Edit ModuleShow Tags

Rising interest rates fuel sale-leasebacks

Operators considering doing a sale-leaseback of property to raise capital may want to act quickly in order to capitalize on what could be peak pricing.

Politics aside, two brands see promise in Mexico

‘The American brand sells’ in Mexico, declares Abrakadoodle’s president, and two operators in Mexico City are opening their first bricks-and-mortar store. The Melting Pot, meanwhile, gains GINgroup as a partner with plans to develop 17 stores in Mexico.

In Mexico, well-defined laws ease growth

The green, white and red vertical bands signify (in order) hope, joy and love; peace and honesty; and hardiness, bravery, strength and valor. Mexico’s coat of arms is derived from a legend that the wandering Aztec people were to settle where they would see an eagle on a cactus eating a snake; the city they founded, Tenochtitlan, is now Mexico City.

Emerging brands aim to keep out of courtroom

Being mindful of the company you keep and focusing on communication are how DMK Burger Bar and Huey Magoo’s hope to avoid legal issues in their franchise systems. At Digital Doc, an acquisition is changing the game.

Beyond the headlines, many details to consider

I wonder how many readers who skim over the periodic collections of “ opens first franchise in ” pay attention to them. Not many, I think, recognizing them not as news, but as company press releases.

How to make the magic happen

Captivated by a great magician’s death-defying tricks and impossible illusions, it’s easy to lose yourself in the performance. And, that’s exactly what the magician wants to happen.

A Perkins buy in bankruptcy court

Bill Kane wasn’t afraid to warn bidders in an Erie, Pennsylvania, bankruptcy court in January that he was taking home the prize. Like Kane, they wanted the franchise rights for 28 Perkins restaurants in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. “I turned around and said, ‘You might as well leave now because you’re not going to outbid me.’ I am a very substantial person. I stand 6-foot-10 and weigh 420 pounds, and I’m missing a leg. When I set my mind to doing something, I do it!”


Shakespeare, the immortal bard, once pondered, “What’s in a name?” For Dine Brands Global, formerly DineEquity, the answer is about $28 per share of value. That was the surge in share prices, to $76, seen after the company announced its grand new strategy and a brand new name.

Founding Couples: Architects and Engineers

The big theme among founders is not always distinctly separate duties, but the role of strategy and operations.

Executive Ladder

Fresh off stints with Long John Silver’s and Papa John’s, Toni Bianco has been hired as the new chief operating officer and brand president of Fatburger, a 71-year-old burger chain based in Beverly Hills, California. After being connected to the brand through a recruiter, a one-hour interview ended up stretching for nearly six hours and ended with Bianco’s offer to join the company.

Dippin’ Dots CEO on complex deals, hot yoga and why he took on Spicer

What was your upbringing like? I grew up in Oklahoma City, and I was a pretty quiet kid.My mother was a schoolteacher. My dad was in oil and gas, a wildcatter, and I had one younger sibling. My dad’s degree was as an astronaut, but there was more money in the oil and gas business back then. I grew up around oil and gas wells, and coming out of college that was one of my first jobs as a petroleum land man. I got into business around my freshman year in undergrad and developed a love for dissecting numbers and looking at businesses and putting together the pieces of the puzzle.

Exiting the jagged road to perdition, and other tales

Second-chance stories are usually about athletes. The guy who tore his Achilles and fought his way back to score the winning touchdown in the championship game. Or the drug test gone bad, where the home-run slugger has to come to terms with his suspension, all in the public eye. Will he be back next season or selling insurance?

Regis Inks Multi-Year MLB Partnership

Even though snowflakes are still flying, baseball is in the air as Regis Corporation announces an industry-exclusive, multi-year partnership with Major League Baseball for Supercuts by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Supercuts is now the official hair salon and official hair stylists of MLB.

