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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?

BurgerFi Celebrates Juicy Racing Win

BurgerFi, a Florida-based fast-casual franchise, is savoring a heaping PR boost after the car it sponsors in the NASCAR Xfinity Series won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway over the weekend.

In the Tank With US Cryotherapy

Trying out so many franchised concepts is one of the coolest parts of my job. My recent trip into a frigid cryotherapy chamber was only the latest—and most literal—example, showing me cryotherapy is more than a fad for hard-charging athletes and regular Joes like me.

New Deal Means a New Majority Owner for Smashburger

In $100 million deal, Jollibee Foods Corp. will acquire an additional 45 percent of Smashburger, the Denver-based burger franchise that has more than 360 restaurants.

Romance, Traffic and Menu Mix: A Look at Valentine's Data

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days for restaurants, but there are some major standouts when it comes to romance-related sales spikes.

Mourners Say Goodbye to Landmark Arby’s Sign

"Oh Arby’s sign, the meats, the meats are calling..."

Paul Brown's Strategic Balancing Act at Inspire Brands

Paul Brown has begun his balancing act at the helm of Inspire Brands, which is now one of the largest owner-operators of restaurants out there with 1,700 company restaurants and 4,600 locations when including franchise operations.

‘Music Paradigm’ Teaches Better Way to Wield Baton

I play the flute, trombone, piano and organ and sang in a symphonic choir, and my alternative career path, albeit never followed, was to be an orchestra conductor, so the Music Paradigm presentation today at the IFA’s annual conference was right up my alley.

Young and Fresh, NextGen Finalists Make Their Pitches

All were young, fresh and impressive, but otherwise the 20 finalists competing in the NextGen competitition (said to be culled from 900 applicants from around the world) at the International Franchise Association annual convention Sunday were individually brash, confident, soft-spoken, intellectual, nervous, sloppily dressed or perfectly prepared.

By Operators, for Operators—a Sneak Peek of FT Zor Awards

Charlotte Haigler Proctor likes to tell prospective franchisees, “I hope you’re not considering being an absentee owner.” She is one of the super-smart franchisees our edit team has been interviewing for the last several weeks, preparing stories for our March cover package, the Franchise Times Zor Awards. Here’s a sneak peek.

10 Win Prestigious Franchise Times Dealmakers Awards

Franchise Times today announces winners of the 2018 Franchise Times Dealmakers awards, the sixth annual project recognizing the boldest players driving mergers and acquisitions in franchising.

Continental Hotel Occupancy Still Rising, Shining

Even after several years of revenue and occupancy gains, new hotel construction and brand rollouts, U.S. hotel occupancy is still increasing as North American hoteliers in general see widespread gains in bookings across all travel segments.

U.S. Restaurants Improve Sustainability Efforts

A new study from the National Restaurant Association shows that, on the whole, the U.S. restaurant industry is boosting sustainability efforts, which include energy-saving equipment, food waste reduction and water conservation.

Meet the New Parent of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings

With its $2.9 billion acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings a done deal, Arby’s Restaurant Group renamed itself Inspire Brands Inc., the new multi-concept operator encompassing Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and R Taco.

Sentinel Capital Sells Huddle House

Sentinel Capital Partners sold family dining brand Huddle House Inc. to family office Elysium Management this week. The private equity firm acquired the Atlanta-based restaurant franchise in 2012 and had since helped guide it through a turnaround and roll out a remodeling program. The chain added 36 new locations to the map in fiscal year 2017—a record year of franchise expansion for the brand.

The Gents Place Touts Growth, Investment From Dallas Cowboys Owner

Men’s grooming concept The Gents Place closed out its first full year of franchising having signed agreements that will bring 11 new locations to markets including Austin, Chicago, Houston and San Antonio. And to top it all off, the brand received a significant investment from Blue Star Innovation Partners, an investment venture for growth-stage companies founded by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Report: Franchise Sector to Outpace Overall Economy in ‘18

The franchise sector is expected to grow faster than the rest of the U.S. economy, according to a new report from the International Franchise Association, which was unveiled Monday at the Washington Post’s State of the Union Preview and delivered by Fastsign’s CEO Catherine Monson.

