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Another beautiful brand

Beautiful Brands International keeps snapping up small restaurant brands. This time, the company announced that it has added Oklahoma-based The Crusty Croissant to its portfolio.

BBI reached a deal with the restaurant's owners, Sean and Kristie Savage, to use the franchisor's organizational and support system to market and franchise the brand in the U.S. and internationally. Beautiful Brands' support will include product development, marketing, real estate, architecture, legal, franchise sales and other services.

The Crusty Croissant will be positioned as a fast-casual bakery cafe concept with a smaller footprint and lower startup costs than many of its competitors. The restaurant opened just a year ago in the Brookside area of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The restaurant has a French-influenced menu with croissants, crepes, quiches and pork tenderloin.

The burgeoning concept is one of six held by Beautiful Brands. The others: Camille's Sidewalk Cafe, Coney Beach, Rex's Chicken, FreshBerry Frozen Yogurt Cafe and Dixie Cream Donuts.

Outdoor Living tackles Mosquitoes

Outdoor Living Brands has purchased the mosquito control franchise Mosquito Squad.

Mosquito Squad offers three different services to control mosquitoes in an area - a one-time spray for an event, professional spraying every 21 days and an automated system. Christopher Grandpre, CEO of Outdoor Living, said that the company is positioned for strong growth. He expects big demand for franchise territories as mosquito season approaches.

The purchase gives Outdoor Living a significant presence in the market for backyard improvements, including the deck building company Archadeck and the lighting franchise Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

No more Pretzel Time

NexCen Brands is getting rid of Pretzel Time - the name, at least. Beginning this month, the concept will be combined with its other mall-based pretzel-making brand, Pretzelmaker, and the latter name will survive.

The merger will create the second largest pretzel brand in the U.S., with more than 365 locations in 47 states and four countries. This month, NexCen will begin converting about 30 Pretzel Time stores a month into Pretzelmaker.

In addition, NexCen will update existing Pretzelmaker locations with a new logo and store design.

The integration will provide franchisees with the benefits of a national brand, said Chris Dull, president of NexCen Franchise Management. "After much consideration, it was decided that the Pretzelmaker name better represents the artistry of pretzel-making, while also communicating the quality and freshness of the brand," he said.

Goddard School goes to Yale

Educational franchise The Goddard School has been selected to participate in a pilot assessment program with the Yale University Child Study Center, Educational Records Bureau and Children's Progress.

A select number of Goddard Schools will work with researchers in pre-kindergarten through first grade. Unlike previous studies in which only a child's analytic skills have been tested, this program will examine a child's unique strengths in analytical, creative and practical abilities. "This is the first study of its kind for this age group and our participation in this new assessment offers Goddard the chance to work toward the study's goal of producing a more reliable and validated assessment program," said Joseph Schumacher, Goddard's chief operating officer.

As the assessment program takes into account the strengths of all types of learners, the data collected can be used in independent school admissions and placement decisions to ensure that a student will be able to thrive in his or her educational environment. The goal is to get a comprehensive understanding of how different children learn, said Christopher Camacho, director of research at Children's Progress.

McDonald's goes to Cornell

McDonald's USA has joined Cornell's Center for Hospitality Research. The franchisor's level of support means that the company is taking a direct hand in expanding the industry's knowledge base.

Steve Russell, chief people officer and senior vice president of human resources for McDonald's, will join the center's advisory board and will participate in roundtables the center produces and will meet with researchers to discuss ongoing studies. The center sponsors research to improve practices in the hospitality industry and has 77 corporate affiliates.

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