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Restaurant Trend Hunting in NYC

Sometimes it’s a dirty job here at Franchise Times, like my current advance work to explore the latest restaurant trends while I’m in New York City next month for the annual International Franchise Expo at the Javits Center.

Mosquito Joe Takes on Malarial Mosquitos in Africa

We all know the annoying buzz of a mosquito stuck in our bedroom. To most Americans, it’s a nuisance, but for families across Africa, it portends one of the deadliest diseases known to man: malaria.

Pet Supplies Plus hits 400 location milestone

Nearly three decades after first setting up shop in suburban Detroit, America’s fastest-growing pet store is set to open up its 400th store this May in Coconut Creek, Fla.

Massage Envy Rolling Out New Services and Remodel

The largest massage concept in the U.S. will be undergoing a major, company-wide facelift. Last week, Massage Envy announced plans to remodel more than 700 of its franchised locations, alongside a plan to increase its product offerings to become a total body care service.

The Friendly Acquisition of Mooyah Burgers

A pair of friendly capital partners are taking the reins from another pair of close friends, preparing Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes for its next phase.

Wingstop set to open 100 locations in U.K. over 12 years

Wingstop Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ:WING), the award-winning wing concept with 1,031 locations worldwide, announced that it is extending its global reach by expanding into the European market.

Yum Announces Big Pizza Hut Investment

There’s no question that Domino’s has stolen the bulk of the recent mojo in the ongoing pizza wars sweeping across the globe. The latest salvo promises to ratchet up the intensity, as Yum Brands announced a dramatic $130 million investment for its Pizza Hut brand.

Hertz Hits the Skids on Weak Numbers

After announcing a $223 million loss and missed first-quarter expectations, Hertz shares fell sharply this week, accelerating what’s been a startling decline of the car rental giant’s share price over the last eight months.

American Family Care Opens 100th Franchise Location

American Family Care (AFC), announced that it dedicated its 100th franchise clinic on Wednesday, May 3 in Denver, Colorado.

Penalties Can Be Steep for Franchise Law Violations

Franchise attorney Beata Krakus has a sure-fire way to make certain her clients stay awake when she conducts training on compliance with a myriad of franchise laws. “One of my first slides is a picture of a guy behind bars. That tends to get everyone’s attention real quick,” she said at a presentation yesterday. Krakus, with Greensfelder Hemker & Gale, spoke Monday at the International Franchise Association’s Legal Symposium in Washington, D.C.

What Can Your FPR Say? New Rules Ahead

New rules are just around the corner for what franchisors can and cannot say in their financial performance representations, also known as FPRs or Item 19, and two attorneys laid out some details yesterday at the IFA Legal Symposium in Washington, D.C.

Hyatt names Kathy Krenger vice president, global communications

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) announced Kathy Krenger as vice president of global communications, effective May 15. Krenger will be responsible for Hyatt’s communications strategy and media relations, along with internal and brand communications.

Famous Dave’s Selling Company Stores to Its ‘Zees

Accelerating its previously announced plans to focus solely on its franchisees, Famous Dave’s announced it is refranchising its remaining 33 company-owned restaurants during the next two years.

KFC Pens 'Tender Wings of Desire' Romance Novella for Moms

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, KFC has cooked up something special: its first romance novella titled “Tender Wings of Desire” as a thank-you to all the moms. Paired with its $20 Fill Up deal or as a free e-book download on Amazon, this is a legitimately unique marketing ploy that I fully support.

Take Care Before Posting That Photo, Attorney Advises

“When it comes to copyright law there is a profound amount of ignorance,” declared Mark Anfinson, a media law attorney in the Twin Cities in a talk last week before magazine editors and writers. Anyone who posts or publishes content—in other words, just about everyone—should pay attention to his advice.

Rushing to Disclose Calories? Never Mind for Now

Restaurants and other food sellers had until this Friday, May 5, to disclose calories on their menus, but heavy last-minute lobbying by grocery stores, convenience stores and pizza chains caused the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to delay enforcement—until next year, May 7, 2018, says a Gray Plant Mooty alert.

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery to introduce new menu

Product and ingredient innovation are at the forefront of the new menu that Perkins Restaurant & Bakery will roll out system-wide on May 1, 2017.

The truth about family business: How sacrifice, pain and triumph built Massage Heights

When Shane Evans, co-founder and president, left her hard-charging sales training in the past and began focusing on the culture at Massage Heights and the health of its franchisees, unit count began to rise and this year should hit 180. The complicated part? Getting husband, mom, two younger brothers and now the founder of another brand, The Gents Place, on board at this quintessential family-owned franchise.

