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From Cigar Box to Acquisition, PostNet Sells to MBE

Back in the day, Steven Greenbaum, then age 21, operated his independent pack-and-ship business “out of a cigar box” and with “bathroom scales,” as he told Franchise Times in 2008. This week Greenbaum sold PostNet, the franchise system he co-founded in 1992 that today has 660 franchise locations in nine countries, to MBE Worldwide.

Good News: ‘Zors Providing Better Financial Info

Like any investment, franchising is a gamble for those considering putting their money on the line. To that end, we encourage all players in the industry to disclose as much financial information as possible. A new report by FRANdata suggests franchisors are getting the hint.

Restaurant Trend Hunting in NYC

Sometimes it’s a dirty job here at Franchise Times, like my current advance work to explore the latest restaurant trends while I’m in New York City next month for the annual International Franchise Expo at the Javits Center.

Mosquito Joe Takes on Malarial Mosquitos in Africa

We all know the annoying buzz of a mosquito stuck in our bedroom. To most Americans, it’s a nuisance, but for families across Africa, it portends one of the deadliest diseases known to man: malaria.

Massage Envy Rolling Out New Services and Remodel

The largest massage concept in the U.S. will be undergoing a major, company-wide facelift. Last week, Massage Envy announced plans to remodel more than 700 of its franchised locations, alongside a plan to increase its product offerings to become a total body care service.

The Friendly Acquisition of Mooyah Burgers

A pair of friendly capital partners are taking the reins from another pair of close friends, preparing Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes for its next phase.

Yum Announces Big Pizza Hut Investment

There’s no question that Domino’s has stolen the bulk of the recent mojo in the ongoing pizza wars sweeping across the globe. The latest salvo promises to ratchet up the intensity, as Yum Brands announced a dramatic $130 million investment for its Pizza Hut brand.

Hertz Hits the Skids on Weak Numbers

After announcing a $223 million loss and missed first-quarter expectations, Hertz shares fell sharply this week, accelerating what’s been a startling decline of the car rental giant’s share price over the last eight months.

Penalties Can Be Steep for Franchise Law Violations

Franchise attorney Beata Krakus has a sure-fire way to make certain her clients stay awake when she conducts training on compliance with a myriad of franchise laws. “One of my first slides is a picture of a guy behind bars. That tends to get everyone’s attention real quick,” she said at a presentation yesterday. Krakus, with Greensfelder Hemker & Gale, spoke Monday at the International Franchise Association’s Legal Symposium in Washington, D.C.

What Can Your FPR Say? New Rules Ahead

New rules are just around the corner for what franchisors can and cannot say in their financial performance representations, also known as FPRs or Item 19, and two attorneys laid out some details yesterday at the IFA Legal Symposium in Washington, D.C.

Famous Dave’s Selling Company Stores to Its ‘Zees

Accelerating its previously announced plans to focus solely on its franchisees, Famous Dave’s announced it is refranchising its remaining 33 company-owned restaurants during the next two years.

KFC Pens 'Tender Wings of Desire' Romance Novella for Moms

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, KFC has cooked up something special: its first romance novella titled “Tender Wings of Desire” as a thank-you to all the moms. Paired with its $20 Fill Up deal or as a free e-book download on Amazon, this is a legitimately unique marketing ploy that I fully support.

Take Care Before Posting That Photo, Attorney Advises

“When it comes to copyright law there is a profound amount of ignorance,” declared Mark Anfinson, a media law attorney in the Twin Cities in a talk last week before magazine editors and writers. Anyone who posts or publishes content—in other words, just about everyone—should pay attention to his advice.

Rushing to Disclose Calories? Never Mind for Now

Restaurants and other food sellers had until this Friday, May 5, to disclose calories on their menus, but heavy last-minute lobbying by grocery stores, convenience stores and pizza chains caused the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to delay enforcement—until next year, May 7, 2018, says a Gray Plant Mooty alert.

Great Harvest's Shot at Panera Goes to FTC

Well, you can’t say Eric Keshin lacks chutzpah, as the president of Great Harvest Bread Co. sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission this week requesting it and the Justice Department look into the purchase of Panera Bread by JAB Holding Co. and examine it on anti-competitive grounds.

Break Your News Bubble, Columnist Bruni Begs

Have you been outside your news bubble today? I ask because that’s what New York Times columnist Frank Bruni challenged us all to do, in a recent talk he gave in Minneapolis called “Media in the Age of Misinformation.”

Hiring Is Tough & You’re (Probably) Doing It Wrong

The CEOs of Harri and Hireology share some valuable insight on what everyone’s doing wrong, and how innovation is leading to a smarter hiring process that can dramatically reduce the amount of time and money wasted on attracting sub-par candidates.

Dairy Queen's Impressive Growth Streak

For a brand that’s nearly 80 years old, Minneapolis-based Dairy Queen is growing at a snappy clip, exceeding many of its QSR competitors. As part of the lead-up to brand owner Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, DQ provided a quick update of its recent progress. The numbers are impressive, and not just for a brand that’s as old as Tina Turner, Chuck Norris and Sir Ian McKellen.

You Can Try This at Home, but Meditation Studios Are Currently in Vogue

The trials and tribulations of multi-tasking as an intellectual properties litigator brought Hamid Jabbar to the mat, first as a yoga instructor and then as a meditation guide. The 37-year-old is one of the instructors at a new franchise, Current Meditation, in Phoenix.

