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Despite Media Ban, FT Writer (and Shareholder) Attends McDonald's Meeting

McDonald's held its annual meeting today, but all the fun was getting there. State and local police cars with flashing lights lined streets leading into McDonald's Oak Brook, Illinois, campus. Despite the media ban, I managed to get inside, thanks to a handful of McDonald's shares I'd purchased in the 1980s.

Call for Nominations of Franchises Who Give Back

Roark Capital Group and the International Franchise Association’s Educational Foundation are seeking nominations of franchisors, franchisees and suppliers who are making a difference in their communities. Winners in five categories—“We reserve the right to have more to recognize (than just first place),” Roark Managing Director Steve Romaniello says—will be feted at IFA’s annual meeting in September.

Q&A with Christopher Fountain, CEO of FranConnect

Talking about the future of franchising and CRM with Christopher Fountain, the new CEO of FranConnect.

Twin Peaks revokes Waco zee’s franchise after shootout

If Waco was a person rather than a city, nobody would be able to say they “didn’t see it coming” after the news of a motorcycle gang shootout at the Twin Peaks sports bar over the weekend.

Data Breaches Likely Coming to a Franchise Near You, Attorneys Warn

“If data privacy and security is not keeping you up at night—it should,” said Leonard MacPhee, a partner at Perkins Coie and moderator of a panel on the topic at the International Franchise Association Legal Symposium in Chicago last week.

FT Columnist Zeidman Scores Burton Award for Legal Writing

Long-time Franchise Times columnist Philip Zeidman, a partner at DLA Piper in Washington, D.C., will receive a 2015 award for legal writing from the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement.

Q&A with Rui Barros, of Wyndham Hotel Group

After 16 years with the company, Rui Barros is the new president and managing director of North America franchise operations for Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey-based Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest based on the number of hotels.

"Greater" Day at Bojangles as BOJA goes public

On the day of its IPO, Bojangles CEO Clifton Rutledge says the fast-casual segment remains hot due to elevated consumer tastes.

At Termination Time, Attorneys Offer Tips in Dramatic Fashion

Attorneys channeled their inner Jack McCoy or Alicia Florrick, lead characters on the hit TV shows “Law & Order” and “The Good Wife,” respectively, in a presentation about terminations at the International Franchise Association’s Legal Symposium, in Chicago May 3-5.

'Fairness' is at Root of Collaboration at FASTSIGNS

“To me it’s all about fairness,” said Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS, when it comes to the franchise agreement she asks franchisees to sign. She and two others spoke on a panel about franchisor/franchisee collaboration at the International Franchise Association’s Legal Symposium in Chicago, May 3-5.

Researching a Pending Poutine Invasion

Have you tried poutine yet? If not, you might get your chance soon, as the Quebecois-derived heart attack in a dish (fries, gravy and cheese curds) is on its way into the United States in a big way. Smoke’s Poutinerie, the “world’s largest and original poutinerie” is a Canadian franchise that has bold plans to open 800 locations in the United States and 1,300 locations worldwide within the next five years.

Q&A with Ron Green, founder of Another Broken Egg Cafe

As Mother’s Day approaches, Another Broken Egg Cafe’s 51 locations are preparing for its busiest weekend of the year. Founder and CEO, Ron Green, estimates that his units will go through 580,000 eggs, with customer counts projected to exceed 900 people at each location before 2 o’clock.

Nothing Bundt Cakes Boss Didn't Let Naysayer Deter Her

When Debra Shwetz opened the first Nothing Bundt Cakes bakery in Las Vegas 17 years ago, one of her earliest customers was a wet blanket, she told the audience at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas last week.

Full Circle for Massage Green's Founder, A Tigers Fan

It’s been a long road to good fortune for Allie Mallad, CEO of Massage Green International, who said his small size as a youngster was an advantage and told this story at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas last week.

Rising food prices pack a punch

With skyrocketing chicken and beef prices, California’s drought and Minnesota’s bird flu outbreak, restaurant watchers have also taken notice of this year’s historically unpredictable food prices.

Roy Rogers seeks to double in size

After peaking at nearly 650 restaurants, and then shrinking drastically, the current owners of Roy Rogers are re-franchising the brand with a goal of doubling the number of locations within five years.

