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April 2019

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In this issue

Flynn tops $2B with U.S. Beef buy, nabs Deal of the Year

So says Greg Flynn, CEO of Flynn Restaurant Group, who captures the Franchise Times Deal of the Year award for his purchase of U.S. Beef, with 368 Arby’s restaurants, in our annual project highlighting excellence in franchise deal-making. Read about his system for successfully operating 1,250 restaurants generating a massive $2.3 billion in annual sales, plus the heavy lifting of 10 more noteworthy dealmakers driving growth in ambitious and unusual ways.

Auspex Capital unwinds RGT Management with dose of philosophy

It may seem like easy street for longtime restaurant operator Sean Tuohy of Memphis, now that he’s sold 105 restaurants and 55 properties for $213 million in six separate transactions. His company, RGT Management, completed those deals with the help of longtime investment banker Auspex Capital last year. Turns out it was a tough road.

Plus 9 more daring FT Dealmakers

Category killer’ is CEO’s new goal for Amazing Lash Studio CEO Heather Elrod is staking out a bold vision for Amazing Lash Studio now that WellBiz Brands, KSL Capital and Golub Capital purchased the eyelash extension franchise from its founders last September.

Changing of the guard ushers in new FT editor

Laura Michaels is the new editor of Franchise Times, charged with leading the talented editorial team in creating engaging and useful content for our readers across all platforms.

Meet the best and brightest attorneys in franchising

Let’s hear it for the 2019 class of Franchise Times Legal Eagles. These attorneys live and breathe franchising and truly understand the nuances of this unique business model. That deep understanding is now more important than ever.

Odd concepts Metal Supermarkets, FlannelJax’s have metal in the middle

Metal plays a central role in two sister franchise concepts, Metal Supermarkets and FlannelJax’s, but otherwise they couldn’t be more different.

We check out three fauna-friendly brands in FT Undercover

Oh, how our interests evolve with time. I’m into bird stuff now: feeding, bathing, watching, discussing and pulling out my Audubon Society ID book whenever I spot a newcomer flying into my yard.

Checkers operator hires all the time, reports Multi-Unit Mindset

Performance reviews are a one-pager at a Checkers franchisee operation that numbers 15 stores, and feedback goes both ways, with employees commenting on management and the other way around.

Small moves are big business for Yellow Express

Allow me to share a secret of my trade: all business reporters sigh and slump their shoulders in disappointment whenever a new business is pitched as the Starbucks of this, the Chipotle of that or the Uber of anything.

Multi-brand franchisors think strategically to maximize ROI

With acquisitions on the rise, home services groups must also think strategically as they aim to maximize opportunities for franchisees and generate ROI all while avoiding that dreaded sibling rivalry.

Bubbakoo’s is king of conversions, in The Urbane Franchisor

There is something inherently pleasurable about getting away with something, as long as it’s on the right side of humanity. In the fast-casual burrito space, Bubbakoo’s Burritos is making a killing converting failed restaurants into new locations, saving a fortune compared to building new and learning a lot about what items are truly must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Full-scale renovations are not for the faint of heart, and this action sports-themed restaurant has proven itself up for the adventure.

IHOP bets on breakfast appeal in Peru

In a deal with a first-time Peruvian restaurant operator who also owns Toyota dealerships, IHOP adds to its international footprint.

Economic gains attractive in Peru, reports Country Profile

Location: In western South America, between Chile and Ecuador and bordering the South Pacific Ocean, Peru is almost twice the size of Texas. Language: Spanish (82.9%), Quechua (13.3%) and Aymara (1.6%) are all official languages

Don’t let legal disputes slow down growth, in Living Large

Our three Living Large bosses all emphasize communication over heading to the courtroom when navigating legal matters. Setting realistic expectations early is key, and franchisors have to hold up their end of the bargain.

‘Craveable food’ draws owner to Hummus & Pita

It was Jersey Mike’s No. 13, The Original Italian, that piqued Dan Markel’s interest in franchising. “It was the best sandwich I’d ever had,” recalls Markel, who was on the hunt for investment opportunities and decided the East Coast-style sub brand was the right fit. Since its opening in 2013, Markel’s Jersey Mike’s in Van Nuys, California, has become a top five revenue-producing store for the brand and Markel has made it his mission to seek out brands that “can combine great operations with great, craveable food.”

'What I did for a deal’—Dealmakers winners offer inside scoop

Talk about a tough crowd—that’s what Heather Elrod, CEO of Amazing Lash Studio, faced when she waded into boardrooms and investment committees to convince them to invest in a franchise built around the eyelash extension. She was one of several of our Dealmakers award winners, profiled in this month’s cover package, who indulged me by answering this question: What’s the craziest thing you did for a deal?”

In Netherlands, franchisors must be ‘good’—whatever that means

When last this column addressed the subject of franchise regulation in the Netherlands, it was in the context of a proposed self-regulatory code (September 2016.) The current Dutch government has taken a very comprehensive approach: sweeping draft legislation governing franchise agreements. Have the lessons of the prior experience been learned? Hardly. Let’s look at pre-sale disclosure.

Looking over the wall may help ‘zors spread American dream

There is perhaps nothing more timely than the topic of immigration. Each evening on the news, we hear about people fighting to get into our great country—aptly named “the land of opportunity.” Despite the images we see, those looking to come to America are not limited to the downtrodden. There are literally thousands of foreign investors and business professionals looking to come to the U.S. and who often see franchising as a means to do it.

Five Guys backer turns to Pincho, Batteries Plus boss takes breather

“They were great at creating a concept. They weren’t so great at running a restaurant,” says Pincho franchisee Ned Scherer with a chuckle. He’s referring to the fast-casual concept’s co-founders, Nedal Ahmad and Otto Othman. Scherer, meanwhile, has agreed to open 10 units in and around Washington, D.C.

The Boss: From The Wallflowers to growth at LemonShark Poke

Tell me about your upbringing. My parents got divorced when I was three. My mother had four kids to raise on her own, and finished her master’s degree at Berkeley with us four kids. I didn’t really see this as a big family tragedy. I got sort of an independent spirit. One of my childhood friends, my closest friend, was Richard Gottlieb. We met in third grade, and he’s my partner today in this poke business.

Surging closures signal rough 2019, in Scoreboard

The year is off to a brutal start for store closures. So far, there are more than 4,800 stores set to close. That’s according to Coresight Research in a weekly tally of openings and closings that have been announced by various companies. There are also more than 2,200 openings announced, but the gulf of 2,600 closures is certainly concerning.

FT’s new editor gives buzzwords the boot, in Executive Ladder

Where do you get all those spicy-hot takes for FT Undercover? FT Undercover is about sharing real-life observations. And I’m a proponent of pithy commentary, so it’s a perfect outlet.
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Publisher's Column

Good advice comes in all stripes for regular readers

Regular readers of this column over the years have learned about my two sons, Ben and Sam, and their adventures as they grew up.
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