NFL Vet Donnell Thompson Signs With Del Taco

There’s no denying the trend of active and retired athletes getting into franchising. Former NFL player Donnell Thompson is the latest with the announcement that he signed a development agreement to build five new Del Taco locations on the east side of Atlanta, further supporting the brand’s recently announced expansion plans in the Southeast U.S.

From Popeyes Former CEO, Words of Encouragement

“Work transition, particularly when it is unexpected, brings with it a range of emotions, the primary one being a sense of loss,” writes Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen until it was sold March 27 and she lost her job, as she put it, in an unusually candid and insightful blog post that might buoy others in her shoes.

Crummy Cross-Sales Prompts Launch of Neighborly

A sad statistic—only 2 percent of customers had used more than one of the 13 service franchises owned by The Dwyer Group—has led to the launch of a new umbrella company, called Neighborly.

Opportunities for Franchisors as Malls Evolve

There’s a lot of hand-wringing about what can get millennials off the couch (or their phones) and into stores. As many legacy retailers close locations by the dozen or hundreds, let’s concede that most retail is in for a bumpy ride. That doesn’t guarantee the end of malls. Focus on what people actually need in a given week and move forward. Franchising can be a big part of this next phase of indoor shopping centers.

Baymont’s New Partnership Employing People With Disabilities

Wyndham’s Baymont Inn & Suites recently completed a subtle rebranding that included adding new Hometown Host positions to bring local flavor and welcoming faces into its hotels to make its guest experiences more memorable. Taking the concept a step further, Baymont partnered with workforce development firm The Arc@Work to allow people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to fill some of the Hometown Host roles.

Olympian Quest Comes to End for Zerorez Operator

A Zerorez franchisee in Minnesota who took on the U.S. Olympic Committee over free speech rights has had his day in court—and lost. “Unfortunately, the court decided on Tuesday, April 4, to dismiss our case,” said his lawyer, Aaron Hall of JUX law firm in Minneapolis, via email.

Submarina Still Docked in Bankruptcy Court

Last September, CEO Bruce Rosenthal told Franchise Times he expected to exit the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization process for Submarina, the Houston-based sandwich chain he owns, by the end of that month. Reached today by phone, he’s still waiting, with his plans to again start growing the company on indefinite hold.

Eight Apps to Improve Your Restaurant Operations

Technological advances in the restaurant industry can help owners increase sales, make their restaurants more productive, and give their business a competitive edge. Unfortunately, most hardware-based systems are expensive and tricky to set up.

El Pollo Loco, Firehouse Seek Multi-Unit Operators With Aggressive Incentives

It's not easy to expand a restaurant through franchising in a chosen market. Every time a new market opens up in Texas, you’ll have a prospective franchisee say, “How about Virginia?”

Panera: You’re Welcome

In winter of 2000, I was putting Panera on a path to being one of the most expensive restaurant acquisitions in history by a group of highly caffeinated Luxembourgers.

Frisch's Big Boy Loses His Checkered Pants

Frisch's Big Boy, the statue that invites hungry diners into the restaurant, has gotten a makeover. Gone is the paper hat—all the better to see his Elvis-like hair—and the bright-red lips. Striped overalls have replaced the vintage red-and-white checked version. He's also stronger. Instead of using two hands to show off the Big Boy hamburger, he holds it high over his head.

Quaker Steak & Lube Pumps Up Rebirth

After being purchased by TravelCenters of America last spring, Quaker Steak & Lube is stepping back on the gas and looking to get back on a road to growth after traveling through bankruptcy in 2015.

It’s About Time: Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr. Marketing Matures

Yeah, yeah, yeah—sex sells. But it’s certainly not a sophisticated approach when a major international brand resorts to scantily clad models and junior-high-level sexual innuendo to sell its products. I suspect I’m but one of many in the franchising industry breathing a sigh of relief as Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. finally, mercifully announce a new marketing approach that’s focused on food quality, innovation and its history as a QSR pioneer.

Domino’s Expands Robot Delivery Service to Europe

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.

BurgerFi Jets Into First Airport Location

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.

Sears Fades While Retail, Restaurants Retreat

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.

In Boardroom Shuffle, Puzder Exits CKE, KFC’s Marker Takes Over

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.

Former Wingstop Execs Look to ‘Strike Gold’ With Huey Magoo’s

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.”

Converting Consumers from 'Buds' to Craft Suds

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.

Wendy’s Innovates on Real Estate

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.

Where's Wahlberg? Celebrity Cache Found on Big Screen at FFGC

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 Leads List of Franchise Times Dealmakers Winners

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.

Batteries+Bulbs Highlights the Value of Investing in Retail at FFGC

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.

Moe's Digital Drive-thrus Pushed by Off-premise Growth

Historically, QSR has gotten the bulk of off-premise dollars via the drive-thru. But fast casual is catching up with new technology.

Amid Slump, Ruby Tuesday Explores All Options

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.

Marco’s Pizza Sets Sight on 200 More Stores Over 2 Years

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.

Franchisors Highlight Capital Needs at FT Conference

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.

Timing Is Everything When Seeking Growth Capital

“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,

Greene Turtle Thinks Casino-Based Model Is Good Bet

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.

A Bermuda Short Story

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.

Boston Markets Phasing Out Antibiotics

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.