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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.)

Little Caesars Targets International Markets in Next Growth Phase

As it actively pursues growth abroad, Mike Therrian, director of international development, said Little Caesars is looking to partner with operators of existing QSR or retail concepts, and views itself as a complementary brand and one with a sustainable business model.

Robots, Ants and Biometrics are the Future of Dining, Says RFDC Speaker

The future of fine dining is here and it features—wait for it—bugs, worms and ants, according to Daniel Del Olmo, founding partner of The Passionality Group, speaking at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference today.

A Kiss, Toilet Paper and Other Signs of Recession

Brian Belski, chief investment banking strategist at BMO Capital Markets, strode onto stage and planted a large smooch on his fellow panelist’s cheek, David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff. From there, the two economists with contrasting points of view were off on a lively discussion on opening day of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference.

MOD Pizza’s Founders Talk Purpose, Profits at RFDC

MOD Pizza’s founders are doubling down on their efforts to employ the underemployed at their 470-store pizza chain, most recently focusing on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, said Ally and Scott Svenson on opening day of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference.

After Xponential Buy, a Year of Change at Pure Barre

Sarah Luna became president of Pure Barre in November 2018 after it was acquired by Xponential Fitness. She's put franchisee support at the center of her growth plans with a goal of bringing stability to the brand.

In Test, Workout Anytime Reaches Billboard CPMs in Digital

Workout Anytime found some major efficiencies with a new digital ad program that slashed CPMs, or cost per mille, a measure of ROI in digital advertising.

CEO’s Out, Hemp’s In as Edible Founder Calls For 'Grit'

In July 2018, Edible Arrangement’s founder deemed its first outside CEO, Mike Rotondo, “perfect for the role.” Now Rotondo’s out, Tariq Farid has reclaimed the chief executive’s job and he’s taking the brand known for fresh fruit bouquets down new paths, including hemp-farming and cannabis.

Chicken Salad Chick’s New Owner Says Don't Go Changin'

Chicken Salad Chick has a much larger majority investor, Brentwood Associates with its $2.4 billion fund buying out Eagle Merchant Partners, but CEO Scott Deviney believes it will be “business as usual, luckily” at the 137-plus Southeast-based restaurant chain.

Chris Kempczinski Named McDonald's CEO in Leadership Shakeup

In a surprise announcement on Sunday night, McDonald’s said that Chris Kempczinski would take over as president and CEO of McDonald’s immediately.

Would You Like Plant Cheese on That?

Could plant-based dairy be the next explosive menu addition?

Club Pilates Inks Major Deal in South Korea

“It’s a continuation of our goal to bring Pilates to the masses,” said Club Pilates President Shaun Grove of a master franchise agreement signed with Seoul-based XFactor Fitness Limited.

Fountain Looks to Bring Gig Hiring Tactics to QSR

Fountain is using a new $23 million investment to bring its gig-centric approach to the traditional franchise space.

Don’t Be an Idiot, and Other M&A Advice at Faegre Event

“This weekend I was reading the latest PitchBook report, and it said another $2 trillion year for M&A, fewer transactions but sky high valuations continue,” said Sima Griffith, principal at Aethlon Capital, at the Faegre Baker Daniels M&A Conference in Minneapolis today.

Sticker Shock, Founder Phobia Are M&A Hot Topics

Neighborly’s blistering acquisition pace of late has slowed this year, said Grayson Brown, executive vice president and general counsel at the franchisor formerly known as Dwyer Group, with sticker shock the culprit. He spoke today at the Faegre Baker Daniels M&A Conference.

Round Table Pizza Rolling Out ‘Royal’ New Design

When you acquire a legacy brand like Round Table Pizza, there is often a lot of work to do. Luckily for Global Franchise Group, there was only one big undertaking: a refresh.

Jeff Sturgis Joins Fish as PR Firm Launches Franchise Consulting

Jeff Sturgis, formerly the chief development officer at Fazoli’s and McAlister’s Deli, and senior VP of development for Fantastic Sams, brings his expertise to Fort Lauderdale-based Fish Consulting as it offers franchise development services to its clients.

