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Jollibee Takes Sole Ownership of Smashburger

With full ownership of the brand, Smashburger’s 351 stores join Philippines-based restaurant giant Jollibee, which itself has more than 4,300 units across a dozen brands in the Philippines, China, Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia. Smashburger accounts for 7 percent of Jollibee's systemwide sales, which were $3.4 billion last year.

New Franchise Handbook Helps Readers Compare & Contrast

Would you like to know which franchises in some 180 industry sub-categories have the highest to lowest average unit volumes? You would? We thought so, and so for the first time we included that information in The Franchise Handbook, our brand new resource for readers available January 1.

The Better Beef Wars Continue With Antibiotics

Both McDonald’s and Wendy’s announced big changes to supply chains to cut down on the use of antibiotics in beef.

Sentinel Capital Adds Pet Store Franchise to Portfolio

When private equity acquisition news makes the headlines it’s often for a big-name restaurant buy. But as this recent move by Sentinel Capital Partners shows, retail franchises can prove just as attractive.

How Angry Crab Shack Is Bringing Spicy Seafood to 'the Forefront of America'

Noticing a recent trend of more Asian-inspired cuisine in the U.S., Angry Crab Shack founder Ron Lou seized the opportunity to bring traditional spicy seafood dishes to the states. Lou has 40-plus years of experience in the restaurant industry and his full-service casual concept has grown to seven locations across Arizona in just five years.

Subway Inks Four Partnerships, Dives Deep Into Delivery

Mega-sandwich brand Subway is going its own way with new agreements with four of the largest delivery providers. These new partnerships could dramatically increase Subway’s overall share of delivery, and also shift the economics of delivery in smaller markets across the U.S.

Vote for Your Favorite Franchises in 3rd 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.

Attorneys Run Down Most Interesting Cases of 2018

Anti-poaching clauses topped the list (or at least kicked off the webinar) of the most interesting developments in franchise law in 2018, as presented by three Gray Plant Mooty attorneys this week.

Rising Interest Rates Not the Worst Restaurant Worry, RFDC Panelists Say

Rising interest rates are on the minds of restaurant operators, but even though they’re about a full point higher than they were a year ago they’re still not the biggest cost concern, according to expert panelists at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference last month.

The Work Lodge Begins Franchising

Shared coworking spaces remain hot in this economy of countless startups and shrinking workplace square footage. The latest entering the franchising world is The Work Lodge out of Houston that just signed its first franchise agreement for Fort Worth, Texas.

Five Key Reasons Flynn Restaurant Group Jumped into Arby’s

Greg Flynn told Franchise Times there were many things that made his Arby's acquisition a good deal, but five key things made the large, complex deal worth taking on.

Growth Brands Share Tips to Scale

Tap into the intellectual capital of the franchisees you have in the beginning, advised Frank Milner, president of Tutor Doctor, as he noted these people likely have relevant experience that when put to use can benefit the brand overall. Milner and others shared their advice at IFA's Emerging Franchisor Conference last month.

FAT Brands to Acquire, Franchise Yalla Mediterranean

FAT Brands announced that it would acquire the seven-unit California-based brand Yalla Mediterranean.

Need To Hire Teens? Create a Real Community

This might just be the worst period for anyone hiring hourly workers in the past several decades. But it can get better.

Newcomers Freshen Up Annual Fast & Serious List

Amazing Lash Studio is the highest-ranking newcomer on our annual Franchise Times Fast & Serious list, which ranks the 40 smartest-growing franchise brands based on a 10-point proprietary formula that emphasizes sustainable unit and sales growth over a three-year period.

Pure Barre’s CEO Out, Seeks Next Fleet to Command

Christina Russell, CEO of Pure Barre since last April, is out and looking for new opportunities following the acquisition of the boutique fitness concept by Xponential Fitness.

Pizza Chains Should Trim In-Store Dining

If you’re anything like me, you would much rather chow down on a gooey pizza from the comfort of your home. It’s time for the largest franchised pizza chains to try something new and capitalize on recent shifts in the so-called convenience economy.

