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IOT in Action at Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A shares some of its tricks (and a few "what ifs") as it aggressively pushes toward a truly connected restaurant.

Wetzel’s First Test of Delivery Yields Pleasant Surprises

Just a few weeks into a test of delivery for Wetzel’s Pretzels, new CEO Jennifer Schuler counts two surprises, in a good way.

Antarctica Is Next for Anytime, and Then, Mars?

When the Magellan Explorer departs on its maiden voyage to Antarctica in November the adventure expedition ship will have one more amenity.

Hyatt’s Hip Centric Brand Hitting Up Memphis, Nashville, Austin

Hyatt just announced plans to open new locations in the hip U.S. cities of Nashville, Austin and Memphis. Each will be built in the downtown areas, expressly designed for “savvy explorers” looking to build out their Instagram profiles.

Heading Inland But Trying to Keep Shuckin’ Shack Vibe

Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar, which started as a 900-square-foot shack in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, in 2007, is heading inland for growth.

Survey: Historic Labor Headaches Continue

While restaurant operators need little reminder about labor headaches, a new survey shows how they are reacting.

Dale Carnegie ‘Zee Sees Opportunity in China

Dale Carnegie Training began operating outside the United States in the 1940s. Now, 127 of its 228 territories are in international markets, and about five years ago revenue from international operations began exceeding its domestic system.

Nominations Open for Franchising Gives Back Awards

Now in its fifth year, the IFA and its Educational Foundation are seeking nominations that highlight the charitable efforts of franchisors, franchisees and industry suppliers. Gold award winners receive a $5,000 donation and Silver winners receive a $1,000 donation for their charity partner and are recognized during the Franchising Gives Back Celebration and Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., on September 9.

Still Flat at MAACO but New Prez Forecasts Growth

2018 was another flat year for sales growth at MAACO, the auto repair and paint franchise that also stayed flat the prior year, said Bob Benjamin, president for about 11 months. But he predicts growth will get going again in 2019.

UberEats Dangles Swanky Events to Lure Customers

Select restaurant delivery customers of UberEats can participate in decidedly swanky events, according to Bowie Cheung, head of regional operations for the delivery service. Think South by Southwest, March Madness and the Oscars, as he described at the Food On Demand Conference in Chicago earlier this month.

That Voice in Your Head Telling You to Re-Order? It’s Google

In the future, tapping an app to order food will be soooooooo 2019, says the Google executive charged with convincing the masses to use Google Assistant, its artificial intelligence offering.

Randy’s Donuts Franchising With or Without Giant Donut

After 66 years and with a new owner at the helm, Randy's Donuts is ready to franchise.

Training, Correcting Errors Drives Real Money to Bottom Line

There are a lot of areas where restaurant operators can save without denigrating the customer experience.

GPS Adds Pizza Huts, Could Cross 500-unit Mark in 2019

Atlanta-based franchisee GPS Hospitality recently added 75 Pizza Hut restaurants to its portfolio that already includes 400 Burger King and Popeyes locations, bringing its footprint to 13 states.

Dessert- and Drink-Only Restaurants? Yes, Please.

I am delighted by the new Edwards Dessert Kitchen bar and restaurant in Minneapolis. A brick-and-mortar experiment by Schwan’s, this restaurant for drinks and treats feels like something new.

Legal Eagles Tackle FDD Bloat, Complexity

Franchise disclosure documents have gotten absolutely massive and complex—and some franchise attorneys want to do some major trimming.

Many Approaches to IoT in the Wind

The internet of things (IoT) is here, but how this low-cost, high-impact technological framework fits in restaurants, healthcare or retail hasn’t quite been fleshed out out.

Delivery Dudes Boss Jabs Underbelly of Delivery Explosion

In case anyone was overwhelmed or even jaded by the shiny, giant delivery players speaking on stage at the Food On Demand Conference today—Grubhub, UberEats, Postmates, Google and their impressive peers—along came Delivery Dudes’ founder Jayson Koss, speaking truth to power in funny fashion and rocking the best hair of the conference.

