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'You are getting very insolvent...’ Hypnosis chain stumbles in NW

Positive Changes uses life coaching and hypnosis “to advance relaxation, create focus and thereby achieve behavioral change,” its website says, but the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing by its largest franchisee is stressing both customers and the franchise system.

The internationalization of the IFE, from soft impressions to hard facts

For many years I’ve been reporting from the International Franchise Expo—for most of those years from Washington, DC; in more recent years from New York City; once, if memory serves, from Miami.

Straight-A strategy—launching a sales program that makes the grade

There’s no time of year quite like back-to-school season. The summer heat gives way to crisp autumn air, school buses return to line city streets and a collective sigh can be heard from coast-to-coast as children everywhere mourn the end of vacation.

From one to nine B-Wings & Rings, plus ‘lots of adventure’ at Two Men

Todd Fetter concedes he and his family have been winging it since 2012. That was the year they opened the first of nine Buffalo Wings & Rings, now spread across Ohio, South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota. None of the seven family members family had ever operated a restaurant.

We Have the Multi-unit News You Need to Know

Twice a month I’m plucking the key details from dozens of multi-unit franchise development agreements to give you everything you need to know to stay informed and, of course, keep an eye on what the competition is doing.

Church’s Chicken® announces $5 Real Big Deal

As part of its strategic realignment to ignite system-wide growth, Church’s Chicken® announced the $5 Real Big Deal, a customized meal offering thousands of different combinations of fried chicken and Tender Strips®, home-style sides, a honey-butter biscuit, and a Jalapeño pepper.

AAMCO expanding brand's footprint with 18 new centers nationwide

AAMCO Transmissions, Inc. (“AAMCO”), announced today that it plans to open 18 new service center locations with new and existing franchisees across the country.

Acrobats kick off Hilton re-do

The multi-jointed acrobats dangling from bolts of cloths anchored to the ceiling of the newly remodeled Hilton Minneapolis during its grand reopening won’t be hanging around when future conferences book the center, but attendees will still be impressed.

Flynn on way to ‘nice round number’

The Flynn Restaurant Group is one of the master operators in franchising. So when he changes tactics, the industry takes notice. The Applebee’s and Taco Bell operator has shifted his focus in the past two years with a massive diversification play that has him gobbling up locations in the Panera system.

Harsh regs sink Palm Beach Vapors

Co-founder Chip Paul is snuffing out his electronic cigarette franchise, Palm Beach Vapors, citing new Food & Drug Administration regulations that he says torpedo the business model.

Club Pilates owner learns as she grows

Passion comes first for Keely Watson, who owns five Club Pilates units in California. ‘I think with any business you dive in headfirst. That’s much easier to do when you’re passionate about it,’ she says.

Capital still flowing for construction, remodels

Saladworks is among the chains with a mandatory update program, with franchisees spending $5 million all told. Many other franchisors are demanding the same, and lenders with existing relationships seem happy to oblige.

Expert weighs REITS vs. other capital options

Pick a market: Commercial real estate prices are going up and up. It’s not just the major cities like New York or San Francisco that are exploding. Satellites like Oakland, California, hip meccas like Austin and important hubs like Louisville, Kentucky, and Dallas are too.

When small towns make the brand

Much of the action in franchising happens in the suburbs, where power centers, strip malls, enclosed malls and bustling interchanges provide captive consumers and high visibility to lure them in—with sky high rents to match the possibilities. Truly urban environments like city centers are even more exclusive in terms of availability and cost.

No. 3 economy is Japan’s attraction

The red circle in the center of the white background represents the sun. The flag is called Hinomaru, which means “circle of the sun.”

Informational insights drive smarter operations, says Living Large

Blink Fitness gyms operate by the numbers, and at Watermill Express, analytics get the human touch. Spray-Net puts data to work in product development.

Better than walking beans or scraping lime—my job

My first real job in high school was as a clerk in a pet shop. It was locally owned; the owner and his family lived above the store, and all his kids worked there. Before I started, I had dreams of playing with puppies, petting kittens and feeding fish. Nope.