Crafthouse Plans Swift Expansion With ADP

The three-unit craft beer-focused restaurant chain with locations in Virginia announced a franchise deal that will have American Development Partners planning the construction and development of more than 100 Crafthouse franchise units over the next five years.

ApplePie Capital Reaches $300 Million Milestone

ApplePie Capital announced it recently surpassed $300 million in loans originated to franchise entrepreneurs opening or expanding their businesses.

A Pre-Holiday Economic Snapshot

There are plenty of positive economic indicators to be thankful for as Thanksgiving ushers in this year’s holiday season. Notably, gas prices are low, unemployment claims are at generational lows and housing starts for both one-unit and two-plus-unit structures are higher than any other moment in time since the Great Recession.

Is ignorance bliss? Managing franchise compliance

Control means responsibility. As a franchisor whose franchisees encounter all the risks of doing business and the requirements to follow the law, how much do you want to share in the risk?

Automation Top of Mind at RFDC

According to McKinsey, some 800 million full-time equivalent jobs will be taken over by automation by 2030. And for some restaurant executives, it’s starting to make a lot more sense.

Economist Art Laffer Makes a Case for Optimism

Famed national economist and presidential confidant Art Laffer made his fifth appearance before the RFDC panel dating back to 1995 in Chicago with a message that the best economic growth in recent memory may be in hand.

Crossing Border to Canada, Restaurant Brands Share Insights

“International light” is how some restaurant brands view Canada when they think about expanding outside the United States, and while the market is certainly attractive and shares many similarities with its southern neighbor, that doesn’t mean franchisors can simply drop their concept in without considering all aspects of the business.

To Win Big, Don’t Grind, Transform

Companies large and small are innovating fast, but it might be the small, scrappy players that really find the next major shift.

Diving Into Delivery P&Ls

At the second day of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas, Neil Culbertson, founder and principal of Growth Partners LLC, led a panel entitled “Delivery Economics: How Do Operators Make Money?”

‘Better-for-you’ Beverages in Demand, Says RFDC Speaker

“The cola wars, they are alive and well—it’s a thing of beauty,” said George Hiller, of Hiller & Associates, sharing his beverage forecast with an audience of restaurant operators constantly looking to maximize drink sales.

‘Get a Grip’ and Travel, Rick Steves Urges RFDC Crowd

People used to say “bon voyage” when wishing you a good trip, says travel writer and teacher Rick Steves. But now they say “have a safe trip” or are too afraid to travel in the first place, and it drives him crazy. “Get a grip, America,” he told the luncheon crowd at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference today.

Author Tells How to Exit Your Company Without Regrets

Inc. magazine’s Bo Burlingham interviewed between 100 and 150 business owners when researching his book about company exits, and what he found was surprising, he told the audience at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference today.

‘Courageous Behavior’ Crucial for Restaurant Leaders, RFDC Panelist Says

Anyone who’s bearish on the restaurant business might take heart from consultant Alice Elliot, founder of The Elliot Group and an optimistic speaker at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference yesterday.

Panera’s Founder Shares Tale of Vulnerability at RFDC

The founder of Panera, Ron Shaich, railed against what he called short-termism in opening remarks at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference yesterday.

JPMorgan Chase Expands Coverage of Franchise and Restaurant Clients, Launches Dedicated Industry Group

JPMorgan Chase’s Commercial Bank announced the launch of the Franchise and Restaurant Group within its Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries business and has appointed Michael Pura to lead the effort.

U.K., China Named Most Attractive Markets for International Growth

There are a lot of brands pondering global growth, and scholars say the U.K. and China are especially attractive depending on the goals.

Tough Mudder Splits Off Bootcamp Business

Will Dean, founder of CEO of Tough Mudder Inc., announced that the company is in the process of securing a capital investment that will include spinning off the upstart fitness business, Tough Mudder Bootcamp, into a separate enterprise from the well known, action-packed endurance events held across the globe.