Broadway-Bound or Not, Attorneys Present Franchise Drama

Deborah Coldwell and Ronald Gardner took a dramatic approach to presenting their topic called “The Road to Purgatory or Paradise. The devil is in the details.” They handed attendees a Playbill, just like the ones you get on Broadway, and let the play commence, at the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising last week.

It’s Not Tampering, It’s Story-Telling, Attorneys Say at Franchise Forum

“So is this the witness tampering class?” joked the attorney (at least I think he was joking) walking into a panel on “effective witness preparation in a franchise case” at last week’s American Bar Association Forum on Franchising in Denver.

Hungry Howie’s Adds Free Mammograms to ‘Love, Hope & Pizza'

Every October, the pizzas boxes at Hungry Howie’s turn bright pink to mark the beginning of breast cancer awareness month. This year Hungry Howie’s celebrated the 10th anniversary of its “Love, Hope & Pizza” effort, through which the company donates a portion of its profits to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

New Capriotti’s Franchisee Stakes Ground in Pacific Northwest

From Sweeto Burrito to Capriotti’s, restaurant veteran and multi-unit franchisee Steve Holdeman has his sights set on bringing sub sandwiches to the Pacific Northwest. Capriotti’s and Holdeman inked a deal that will see 17 new units go up in multiple states by 2025.

My Favorite Muffin Gets Back to Basics

The leadership team at My Favorite Muffin thinks going back to basics is the path forward.

PuroClean Leads Pack in Strong Disaster Restoration Segment

Systemwide sales at disaster restoration franchises on Franchise Times’ Top 200+ list hit $4 billion in 2018, an 18.9 percent increase, our researched showed.

Inspire Brands Finalizes Jimmy John’s Acquisition

The acquisition of sandwich giant Jimmy John’s has gone through, so the nearly 3,000-restaurant brand is now part of Inspire Brands, which is now the fourth-largest restaurant company in the United States.

Buzz Kill for Cannabis Lawyers at ABA Forum on Franchising

A buzz kill was in store today as attorneys packed into a panel about cannabis and franchising and mostly heard about dire warnings and ever-changing regulations, at the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising in Denver.

Unity Rd Is New Name for One Cannabis, But Chief Grower Misses Old Days

Today the One Cannabis grow facility in Colorado is completely buttoned-down and highly regulated, a far cry from 2009 and the "cowboy" days of the marijuana business.

If Age Is Just a Number, Consider YoungConference

If you’re at that awkward age when everyone from the airplane captain to your new boss to your gastroenterologist is about as old as your children, you may think you’re too long in the tooth for the Franchise YoungConference—but Zack Fishman says maybe not.

Cherry Hearn Brings Many Hats to Role of Which Wich President

From outside counsel to franchisee to general counsel for the brand, Cherry Hearn brings a lot of varied experience to her new job as president of Which Wich.

Five Guys, BurgerFi Show Better Burger Strength on FT Top 200+

Though it remains a small portion of the overall burger category, which sits at $154 billion in total sales, better burger franchises on the Franchise Times Top 200+ grew their top lines by nearly 7 percent to $2.9 billion in 2018. The Top 200+ is Franchise Times’ exclusive ranking of the 500 largest franchises based on global systemwide sales.

Famous Dave's Shrinks Restaurants, Shifts Menu for Delivery

Famous Dave’s released details of a new, more compact restaurant prototype geared toward increased delivery and catering in Minneapolis. This smaller store format is part of the brand’s multi-year revival that has included several new store designs.

Frequent Founder Adds ‘Automatic Fit’ in Kitchen Wise

Paul Flick is the founder of three franchises—360 Painting, Pro Lift Doors and Handyman Pro—and he’s just completed his second acquisition, adding Kitchen Wise under the Premium Service Brands umbrella.

Rebrand First, Then Sales Push for New Ace Franchise

Ace Hardware, No. 5 on this year’s Franchise Times Top 200+ list, plans a major franchising push starting the second quarter of next year for Handyman Matters, the Denver-based home improvement service chain Ace acquired in September.

Cousins Subs Tweaks for Non-Traditional Locations

Wisconsin-based sub shop Cousins Subs is finding success in operating non-traditional locations, including its first-ever airport location at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.