IPOs have slowed since 2014, but there could be a lot more public entrants if one firm continues its initial success.

Executive Ladder

Chris Phillips is the latest passenger on the so-called journey to a billion at Atlanta-based GPS Hospitality, a major franchisee of Burger King and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, his previous employer.

Five ways to entertain yourself at work when you have writer’s block

Discover a treasure trove in the supply cabinet that prompts you to write a play for finger puppets

Diving Deeper Into Medical Franchising

We’ve predicted it along with many others: a boom in medical franchising that upends the traditional healthcare industry that creates some massive, new players in the franchise industry. As a reporter who’s received care at several next-generation health players, I see a category that has many unique needs.

Arby’s+Turkey Legs+'Game of Thrones'

I thought it was only my personal life affected by my avoiding "Game of Thrones," but now with Arby’s latest announcement, it is clear this gory and drama-laced show has become required viewing to fit in with contemporary society, like the Soprano’s finale, “Who Shot J.R.?” and every episode of "Unsolved Mysteries."

Chairman Change at Brightway Insurance

Brightway Insurance, a national property/casualty insurance franchise with agencies in 17 states, continues to expand its footprint in 2017, including the signing of new franchisees in Washington, Alabama and Indiana.

Wingstop touches down in Australia and New Zealand

Wingstop Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ: WING), the award-winning wing concept with more than 1,000 locations worldwide, today announced that it is extending its global reach by expanding into Australia and New Zealand.

Papa John's International announces development deal in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Poland

Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA), continues its expansion into new countries with the announcement of signed development agreements for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Poland.

Head-Turning Pics Tout McGraw and Snap Fitness Partnership

You don’t send out photos of Tim McGraw doing handstands and crunches without a shirt and expect to be ignored by the press—and sure enough, Snap Fitness’s new partnership with the country music superstar and the fitness club called Tru Mav is drawing lots of attention.

Perhaps Boring Fits the Bill for New H&R Block Chief

Jeff Jones’ move this week to helm H&R Block after a tumultuous and brief stint at Uber, as announced below on this blog, prompted a look at the tax services sector in franchising. The results are about as boring as, well, preparing your taxes versus following all of the wild news coming out of Uber, and maybe that’s what appealed to Jones.

H&R Block Appoints Jeff Jones, Former Uber Executive, as CEO

Jeff Jones, a former executive with Target Corporation and Uber, was named as H&R Block’s new CEO today. He will succeed Tom Gerke, who will continue to serve as interim president and CEO until October 9.

A&W Restaurants returns to freshly made root beer

In a testament to its original craft beverage roots, freshly made Root Beer is now being served at all A&W restaurant locations across the globe, including 630 in the U.S. The beverage is created through a mixture of the brand’s top-secret blend of spices, real cane sugar and water to create the signature A&W taste.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe signs 100th franchise agreement of 2017

Tropical Smoothie Cafe, announced it has signed its 100th franchise agreement of the year, which will expand its footprint in the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.

Need Glasses for the Eclipse? Shoney's Can Help

If you're ready to get your geek on Monday to view the total solar eclipse but find yourself without viewing glasses, Shoney's is ready to help. The Nashville-based franchise will give out free viewing glasses and a free MoonPie with meal purchase while supplies last. Hwy 55 Burgers is getting in the game, too.

‘Purpose Beyond Profit’ Positioning Drives New Snack Concept

A new concept from Remarkable Brands LLC, Purpose Snackery says it’s a snack shop “that encourages its independent franchisees to make an impact in the communities they serve."

Pieology Heads for Mexico City

Mexico City can now add Pieology pizza to its list of attractions, as the California-based franchise embarks on its first international expansion in the Distrito Federal.

Joe’s Crab Shack in Rough Waters

Joe’s Crab Shack—of the most intense restaurants I’ve ever dined at and an icon of 1990s suburbia—is on the rocks as locations abruptly close across the country and its parent company significantly shrinks the brand’s unit count. I am surprised ye old Crab Shack has hung on as long as it has given some inherent contradictions in the kid-friendly seafood concept.