McDonald’s Targets Greenhouse Gas Emissions

McDonald’s is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as news drops that the famed Pacific Ocean garbage patch has grown to twice the size of Texas. McDonald’s is partnering with franchisees and suppliers to reduce its system-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent by 2030.

Beware the ‘Tyranny of Legacy,’ Olo’s Founder Tells Restaurateurs

Food delivery is “not some cute fad” as some restaurant CEOs would suggest. “This is a fundamental shift,” declared Noah Glass, founder and CEO of Olo, speaking at the first Food On Demand Conference in Dallas today.

Food on Demand Just Getting Started, DoorDash COO Says

“It’s the very earliest innings of on-demand food delivery,” says Christopher Payne, COO of DoorDash, the third-party restaurant delivery service that is now in 60 markets and 600 cities and is about to blow up to three times that, he said during an on-stage interview at the debut Food On Demand Conference in Dallas today.

Burger King ‘Zee Expands Reach in Colorado

Denver-based Ocedon, a restaurant management company and Burger King franchisee, added to its unit count in Colorado with the acquisition of 11 additional BK stores in the Denver area.

Flattery Will Get You Nowhere With Me, But a KISS Song?

Everyone knows you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but what about a clever and complimentary email seeking coverage from yours truly that includes the immortal words of the great KISS song: “Beth, what can I do?” That's what Tony Lamb of Kona Ice did.

In a World Divided, Anytime Fitness Finds Common Truth

Anytime Fitness will open its 4,000th gym March 16 in Shanghai, China, and then will pursue plans to open at least one new gym in Antarctica. That’s according to Mark Daly, national media director, who has produced a video in celebration that answers a burning question.

Saudi Arabia Eyes Growth in Franchising

Saudi Arabia is launching a major initiative as part of its Kingdom 2030 Vision to support the growth and development of franchising.

Former Panera Exec Joins Workplace Catering Brand

Jim Rand, a longtime restaurant exec who built the catering business at Panera Bread and P.F. Chang’s, has joined ezCater, a national marketplace for business catering that’s revolutionizing the game of feeding hungry corporate offices.

Citing Appeal of City, AtWork Opens Birmingham Office

As the author of our Urbane Franchisor column, my ears perk up whenever a franchise mentions the appeal of the city in its business plans. The latest example is national staffing franchise, AtWork Group, which opened its newest office in greater Birmingham as the company pushes toward 100 locations.

Avoid 3 Common Mistakes, Advises Mooyah’s Owner

Anand Gala is a long-time franchisee of Jack in the Box, Del Taco, Famous Dave’s and others, and he has now crossed the aisle to form Gala Capital and purchase his first franchisor, Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes. He believes many franchises stumble over a few common mistakes, which he plans to avoid at Mooyah and any additional brands he buys.

New CEO at Troubled Liberty Says Power to the ‘Zee

Nicole Ossenfort had been CEO and president of Liberty Tax for just two-and-a-half weeks when reached Thursday, but she was already putting her focus squarely on franchisees. “I believe that happy, successful franchisees and employees are the basis and essential for the success of this company. They are the reason we exist, and we have to start making decisions and strategies that support that core belief,” said Ossenfort, the third CEO in six months at Liberty Tax. “In fact, we believe that so much, we changed our mission statement: creating happy, successful franchisees and employees.”

Hardee’s Honors Loyal Crime Author

QSR brand marketing continues to get weirder and more personal, with the latest example being Hardee’s who has gone all out for award-winning author Brad Parks, who’s been using his local Hardee’s as the backdrop for his famous crime series.

Major Food Brands Partnering on Climate Change, Healthy Soil

As more brands and customers add social and environmental responsibility to their list of must-haves, the latest announcement is several major food brands banding together to improve the health of agricultural soils and fend off climate change.