Plus, The Gents Place, Massage Heights’ newest step-sibling, elbows in

Teach a man to shave and he’ll end up buying a cheap eight-pack of Bic razors to use at his bathroom sink. But give a man a straight-razor shave, and you’ll have him all lathered up—and in your barber chair for a lifetime.

‘Overwhelmed’ email draws suit against prominent franchisee attorney

Well-known franchisee attorney J. Michael Dady and his law firm, Dady & Gardner in Minneapolis, are being sued for alleged malpractice by a group of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf franchisees.

The Melting Pot scouts from within for new owners

As its franchisees age, this 40-year-old brand is creating an ownership path for employees. Mentorship, operations training and finance assistance are all in the mix, creating a rich stew of opportunity.

In real estate, second time around feels just right for some

A flexible footprint for Bar Louie, plus a vow to make each location different, means second-generation spaces often do the trick for operators. But beware jumping on a recycled spot without due diligence, or you may find unhappy surprises.

Start early if you’re eyeing the exit at your business

Call it an exit, a liquidity event, retirement or some yacht money—selling a business can be a major life-changing moment. And like other big life moments, it takes a lot of planning.

Eight trends to watch in real estate

Big name retailers have been dominating headlines in recent months with a fresh wave of store closings and bankruptcies. National retail chains closed an estimated 4,000 stores across the U.S. in 2016 and that number is expected to grow by another 5,000 stores this year, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Hated veggie wins over CoreLife’s ‘zee

A long-standing relationship with Larry Wilson, founder of CoreLife Eatery, convinced Stevensville, Michigan-based operator Joyce Lunsford to sign on as the healthy restaurant brand’s first franchisee—that and a taste of beet lemonade, something Lunsford thought she’d hate.

Pray, work, repeat for RNR operator

Staying even is not OK for Shannon Strunk, who with his wife, Cynthia, operates more than 60 units of three brands in the Gulf Coast. He believes in owning real estate, too, because ‘cash disappears quick.’

Anytime Fitness duo covers ‘A to Z’

As soon as an Anytime Fitness franchisee signs on the dotted line, Maddy and Paul jump into action. That’s Maddy Vaith and Paul Bosneag, the dynamic duo at the Woodbury, Minnesota-based fitness club franchise, who have now taken more than 1,000 franchisees through base camp training all the way through their first year in business.

Plenty of foot traffic at this new franchise

The eyes may be the window to our souls, but our feet have souls as well. In the Indian culture touching an elder’s foot is a sign of respect and deference. Foot-binding in the Chinese culture was not only a way for women to show off their family’s wealth and thus marry better, but the tiny, deformed feet were seen by some as erotic. And, foot-washing in the Bible, especially when done by Jesus, is sacred.

Slapfish touts boat-to-plate cuisine

You’ve heard of farm-to-table, but a new franchised seafood player has coined the term “boat-to-plate” to describe its responsibly sourced, seasonally shifting menu that’s designed to get Americans eating more seafood without harming global fisheries.

Minding their business at Current Meditation

You hear a lot about mediation in franchising, but not meditation.(What a difference a “t” makes, especially if it’s herbal.) But thanks to a group of Massage Envy, European Wax and Amazing Lash Studio franchisees that’s about to change.

Great Harvest's Shot at Panera Goes to FTC

Well, you can’t say Eric Keshin lacks chutzpah, as the president of Great Harvest Bread Co. sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission this week requesting it and the Justice Department look into the purchase of Panera Bread by JAB Holding Co. and examine it on anti-competitive grounds.

Greene Turtle rolls out first unit in a casino

The Greene Turtle has opened its first casino-based restaurant at the Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Maryland, along with a new, 24-hour fast-casual eatery called Greene Turtle Express. Tom Finn believes the firsts for the company hold promise for more such expansion.

Old Chicago strive to buck casual restaurant trend

Beer offerings, menu changes and a new prototype are fueling growth for companies under the Craftworks umbrella, especially Old Chicago. CEO Srini Kumar describes his goal of ‘winning market share, not growing market share.’

Driving schools step on gas to fill teaching gaps

Two fast-growing driving schools are looking to drastically improve the driver’s ed status quo. No more ‘sketchy guys in beat-up Camrys,’ vows the CEO of Fresh Green Light. 911 Driving uses cops as instructors to set it apart.

Break Your News Bubble, Columnist Bruni Begs

Have you been outside your news bubble today? I ask because that’s what New York Times columnist Frank Bruni challenged us all to do, in a recent talk he gave in Minneapolis called “Media in the Age of Misinformation.”

