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Hurricane Harvey Relief From ‘Zees and ‘Zors, Part II

Countless other organizations are providing what they can to assist in the recovery efforts, and it’s nearly impossible to list all of them. Here are 10 other national franchise brands and franchisees harnessing their coast-to-coast presence in support.

Hilton’s All Suites Keeps Rocking

Times are good in the hotel biz—really, really good—as a multi-year growth streak continues. As one nugget of continuing good news in the category, Hilton’s All Suites brand just released a midyear update that points to continued growth for the brand, and likely many others in hospitality.

Toppers Pizza’s 'Big, Hairy, Audacious' Goals

With a meaty investment in consumer-facing tech and fast-rising unit growth, Wisconsin-based Toppers Pizza thinks it can challenge the biggest pizza brands after doubling in size over the last three years.

Tropical Smoothie Café Eyes Minnesota Expansion

Tropical Smoothie Café positions itself as a healthier option in the fast-casual segment with flatbreads, sandwiches and wraps to go along with classic and “Superfood” smoothies, which is why company execs believe the concept is a perfect fit for an active, outdoor-focused Twin Cities metro population.

Liberty Tax Founder Gets Boot, but He May Be Hard to Jettison

That bombshell the franchising world felt today was Liberty Tax Service announcing the termination of John Hewitt, who is the founder, chairman and CEO of Liberty Tax as well as the founder of competitor Jackson Hewitt and a giant in the business.

Franchisors and ‘Zees Line Up to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

As the devastation and damage piles up in Houston and in other Texas areas hit by Hurricane Harvey, plenty of franchisors and franchisees are offering what they can to help. Here are 10 franchisors, both big and small, offering their services and resources:

Labor Day Economic Snapshot

Given the level of political instability throughout this year and the heartbreaking disaster unfolding along the Gulf shore, it’s remarkable that the economy has chugged along as well as it has. Here’s a look at some of the latest key economic indicators for a pre-fall check up on the economy.

Subway Launches Striking New Store Design

As it rolls out a dramatically new store design, complete with a new brand logo, Subway is looking to catch up to the fast-casual competition with a new store concept that includes a bright vegetable display front and center. For Subway’s thousands of franchisees, the mandatory remodel program includes three tiers that allow varying levels of equipment reuse.

Franchise Execs Talk Delivering on a Brand's Promise

Franchise leaders gather at annual Faegre Baker Daniels summit to share how they work to develop and maintain a successful franchise system.

We Have the Multi-unit News You Need to Know

Twice a month I’m plucking the key details from dozens of multi-unit franchise development agreements to give you everything you need to know to stay informed and, of course, keep an eye on what the competition is doing.

Diving Deeper Into Medical Franchising

We’ve predicted it along with many others: a boom in medical franchising that upends the traditional healthcare industry that creates some massive, new players in the franchise industry. As a reporter who’s received care at several next-generation health players, I see a category that has many unique needs.

Arby’s+Turkey Legs+'Game of Thrones'

I thought it was only my personal life affected by my avoiding "Game of Thrones," but now with Arby’s latest announcement, it is clear this gory and drama-laced show has become required viewing to fit in with contemporary society, like the Soprano’s finale, “Who Shot J.R.?” and every episode of "Unsolved Mysteries."

Chairman Change at Brightway Insurance

Brightway Insurance, a national property/casualty insurance franchise with agencies in 17 states, continues to expand its footprint in 2017, including the signing of new franchisees in Washington, Alabama and Indiana.

Head-Turning Pics Tout McGraw and Snap Fitness Partnership

You don’t send out photos of Tim McGraw doing handstands and crunches without a shirt and expect to be ignored by the press—and sure enough, Snap Fitness’s new partnership with the country music superstar and the fitness club called Tru Mav is drawing lots of attention.

Perhaps Boring Fits the Bill for New H&R Block Chief

Jeff Jones’ move this week to helm H&R Block after a tumultuous and brief stint at Uber, as announced below on this blog, prompted a look at the tax services sector in franchising. The results are about as boring as, well, preparing your taxes versus following all of the wild news coming out of Uber, and maybe that’s what appealed to Jones.

H&R Block Appoints Jeff Jones, Former Uber Executive, as CEO

Jeff Jones, a former executive with Target Corporation and Uber, was named as H&R Block’s new CEO today. He will succeed Tom Gerke, who will continue to serve as interim president and CEO until October 9.

Need Glasses for the Eclipse? Shoney's Can Help

If you're ready to get your geek on Monday to view the total solar eclipse but find yourself without viewing glasses, Shoney's is ready to help. The Nashville-based franchise will give out free viewing glasses and a free MoonPie with meal purchase while supplies last. Hwy 55 Burgers is getting in the game, too.