Applebee’s Is Lone Casual Dining Grower on FT Top 200+

When two of the supposed top three brands in a segment actually saw sales decline, you know there’s a problem. Though it actually recovered slightly from 2017’s 3 percent drop, the casual dining subcategory of restaurants in the Franchise Times Top 200+ is still going in the wrong direction, save for Applebee’s, the only brand to see positive sales growth in 2018.

Wendy’s 'Rolls' Out Supremely Nerdy Marketing

Do you have what it takes to help Queen Wendy protect her fresh burgers from the insidious Ice Jester and his frozen patty-slinging minions?

Drew Brees Joins Franworth, Likes ‘Gut and Courage’ of Franchising

“When the opportunity came to join Franworth as a partner alongside John, David Barr, and the incredible team and brands assembled within, it was a no-brainer,” said Drew Brees of joining the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based firm in August as a partner and executive board member.

With 94-Unit Denny’s Deal, WKS No. 1 in Three Brands

WKS Restaurant Group out of Cypress, California, is now the largest Denny’s franchisee in the system. The new location-count leader took the crown by adding 94 restaurants that formerly belonged to QK Holdings.

Time to Gain Recognition for Brilliant M&A Deal-Making

It's been a busy fall already with mergers and acquisitions in franchising, with many of the deals sure to be competitive in our annual Franchise Times Dealmakers project, with nominations open now through December 31 by clicking on the Dealmakers button nearby and at www. franchisetimes.com.

Another Broken Egg Grows as Breakfast Stays Hot

As the restaurant industry keeps struggling with sluggish traffic numbers—at best—Another Broken Egg Cafe is attempting to double down on the continued strength of the breakfast daypart.

Cameron Diaz Lends Celebrity Shine to Modern Acupuncture

The man who arranged 50 Cent’s equity investment in Vitamin Water and Madonna’s deal with Vita Coco, Seth Rodsky and his firm Strand Equity have bought a stake in Modern Acupuncture and brought actress Cameron Diaz into the deal, too.

7-Eleven Owners Air ‘Cold, Hard Facts’ Against Corporate

Franchisees leaving the 7-Eleven system are “creating a glut of available stores across the nation, including in major markets like Los Angeles and New York,” says the latest missive from the convenience store giant’s biggest critic—its coalition of 7-Eleven owners.

Dave’s Hot Chicken Hopes for ‘Blow Your Head Off’ Launch

There are seven levels of “hot” at Dave’s Hot Chicken, which officially launches its franchise program today, with the Reaper so spicy it comes with a waiver.

R.I.-Pizza: Rapping Calzone Now Repping D.P. Dough

Rapping calzone and D.P. Dough mascot Stoney Calzone, calling out the pizza industry at large—and the beats are as hot as the oven in the back.

Roark Sells Jimmy John’s to Its Inspire Brands

Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic, has entered into an agreement to acquire Jimmy John’s Sandwiches from Roark Capital Group. The Atlanta-based Roark private equity firm purchased Jimmy John’s in 2016 and has been the longstanding owner of Arby’s, which was rolled into the newly formed Inspire Brands in 2018.

Constant Evolution Returns Dippin’ Dots to Growth

Nitrogen-frozen drops of ice cream aren’t exactly mind boggling 30 years on, but Dippin' Dots has things moving in the right direction again.

Moe’s Coaxes Customers to In-House Delivery Channels

As the corporate guy in charge of marketing, field operations and off-premises at Moe’s Southwest Grill, Tad Low’s job includes threading the needle between customer expectations, franchisee pain points and a fast-changing delivery environment that shines a spotlight on how different foods weather the car trip to at-home diners.

Technology Change: Test, Test and Communicate

After identifying a technology update, the real work begins.

Fazoli’s Readies Off-Premises 2.0

With more than half of its sales now leaving the restaurants, Fazoli’s is preparing a second generation off-premises strategy, which CEO Carl Howard suggested may come at the expense of arch rival Olive Garden.

Blaze Takes Aim at Big Pizza? Good Luck

The 341-location Blaze is taking aim at the “big three” pizza competitors in a new ad campaign that pits its new, larger pizza against the same old pizza. Good luck.
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