Last September we covered Domino’s first foray into robot delivery with the Domino’s Robotics Unit, or DRU, as it tested delivery of its pizzas to customers in Australia. Now Domino’s customers in Germany and the Netherlands will be able to test out the service—as long as they live within a one-mile radius of certain Domino’s pizza shops.
Non-traditional is the new black in franchising, as more restaurant and retail brands are finding new places with guaranteed foot traffic: transit stations, airports, stadiums and college campuses to name a few. BurgerFi is the latest to hop on this train with the upcoming opening of its first non-traditional location at Terminal One at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida.
Last year’s talk of a restaurant recession has morphed into broader, more sustained hard times for many of the best known retail and restaurant brands, led today by the apparent demise of Sears that’s been a very long time coming. The 'Trump bump' appears over, oil prices are back in the toilet, mortgage applications are falling, interest rates are rising, institutional investors fear U.S. stocks are overvalued and we have officially entered a new wave of economic uncertainty.
Jason Marker will take over as CEO of CKE Restaurant Holdings, replacing Andrew Puzder, who served at the head of the company since 2000. Puzder, who served through the Great Recession, plotting a new course for growth, became a household name as President Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee.
Andy Howard, along with fellow former Wingstop execs Michael Sutter, Wes Jablonski and Bill Knight, bought Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders in November 2016 because, as Howard said, “the sky’s the limit of what we can do with this little brand.”
No matter the region or the demographic, craft beer is growing. By the end of the year, there will be a projected 6,000 breweries providing more than 100,000 types of beer.
Showing off gleaming, modern pictures of its reimaged store concepts, Wendy’s director Angela Coppler said the prohibitive cost of building new restaurants has led the brand to convert former Burger Kings, retail storefronts and even banks as it seeks to add new locations without breaking the piggy bank of the third-largest QSR hamburger player or its franchisees.
The celebrity Wahlberg brothers, who also star in a reality show about the behind-the-scene antics at Wahlburgers, are the star power behind the brand that prides itself on serving chef-driven food on a bun.
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches today received the Franchise Times Deal of the Year award, for attracting Roark Capital as a majority investor and cashing out Weston Presidio, its original private equity partner, for a handsome return in a more than $2-billion transaction.
In an agenda dominated by food brands, Russ Reynolds, CEO of Batteries +Bulbs, shed some light on why his retail brand is a good financing fit for the lenders attending the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference at the Encore in Las Vegas, March 13-15, 2017.
Historically, QSR has gotten the bulk of off-premise dollars via the drive-thru. But fast casual is catching up with new technology.
Times are tough in the casual dining segment, as evidenced by slumping same-store sales by many restaurants, changing consumer habits and a massive onslaught of fast-casual competitors. The latest player in this category to struggle is Ruby Tuesday, which announced it is “exploring strategic alternatives in order to maximize shareholder value,” including a potential sale or merger.
Speaking Monday, March 13, during the first day of the Franchise Times Finance and Growth Conference in Las Vegas, President Bryon Stephens noted Marco’s Pizza has more than doubled its store count since 2012, to 815 locations in dozens of states. And more growth is in sight.
Dunkin Brands has significant capital needs in 2017: $2.5 million for Baskin Robbins remodels; $6 million for Baskin Robbins new builds; $99 million for Dunkin’ Donuts remodels; and $263 million for Dunkin’ Donuts new builds. As told by Dunkin’s Jason Maceda, vice president of finance, it was the most obvious reason explaining lender interest at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference that opened yesterday in Las Vegas.
“Rather than the ‘when,’ it’s far more important to focus on ‘who’ you are partnering with and how the deal is structured,” says NRD Capital Managing Partner Aziz Hashim, about getting funding for franchise expansion. He was speaking to Living Large columnist Poornima Apte, who details in an upcoming print edition how and when three emerging franchise brands should seek capital to foster growth,
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.
Bermuda is an odd choice for a franchise writer to be visiting, since there is more public art than franchises. The government prohibits foreign franchises, with the exception of franchised hotels, our cab driver gleefully told us.
The latest franchisor to jump on the train is Boston Market, which will serve antibiotic-free rotisserie chickens by the end of Q1 2018. According to the Colorado-based chicken chain, its goal is serving 100 percent antibiotic-free rotisserie chicken as soon as possible—with currently more than 75 percent of its chickens being raised without the use of antibiotics.
Last year Arby’s made headlines when it began testing venison sandwiches in select locations around the country. States like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota were able to get in on the deer meat craze for a limited time, and the sandwiches sold out almost immediately.
McDonald’s included a pack of surprisingly bold McNuggets with its Investor Day in downtown Chicago earlier this week as the fast-food giant unveiled plans for meal delivery, app-based mobile ordering, curbside pickup and a “more modern, more exciting restaurant environment” as part of its new Experience of the Future restaurant concept that’s already delivering sales gains in markets outside of the United States.
Four Foods Group has scooped up another company, The Soda Shop, from founders Chase Wardrop and Dylan Roeder, who will both retain equity in the company and serve as division presidents.
A new accounting rule will change when franchisors can recognize revenue from initial franchise fees—stretching it out for the life of a development agreement rather than when the first location opens—and could mean a big hit to income statements. So warns Kevin Hein, a franchise attorney at Alexius in Denver.
As reported in its Q4 2016 financial results, Domino’s Pizza grew domestic same-store sales 12.2% during the quarter, while international sales shot up 4.3%. It also opened a record 1,281 stores during the year, which includes 171 net new domestic locations.
