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FT Dealmakers Judges Cite Complexity, Win-Win as Award-Worthy Attributes

It’s selection time for this year’s winners of the eighth annual Franchise Times Dealmakers project, and the eight outside finance and M&A experts and four staff members who helped us choose gave an inside look into what they believe makes for successful deals.

For Farmer Behind Franny’s Farmacy, ‘World is Very Small’

Freshly home from a trip to Cuba where she talked and toured with farmers, Franny Tacy is on a mission to educate people worldwide how to grow hemp profitably and produce CBD products derived from it with integrity.

88-Year-Old Krystal Files for Bankruptcy Protection

The 88-year-old Krystal company has filed for bankruptcy protection in an attempt to hit the reset button and get back to its path toward growth.

In Burgerim Saga, an Unfortunate Set of Predictions

When Burgerim began selling franchises in the U.S., it did so without the usual validation. What Burgerim did have was its president, Oren Loni, an Israeli citizen who claimed to have extensive experience in launching "highly successful" restaurant franchises in Israel and other European countries.

ICR Hot Topic: Virtual Restaurants

As the virtual-restaurant segment grows, there seem to be three dominant paths that take full advantage of the potential for new ways of doing business.

Is Your Lawyer a Legal Eagle? Nominate Them!

As we get closer to the announcement of the 2020 class of Legal Eagles, let’s look back at what makes them so great.

Curry Up Now Snags Investment From Joe Montana’s VC Firm

Liquid 2 Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital firm, is getting into the restaurant business, investing in fast-casual Indian franchise Curry Up Now. The San Francisco-based firm counts among its founders Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, also a serial angle investor whose investments include Pinterest and Dropbox.

Latest Illinois Case Shows Risk in Using Biometric Data

A lawsuit filed last month in Illinois against the retailer Target for its use of facial recognition technology illustrates the potential liability for franchises, points out Dawn Johnson, attorney at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale.

Regis Take-Back Shows Road to Asset Light Can Be Rocky

A deal has come undone between Regis Corp. and The Beautiful Group, the Los Angeles-based franchisee that acquired some 500 Regis and Mastercuts mall-based hair salons in 2017.

Anita Adams Moves Into CEO Role at Black Bear Diner

In a long-planned leadership change-up, Anita Adams has been named CEO of casual dining concept Black Bear Diner.

Final Joint Employer Rule Gives ‘Clarity’ to Franchise Industry

One month after the National Labor Relations Board absolved McDonald’s of responsibility for alleged labor violations by its franchisees, the franchise industry received further clarity on the issue of joint employment after the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule January 12.

South Korean Bonchon Crests 100 U.S. Locations

Not many international brands get beyond a few locations in big, global markets. But Bonchon just inched over the 100-location mark.

Women-only 30 Minute Hit Continues U.S. Expansion

30 Minute Hit offers a circuit training model that doesn’t restrict members to specific class times. But that’s not the only differentiator in a boxing sub-segment that’s become increasingly competitive, with the likes of 9Round, Title Boxing and I Love Kickboxing vying for members—and for franchisees.

Picnic’s Pizza Robot Takes Aim at Big Pizza Operators

Picnic's pizza bot got some viral attention at the Consumer Electronics Show, but it's best suited for big pizza.

Minuteman Press ‘Zee Shares How He Hit $1 Million

Andy Kiecker is the latest Minuteman Press franchisee to join the President’s Million-Dollar Circle, achieving yearly gross sales of at least $1 million.

Elder-Well Is Former ‘Zees' First Try as Franchisor

Two former Home Helpers franchisees are launching Elder-Well, what they call a first-to-market franchise in which owners offer an adult day program for seniors in their own homes or in leased single-family homes or commercial buildings.

Yum’s Bid for Habit Burger Signals New Stance on M&A, Analyst Says

Habit Burger shareholders gave a thumbs up to the proposed purchase of the California-based chain by Yum Brands, pushing the stock up 32 percent in its first day of trading after the $375-million acquisition ($14 per share) was announced.

Former Fridays President Set to Crack Growth at Eggs Up Grill

Ricky Richardson is eager to jump back into start-up mode as the new CEO at Eggs Up Grill.