‘Purpose Beyond Profit’ Positioning Drives New Snack Concept

A new concept from Remarkable Brands LLC, Purpose Snackery says it’s a snack shop “that encourages its independent franchisees to make an impact in the communities they serve."

Pieology Heads for Mexico City

Mexico City can now add Pieology pizza to its list of attractions, as the California-based franchise embarks on its first international expansion in the Distrito Federal.

Joe’s Crab Shack in Rough Waters

Joe’s Crab Shack—of the most intense restaurants I’ve ever dined at and an icon of 1990s suburbia—is on the rocks as locations abruptly close across the country and its parent company significantly shrinks the brand’s unit count. I am surprised ye old Crab Shack has hung on as long as it has given some inherent contradictions in the kid-friendly seafood concept.

With ‘Aggressive’ Approach, Applebee’s to Close 100-plus Locations

Applebee's aims to identify older locations in areas “where once vibrant retail, residential and traffic characteristics are just no longer present,” the brand's president, John Cywinski, noted, along with restaurants that are underperforming “and perhaps even brand-damaging restaurants with unsustainable unit economics.”

La Madeleine Signs New ‘Zee, Continues Refranchising Push

La Madeleine French Bakery and Café is already more than halfway to its goal of refranchising 38 corporate locations, an initiative the brand announced in March at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference.

NCR Partners With Grubhub, DoorDash to Eliminate Delivery Tablets

A new partnership between point-of-sale giant NCR and delivery providers DoorDash and Grubhub aims to eliminate the separate tablets that have become a necessary evil for restaurants looking to add revenue through third-party delivery.

Are You Prepared for Sin Taxes?

As a society, we’ve made massive strides in public health. Smoking rates have declined sharply, teenagers have lower rates of sex, drug use and drinking, and we’re even using less high fructose corn syrup—progress! But the franchised restaurant world is still exposed to how unhealthy some of its foods are.

Social Justice a Must in Retailing, Says Apricot Lane Founder

“Today, the consumer culture has turned a page toward social justice,” declared Ken Petersen, founder and CEO of Apricot Lane Boutique, when I reached him today to talk about how retailing is changing in this era of big-box store closures and Amazon everywhere.

Need Capital? It's Time to Re-Think Your Elevator Pitch

Most entrepreneurs have their elevator pitch down pat—that 30-second speech about their company that can be delivered in the time it takes to go up or down a few floors. But angel investors and venture capitalists on a panel this week recommended listening rather than talking.

In Strategic Move, Wyndham to Spin Off Hotel Unit

Wyndham Hotel Group is set to become a new, publicly traded company by the first half of next year. Based in Parsippany, New Jersey, it operates or franchises more than 8,100 hotels across several brands, including Ramada, Days Inn and Baymont Inn & Suites.

Cereal-loving Journalist Seeks Investors

They say capital’s cheap and easy these days. Because there are so many good business ideas out there, I’ll keep this brief: I’m thinking of becoming a franchisor in the cereal business down in Kentucky. Who’s coming with me?

House Pushes Bill to Define Joint Employer—and It's Bipartisan

A U.S. House committee has introduced legislation defining what it means to be a “joint employer,” stating the employer must “directly, actually and immediately” exercise significant control over the primary elements of employment to be so considered and thus liable for violations of workers’ rights.

Franchise Model Not for Everyone, Palm Beach Boss Says

Chip Paul is shutting down his electronic cigarette franchise, Palm Beach Vapors, which at its peak had 21 units, for regulatory reasons. Meanwhile, he’s starting a new company called Gnu Pharma, which is developing herbal supplements that he will sell through distributors but definitely not roll out as a franchise. Why not?

Nuggets From Cushman’s Shopping Center Update

In its Q2 2017 U.S. Shopping Center Marketbeat, C&W predicts an increase in retail closures over 2016 with retail bankruptcies and consolidations magnifying the impact of e-commerce and other seismic shifts.

Denny’s Sees 2Q Lift From ‘On Demand’ Platform

Denny’s On Demand, which the company launched nationally in May through a partnership with Olo, includes online and mobile ordering and payment for to-go items, plus delivery via Olo’s Dispatch network of third-party services.

Record Year of Franchise Growth for Huddle House

Huddle House entered new markets across 14 states, including the brand’s first Maryland location and additional growth in New Jersey, where the all-day breakfast concept has one store open and five more in development. Eight of its multi-unit owners signed additional agreements in fiscal year 2017 to open 22 more locations.

Wayback Burgers on a Growth Tear

I’m continually amazed by the number of better-burger players out there, but the herd has stayed strong as the competition has intensified. And, for whatever it’s worth, Wayback Burgers is still expanding like crazy, recently hitting 120 domestic locations and many new international openings in the hopper.