‘Cute Doesn’t Cut It’ When Telling Your Brand’s Story

It’s important to tell your brand’s story online, which is where essentially all potential franchisees begin their search, points out Joseph Mathews, CEO of Franchise Performance Group, during the IFA's Emerging Franchisor Conference. And serious candidates want serious information.

Franchisors Are Like Good Parents, Ben & Jerry’s Exec Says

At the Emerging Franchisor Conference in Miami, young and established brands alike share their experience and advice, including being clear about the "never evers."

Xponential Adds Pure Barre to Fitness Brand Portfolio

With more than 500 studios in the United States and Canada, Pure Barre is the seventh brand to join Xponential Fitness, the parent company founded in 2017 by Anthony Geisler and backed by Snapdragon Capital to grow specialty fitness brands.

COO Part of Prize in Painting with a Twist Purchase

Painting with a Twist gained 20 units in nine states when the New Orleans-based brand acquired Bottle & Bottega, but that wasn’t the biggest prize from the transaction. That would be Nancy Bigley, co-founder and CEO of Bottle & Bottega, who will now be COO of the much bigger brand.

UK Survey Firm Yumpingo Aims for Actionable Data Only

There’s nothing like opening up a survey, any survey, and seeing a massive list of personal questions. Is this the doctor’s office or a French fry survey?

Ivan Orkin Is ‘Gift of a Client’ for New Corlex Capital

The first deal out of the gate for Corlex Capital is a doozy—the new private equity firm has signed Ivan Orkin, the celebrity chef known as the king of ramen, to develop and scale his new as-yet-unnamed concept, attract investors and ultimately franchise it, says Jeffrey Kolton.

Franchised Dog Bar Spurs Infinite Ideas

Mutts Canine Cantina is a Texas-based franchise that’s a hybrid between a bar/restaurant and a dog park. As an enthusiastic dog owner, this spurs a blizzard of new franchise ideas.

Hangin’ Tough with Emory Law Prof, Ex-Holiday Inn Counsel

Third-year law students at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta filed into Mort Aronson’s class this week on a late Wednesday afternoon, as they have every fall semester for the past 24 years, and I was there as guest speaker to witness the sweet rapport he has with students.

After Exit, Liberty Tax Founder Plans Launch No. 3

John Hewitt, founder of Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax Service, is planning a third launch of a tax prep franchise in March, when his non-compete expires, under the Loyalty Brands umbrella. "It was the worst battle ever," he said about the tumultuous past 18 months at Liberty Tax.

Is Dunkin’ the New IHOB?

Dunkin’ ditching Donuts (in name only) seems like one of those reincarnations we may look back on with a laugh in future years. I’m skeptical the company can achieve its objective of being a beverage-focused brand with a lame new name.

Free Week Helps Black Bear Increase Delivery Awareness

Many restaurant franchises now have digital delivery options, but customers may be unaware of their array of choices. Black Bear Diner, a California-based family restaurant concept, rolled out its new partnership with third-party delivery brand DoorDash by offering guests an attention-getting full week of free delivery.

Survey: QSR Operators See Sales Soften Further in Q3

In a new partnership with Franchise Times, investment bank Cowen did a quick check-in on third-quarter results with a collection of franchisees across the country.

Church’s Advisory Council to Tackle ‘How’ of Brand Goals

As some restaurant brands deal with contentious relationships with their franchisee associations, Church’s Chicken wants to enhance collaboration between corporate leadership and operators, forming an Excellence Advisory Council to help address improvements to the system.

Is Gen Z a Restaurant Worker Goldmine?

Just when the restaurant industry has figured out what millennials want, the next crop of employees is coming up.

Ex-NFL Star Growing Stacked Pickle Affordably

Like he focused on the block and tackle, Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl champion linebacker Gary Brackett is laser focused on ROI.

Australia Next as Abrakadoodle Expands Internationally

Denise Wang and Chris Li are banking on art education's global appeal as they launch Abrakadoodle in Australia. The couple already has experience in franchising, having brought the My Gym brand to Sydney last year.
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