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June-July 2015

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In this issue

Roy Rogers tries for a comeback

The once-troubled Roy Rogers Restaurants chain is in the middle of a turnaround as it works to double its portfolio within the next five years. Peter Plamondon was one of the insiders who helped launch Roy Rogers for Marriott, in the 1960s, and it grew to 650 units. He left in 1979 to become a franchisee of the brand he helped create, and his sons, Jim and Pete Jr., purchased the entire chain in 2002. They had plans to rejuvenate and re-franchise, but had to shelve those plans during the recession. Now, with credit flowing again, they have begun re-growing Roy Rogers, which is about to open its 49th location in Winchester, Virginia.

Smoothie King aids princesses

Before Danielle Busby made history by delivering the only all-female quintuplets born in the U.S. who all survived, she got a smoothie makeover.

ATAX founder turns Mom’s $20 into franchise

It’s not far in miles from Washington Heights to Yonkers, headquarters of Rafael Alvarez’s tax-prep brand. But he’s traveled a very long way indeed, from Dominican Republic to NYC’s mean streets to franchise success.

RedBrick Pizza founders want to feed the hungry

Their new foundation connects food-insecure Americans with donated restaurant meals. With their franchise in good hands—BRIX bought it last year—RedBrick’s founders begin a nationwide rollout of 1F1R.com.

Cruise One ‘zee operates from home, with twins

A CruiseOne franchisee discovers being a dad and running a business can be mutually exclusive goals. But he’s making it work, despite art projects made out of, shall we say, unorthodox materials.

Only veterans need apply at J-Dog

Many franchises are committed to attracting military veterans, but none more so than Jerry Flanagan. His J-Dog Junk Removal brand is available only to those who’ve served, and he’s developing other concepts.

Cautionary tales about veterans and franchising

Military veterans tell anecdotes both positive and negative about their experience as franchisees. How to make sure your stories are the former? Here’s advice from both sides of the battlefield.

Pat Sajak, long-time host of ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ has lent his celebrity to Great American

Pat Sajak, long-time host of ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ has lent his celebrity to Great American Deals, a franchise that provides hyper-local promotions via a website. Can a game-show host who plays well in middle America, plus a CEO with a ‘silver tongue,’ add luster to a fledgling daily-deals concept?

Who’s taking a bite out of big sandwich chains?

Jersey Mike’s tops Technomic’s new list of fastest-growing sandwich chains, with U.S. sales up more than 30 percent. Eight more brands chalked up double-digit growth last year as well.

In search of the perfect sandwich

For two Franchise Times writers, Tom Kaiser and Beth Ewen, the quest was to visit five sandwich chains, buy two sandwiches at each, eat them and discuss. What could possibly go wrong, other than their waistbands?

Hotels geared toward outdoorsy set

For hotels that cater to adventurers, ‘don’t be standard—be unique’ is an apt slogan. Owners advise ordering lots of T-shirts (if your brand includes Yogi Bear) and offering breakfast starting at the crack of dawn.

Check out six fresh hotel franchises

Tired of the same-old-same-old hotels? New hotel concepts are checking into the scene with greater frequency as business travel heats up with the economy. Some of these new hotel players are independents, while others are younger, hipper, more urbane properties rolled out by legacy brands like Hilton, Hyatt, Best Western and Red Lion. Here’s a brief look at what’s new on the franchise side of hospitality.

Top tips to cut restaurant costs

The need never ends to spruce up your restaurants, but experienced owners have learned the hard way how to keep on top of the job. Outside consultants, too, add advice to aid anyone tired of bailing.

From Arby’s to Zaxby’s, 31 brands make their pitch

Three days, 31 franchises, two keynotes and a franchisee panel marked the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference in April. Here are highlights from presentations geared toward an audience of lenders and financiers. See the complete videos at www.franchisetimes.com.

Cybercrime now a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’

The headlines may be scary, but practical steps exist that can help lessen the risk of data breaches. Here are some tools to use. Your worst mistake is thinking it can’t happen to your franchise.

Buffalo Wild Wings squawking about costs

With ongoing mega-droughts, elevated grain prices and a growing bird-flu epidemic, protein prices are up to the detriment of restaurant operators.

Lisbon has a lot to offer franchisors

Portugal has a lot to offer franchisors, including a wide-open playing field in its capital, Lisbon. Here’s one feet-on-the-ground view of this romantic city.

Franchising in Portugal, at a glance

Lisbon could be the San Francisco of Portugal—at least in reference to the hilliness of the city and its beauty. The costal city has an abundance of small stylish cafés, many with outdoor seating, which may be one of the reasons we didn’t see many franchised restaurants in the row after row of buildings. A large busy Starbucks was located in a corner of an historic train station building on one of the bustling squares where shops catered to tourists. It was one of the few American brands spotted there.

The battle over who gets an SBA loan

What is the definition of a “small” business? That seemingly simple question is at the heart of a thorny problem that has two groups offering opposing suggestions about who should make the call.

From Shanghai to Austin, two countries share goal

Standing in front of the gleaming windows of our firm’s office in Shanghai World Financial Center (which the locals call the “Bottle Opener”), with the Jin Mao Tower (the “Syringe”) and Shanghai Tower (the “Blender”) in view, it is impossible not to be awestruck by the completely changed skyline of a city relentlessly booming in the last 30 years. At the same time, the thick smog wafting through the skyscrapers is a reminder of the immense challenges it faces (PM2.5 reading: 237 “Very Unhealthy”).

How 3 emerging brands aim to support franchisees

The right touch is key when supporting franchisees, agree the three emerging brands we’re following all year. These are entrepreneurs, not employees, after all, and they’ll ‘wiggle and squirm’ when put in a box.

For Melting Pot, dipping into Mideast not so easy

With the goal to ‘own’ fondue around the globe, The Melting Pot first tried Mexico and Canada. The current push beyond North America is teaching valuable lessons. ‘It is not easy growth,’ one executive says.

Deals in phy ed, ice cream and cleaning services

Talk about a golden franchise opportunity. Find a state school system vague about physical education mandates—say, Texas. Public schools in the Lone Star state, for instance, are required to provide “physical activity” in K-6 grades. But they have wide leeway regarding when, where and how such activity takes place.

Executive Ladder

Pieology Pizzeria appointed Richard Pineda as vice president of supply chain and Hans Milberger as director of construction. They will assist the company as it enters new U.S. markets. LunchBOX Franchise appointed Terrence Groth as chief operating officer, a new position within the franchise. In his expanded role, Groth will ensure the company has proper systems in place to manage growth and watch over financial strength and operating efficiency.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

This issue’s worth the ink

I’m not big on tattoos. Yes, I’m of THAT generation—the one that saw tattoos as the result of a crusty sailor’s night of drunken debauchery in a faraway port.

Loose Ends

You say boondoggle, I say tax deduction opty

I know at first glance my recent trip to Portugal and Spain appears to be a vacation, but I can assure you it was business. True, when I describe how much fun it was, it may sound like it was 90 percent pleasure, 10 percent business. But since I’m writing a story on the Spanish/Portuguese food scene for our sister publication, Foodservice News, it’s more like 90 percent business. Why? Because I ate 90 percent of the day, every day, starting with the free breakfast at the hotel. “Free” is a misnomer because the cost is actually included in your room rate, but it feels free because everyone’s just giving a room number to the hostess and no cash exchanges hands. (If everyone’s doing it, it must be tax deductible, right, Agent McGee?)
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