World of Beer’s Pandora-style Beer 'Discovery Engine'

Restaurants and retailers have clearly read the memo that younger consumers want an experience when they spend their precious fun money. The latest innovation is a great one for a summer Friday—World of Beer’s ALEgorithm that it bills as a Pandora-style “beer discovery engine” providing beer recommendations based on personal taste and member engagement.

In Defense of Marketing to Gen X

Gen Xers, usually in the shadow of millennials and baby boomers, are an equally important customer base for restaurants, finds a new NPD Group foodservice study.

Social Media Influencers Present New Marketing Opportunities

Courting social media Influencers is one way restaurant owners can create buzz around new food items or new store openings.

Capitalizing On the Summer Moving Season

For franchised service concepts in the moving segment, summer the opportunity of the year, but to get the most out of the season, it takes a thoughtful approach.

At 900, Smoothie King Vision 'Validated'

When Wan Kim bought Smoothie King in 2012, he had a singular thesis in mind: to be a part of every healthy lifestyle. It seems to be working.

Dunkin’ Heads Into Price Chopper Grocery Stores

As the so-called non-traditional real estate strategy goes mainstream, Dunkin’ Donuts is the latest announcement with a new partnership to open three restaurants in Price Chopper grocery locations in Kansas. It’s a safe bet that we’ll be seeing more grocery store tie-ups, among others as restaurant brands seek to go wherever people congregate.

Franchising to Help Chef Service Feed More Seniors

Meet Chefs For Seniors, a four-year-old company out of Madison, Wisconsin, whose professional chefs prepare weekly meals in the home for an elderly clientele. The service, which has corporate locations in its home state plus Illinois and Florida, just launched its franchising initiative in 37 states.

Wyndham Acquires Mid-level AmericInn Brand

As the good times keep rolling in the hotel world, major hospitality brands are continuing to expand their portfolios as healthy business and personal travel continue to fuel record revenue gains and occupancy rates. The latest is Wyndham Hotel Group’s acquisition of Minnesota-based AmericInn hotel and its management company, Three Rivers Hospitality, for $170 million.

Blaze Pizza Gets PE Investment From Brentwood

The move by the Los Angeles-based group also puts two Brentwood partners, Bill Barnum and Rahul Aggarwal, on Blaze Pizza’s board of directors, along with industry veteran Greg Dollarhyde.

IFA’s NextGen Program Goes Live

It’s time once again for one of the very best things in all of franchising: IFA’s fantastic NextGen in Franchising Global Competition is now accepting applicants for the next crop of industry leaders who need a boost in bringing their great idea to market via franchising.

KFC Launches Hilarious Merch Shop

After launching one of its sandwiches into space and publishing its first corporate romance novel (seriously), KFC has launched an online merchandise shop it’s calling KFC Ltd. With Colonel Sanders pillows, a chicken sandwich made with real meteorite and drumstick socks—among many others—this is the real deal.

Southeast Asia Market Remains Ripe for Hooters Expansion

Franchisee Destination Eats, part of Bangkok-based Destination Resorts, is the local partner behind this market expansion and in 2015 signed a 35-location development agreement with Hooters. Led by CEO Gary Murray, Destination Eats also recently opened Hooters locations in Marina Bay and Fusionopolis, Singapore, as well as Jakarta, Indonesia, and Koh Samui, Thailand.

New School of Rock Boss Not Scared of Controversy

The bravest man in franchising may be Rob Price, who accepted the CEO job at School of Rock after Dzana Homan got the boot on June 30. I’ll tell the whole story about franchisee complaints alleging intimidation and more at the music school chain in the next print edition, but Price says he is not fazed by the controversy.

New Owners, New Start for Back Yard Burgers

It took a whole lot of explaining, but Back Yard Burgers has attracted a new majority investor, Axum Capital Partners, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based private equity firm. “It was hard,” to find an investor to buy out Pharos Capital Group, says CEO Dave McDougall, who had to explain over and over why the brand has 23 company-owned stores and 32 franchised units today, down from a peak of 180 stores in 2007.

Marilyn Monroe Spas CEO Lewis Talks International Franchising

Marilyn Monroe Spas inked its first international deal to bring the salon and spa concept to India. We'll have more on this deal in the August issue of Franchise Times, but first, some interview outtakes.

'Disloyal' Jimmy John's Workers Lost their Protections

A federal appeals court ruled in favor of MikLin Enterprises, a franchisee of 10 Jimmy John’s shops in Minnesota, saying employees there were “so disloyal” they were not covered by labor rules protecting unionization activity.
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