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October 2017

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In this issue

Ranking the biggest brands in franchising

The 10 largest franchise brands roared back in 2016 after losing sales the prior year for the first time in the history of the Franchise Times Top 200+.

Exclusive interview with Subway CEO Suzanne Greco

Suzanne Greco was seven years old when her big brother, Fred DeLuca, opened what became the first Subway restaurant in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1965. “I stayed in the background while everyone else was working,” Greco said, “but I aspired to be a worker, too. Fred and our mother gave me little chores, like sweeping the floor and drying dishes.”

The newcomer: BoConcept makes U.S. push

Judging on appearances, everything looks better in Scandinavia—the peaceful lifestyle, colorful cottages, lush fjords, sleek Volvos wagons and, of course, the breathtaking, gorgeous furniture that elevates daily living to an art form. It’s a look that’s becoming more common, showing up everywhere from apparel to automobiles.

The turnaround: A&W’s on the road again

Nearly six years after A&W’s disgruntled and demoralized U.S. franchisee association banded together with its largest international franchisee and former President Kevin Bazner to purchase the brand from Yum, now-CEO Bazner is feeling confident as the nearly 100-year-old brand is back to growing sales and adding units.

The up-and-comer: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

What does it take to run a company for Warren Buffett? Ask Gino Blefari, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, one of the few Buffett acquisitions that have been allowed to use the hallowed Berkshire Hathaway name.

Top Kuwait operator, M.H. Alshaya, brings Blaze to Middle East

Already with more than 30 American brands in its portfolio, M.H. Alshaya Co. adds a fast-casual pizza concept it believes has immense potential and ‘will fit well in a market that prizes individuality, quality and convenience.’

No Spandex required at Beeline Bikes

Typical bike shops can be intimidating for casual bikers whose self image is not defined by a car-free lifestyle. The shorts are form-fitting, the proprietary lingo is pervasive, prices for quality equipment and accessories are often high, and booking an appointment during peak riding season can be a challenge.

Head-turning partnership for Snap Fitness and McGraw

You don’t send out photos of Tim McGraw doing handstands and crunches without a shirt and expect to be ignored by the press—and sure enough, Snap Fitness’s new partnership with the country music superstar and the fitness club called Tru Mav is drawing lots of attention.

Outdoor spaces require extra planning

Whether a deal-breaker or the ‘cherry on top’ of a location, many franchises have cracked the code for making outdoor spaces work. Watch for overly expensive build-outs, though, as well as zoning and regulations that can pinch. Then there’s the weather…

Start now to meet new rule from FASB

Big changes are coming to the accounting department, but few companies have done much about new Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) rules. Dubbed revenue from contracts with customers, the handful of new rules will change things for restaurant franchisors especially.

How to crack the tourist trap code

Tourist towns are an entirely different offshoot of the non-traditional real estate game, and choosing the right location is like prospecting for oil—time-consuming during front-end research, costly and disappointing if you make a mistake, but a gusher of cash if you’ve successfully drilled down into a prosperous deposit.

RFDC: Come for the deals, stay for the Flay

When people ask why they should attend the Restaurant Finance and Development Conference, it’s difficult to name just one reason—or even five.

NRD’s Susan Beth and her ‘amazeball’ answers

Susan Beth’s car may not be as clean as it used to be, but she still thinks the best job in franchising just found her. Susan (we should refer to her by her last name, but it would just sound like we’re calling her by her first name, so why bother?), the COO of NRD Capital Management, an un-private equity fund started by Aziz Hashim, is the most bubbly M&A adviser you’ll ever run into. “I’m a Type A when I need to be,” Susan says, reassuringly.

Kono Pizza ditches bricks and mortar

In 2012, the owners of Kono Pizza’s American arm set out to change the way Americans eat pizza—out of a cone-shaped crust. Their game plan centered on smaller footprints than traditional quick-service brands. At the time, it had 18 U.S. locations, with intentions of greatly scaling up through the sale of three-, five- and 10-pack store deals, most of which were to be located in traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Ego’s in check for Halal Guys operator

‘When you’re filled with ego, you’re focused on yourself, not finding someone to help,’ declares a Halal Guys operator in Southern California. Paul Tran and his four partners came together for their love of the brand.

Philippines ripe for food expansion

Each element has a meaning. Blue stands for peace and justice, red symbolizes courage, and the white equal-sided triangle represents equality. The eight rays of the sun recall the first eight provinces that sought independence from Spain, while the stars represent the three major geographical divisions of the country: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Digital strategy is crucial to reach consumers

Effective marketing is all about getting people’s attention. Videos work wonders for Spray-Net, while traditional mixes with digital marketing at Watermill Express. For Blink Fitness, geo-targeting delivers results.

‘Answers sought, answers denied’ as Tim Hortons/RBI union sours

The honeymoon is over for Restaurant Brands International, the company formed by Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital that bought the iconic Tim Hortons donuts-and-coffee chain in December 2014 for $12.5 billion.

Over South Korea, a cloud, even if not of the mushroom variety

The headlines are filled with the rapid developments in the steadily deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and North Korea. By the time this column has been published the alarm could subside—or it could have accelerated into one of the most perilous and threatening periods in our lifetime.

If General Patton were here to helm the pay-per-click battlefield

You’ll find two types of soldiers on the front lines of battle: those who stand paralyzed by fear and those who are emboldened by pure grit and sound strategy. Likewise, the pay-per-click (PPC) battlefield is peppered with franchise players that are either fighting blind or frozen in place, with only a select few who charge forward with a winning strategy.

A neophyte tackles Bruster’s, while an old pro takes on 64 Sonics

Dan Tarkoff is stepping into his first franchise venture—an ice cream shop called Bruster’s Real Ice Cream. Yaron Goldman is launching his fourth—the iconic Sonic Drive-In. Though their experience level differs dramatically, both franchisees expect to grow their respective brands and reap financial rewards.

Scoreboard

The franchising sector is beating the pants off other industries. According to Hachemi Aliouche, director of the Rosenberg International Franchise Center at the University of New Hampshire, the industry is doing incredibly well, and it has since 2000, when the center started watching.

Executive Ladder

Randon Clayton was hired as technology associate at Assisting Hands Home Care’s home office. Preparing for expansion, Mici Handcrafted Italian hired Elliot Shiffer as partner and CEO.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

We’ve done the hard work so relax, enjoy the show

If you are a regular reader of this column, you may remember last month I opened with an accounting of my first jobs as a teenager, one of which was the unenviable task of “walking beans” on my grandfather’s farm, which means walking down rows of soybeans with a hoe in tow, pulling the weeds. (Soybeans sold with weeds in the mix lowered the price.)

Loose Ends

Why I’m a newfound fan of rereading what I’ve written in the distant past

I came up with the idea for this column after interviewing Dear Abby’s grandson, Dean Phillips, who is operating a coffee shop chain while running for Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District seat (the interview was for our sister publication Foodservice News).
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