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Picked for Labor, Puzder Called Government 'Coercion' too Heavy

“The weight of government coercion has become so heavy, it is no longer possible to ignore,” declared Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, who was reportedly picked today to be secretary of labor by President-elect Donald Trump. We didn’t have to go far to learn his views, because Puzder was a keynote speaker last month at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, presented by FT’s sister publication.

It's Christmas Time In Sri Lanka

Americans think we know how to decorate for Christmas, but we can’t hold a candle to the décor at the Cinnamon Grand in Sri Lanka. Here's the next installment in Editor Nancy Weingartner's adventures on the South Asia franchise trade mission.

Getting to a Franchise Trade Mission is Half the Fun

Editor at Large Nancy Weingartner joined the franchise trade mission to India and Sri Lanka the first week in December. Here is the first installment of her adventures in international franchising.

Edible Arrangements names Tony Pavese president of Edible Global LLC

According to a company press release, Edible Arrangements International, LLC, announced that Anthony (Tony) Pavese has been named President of Edible Global, LLC.

Technology Plays Key Role in Driving Sonic’s Sales

Sonic is a chain of drive-in restaurants, and its CFO Claudia San Pedro says interactive touchscreens in each of 18 to 24 stalls at each unit is one key to drive sales growth.

Easy-to-Operate Stores Is Differentiator for Wayback Burgers

Scott Milas chatted with Franchise Times’ Beth Ewen at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference. They discuss Wayback Burgers franchise, which touts a relatively low $300,000 to $400,000 cost to get a unit started and a stripped-down operating plan.

New SBA Rule Upends Franchise Lending in December Surprise

After waiting for months for new rules from the U.S. Small Business Administration, lenders and franchisors just received them in a surprise notice—and they’re upending the usually routine business of making government-backed loans to franchisees.

Krystal launches new “More for $4 Deal”

Food on Demand Is the Gift That Keeps on Giving

After working on our Food on Demand media project, this editor's holiday gifts will not only be delivered by a third party, they'll be reoccurring. And her gift to you is an informative e-newsletter on this demanding and disruptive new trend for restaurants and the foodservice industry.

H&R Block launches totally free online filing for 1040EZ, 1040A

H&R Block's online products are available starting today. Now more taxpayers than ever who use H&R Block can prepare and file both their federal 1040EZ or 1040A and state income tax returns online for free with H&R Block's (NYSE: HRB) Free edition.

Freshii Expands Down Under, Inks Walgreens Partnership

Freshii, the Toronto-based fast-casual brand with a focus on healthy eating, announced a master franchise agreement that will add 20 new locations in Australia. In addition, it has inked a new retail partnership with Walgreens, its second big-name non-traditional partnership after signing a similar deal to add locations within Target stores.

Chronic Tacos Goes Transparent

In unveiling a range of new sustainable practices, California-based Chronic Tacos is the latest franchised brand to turn its transparency mantra into a marketing message with its new “Nothing To Hide” campaign.

Judge Puts New Overtime Rule on Hold

In a last-minute decision, a judge in Texas has put the nationwide overtime rule on hold just days before it was set to go into effect December 1, 2016.

Three Franchisors Banking on Trump

Whatever side of the aisle you’re on politically, most agree that the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States was a surprise. Like most industries (and people), franchising is trying to asses the implications of our next president, and his agenda that promises to be a significant departure from what we’ve seen under the Obama Administration.

Wall Street's Outlook for the Restaurant Industry

It's been a volatile year for restaurant stocks, especially many franchised restaurant brands. But since the election, most stocks on the Franchise Times watch list have seen a dramatic lift.

Church’s Chicken promotes Joseph Christina to chief executive officer

Church’s Chicken, the global quick service restaurant chain, today announced that Joseph Christina has been appointed chief executive officer of the company.

Zingerman's Boss Outlines Strategy of 'Sharing Lavishly'

The founders of Zingerman's Deli shared their strategy of "sharing lavishly" at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference Wednesday, an antidote to all the laments over a rising minimum wage heard elsewhere at the conference.

Craveability and Customization Appeal to New Breed of Restaurant-goers

To stay current and relevant in this overcrowded restaurant environment, eateries need to maximize value with a focused menu, serve craveable food and give a sincere nod to customization, according to Larry Reinstein, president of LJR Hospitality Ventures.

McDonald’s announces table service coming to all U.S. stores

McDonald’s announced on Thursday that the company plans to roll out table service at all locations across the U.S.

The Art of Curating Restaurants

Americans are more familiar with the concept of a food court than with a food hall. And while “there’s no meaningful difference” between the two versions of a collection of restaurants under one roof, one is associated with fast food and pit stops for shoppers, while the other, a British term, conjures up visions of trendiness.

Food Halls Could Serve as Urban Opportunity

Instead of fighting over the same box everyone else wants, many brands are looking seriously at shared spaces such as food halls.

Bringing All-American Brands to International Markets

As a franchise reporter for two years now, I’m continually amazed by the amount of research, brainpower, cultural/regulatory awareness and personal time spent traveling to bring U.S.-based brands to overseas markets.

Rising Employee Costs? Don’t Cut Your Way Out

With more cities adopting higher minimum wages across the country, and talk of a nationwide wage increase, franchisors and franchisees of restaurant brands have some real decisions to make. Primarily, where does the money come from to pay employees wages that are much higher in some municipalities?

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.