Richard Eisenberg of QSR International operates more than 120 restaurants across Central America and the Caribbean. Fresh from the sale of 35 KFC restaurants, he is looking for his next growth vehicle.
It was a gloomy day in Cadillac Square Park as I held a five-foot-tall camera flash to keep it from blowing over in the wind. From the west side of the park, I had the perfect vantage point for the good things happening in downtown Detroit—a city many Americans have left for dead.
There was a stiff price to pay if one wanted to be the lead singer of Jefferson Starship back in the ‘80s. “The rest of the band got to party” after a concert, says lead singer Mickey Thomas, still a bit miffed. “You can change strings on your guitar; I can’t change out my vocal cords.”
If good things come to those who wait, then Del Taco’s long-sought deal with Levy Acquisition Corp. serves as proof. Chicago restaurant tycoon Larry Levy vetted the brand, gathered investors and then engineered a transaction that took the 550-unit Del Taco public and wiped out most of its debt. Del Taco’s CEO Paul Murphy and his management team are happy to get growing again, and to capture Franchise Times’ designation for Deal of the Year.
Charles Bonfiglio, a Brooklyn native with the accent to prove it, started his business career in high school, when he opened a pizzeria. Next he designed a clothing line and then sold it, while working at a car stereo shop. Then he discovered Meineke, and “all of a sudden things turned on for me,” he says.
Living in the resort hinterlands surrounding Disneyland, Dara Maleki felt a lot of the local restaurants served up poor service and lackluster food with prices seemingly aimed at fleecing the throngs of tourists that flock to Anaheim, California. Even with no experience in the restaurant business, he felt he could do better, so he dreamt up a concept that could appease tourist-weary locals as well as mouse-eared visitors.
When soup is the heart of your business, you can’t serve just the basics. That’s why founder Eric Ersher tries to keep dreaming up new soups, sometimes from the unlikeliest places.
It was long after the lunch rush, but Chris Newcomb still wasn’t comfortable taking up a booth in the Jackson, Mississippi, restaurant that bears his nickname, Newk’s. The reason was what James Patterson was holding in his hand—a camera. As Newcomb sat in the booth with an ahi tuna salad and a slice of pink cake in front of him as props, he raised and lowered his chin, looked away, looked at the camera just as Patterson, the photographer, instructed, but it was clear he wasn’t enjoying it, no matter how many times he reassured us he was fine.
Dzana Homan is School of Rock’s forcefully passionate CEO, focused on growing the chain of music schools and leveraging its power as a cultural tastemaker for today’s young, UP-AND-COMING rockers.
It was our idea to pose Sergio Orozco next to a Lego man on the trade mission to Latin America. At 25, Orozco, international manager for Signal 88 Security, was the youngest member of our band of merry franchisors, and thereby, willing to combine work with play. On trade missions, you have plenty of downtime while traveling from airport to airport to get to know the other participants, but not as well as when you give them the Franchise Times Personality Quiz. Here’s how Orozco answered our probing questions:
At age 34, David Lopez has seen success and failure. Dental Fix RX is a prime example of the former; Froots not so much. He’s developed strong points of view along the way. Read on for his particular flavor of Kool-Aid.
Mentorship comes in all shapes and phases—sometimes you’re the mentor; sometimes you’re the mentee. It all depends on where in the ride you’re picked up.
‘Beards are hip,’ says one restaurant owner, stating the obvious. Facial hair used to be verboten in foodservice, but no longer, and many are scrambling to rewrite policies. At least one holdout, though, forbids the beard.
Paul Brown had never led a fast-food franchise in his life when new investor Roark Capital picked him to run Arby’s—a concept so out-of-touch with today’s tastes it was the butt of comedians’ jokes. But Brown and his team punched back, proudly embracing its meats, and today can boast a fast-food revival against the odds.
Peter Capriotti, CEO of Cotti Foods, this year added a couple of Pieology restaurants to his stable of 62 Taco Bells and 43 Wendy’s. Thus he joins the slim ranks of multi-unit operators who also take a chance on something new.
Six of the world’s most interesting young entrepreneurs are using franchising to make their mark. Jennifer Kushell is the organizer of a new industry-wide effort called NextGen to connect budding franchisors with established power brokers to help their businesses take off. Meet the group that is debunking myths about young people in business and franchising—and in some cases saving the world.
With ties severed to Famous Dave’s, the barbecue franchise he founded, Dave Anderson is back as head pitmaster for Jimmie’s Old Southern BBQ. Can he avoid the mistakes that soured his former experience?
When Dave Prokupek, above left, joined Smashburger, it had zero stores. When he left it had 275. Can he apply his golden touch to Jackson Hewitt, where he’s CEO?
Here’s one ‘zee who figures Portland, Oregon, is ripe for more juice-bar competition. A former marketer for Nike shoes, she plans to take on a local chain and the national giant, Jamba Juice, with a three-store deal.
He may be back in the fitness business, but former Curves President Gary Findley’s latest brand is operating in a brave new world. Can he make EnVie (pronounced on-VEE) into the next big thing?
Behold the potato, to some a humble starch. But for the founder of Potatopia, spuds are the main event, and he’s trying to build a franchise around it. Now if only it were easier to pronounce.
Mike and Linda Boyd discovered the hard way they can’t both be in charge of the same thing at Instant Imprints.
It may seem as if stock car drivers are pseudo-athletes, but controlling a 3,300-pound car at speeds of up to 200 mph takes strength, stamina and the heart of a marathon runner.
BoeFly’s mission to match every borrower with lenders willing to make a loan, and that’s the core service they’ve offered since starting four years ago.
Drew Brees has five Jimmy John’s stores, soon to be 20, that are going head to head with New Orleans’ iconic muffulettas and shrimp po’boys.
Sent to America at age 16 to avoid fighting his own countrymen, Tony Lutfi landed a job at a Jack in the Box. “I loved the speed and the movement,” the son of Palestinian refugees recalls.
Effective April 1, Erin Gray became the Juice It Up franchisee for the Rancho Santa Margarita, California, location.
Meet the 2014 Franchise Times Dealmakers—the daring dozen who move the money that builds empires.
Three falafel balls or two? That’s just one of the potential conflicts the husband-and-wife founders of Amsterdam Falafelshop faced.