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September 2017

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In this issue

Secrets of the Lost Cajun

There’s a reason no one has successfully franchised a gumbo-based chain before—it’s a long, arduous process to make it just so. But the real secret isn’t in the recipe. Meet the founding father of The Lost Cajun, Raymond Griffin, a widower franchising the concept he and his late wife dreamed up that’s grounded in courtesy and respect.

FGB winners go beyond the bottom line

At its third annual Franchising Gives Back celebration on September 11, the International Franchise Association will continue its recognition of franchise companies’ charitable programs and the impact they have on their communities. One winner in each of five categories (Spirit of Franchising, Newcomer, Enduring Impact, Support Our Veterans, Innovation and Impact) will receive the Gold distinction from the stage prior to the IFA’s Franchise Action Network initiative, where members visit their congressional leaders.

Retailers get personal to keep customers loyal

Who wants a plain leather handbag when you can have one with a skull and crossbones, a golden wheel with silver angel wings or a dinosaur keychain instead? Retailers are finding success with customization, to help customers create their personal brand.

‘Treated like trash,’ young ‘zees win in end

Getting financing for a new franchise endeavor isn’t what many would call a fun time. But when you’re lumped in with a group as maligned as millennials, it’s even more of a chore.

China’s next as Anytime Fitness tackles world

Since hitting 3,000 gyms worldwide in 2015, Anytime Fitness isn’t slowing its global growth, recently announcing plans for 300-plus locations in China. What’s the game plan? We asked to peek inside their playbook.

Car repair franchises stay steady on rough road

Auto repair shops are riding steady gains as cars sprout minds of their own. Where will they land when the electric car and self-driving crazes shake out? ‘Plenty of things’ will still need repair, says a Christian Brothers exec.

Drug labs offer ultimate in high-stakes testing

When it comes to drug testing, Dave Claflin has seen and heard it all. “I could write a book on it,” says the CEO of Fastest Labs. “We have people that try to trick us every single day. And the funniest thing is when they get caught they just say, ‘OK, you got me.’”

'You are getting very insolvent...’ Hypnosis chain stumbles in NW

Positive Changes uses life coaching and hypnosis “to advance relaxation, create focus and thereby achieve behavioral change,” its website says, but the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing by its largest franchisee is stressing both customers and the franchise system.

The internationalization of the IFE, from soft impressions to hard facts

For many years I’ve been reporting from the International Franchise Expo—for most of those years from Washington, DC; in more recent years from New York City; once, if memory serves, from Miami.

Straight-A strategy—launching a sales program that makes the grade

There’s no time of year quite like back-to-school season. The summer heat gives way to crisp autumn air, school buses return to line city streets and a collective sigh can be heard from coast-to-coast as children everywhere mourn the end of vacation.

From one to nine B-Wings & Rings, plus ‘lots of adventure’ at Two Men

Todd Fetter concedes he and his family have been winging it since 2012. That was the year they opened the first of nine Buffalo Wings & Rings, now spread across Ohio, South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota. None of the seven family members family had ever operated a restaurant.

Acrobats kick off Hilton re-do

The multi-jointed acrobats dangling from bolts of cloths anchored to the ceiling of the newly remodeled Hilton Minneapolis during its grand reopening won’t be hanging around when future conferences book the center, but attendees will still be impressed.

Flynn on way to ‘nice round number’

The Flynn Restaurant Group is one of the master operators in franchising. So when he changes tactics, the industry takes notice. The Applebee’s and Taco Bell operator has shifted his focus in the past two years with a massive diversification play that has him gobbling up locations in the Panera system.

Harsh regs sink Palm Beach Vapors

Co-founder Chip Paul is snuffing out his electronic cigarette franchise, Palm Beach Vapors, citing new Food & Drug Administration regulations that he says torpedo the business model.

Club Pilates owner learns as she grows

Passion comes first for Keely Watson, who owns five Club Pilates units in California. ‘I think with any business you dive in headfirst. That’s much easier to do when you’re passionate about it,’ she says.

Capital still flowing for construction, remodels

Saladworks is among the chains with a mandatory update program, with franchisees spending $5 million all told. Many other franchisors are demanding the same, and lenders with existing relationships seem happy to oblige.

Expert weighs REITS vs. other capital options

Pick a market: Commercial real estate prices are going up and up. It’s not just the major cities like New York or San Francisco that are exploding. Satellites like Oakland, California, hip meccas like Austin and important hubs like Louisville, Kentucky, and Dallas are too.

When small towns make the brand

Much of the action in franchising happens in the suburbs, where power centers, strip malls, enclosed malls and bustling interchanges provide captive consumers and high visibility to lure them in—with sky high rents to match the possibilities. Truly urban environments like city centers are even more exclusive in terms of availability and cost.

No. 3 economy is Japan’s attraction

The red circle in the center of the white background represents the sun. The flag is called Hinomaru, which means “circle of the sun.”

Informational insights drive smarter operations, says Living Large

Blink Fitness gyms operate by the numbers, and at Watermill Express, analytics get the human touch. Spray-Net puts data to work in product development.

Scoreboard

IPOs have slowed since 2014, but there could be a lot more public entrants if one firm continues its initial success.

Executive Ladder

Chris Phillips is the latest passenger on the so-called journey to a billion at Atlanta-based GPS Hospitality, a major franchisee of Burger King and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, his previous employer.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

Better than walking beans or scraping lime—my job

My first real job in high school was as a clerk in a pet shop. It was locally owned; the owner and his family lived above the store, and all his kids worked there. Before I started, I had dreams of playing with puppies, petting kittens and feeding fish. Nope.

Loose Ends

Five ways to entertain yourself at work when you have writer’s block

Discover a treasure trove in the supply cabinet that prompts you to write a play for finger puppets
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