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Not to be braggadocious, but here’s a stellar saga


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In some capacity, I have worked on 200 issues of Franchise Times. (I forbid you to do the math.) And over the years, I have met, read about or interviewed some big personalities. In fact, franchising is replete with them. Let’s face it: You have to be confident in yourself and your abilities if you are going to first launch a business, and then second, ask someone else to invest in it.

In this issue of Franchise Times, we are bringing you one of those individuals who is a seize-the-day personality. John Hewitt is the subject of our cover story. FT Editor-in- Chief Beth Ewen visited with him in person at the new offices of Loyalty Brands, his freshly launched company. After the interview, Beth thought how could this not be a cover?

Hewitt’s story is not your run-of-the-mill franchise saga. He’s the Hewitt who built the tax prep franchise Jackson Hewitt, and after that, Liberty Tax, the latter from which he was fired as CEO in late 2017. Her story takes twists and turns from lawsuits, purported lavish spending and supposed character assassinations, to the drama of the boardroom and a buyout. But after all of that, Hewitt says don’t count him out yet.

“With his trademark braggadocio,” Beth writes, (now that’s a word you don’t read every day, and one of my favorite parts of the story) “Hewitt, age 70, says he expects to duplicate his success with his third tax brand, to be launched under the umbrella name Loyalty Brands and to also include three other franchise concepts.” With phrases like “reckless escapades” in black and white, I suggest a cozy chair in a quiet corner when you read this one and hear both sides. You’ll want to have the “do not disturb” sign out on display.

And while the rest of the issue is not quite as, mmmm, dramatic, we always feature the compelling people who make up the franchise landscape. Take FT Managing Editor Laura Michaels’ story on Krupal Patel, whose life was turned askew five years ago by a beer “with notes of citrus, papaya and mango.” A Corona devotee before that, it was the first step to moving from an auditing job at a public accounting firm to franchise ownership.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson

Publisher
Reach Mary Jo at 612-767-3208
or mlarson@franchisetimes.com

How could a guy with no prior restaurant experience succeed in the often-fickle world of restaurants? I will not divulge the franchise’s name here, so you’ll have to read Laura’s interview with Patel and the founder of the franchise himself. It’s heady stuff.

Our franchise focus this month is on quick-serve restaurants, and Senior Editor Tom Kaiser talked with Smashburger’s CFO Brad Reynolds, as Philippines QSR giant Jollibee takes over 100 percent of the reins.

Mainly, restaurant operators are a confident bunch, but also often forthcoming about their plans and how they will avoid the mistakes of the past. “I do think we have the right scar tissue, and we’re never going to make the mistakes that we’ve made in the past ever again; so it’s an inelegant way of saying we’re really well positioned,” Reynolds told Tom. Well positioned to grow? Read Tom’s story to discover the answer.

We have another focus on business services franchises, as well spotlighting franchise development consulting and technology support, all designed to help our readers build better companies. And the people—more write-ups on the folks who are doing franchise business every day.

This is my 202nd issue of Franchise Times, to be exact, and I’m still not tired of reading this publication. Fresh as ever, this magazine requires that I ready my cozy chair in the corner for next month’s read.

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