Dealmakers Winners Believe Right Partner Matters More than Money

You’re not just hunting for capital, when looking for a new investor. You’re looking for a partner to build a bigger business. So said Greg Flynn, Flynn Restaurant Group, at a panel today featuring three winners of this year’s Franchise Times Dealmakers awards.

Panelists Share Tips to Ease Costly Rollouts with Franchisees

Communication is key when franchisors roll out changes that cost franchisees money, according to a panel exploring the topic, “What do franchisees want?” at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference Tuesday morning in Las Vegas.

FFGC: Franchisee follows the bouncing ball to entrepreneurship

Years ago there was a debate in franchising centered on whether franchisees qualify as true entrepreneurs. After all, they were “just” following a game plan the franchisor dreamed up.

Roark Capital Acquires Driven Brands

Roark Capital Group has acquired Driven Brands, a nationwide franchise automotive company, from Harvest Partners. Driven Brands’ CEO, Jonathan Fitzpatrick, will continue to lead the business, which will remain headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.

Captain D's Moving Back to the Beach

Fast-casual seafood chain, Captain D’s, in the middle of a reinvention centered around beachy restaurant redesigns, a retooled, healthier menu and increasing its share of franchised locations.

Legacy Concepts Boosts Dunkin' Push in Minnesota

Legacy Concepts answered Dunkin’ Donuts call to re-introduce the coffee-and-donuts brand to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, a state it abandoned when it closed its last store in 2005.

Q&A with Dan Tarantin, president and CEO at Harris Research

After becoming the CEO of Jackson Hewitt at 31, Dan Tarantin is now the head of Chem-Dry and N-Hance international home service brands.

For Emerging Franchisors, Three Mistakes to Avoid

Brent Dowling, COO of franchisor consultant RainTree, counts three mistakes often made by emerging franchisors in their quest to grow, and he offers them in response to Franchise Times’ Living Large column, which is following young franchisors all year to see how they tackle various challenges.

New Design for Welcyon Aims for Upscale Clientele

Welcyon, the Edina, Minnesota-based chain of health clubs for people over 50, has a new design executives hope will appeal to choosy baby boomer clients with sophisticated tastes.

3 New Clients Sign on for ApplePie Capital’s Funding Model

Three new franchise clients push the total to 11 for ApplePie Capital, the fledgling website connecting investors to franchise loans in a version of crowdfunding. They are Brain Balance Achievement Centers, Brightway Insurance and Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop.

GE Capital Franchise Finance Anticipates Sale

GE said it would sell most of its GE Capital assets by 2018, in a move to refocus on its industrial businesses. GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said market conditions are favorable to pursue the sale of GE Capital assets not specifically tied to it industrial units. What does that mean for GE Capital, Franchise Finance, one of the largest lenders in the restaurant finance arena?

It's Bo Time, as Bojangles' Plans its IPO

As Bojangles' looks to go public, most analysts expect another stock market pop in the mold of Shake Shack and other recent franchised restaurant brands.

Q&A with David Kaiser, VP of Great American Cookies

David Kaiser, VP of Great American Cookies, on the appeal of the Middle East for American brands, and its major initiatives for 2015.

Dairy Queen Heads Back to Europe with Polish Expansion

After Dairy Queen announced its plans to expand to Poland, giving the company its first European presence in more than 20 years, we decided to take a look at that country's economy.

Q&A with Dan Stone, VP of Franchise Development at The Melting Pot

Dan Stone on the highs, lows and enduring challenges of the fondue chain's international expansion.

Decorative Concrete is Latest Addition to Home Franchise Concepts

Confirming the rise of concrete’s popularity in home décor, All American Decorative Concrete is the latest acquisition for Home Franchise Concepts based in Orange, California, also the parent company of Budget Blinds and Tailored Living.

Bird's-Eye View after Appeal on Seattle's Minimum Wage Case

The International Franchise Association will appeal a federal judge’s ruling last week in the Seattle minimum wage case, in which the court denied a petition to block a portion of the ordinance the IFA and five franchisee plaintiffs deem discriminatory. At least one outside attorney thinks the judge got it wrong.

