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Waze Targets Franchisees With New Ad Options

Franchisees have a new spot to market locally, and one that might bring literal traffic.

Art of the Deal Panel Is Highlight of Upcoming FFGC

It’s not news to Susan Beth, COO of NRD Capital, that plenty of people questioned why the Atlanta-based private equity firm purchased Ruby Tuesday. She will talk about the ins and outs of that deal, along with two other award winners in the Franchise Times Dealmakers project, at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference, May 7-9 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

Delta Disaster Services Now Part of HRI Holdings

Adding to its stable of home and commercial services brands, the parent company of Chem-Dry Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning and N-Hance Wood Refinishing acquired restoration concept Delta Disaster Services in a deal announced this week.

Melting Pot Wants to Capitalize on Fondue’s Appeal Abroad

International franchise expansion is on the menu for The Melting Pot now that it has refined its criteria to target established franchisee partners with the infrastructure to develop at least three restaurants.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Adds New Parks in U.S., Canada

As Yogi Bear enjoys his return to the spotlight thanks to the recent Quicken Loans TV commercials, his day job—Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts—announced the addition of two new campgrounds in Tennessee and Newfoundland.

NBA Star Draymond Green Signs With Blink Fitness

With excellent timing as March Madness brings basketball to the fore, NBA star Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors has signed a franchise development deal to bring at least 20 Blink Fitness gyms to Michigan and Illinois.

Founding Couples: Architects and Engineers

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

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?

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.