in the November/December 2012 issue, when the Franchise Times, IFA, U.S. Commercial Service trade mission visited Panama, Chile and Colombia, and she was the senior officer for the Colombia office.

Noodles & Co. Makes the Right Move

With last week’s announcement that it’s removing artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from its menu—as well as introducing meats that have never been given antibiotics or hormones—Noodles & Company is going down a much-welcomed path to reviving its brand: honesty.

Attorneys Show Yin, Yang in ProCuts Hearing

A hearing last week in Ansari v. Regis gave a birds-eye view into how much attorneys’ styles can differ in the courtroom, and enliven what could be a bone-dry debate.

Workforce Proposals in Minneapolis Draw IFA Ire

Minneapolis is newly in the sights of the International Franchise Association, which is blasting proposals by the city to require employers to pay sick time and to publish schedules 28 days in advance.

U.S. Franchises Added 33,000 Jobs in September

With only 142,000 jobs added during September according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those of us in the franchise world can feel good knowing that 33,000 of those jobs came from franchising—23 percent!

Dunkin' Donuts Announces 100 Store Closures as Sales Slow

Shares of Dunkin' Donuts fell more than 12 percent after the Canton, Massachusetts-based coffee chain announced the closure of 100 stores amid lower-than-projected EPS and a slowdown in same-store sales and customer traffic.

Now Calling the Boldest Dealmakers in Franchising

Nominations are now open through December 31 for the 2016 Franchise Times Dealmakers awards, the fourth annual project recognizing the boldest players driving mergers and acquisitions in franchising.

Taco Bell's New City Concept

By ditching the drive-thru, tweaking the menu, adopting a fresher design and adding alcohol, Taco Bell is offering city dwellers a much more modern version of itself.

Cresanti Takes CEO Spot at IFA, Replacing Caldeira

Robert Cresanti, the International Franchise Association’s top lobbyist, is now its new president and CEO and is expected to continue the trade association’s aggressive fight against what it calls attacks on the franchise business model. Cresanti replaces Steve Caldeira, who resigned after failing to reach terms on a new contract. Caldeira’s tenure began in 2010.

A Pretzel of a Tale

Most companies have an interesting backstory, but Ben’s Soft Pretzels has one that’s more charming than most. Ben Miller, an Amish baker in northern Indiana, ran a bakery stand at farmer’s markets across northern Indiana. After given opportunity to buy a neighboring flea marketer’s pretzel company, he leapt at the chance, but ended up having to invent his own recipe. And so, Ben’s Soft Pretzels was born.

Packing A Lot Into an International Trade Mission

Conventional wisdom on the franchise trade missions is that you pack light in order to avoid checking bags.

Smaller Brands Take up Slack when Franchise Giants Stumble

For the first time since the Franchise Times Top 200+ list began in 1999, some of the very largest brands in franchising stumbled, as readers will learn when we publish the massive annual project October 1. But we couldn’t help but give you a sneak peak at the flip side as well—many smaller brands picked up the slack with some eye-popping statistics.

Papal Knot is Philly Preztel Factory's Tribute to Pope

As Pope Francis wraps up his time Friday in Washington, D.C., and prepares to head to Philadelphia for the weekend, the folks at Philly Pretzel Factory are gearing up, too. They’ve created a special pretzel dubbed Papal Knots, and hope the pontiff will want a sample.

Latin America Trade Mission: Transporting brands to Costa Rica

If international expansion’s not for sissies, then international trade missions aren’t for whiners.

The Value of Playing it Safe

While in VW’s case it took a crack team of West Virginia scientists to uncover its years of deceit, while 500,000 of its sporty little diesels spewed excessive NOx into the air, many brands—especially foodservice—are one little discovery, disgruntled employee or news story away from public scorn.

A Strange, Rusty Rebranding

People hate change, and I am one of them. Whether it’s a new version of a car or a company I like changing their name, I’m often skeptical and longing for things the way they used to be.

Native Grill Lands Private Investment Deal to Fuel Growth

Dan Chaon, CEO of Native Grill & Wings, put together an unusual group of private investors, including himself, to purchase the system this week and set it up for more rapid growth.

Plaintiffs' Attorney Lends Star Power to Seattle Lawsuit

There was “a little bit of star power” in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month, in the form of plaintiffs' attorney Paul Clement, in the latest chapter of the IFA v. Seattle lawsuit over the mandated $15 minimum wage.

Subway's Fred DeLuca dies at 67

Fred DeLuca, the co-founder of the largest restaurant chain by units in the world, Subway, died Monday at the age 67, just weeks after celebrating his company’s 50th anniversary.

DLA Piper Adds Practical Take to Browning Ferris Ruling

Multiple law firms have weighed in since the August 27 Browning Ferris ruling, and I’m passing along yesterday’s effort by DLA Piper attorneys because it is among the most measured.

People Trump Numbers when Reporting Top 200+

Franchise Times Top 200+ is all about the numbers, of course—who is up and who is down. But to me, and I believe to many business readers, the more telling story is why.

Hotel Execs See Ongoing Good Times

I’m fascinated by the hotel business, and find my interviews with hotel executives to be consistently interesting. With their fingers on the pulse of both business and leisure, those in the hotel world have a unique perch to analyze the economy. As part of our coverage for the Franchise Times 200, I interviewed heavy hitters from Hilton and Marriott.

Crazy Genius Seeking the Same

No personality type makes a better interview than the crazy genius. See Elon Musk’s Late Show appearance with Stephen Colbert for a good, timely example. Some people just aren’t like the rest of us, and are able to use their unique smarts to leave the world a better place.

High Times as FT Prepares News-Packed Top 200+

What takes five months to research, eight researchers and writers to report, and 500 franchise brands with up to 15 data points each to compile? The Franchise Times 200+, in preparation now to publish October 1.

Healthy Vending Machines (Finally) Sprouting Up

Working in offices for 12 years, I’ve never understood what’s going on inside of those breakroom vending machines. Why are our employers feeding us Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Reese's Pieces and Doritos? Seriously, if they’re trying to kill us, what’s with the paychecks?

Marilyn Monroe Spas raises $20 million

The beauty of Marilyn Monroe—the spa concept, not the legendary seductress—is that the founders know how to both operate spas and raise money.

NLRB's Browning Ferris Ruling Could Apply in 'Crazy Ways'

Another bombshell came from the National Labor Relations Board yesterday, when it ruled Browning Ferris Industries qualifies as a “joint employer” alongside one of its subcontractors for the purpose of negotiations with unions.

Smoothie King 'Zee Glad to be Afloat on Katrina Anniversary

Ten years ago, David Magri’s Smoothie King business was underwater—literally—as the levees in New Orleans broke after Hurricane Katrina passed through. This weekend, marking the 10th anniversary of the storm, he is relieved to say he and the city are back on their feet.