This millennial tale cuts against the grain, in The Urbane Franchisor

You’ve read it here, and certainly heard it elsewhere: Fancy millennials don’t care for the suburbs they grew up in and are willing to pay dearly to raise their heritage-breed chickens in peace—as close to downtown as possible. Futurists and demographers have doggedly predicted how this urban migration will hollow out the ‘burbs and revamp rusty cityscapes.

Our writers were there in force, at FT’s spring conference, and report the highlights

Three days, 45-plus presentations, numerous lenders and financiers and one Dealmakers awards luncheon comprised the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in March. Our reporters were there in force, and present these brand snapshots for anyone who missed them.

Spanish operator looking to add U.S. brands

New franchise partner Grupo Iberfood will start by developing the Hooters brand in Spain, where it says competitors are few and the locals ‘love sports, tasty food and beer’—not to mention the servers in orange hotpants.

Hiring Is Tough & You’re (Probably) Doing It Wrong

The CEOs of Harri and Hireology share some valuable insight on what everyone’s doing wrong, and how innovation is leading to a smarter hiring process that can dramatically reduce the amount of time and money wasted on attracting sub-par candidates.

Panera Bread to create 10,000 new delivery jobs by end of 2017

Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA) expects to add more than 10,000 new in-cafe and delivery driver jobs system-wide by the end of 2017 as it expands delivery service to 35-40 percent of its cafes by year-end.

Country Profile puts the spotlight on Spain

The coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band is quartered to display the emblems of the traditional kingdoms of Spain (clockwise from upper left: Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon), while the stylized pomegranate at the bottom of the shield represents Granada.

Finding sites requires a mixed bag of tactics

Spray-Net uses big data. Watermill Express relies on a tiny footprint. And New York-centric Blink Fitness figures if they can make it there, they’ll make it anywhere. Our three Living Large franchisors go beyond location, location, location to tell what makes a good site.

Trip across the pond reveals healthy business model, inspiring stories

I was excited as I stepped to the registration desk at the British Franchise Association’s International Symposium on Franchising in March. The symposium was intended to give attendees a tutorial on global expansion by franchise companies, and in particular, the variety of factors a franchisor must consider when expanding beyond its current country of operation.

At spring cleaning time, try these tactics to spruce up social campaigns

When legendary ad man Keith Reinhard launched “You deserve a break today” for McDonald’s in 1970, he couldn’t have anticipated its impact. The jingle drove millions of Americans to the doors of the burger giant, with catchy lines and a lively dance number.

Del Taco operator grows debt-free, plus new moves by Toppers and Tide

Asked if Utah is a good state to do business in, Del Taco franchisee Paul Hitzelberger stage-whispers “Oh, it’s a terrible place,” as if he intends to keep rivals away. “Just kidding,” he adds a moment later, chuckling. “I enjoy doing business here.”

Dairy Queen's Impressive Growth Streak

For a brand that’s nearly 80 years old, Minneapolis-based Dairy Queen is growing at a snappy clip, exceeding many of its QSR competitors. As part of the lead-up to brand owner Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, DQ provided a quick update of its recent progress. The numbers are impressive, and not just for a brand that’s as old as Tina Turner, Chuck Norris and Sir Ian McKellen.

A textbook case in family biz, minus the eye-rolling

When my kids were in grade school, my neighbor across the street home-schooled her kids. I couldn’t even begin to fathom it. First and most obviously, I worked full-time outside the home. Secondly, and probably most importantly, my kids and I couldn’t have done it. Seriously, I think we would have killed each other.

Executive Ladder

Tim Hicks has joined Elevated Brands as senior vice president of franchise operations and development. Rave Restaurant Group named Judy Messenger as its new vice president of real estate.


Who cares about the comps when multiples like this are flying around? Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen pulled in 10.4 times 2016 EBITDA (also known as gross earnings), Popeyes got 19.6 times (a 27 percent premium to trading levels) and Panera got 19.4 times 2016 EBITDA, a 20 percent premium to its stock price.

From the grandfathered KFC to pink sand beaches, Bermuda is artwork

If you’ve ever gone to Bermuda and come back with an earworm, you’ll know the kind of pain I was in after my recent vacation near the capital city of Hamilton. I wanted so badly to start the blog I did for tax purposes: “Hey, why aren’t you people rapping? You’re in Hamilton, aren’t you?” See what I mean? There’s a good joke in there somewhere thanks to the Broadway play, but I just couldn’t make it work.