Hot State or Not? United Van Lines Reports

Idaho’s hot but New Jersey’s not, at least according to United Van Lines 43rd annual survey.

'Let’s Go' Is Christian Bros’ Mantra to Fix Cars for Single Moms

“There are 24,000 single women in Houston living under the poverty line, and I want to just knock that down in the next 10 years,” declared Jonathan Carr, president of Christian Brothers Automotive Foundation. His vehicle to meet that goal is The Hub Garage.

Traffic Data Quantifies Popeyes' Explosive Chicken Sandwich

Some new traffic data shows just how explosive the Popeyes chicken sandwich—and the re-launch in November—really was.

Italy Emerges as Ripe Market for Johnny Rockets

Highlighting the food quality at Johnny Rockets, along with its “American origins and spirit,” have been crucial to the brand’s success in Italy, said franchisee Giangiacomo Groppetti.

Everything but Marijuana at MJBizCon Show

A Samuel Taylor Coleridge paraphrase could have described the buttoned-down MJBizCon show in Las Vegas last week.

IFA Has One Word for McD’s Joint Employer Ruling

When the National Labor Relations Board last week absolved McDonald’s of responsibility for alleged labor violations by its franchisees, Matt Haller of the International Franchise Association responded in a word: “Finally.”

The Endorphin Catalyst? Ninja Nation’s Unique Approach to Family Fitness

To the untrained eye, the Ninja Nation gyms look like a wild collage of red and blue blocks that belong to an unassembled playground. But amid the complex designs are multi-faceted obstacles that are simple enough for children to use, but genius in the way they focus on training and developing strength in different parts of the body. But most importantly, it’s fun to watch.

After Tech Investments, Cowboy Chicken Targets Growth

It’s been a slow burn at Cowboy Chicken in the 17 years since Sean Kennedy took over the business, as the Carrollton, Texas-based brand has built its unit count back up and worked to grow awareness of a rotisserie chicken concept that had just one location in 2002.

Safeguard Those Fingerprints Now That CCPA Looms

Franchises using biometrics—fingerprints, retinal scans and the like—for customer or employee ID should beware of the CCPA, according to Michael Cohen of Gray Plant Mooty. That’s the California Consumer Privacy Act that goes into effect January 1.

One Cannabis to Go Public via Merger With Cannabis One

One Cannabis, the parent of marijuana franchise Unity Rd, is going public via a “merger of equals” with Cannabis One Holdings Inc. (CBEI), a stock trading for 16 cents a share on the Canadian Securities Exchange. The two firms met under contentious circumstances.

It’s Gift Card Season for Franchising

'Tis the season for selling gift cards. And it could be a real benefit for the slow early months of 2020.

As Wages Rise, Operators Seek Efficiency Anywhere

In 2020, 20 states will raise minimum wages. As they do, unemployment remains at historic lows and turnover at or near historic highs in the restaurant industry.

New ‘Franchise Book of Mentors’ Benefits VetFran

When picking up a new subject of study or profession, a book chock-full of advice from mentors is something few people would turn down. Franchising is an intimidating venture for any franchisor, regardless of the brand, and asking for help can be difficult when you don’t know whom to turn to.

Fourth, HotSchedules Merge With End-to-End Restaurant Platform in Mind

Ask a restaurant general manager how the technology sea change is affecting them, and they’ll show you the incredible new tools at hand—as soon as they remember the password.

Google’s Phone Automation Tool, CallJoy, Gets Smarter

Google's AI phone operator just got a little smarter.

Another Broken Egg Gains Permanent Chief in Macaluso

The first permanent chief executive since the founder left is on the job at Another Broken Egg Café, and new CEO and President Paul Macaluso is touting one key feature of the breakfast and brunch concept.

Five Years for Card My Yard—But Don't Send Just a Card

Amy Arnold and Jessica Stanley met at Bible study in Austin, Texas, both with “little bitty kids, and we were trying not to join the 9 to 5 workforce,” says Arnold, co-founder of Card My Yard, which has just reached five years in business and topped 150 units in 32 states.