‘Sharpen Your Pencil’ Falls on Deaf Ears for Grubhub Exec

Since Seth Priebatsch, founder of LevelUp, joined Grubhub after his company’s acquisition, he’s been bombarded by requests from restaurant operators to give a discount. What he’s heard most often: “Sharpen your pencil,” he said during the second day of the Food On Demand Conference, but he joked there’s a problem with that phrase. “I’m a millennial so I’ve never even used a pencil!”

Delivery Part of ‘Long-term Strategy’ for ‘Zors, Says KFC Exec

“We have to think about a system of 4,000 stores and how are you going to create a consistent experience,” says Dawn Croft, KFC's director of legal, speaking today at the Food On Demand Conference in Chicago.

‘Keep Experimenting’ Urges 4th Gen Canter’s Deli Operator

From the brilliant idea file comes this, from Alex Canter, who grew up as the fourth generation of his family’s restaurant business called Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles. It has to do with grilled cheese sandwiches, as he told the audience at today’s Food On Demand Conference in Chicago.

Delivery Biz in Third Inning, Food On Demand Speaker Says

Owning the customer is critical for restaurant operators as the delivery and mobile ordering business evolves, said Andrew Charles, senior analyst for Cowen & Company, in opening remarks at the Food On Demand Conference in Chicago today.

Hospitality Must Be at Heart of Delivery, Chef Orkin Says

When famed ramen chef Ivan Orkin opened a tiny ramen shop in a suburb of Tokyo in 2007, he’d look out his shop window and see an old lady who ran a tobacco store. “This old lady and I became fast friends,” he recalled to the opening day audience at the Food On Demand Conference in Chicago, and ultimately taught him a lesson in hospitality and delivery that he shared with the crowd.

Inspire Brands Shouts Impact from the Rooftop

Arby’s parent Inspire Brands has launched Inspire Impact, which is a data-driven platform to show how the franchised conglomerate is making positive contributions to the local and national economy.

Hummus & Pita Co. Prime for Growth, Says Fransmart CEO

Dan Rowe, whose Fransmart franchise development company is helping fuel the expansion of brands such as The Halal Guys, Curry Up Now and Cauldron Ice Cream, shares why he thinks Hummus & Pita Co. could be the next big thing.

CircusTrix Founder Flips for New Franchise Called Defy

Defy parks will include ninja warrior courses, flying trapezes, G-tramping and more, under the CircusTrix umbrella.

Saints' Brees, Walk-On's Founder Back Smalls Sliders

Smalls Sliders is the newest concept backed by New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees, also an equity partner in Walk-On’s Bistreaux and Bar, and Walk-On’s co-founder Brandon Landry. Jacob Dugas, Landry’s nephew who owned a catering business, is also getting in on the game.

Industry Change Means New Tactics for Grocery Outposts

The grocery store is in a state of constant flux, buffeted by changing technologies, disruptive forces and shifting consumer desires. That means franchised grocery outposts are in constant flux, too.

‘No One in Franchising Retires,’ Says IFA’s Retiring Scott Lehr

“I’ve pretty much have done everything at IFA except being a lobbyist,” says Scott Lehr as he reflects on his nearly three decades with the International Franchise Association. Hired in 1990 as the director of advertising, Lehr had five more titles during the ensuing 29 years before retiring after the IFA’s annual convention in February as executive vice president of development, marketing and conferences.

HomeVestors Hits 1K in Still-Strong Housing Market

HomeVestors, the largest home-buying franchise is celebrating a notable milestone, signing its 1,000 franchise as the U.S. real estate market appears to be cooling from the absurd heights seen in recent years as inventory remains tight in key cities.

Relationships Key in Checkers Delivery Blitz

Checkers and Rally’s making a major delivery push that will bring all five of largest third-party delivery firms into its operations.

Same-Store Sales Chilled by February Weather

February weather was awful, and the brutal month had some big impacts on restaurant industry sales.

Kiosk Operations an Agile Option for the Right Concepts

A small footprint can be a big win for the right concepts. As rents continue to rise and traffic patterns continue to shift, a small-format mobile retail outlet can slash overhead and keep operations efficient.

Gigi’s Founder Tries Again With Kitchen Products Rollout

Gigi Butler is aiming to bounce back from trouble at her eponymous franchise, Gigi’s Cupcakes, now rolling out a new kitchen textile line.