Q&A with Dan Brinton, CEO of Fractured Prune Doughnuts

In the age of technology, Fractured Prune CEO Dan Brinton has intentionally kept things simple in a fast-growing restaurant chain that allows customers to customize their own doughnuts.

Q&A with David and Carlo, co-founders of Kono Pizza USA

After discovering Kono Pizza on an Italian vacation, serial entrepreneurs David Ragosa and Carlo Ruggiero immediately got to work bringing the QSR concept to the United States.

Deal with 3M to Boost Window Genie Sales, VP Believes

Window Genie is banking on a new partnership with 3M to boost sales of residential window film, an arrangement that will begin in April.

Judge Rejects Bid to Block Seattle's Minimum Wage Hike

A federal judge this week denied the attempt by five franchisee plaintiffs and the International Franchise Association to block portions of Seattle’s minimum wage law, scheduled to become effective April 1. The issue isn’t the wage itself, which will increase to $15 an hour, but rather that it treats franchisees as large employers rather than small because they are part of a large franchise system.

Forecasting a Springtime Pop

Although several economic indicators have softened, fundamentals remain on course for a growth spurt as summer approaches.

Q&A with Dan Schneider, CEO of SIB Fixed Cost Reduction

Dan Schneider saw an opportunity to help companies reduce costs during the recession. Now his company, SIB, is in 20,000 locations throughout the United States.

Client Won't Pay its Fees? Too Bad, Judge Tells Larkin Hoffman

Talk about adding insult to injury: A federal judge last week denied Larkin Hoffman’s motion to withdraw as counsel for its franchisor client, Maid-Rite Corp., even though the firm says Maid-Rite has not paid its legal fees.

Wendy's 'Zees Need More Data to Evaluate Remodel Mandate

Wendy’s needs to provide more data about return on investment from the franchisor’s remodeling mandates, says Curt Staab, president of the Old Fashioned Franchise Association, the “one and only” independent association for Wendy’s franchisees.

Q&A with Ray Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group on new Experimac brand

Experimac is the latest brand from United Franchise Group is a retail sales and service outfit specializing on repairing, upgrading and selling pre-owned electronics.

Guidant Builds Partnerships to Go Beyond Financing Start Ups

Guidant has entered into a partnership with MultiFunding, a loan advisory that helps existing small businesses access capital through SBA loans, peer-to-peer lending, merchant capital and more.

RadioShack Owners Band Together in Hopes of Influencing Bankruptcy Case

The news keeps coming for RadioShack, none of it good since the retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection February 5. Now, a group of franchisees has formed a committee to try to exert some control over the court process and influence what might happen to their stores.

A Holdout, Dunkin' Will Now Sell Single-Serve Coffee in Supermarkets

Dunkin’ Brands reversed itself today and announced it will sell Dunkin’ K-cups, the plastic pods used for single-serve coffee, in grocery stores and online. The franchisor had limited such sales, begun in 2011, to its restaurants for fear of cannibalizing store sales.

Candid Panel of Pros Admit to Making Mistakes

A panel of pro shared tips at IFA's leadership conference on how to be a better leader, while admitting that sometimes even the pros don't do everything right all the time.

Bennigan's CEO Buys Chain, Will Re-Launch Steak and Ale

Bennigan’s CEO and his wife, Paul and Gwen Mangiamele, this week bought the casual dining chain, renamed its parent company to Legendary Restaurant Brands, and will bring back the storied Steak and Ale to boot—“of which there are zero today,” Paul said.

Wendy's Remodel Offers 'No ROI," DavCo Counters in Lawsuit

DavCo slapped back this week against Wendy's lawsuit filed in December, claiming franchisees "stand to make little or no return on their investment" in the franchisor's mandated remodeling program, and claiming Wendy's demands could bankrupt the company.

Q&A with Tom Portesy of MFV Expositions

During the final day of Franchise Expo South we sat down with Tom Portesy of MFV Expositions to discuss the show’s future, impacts of the internet and what’s coming in New York City.

Fast Times in Franchising

Last week’s Franchise Expo South was my first trip in my new gig as assistant editor at Franchise Times. Not knowing what to expect in a new world, it was more invigorating than typical three-day stints at a convention center.