Super Bowl at Minus 10? Bold North Says Bring It On

Since the largest franchise of them all—the National Football League—is in Minneapolis, also the world headquarters of Franchise Times, I’ve been talking with sources all week who have the same question: What in the world do people do when the Super Bowl will take place on a day forecast to be 10 degrees below overnight with a high of big fat zero on February 4 itself? So let me explain.

Fazoli’s Trumpets Great Year-End Numbers

Things have been going very well at Fazoli’s as the country’s largest quick-service Italian chain continues its long growth streak in the wake of some dark times several years ago. The Kentucky-based company just announced an increase in same-store sales and foot traffic, as well as the signing of six new development agreements for new stores in several different states.

MVS Pet Care Starts First At-Home Vet Service

As the owner of two dogs who are terrified of going to the vet, I am very excited to hear a company called MVS Pet Care is launching what it calls the first professional franchise network of house call veterinarians. This is a great idea, and definitely a game-changing idea for certain pet owners, which is a fast-growing part of the U.S. economy.

With New App, 7-Eleven Joins the Delivery Game

As part of a “significant digital transformation,” convenience-store chain 7-Eleven is testing delivery and in-store pickup ordering at select Dallas stores with its new 7-ElevenNOW smartphone app.

Please No, Burger King

Burger King launches another mega-burger that begs the question: are we heading into another caloric QSR arms race? This reporter hopes not.

Wayback Burgers Celebrates Juicy Growth

On the heels of what it called a “monstrous and prosperous” Q4, Wayback Burgers is trumpeting its rapid growth and franchise development throughout 2017, in hopes of continuing the momentum throughout the new year.

Pet Wants Is Exception to Slow-to-100 Rule

My recent blog post pointing out how few franchises make it to 100 units in a year or two, as so many young franchises claim they will, drew many responses, including some who thought I was being too negative to point out the statistics from Franchise Grade. But the president of Pet Wants Franchise System, Scott Hoots, called the numbers “sobering” and added his brand “had the opposite problem.”

HomeVestors Names Ugliest House of 2017

We Americans love dramatic renovations, and HomeVestors—the brand behind We Buy Ugly Houses—has named The Ugliest House of the Year after Americans voted on five house makeovers completed by company’s independently owned and operated franchises.

Resales Another Opportunity for New Franchise Owners

Buying an established franchise means everything is in place and you can hit the ground running with a mature business. But the same advantages can also be disadvantages, so due diligence is crucial say panelists at Franchise Expo South.

Dear Subway, You Stink. Love, Freshii

A franchisee revolt at Subway over its $5 footlong promotion and declining sales has prompted Freshii to publish an open letter yesterday in the Chicago Tribune, offering a “sincere proposal,” as the letter said. One can only imagine Subway's response.

Tony Roma's Opening First U.S. Franchise in Six Years

After six years without any new U.S. locations, Tony Roma's is back on the gas with West Palm Beach Opening.

From the Cutting Room Floor, More Fast & Serious

We interviewed 40 C-level execs to put together our Fast & Serious package, which you can read in full in our January issue, but we gleaned a lot more that we weren’t able to include. So, here are three more thoughts on growing a franchise brand, sustainably.

I Heart Mac & Cheese, and Short Ribs, and Crispy Chicken….

We’re suckers for good food photos, so our thanks goes to I Heart Mac & Cheese, a Boca Raton, Florida-based brand that just launched a national franchise program and has many beautiful photos plus a dauntingly long menu that seems destined to shrink—or whose name seems destined to expand.

At Rachel’s Kitchen, a Shaq Sighting

Retired NBA star and Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal stopped in for breakfast at Rachel's Kitchen, a bistro franchise concept in Las Vegas.