All Eyes on New York's Hudson Yards

As New York City’s $25 billion Hudson Yards opens to the public, many in the retail and restaurant worlds will be watching to see if this largest private development in U.S. history can succeed with a mega-scale formula representing the biggest bet ever placed on in-person shopping, people watching and dining.

Sister to HouseMaster, PatchMaster Sets Fast Clip to 50 Units

Just last September Kathleen Kuhn launched a new brand—PatchMaster, a drywall repair service. Six months later, the sister company to HouseMaster has signed its 50th location, reaching the milestone much faster than most.

Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Talks Leadership and Owning Failure

“The men in my household had so much conviction that women were equal to men,” said Indra Nooyi, who went on to become PepsiCo’s first female CEO and spoke about her career today during the Women’s Foodservice Forum’s annual conference in Dallas.

The Cautious Startup of Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fire Pizza

Before launching Smokin' Oak as a franchise, its leadership spent more than a year learning to create a high-quality franchise system.

Golden Corral Finding Gold in California

North Carolina-based Golden Corral is finding riches along the West Coast, as the southern-themed grill-buffet chain begins to tap the massive California market after first opening in the City of Industry back in 2012.

After Brand Overhaul, Huckleberry’s Ready to Grow

Greg Graber has big plans for Huckleberry’s, the breakfast and lunch concept he took over in 2016 and has spent the past two years readying for growth. Graber will share Huckleberry’s story and investment opportunity during the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference.

Planet Fitness to Take Excess Kohl’s Space in Test

Planet Fitness, the big-box gym with low-cost memberships, will partner with Kohl’s in 10 test stores to sop up 20,000 square feet of the clothing retailer’s excess space, allowing Kohl’s to “right-size”to 50,000 square feet and Planet Fitness to gain prime locations in large shopping centers.

Changing o' the Guard Ushers in New Editor at FT

Laura Michaels is the new editor of Franchise Times effective April 1, replacing Beth Ewen who will take a new role as senior editor.

Agreement Could Finally End Papa John’s Saga

It seems the dramatic legal battle within the Papa John’s board may finally end.

Franchise Index Ends Tough Year Down 9.5 Percent

Last year was more than a little volatile for public franchisors. According to the Rosenberg International Franchise Center, the 50 public franchise companies ended the year down 9.5 percent. That’s behind the general market, as measured by the S&P 500, which was down 6.2 percent in the last 12 months.

MTY’s Offer for Gigi’s Cuts Value to $2M

The last time Gigi’s Cupcakes changed hands, in 2016, the franchise founded by Gina Butler sold for $6 million to Key Corp. and its affiliate Fund Corp. Now MTY Franchising USA is offering $2 million cash, and Gigi’s is seeking additional qualified bidders before a planned March 25 auction date.

Popcorn Theory Guides ‘Blind Side’ Protagonists

I had a great time interviewing Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy last Tuesday at their home in Memphis, and also enjoyed staying in the new-ish Graceland Guest House where so many patrons were wearing fancy fringed cowboy shirts and glittery dresses that Elvis would have been proud.

Financial Backers Said ‘Go for it’ to Flynn’s Buy

CEO Greg Flynn discusses why he purchased all 368 units from Arby’s largest franchisee, U.S. Beef, capturing a Franchise Times Dealmakers award to be covered in full in the April issue.

Startup Support Needs: Roadmaps, Scorecards

It takes a lot of work to build out the right franchise support team, especially for young franchise systems. It’s a challenge of personnel, cash and capabilities.

Wendy’s Commits to More Sustainable Packaging

Packaging is a hot topic, especially with off-premises channels growing across the board. In a partnership with the NextGen Consortium, Wendy’s is looking to develop more sustainable packaging for its products.

Navigating Family Dynamics Is Part of Massage Heights' Story

Speaking during a panel on balancing heritage and innovation at the IFA Convention in Las Vegas, Shane Evans, who launched Massage Heights with her husband, Wayne, and eventually brought in two brothers and her mom, said she was forced to reevaluate the structure in order to expand. Massage Heights also had to contend with some missteps in its early recruiting and franchise sales efforts.
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