WFF Aims for Gender Equality in Food Industry by 2025

Cheers, upbeat music and a general sense of female empowerment dominate the WFF’s Annual Leadership Development Conference, where career advancement and leadership growth of women in the food industry are the focus and premier speakers champion the strides made. It was a sobering start to the day, then, when Celia Huber, a senior partner at McKinsey & Co., pulled up a slide reading: “At current rates, it will take more than 100 years to reach gender equality in the C-suite.”

The Big Get Bigger as JAE Group Acquires 34 Wendy’s

Wendy’s sold the restaurants to JAE Restaurant Group as part of its System Optimization Initiative, a shift from company-owned to franchise transactions with the goal of Wendy’s owning just 5 percent of its 6,500 restaurants.

Who’s On First? Browning-Ferris Back in Effect for Now

The Browning-Ferris standard for joint employer—which many in franchising despise— is back in business for now, after the National Labor Relations Board on Monday vacated its Hy-Brand decision on the grounds that one of its board members, William Emmanuel, had a conflict of interest and should have recused himself. “Which means that, for now anyway, Browning-Ferris is again operative law,” explained David Kaufmann with Kaufmann Gildin & Robbins in an email Monday,

Courtyard Launches Dapper New Bistro Bars

Courtyard by Marriott took the wraps off its new Bistro Bars this week, which the company bills as an “elevated evening experience” for business travels and lobby bar enthusiasts like the Franchise Times edit staff.

Sky Zone's Purchase by CircusTrix Adds Capital, Rules

CircusTrix Holdings of Provo, Utah, bought Sky Zone last month, bringing the 195-unit trampoline park chain under its umbrella and changing the game for Jeff Platt, former CEO of Sky Zone and now president, reporting to the founder and CEO of CircusTrix.

Subway Launches New Loyalty Program

After the dust-up created by its recent $4.99 footlong sandwich promotion, which several franchisees said was a strain on their profit margins, here’s hoping Subway’s upgraded loyalty program is better received by its franchisee network.

What Does Tax Reform Mean for the Franchise Business Owner?

Franchise Times and RSM had a webcast on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 to discuss the recently passed tax bill. You can now watch a replay of that session here.

As Part of Growth Plan, ComForCare Acquires CarePatrol

With its new CEO in place, in-home care franchise ComForCare took another step in executing its strategic growth plan with the acquisition of CarePatrol, a senior placement franchise.

Donutology’s Founder Stands Out in NextGen Contest

A detailed knowledge of the numbers set Andrew Cameron and his fledgling Donutology franchise apart from the rest of the contenders in last week’s NextGen competition at the International Franchise Association’s annual conference.

When the Meatless (Um, Beet?) Juices Drip Down Your Chin

Two franchised burger chains expanded the Impossible Burger this week to the masses, with Fatburger and Wahlburgers bringing the meatless option that is made entirely from plants available to its customers—which raises the question: how can a product made entirely from plants cook, taste and smell like ground beef from cows?

Trying on 10 franchises for size, in our exclusive Zor Awards project

Franchising can be daunting for first-timers considering making an investment to go into business “for themselves, but not by themselves” as the popular mantra goes. There are thousands of brands to choose from in an ever-expanding array of categories, and most do a great job highlighting the best-case scenario for prospective franchisees. That makes choosing a franchise—and deciding which hat you will wear as an entrepreneur, as our photo shoot illustrates—a difficult task.

Restaurant bosses kick around six big themes

The annual ICR event is one of the first big restaurant and retail events of the year, and it’s where companies public and private go to outline their strategies for the next year—as well as drum up a little support from the investment community. Here's a rundown.

Doggie disco? Zoom Room says yes

Dreams of cuddling puppies and being herded by sheepdogs 40 hours a week is the holy grail for franchisees looking to turn their love of pooches into profits. Once up and running with any number of doggy franchises out there—from pet spas to pooper scoopers—that enthusiasm can fade with the reality of lawsuits, onerous zoning restrictions and 3 a.m. phone calls that are common in the business of canines.