Would you take advice from the man who wrote the book, “The 4-Hour Workweek”? If so, then Tim Ferriss’ keynote talk at the International Franchise Association annual convention was for you. (The conference was Jan. 31-Feb. 2, and if I hadn’t cut my work week to four hours since then, I might have posted this blog earlier.*)
“When we find an opportunity, we sort of jump all over it, and it demonstrates to folks how serious we are to grow.” So says Barry Dubin, chief development officer at KBP Foods, one of the Franchise Times Dealmakers award winners I’ve been interviewing over the last week. Here are a few more:
It’s somewhat crazy that 'Fixer Upper,' 'Flip or Flop' and 'Property Brothers' are so popular their stars’ lives have become tabloid fodder. For Trend Transformations, an international flooring and home hard surface restoration franchise tied up with Tarek and Christina El Moussa, the drama surrounding their divorce has been outweighed by the visibility gains for their company.
With as many as 150 new food halls predicted to open in the next few years, these modern day food courts with higher-end food offerings are the bright spots offsetting tough times in the retail scene as many big-name brands are facing what may be their darkest year in business.
The Small Business Administration temporarily tweaked its new procedures governing lending to franchisees, to the relief of many franchisors and bankers who maintained the new rules would chill franchise lending.
Just one day before his long-awaited confirmation hearing for secretary of labor, Andrew Puzder became the lone cabinet nominee to date to not get the nod, a blow to his many supporters in the franchising community who hoped the CEO of CKE Restaurants would set the department on a pro-business track. But at least one workers' group cheered.
I’m all about encouraging diversity in franchising, and was pleased to see some new statistics on women in franchising from Franchise Business Review. On the whole, FBR’s numbers point to a clear majority enjoying operating the business, while barely more than half feel their work/life is balanced.
At Edible Arrangements, Valentine’s Day is the single biggest day of the year.
With fond memories of A&W root beer floats with my parents and brother when I was a kid, I’m happy to hear the news that the brand is back on the gas five years after its sale by Yum. For the first time in more than 10 years, A&W is reporting systemwide revenue and store count growth, as it kicks off a new franchise sales initiative.
Noodles & Company, the fast casual concept struggling with declining sales for better parts of the last year, has announced plans to close approximately 55 “underperforming” restaurants in the coming months.
Things have changed since most of us received our driver education training during our teenage years. What used to be within the purview of brave school teachers has now been passed off to the private sector as many school systems have cut funding for in-school driver’s ed courses. As this trend spread throughout the United States, Washington-based 911 Driving School has profited and expanded to fill the void.
One of the best decisions Marc Mushkin made in his lengthy career in international franchising is not putting the 'Do Not Disturb' sign on his hotel door in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).
Just weeks after my Franchise Times cover story on Domino's, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based pizza giant has outdone itself with a pizza wedding registry. Seriously.
It was another terrific year for seafood franchising giant Captain D’s, as the company obtained a record-high systemwide AUV in 2016. It saw fourth quarter system wide sales increase 1.3 percent, along with a 2.3 percent systemwide same-store sales increase over the year. This marks six consecutive years of sales growth for the Nashville-based company.
Two days into my third trip to the IFA annual convention in Las Vegas, I’ve once again seen the remarkable diversity representative of the amazing, global shifts underway in franchising. And I’m not just saying that because it was part of my presentation on the first day.
Restaurants are said to be a pennies business, so it was only fitting that when the Ray Kroc character in the film, 'The Founder,' meets his future wife, Joan, playing the organ at a fine-dining restaurant in St. Paul, he joins the attractive blonde at the keyboard to lustfully sing 'Pennies From Heaven.'
Franchise operators spend a lot of time worrying about overtime, but the real villain in their businesses is undertime—the amount of money employers pay for disengaged workers who are present only physically. That’s advice from the kilt-wearing Dave Mortensen and Chuck Runyon, co-founders of Anytime Fitness, who gave a lively keynote address today at the IFA's annual convention.
“It took 50 years to create this misperception about franchising. It will not be undone in 50 weeks,” declared Aziz Hashim, chair of the International Franchise Association board of directors, in the opening general session of its annual convention in Las Vegas yesterday.
Last week, Restaurant Brands International (NYSE: QSR) announced its brand, Tim Hortons, would expand into Mexico. The company says it will form a master franchise joint venture with an unidentified group of investors.
How do top-performing operators select the franchise brands that are right for them? We’re getting an earful on the topic, from multiple franchisees we’re featuring in our upcoming Franchise Times Zor Awards package, which will identify the best franchises to buy in each of 10 categories, to be published in March.
Neil Gill is the president and CEO of Phoenix-based Dogtopia, and is very enthusiastic about the business, but comes from Praise International, a subsidiary of Gloria Jeans Coffees where he helped turnaround and reenergize the brand in North America. He’s hoping to pull the same old tricks in the franchised dog space.
Franchise Times today announces winners of the 2017 Franchise Times Dealmakers awards, the fifth annual project recognizing the boldest players driving mergers and acquisitions in franchising.
Dallas-based Wingstop has opened location No. 1,000, a major milestone for a brand defined by its simplicity.
Arby’s CEO Paul Brown announced record systemwide sales of more than $3.6 billion, a 25% increase in AUVs and 3.8% same-store sales growth—more than double the growth rate of the QSR category. Those numbers represent 25 consecutive quarters of of same-store sales growth and 11 consecutive quarters of transaction growth for the Atlanta-based brand.
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.
If you think your holiday gatherings with family can be fraught, consider John and Janet Mok, Amazing Lash Studio franchisees in New Jersey who have convinced all four of John’s siblings to buy into the franchise, as well. “We’re either heroes or goats, right?” says John with a laugh.
Lois Margolet, founder of Las Vegas-based Capriotti’s Hand Crafted Sandwiches, passed away on Thursday following a battle with lung cancer. She was 68.