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On-site Cooking in Electric Vehicles at Wayback Burgers

Viddl-It, Wayback Burgers' new electric vehicle initiative, combines the on-site cooking of food trucks with on-demand delivery technology to, the company says, ultimately bring consumers a better product.

Duck Donuts Enters Chilean Market With Opening in Santiago

With its made-to-order donuts and array of toppings, franchisee Marcial Dieguez-Acuna says the “superior donut” offering of Duck Donuts will stand out to Chilean consumers and the experience of watching each donut get dipped and topped is unique to the market.

Tech, Labor, Tariffs and More on IFA Board's Minds

The “robust” job market will be a challenge in 2019 for people charged with selling franchises, says Jania Bailey, CEO of FranNet, in a new survey of International Franchise Association board members sharing their outlooks for 2019.

Franchise governance: The best plan is to have one

Some of the challenges franchisors have to deal with are ones that receive plenty of scrutiny—such as how to select franchisees, how to structure a franchise, ways to manage the relationship, branding issues, or finance.

‘What Happened to Cash’ Is Question From Gigi’s ‘Zees Attorney

Two items are noteworthy in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last week by Mr. Gatti’s Pizza, Sovrano and Gigi’s Cupcakes: a $20.2 million term loan from Equity Bank to Mr. Gatti’s and Sovrano, its parent company, and a $9.2-million term loan from Equity Bank to Gigi’s Cupcakes, both made last June. Jeffrey Cohen of Cohen Law, the attorney representing 18 Gigi’s Cupcakes franchisees in ongoing litigation, wants to know, "What happened to the cash?"

Shutdown Likely Benign for Economy, Brutal for Operators

Historically, shutdowns don’t affect the economy drastically. But there are plenty of headaches for business owners.

The Lost Cajun Celebrates Big Growth

A year and a half after hanging with Raymond Griffin, founder of The Lost Cajun, the Cajun restaurant brand is celebrating the fruits of an impressive growth streak during the past 12 months. The brand opened 13 new restaurants during 2018.

FT Dealmakers Entries Paint Intriguing M&A Picture

Nominations closed this week for the annual Franchise Times Dealmakers project, so we’re knee-deep poring through the deals to select finalists to present to our judges in January. As usual, we’ve got a complex, ambitious and fascinating group of deals.

United PF First to Cross 100-Club Line for Planet Fitness

“Somebody was going to get there, and it was a real privilege to be the first one to hit that milestone,” says Trey Owen, speaking about United PF Partners surpassing the 100-club mark this past fall and becoming the first Planet Fitness franchisee to break that barrier.

Ron Shaich’s Franchising Ideals

The franchising model can take many forms, but the leader behind Panera says there are some key factors that enabled the brand’s incredible franchise growth over the last 26 years.

CoreLife, Tim Tebow Push ‘Pure’ New Year’s Challenge

Consumers have been trained to be wary of health challenges, as there always seems to be some fine print or a big price tag. But CoreLife Eatery is doing everything it can to keep the brand’s healthy lifestyle challenge “pure.”

Hilton All Suites Hits 1,000 Properties

With the U.S. stock market tumbling, along with softening auto sales, home building and consumer confidence, you’d be forgiven for assuming times are tightening in the hospitality market, but so far that isn’t the case. As the hotel industry continues an unprecedented growth streak, Hilton’s All Suites brands—Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites—hit the milestone of 1,000 open properties.

Fast & Serious Newcomer Workout Anytime Shares Growth Tactics

Workout Anytime hit $53 million in sales in 2017, and its expansion to 143 locations to finish the year came thanks largely to positive franchisee validation, notes CEO Steve Strickland.

Thoughtful Safety Can Mean an Insurance Discount for Restaurants

Restaurant businesses can be dangerous, with their slippery floors, repetitive tasks and the endless peril of delivering food. And all those dangers can be costly, as outlined in a new report from insurer AmTrust.

More Digital Investment for Pizza Hut With QuikOrder Deal

Pizza Hut made a big move to bolster its online ordering capabilities, acquiring QuikOrder earlier this month. Though it didn’t disclose terms of the agreement, Pizza Hut noted this marks one of its largest acquisitions to date.

Food Truck a Hit for I Heart Mac & Cheese

I Heart Mac & Cheese is taking its decadent, custom offerings on the road with food trucks. The first franchisee behind the wheel said so far, it’s going great.

Top 10 Franchise Times Stories of 2018

From the Zor Awards to Orangetheory’s crazy growth spurt, MidiCi and the second-largest Applebee’s franchisee landing in bankruptcy court, this was an unusually dramatic year in franchising according to web traffic stats of Franchise Times.

Job Growth in Franchising Slows in 2018, ADP Report Says

The franchise sector added nearly 140,000 jobs in 2018 for a growth rate of 1.82 percent, according to a new study by the ADP Research Institute. That was down from the year before, when 212,000 franchise jobs were added for a growth rate of 2.74 percent.

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.
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