11 Years After Crash-Era Founding, PMI Thrives

Before he was president and CEO of Property Management Inc., Steve Hart lived in the niche of building high-end custom homes. Business was booming in the real estate and construction industry as realtors prospered. Then it all ended as the economy crashed in 2008. Luckily, Hart had a friend that wasn’t willing to let him throw in the towel.

Stacks of Conditions Burden Some M&A Deals, Panelists Say

Franchisors are putting “a lot” more conditions on franchisees these days before they will approve buy-or-sell transactions, some of them burdensome, according to a panel on mergers and acquisitions at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference on November 12.

‘Volition’ Is Most Powerful Word, Says RFDC Keynote Rooney

“When you wake up early every morning, it is a gift, and the day that God has given us,” said Major Dan Rooney at a rousing keynote speech at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference Nov. 13.

Uno Pizzeria Pins Expansion on New Hub-and-Spoke Model

When Jim Ilaria joined Uno Pizzeria and Grill in November 2018 the management team was working on a 6,500-square-foot prototype restaurant with the intention of using it to bring the brand into new markets. “And I said that’s not going to work, not where the industry is going, it’s too big,” recalled Ilaria when I sat down with him last week at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference.

Vote for Your Favorite Franchises in 4th Annual Franchise Times Zor Awards

Show your enthusiasm for the best franchises in the industry with the Franchise Times Zor Awards, recognizing the best companies in 10 hot industry segments.

Corlex Capital Believes ‘This is It’ Really Is

The year-old Corlex Capital is taking its second brand to the franchise market: This is It Southern Kitchen & BBQ, an Atlanta-based Southern home-style restaurant chain founded 35 years ago by the Anthony family and now with 11 restaurants in Georgia and two franchise deals signed.

Doc Popcorn Founder Back in Game for Modern Market Launch

A 10-year trek has Modern Market Eatery ready to launch a franchise program in 2020. “We’ve been reinventing the concept from the kitchen out,” said CEO and co-founder Anthony Pigliacampo in an interview at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference last week.

Krystal’s New COO an 'Operations Guy' First

In a surprise shake-up, Krystal has a new COO who is leaning on his deep operational background to continue pivoting the company toward growth.

After ‘Shark Tank’ Surprise, Wine & Design Trends Upward

Shortly after the economy crashed in 2008, Wine & Design CEO and founder Harriett Mills had been laid off from her job in sales and was in search of a new one. It was on a weekend trip with a friend that she would find the inspiration for her concept, which is now a national brand.

Going Behind the Scenes on Ghost Kitchen Economics

On the third day of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas, execs from Kitchen United, Sweetberry Bowls and Dog Haus went behind the scenes on the economics and other details for restaurants now operating within delivery- and takeout-only kitchens.

Chicken Guy Building Management Coop

Guy Fieri's new Chicken Guy concept is clucking right along with a growing management team and development pipeline.

Convenience, Experience Are Must-Haves, Restaurant Investors Say

Convenience, quality and experience. These are the three key drivers impacting not only how restaurants are evolving and investing in themselves but also “how the investor community is viewing where they want to place capital,” said Anish Gandhi, managing director at investment banking firm Brookwood Associates, who spoke on a panel today at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference.

ShopoGraphics as the Holy Grail of Real Estate

Presented in a quick 7 minutes during the Around the Industry segment on day two of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, Paul Sill, founder of Forum Analytics, dove into the concept of what his firm calls ShopoGraphics. It's a deeper way of looking at the pros, cons, opportunities and challenges of retail sites.

For Restaurants, the Value Equation Keeps Changing

Value is a tricky thing to measure because it’s changing for everyone. But during the 2019 Restaurant Finance & Development Conference this week, Growth Partners Retail President Neil Culbertson laid out attributes that go into the value equation for consumers that goes well beyond price.

‘Never a Dull Day’ for Dunkin’ CFO Plus Others on Panel

Today started with a bang for Kate Jaspon, the CFO of Dunkin’ Brands, as Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Dean Foods supplies ice cream to Baskin Robbins (8,000 stores under the Dunkin’ umbrella) and dairy products to Dunkin’ (13,000 stores formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts.)
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