Coverall® Names Shirley Klein chief operating officer

Coverall North America, Inc., today announced that VP, Operational Development, Shirley Klein has been appointed chief operating officer. Klein will report to Coverall’s chief executive officer, Rick Ascolese.

Anytime Fitness will add over 65 locations throughout Alabama

Anytime Fitness recently announced plans to introduce over 65 locations in targeted areas throughout the state of Alabama. The community-focused brand will ramp up growth through strategic franchise partnerships and aims to open the new locations within the next three years.

DineEquity appoints Stephen P. Joyce as chief executive officer

DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), the parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar® and IHOP® restaurants, announced the appointment of Stephen P. Joyce as the Company's Chief Executive Officer, effective September 12, 2017.

Hungry Howie’s Pizza signs 20 store development deal in Arizona

Hungry Howie’s Pizza, originator of the Flavored Crust® pizza, has inked a 20-store multi-unit agreement in Arizona with plans to open the new locations within the next five years.

Gluten-free crust now available at Papa John's nationwide

Signarama makes 60 new franchise agreements in first half of 2017

Signarama, the world's largest sign franchise, and the first in over 50 countries, reports record-breaking U.S. franchise sales just six months into the year.

With ‘Aggressive’ Approach, Applebee’s to Close 100-plus Locations

Applebee's aims to identify older locations in areas “where once vibrant retail, residential and traffic characteristics are just no longer present,” the brand's president, John Cywinski, noted, along with restaurants that are underperforming “and perhaps even brand-damaging restaurants with unsustainable unit economics.”

La Madeleine Signs New ‘Zee, Continues Refranchising Push

La Madeleine French Bakery and Café is already more than halfway to its goal of refranchising 38 corporate locations, an initiative the brand announced in March at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference.

NCR Partners With Grubhub, DoorDash to Eliminate Delivery Tablets

A new partnership between point-of-sale giant NCR and delivery providers DoorDash and Grubhub aims to eliminate the separate tablets that have become a necessary evil for restaurants looking to add revenue through third-party delivery.

Are You Prepared for Sin Taxes?

As a society, we’ve made massive strides in public health. Smoking rates have declined sharply, teenagers have lower rates of sex, drug use and drinking, and we’re even using less high fructose corn syrup—progress! But the franchised restaurant world is still exposed to how unhealthy some of its foods are.

Social Justice a Must in Retailing, Says Apricot Lane Founder

“Today, the consumer culture has turned a page toward social justice,” declared Ken Petersen, founder and CEO of Apricot Lane Boutique, when I reached him today to talk about how retailing is changing in this era of big-box store closures and Amazon everywhere.

Need Capital? It's Time to Re-Think Your Elevator Pitch

Most entrepreneurs have their elevator pitch down pat—that 30-second speech about their company that can be delivered in the time it takes to go up or down a few floors. But angel investors and venture capitalists on a panel this week recommended listening rather than talking.

In Strategic Move, Wyndham to Spin Off Hotel Unit

Wyndham Hotel Group is set to become a new, publicly traded company by the first half of next year. Based in Parsippany, New Jersey, it operates or franchises more than 8,100 hotels across several brands, including Ramada, Days Inn and Baymont Inn & Suites.

Cereal-loving Journalist Seeks Investors

They say capital’s cheap and easy these days. Because there are so many good business ideas out there, I’ll keep this brief: I’m thinking of becoming a franchisor in the cereal business down in Kentucky. Who’s coming with me?

House Pushes Bill to Define Joint Employer—and It's Bipartisan

A U.S. House committee has introduced legislation defining what it means to be a “joint employer,” stating the employer must “directly, actually and immediately” exercise significant control over the primary elements of employment to be so considered and thus liable for violations of workers’ rights.

Franchise Model Not for Everyone, Palm Beach Boss Says

Chip Paul is shutting down his electronic cigarette franchise, Palm Beach Vapors, which at its peak had 21 units, for regulatory reasons. Meanwhile, he’s starting a new company called Gnu Pharma, which is developing herbal supplements that he will sell through distributors but definitely not roll out as a franchise. Why not?