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April 2016

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In this issue

Three offer a look behind the scenes

Three of our new Hall of Famers show there’s a lot that goes on beyond the courtroom or the boardroom—like a passion for vintage posters, a dream to be a wedding gown designer, and a penchant for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Sharing tales of life and lawyering

Gather three new Hall of Famers, and what do you get? A licensed boat captain. An aspiring gestalt therapist. And a would-be contestant on the TV show American Ninja Warrior—if she could only find the time to work out.

Clothes make the person at Hotel Indigo

If indeed it’s true that clothes make the man (or woman), imagine what they can do for the worker. According to an article in Psychology Today, researchers who wore a white lab coat when interacting with their subjects received more respect than their peers wearing street clothes.

Checkers & Rally’s hits BK in wiener wars

“Hey Burger King. It’s time to compare wieners.” So declared the full-page ad in USA Today, in which Checkers & Rally’s shot back at Burger King after its national rollout of a $1.99 hot dog in February. Burger King’s hot dog launch is an “overpriced, late-to-the game idea,” in Checkers and Rally’s eyes.

Ex-CIA agent says Spy School fights fear

What would you do if you were being followed down a lonely sidewalk, targeted by a stranger in an unfamiliar city or found your hands bound by duct tape? According to former CIA officer Jason Hanson, most of us would do something that would only exacerbate the situation or highlight our vulnerability.

Mickey Thomas and his pathway to Heaven

There was a stiff price to pay if one wanted to be the lead singer of Jefferson Starship back in the ‘80s. “The rest of the band got to party” after a concert, says lead singer Mickey Thomas, still a bit miffed. “You can change strings on your guitar; I can’t change out my vocal cords.”

Market domination on Sun’s mind

Sun Holdings CEO Guillermo Perales is a franchisee with more than 620 locations across brands including Burger King, Popeyes, T-Mobile, Arby’s, Golden Corral and Krispy Kreme. Let’s see what makes him tick.

Smiling Moose proud of what it’s not

Close your eyes and imagine “tasting the Rockies.” Speedboats, bonfires and deliciously cheap, canned beer come to mind, but one Colorado-based franchise is looking to shift those visions significantly upscale.

Hilton’s new Tru aims at entry level

New opportunities present themselves when existing, entry-level brands move upscale. As a plebeian Honda Civic or Hampton Inn, for example, gets fancier and more expensive, the door opens for a new product to replace what was once considered economy class. It’s the circle of life.

PT Now tries to disrupt niche

A simple pain in the neck can become much more burdensome when physician referrals, weeks of waiting and phone calls to insurance providers become involved. One South Florida medical entrepreneur is hoping to literally ease the pain and reduce barriers to care in the mold of other franchised health providers upending the traditional healthcare model.

How Del Taco and 11 more FT Dealmakers landed suitors

If good things come to those who wait, then Del Taco’s long-sought deal with Levy Acquisition Corp. serves as proof. Chicago restaurant tycoon Larry Levy vetted the brand, gathered investors and then engineered a transaction that took the 550-unit Del Taco public and wiped out most of its debt. Del Taco’s CEO Paul Murphy and his management team are happy to get growing again, and to capture Franchise Times’ designation for Deal of the Year.

How to survive an Uber-style disruption

After investing marketing muscle and plenty of sweat and labor to get where they are, are service franchises in danger of being ‘uberized?’ We find out, and share some tips on disrupting the disrupters.

Safeguard takes lead in moving units

With many franchisees looking for exits, Safeguard got busy and formed a division to buy units, upgrade them and then sell to new owners. The model is paying off, leading to opportunities for newcomers in the print business.

How to read an FDD like a pro

Everyone advises prospective franchisees to read the franchise disclosure documents carefully, but few tell them what to look for. Help is on the way, with advice from a veteran reporter who has learned the ropes.

Drive-thrus land on endangered list

There are few things more American than sitting in your car (or big truck) and barking your food order into the microphone at a drive-thru restaurant. More cheeseburgers, please! However quintessential the experience, many cities are outlawing the construction of new drive-thru businesses and other auto-oriented facilities in the name of urban development and pedestrian safety.


Supply and demand has caught up to the oil industry, and the lowest prices seen since the early 2000s are wreaking havoc all across the macroeconomic landscape. In short, it’s a bad time to be around oil.

Meet the 2016 class of FT Legal Eagles

Every reporter knows that only one group of people will actually pick up their phones just about any time someone calls: lawyers. When you’re working on the clock for clients, it seems, you’re available early, late and in between, and you have no problem providing a quote for a story on the side. This knowledge comes in handy on a Wednesday afternoon just before Thanksgiving, or a Friday afternoon in July, when a deadline looms.

Country profile: Turkey at a glance

The red represents the blood of Turkey’s soldiers. The star and crescent design appears on Ottoman flags beginning in the late 18th or early 19th century.

Upcoming trade mission to Mideast countries

The Middle East is a market that holds ample potential, but is often seen as too foreign a foreign market. In May, a certified trade mission is taking brands to four countries that are building mega-malls at a rapid clip. Sound like someplace your brand needs to be?

Bringing home the bacon, from many sources

A strategic partner helped My Salon Suites escape from a funding problem. At Young Chefs Academy, too, an investor made the difference. But at Vitality Bowls, they bootstrap all the way. Read on to learn the methods behind their money moves.

Executive Ladder

At Penn Station East Coast Subs, Lance Vaught was promoted to vice president of operations and Greg Goddard to director of development and franchising. Donette Beattie is the new vice president of supply chain at Toppers Pizza.

Rapid Refill boss ‘unfranchises’ system

Lori Kiser-Block spent years feeling sick to her stomach most days, trying to figure out a way to fix her declining franchise system. Rapid Refill, the ink-and-toner retailer based in Minneapolis, had shrunk from 120 locations in 2009 to 80 in 2014, with the bottom of the sinkhole nowhere in sight.

So two guys walk into a franchise convention…

Consider, first, John Smith. He has built a moderately successful franchise business, starting on a shoestring and progressing to a stable, expanding network. He has recently come to the conclusion, somewhat reluctantly, that there may be a ceiling on his plans for growth.

Seven lessons from political trail

Every four years, it seems, we hear the same complaint. With all of the candidates running for president, there never appears to be a single one worth a vote. Yet every four years, another politician finds a home on Pennsylvania Avenue.

TGI Fridays operator takes new tack

About a year ago Elie Khoury appeared in this column detailing the efforts his New Orleans-based company was making to incorporate 20 TGI Fridays across five states. He admitted the process was “very difficult, especially when you’re doing it simultaneously, and you don’t have an existing footprint in any one area.”
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

Why we put M&A deals up in lights every year

When FT Editor-in-Chief Beth Ewen came to me with the idea of the Franchise Times Dealmakers a few years ago—drum roll, but no surprise—I was all in.

Loose Ends

Nothing’s going to stop us from remembering but remembering itself

Sometimes we stumble into epic moments in life without understanding what we are seeing. These moments can be as disappointing as going to The Louvre in Paris and discovering the Mona Lisa is not larger than life, it’s smaller than most paintings and is surrounded by tourists taking irreverent selfies photobombed by one of the most famous paintings in the world.
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