‘The dance’ takes Fastsigns to Malta first

As the newest master franchisee for Fastsigns, Malta-based Famalco Group expands its already diverse portfolio with plans to grow the signage, digital media and graphics brand to Italy and Greece.

Undercover checks out three chicken joints

When the Uber driver finds out you’re heading to Cowboy Chicken for lunch and is only half joking when he invites himself along because the rotisserie meat “is just about the best there is in Dallas,” expectations jump even higher. The food lives up to the hype at Cowboy Chicken, known for its slow-roasted-on-a-spit, wood-fired chicken that in real life is as succulent and flavorful as the online imagery suggests.

Freshii lobs letter at Subway franchisees

Melissa Gallagher grew up as the daughter of Subway franchisees in Ontario, Canada, and her earliest job for the brand was as Subway mascot. “It’s a giant sub with a cape. It’s called Subman,” she says with a laugh. Today, she’s VP of marketing for Freshii, which published an open letter to Subway corporate in the Chicago Tribune in January, offering a “sincere proposal” to allow a smooth transition for Subway operators to become Freshii franchisees instead.

Once crumpled, Crunch Fitness powers back

Crunch Fitness has emerged from a checkered past that is equal parts sexy and sad. Originally branded as a high-end fitness studio in the late 1980s, its formative years included shows on cable TV, energetic DVDs sold at big-box outlets and the first-ever stripper pole classes that shocked the eyeballs out of plenty of grandmothers in what now seems like sweeter, simpler times. That sweat-fueled party came to an end in 2009, eight years after Bally Total Fitness acquired the brand, when Crunch filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Upward mobility at Black Bear Diner

An ‘aggressive streak' is a desired attribute for a California operator of two Black Bear Diners, with 19 more on the books.

‘Eyes wide open’ as retailers close stores

Headlines are everywhere describing a “retail apocalypse” or the “tsunami” of retail store closures. Rest assured, the sky is not falling on the entire universe of brick-and-mortar retail. However, franchise operators are taking note of the changing retail real estate market and being more diligent when deciding where to locate new stores.

When age shows, to renovate or raze?

The restaurant industry has been on a tear in recent years with a surge in expansion that has delivered thousands of shiny new stores touting the latest designs, efficient floor plans and innovative tech. Standing behind them is a fleet of aging restaurants that are starting to feel a bit dowdy. Those older restaurants are facing more pressure to step-up their game—and their image—in order to remain competitive in today’s marketplace.

How to get your piece of ‘deal fever’

The franchise world has an acute case of deal fever. The consolidation that grew through 2016 and 2017 shows no sign of slowing down this year. Headlines are filled with deals big and small, and the amount of “dry powder” or un-invested capital is at historic highs—many reports put it at $1 trillion. This flurry of activity can be intoxicating for owners who are plotting a course to something bigger.

10 ways to manage the 10-year lease

Let’s face it—the restaurant business has always been fraught with risk. Fickle customers, unpredictable food trends, changing lifestyles, stormy economic cycles, and relentless competition are just a few culprits. And now come the latest disrupters—delivery, order apps, over-development, the rise of the independents, and, of course, millennials. At November’s Restaurant Finance and Development Conference in Las Vegas, there was a lot of talk about staying flexible and nimble during these tumultuous times.

Getting your plans through City Hall

I recently witnessed a public tarring and feathering for the ages at an open house that left me scarred as a reporter and occasional public speaker. Picture the scene as a well-dressed 30-something from a local development company presented plans for a new apartment complex to be built within eyesight of my own kitchen window. He came with impressive demographics and beautiful renderings, but walked into a buzzsaw of uncouth words, disgusted chuckles, hoots, hollers and generally embarrassing antics from a cohort of my neighbors who hated his plans with visceral intensity.

In Italy, a fashionable marketplace

With three vertical bands of green, white and red, the French flag brought to Italy by Napoleon in 1797 inspired the design. The colors are those of Milan (red and white), combined with the green uniform color of the Milanese civic guard.