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Monster Tree Service Branching Out

Did you know that almost everything is franchised? It’s true, including tree removal services. From my own experience as a new homeowner, I know how much money can be made in this field. At Pennsylvania-based Monster Tree Service, recent growth has been coming at a breakneck pace—with expectations of growing the system 30 percent by the end of 2017.

Franchising Deserves a Stake in Urban Planning

I’ve passed a milestone I’m quietly celebrating on this fine fall day. My first-ever magazine column, The Urbane Franchisor, is going strong after a year and a half in the pages of Franchise Times. Now more than ever, I’m convinced the franchise industry has much to gain by learning about modern trends in urban planning.

Are Brand Events the Next Big Thing?

After writing a story about Tough Mudder transitioning from (somewhat crazy) endurance races into low-cost exercise gyms, I wondered what other brands might find value in creating an in-person event.

Operator Adds 'No Buy' Push to Complaint Against Dunkin'

A franchisee claiming widespread discrimination against African-American women by Dunkin’ Donuts added a second punch to her lawsuit filed today: a coupon saying “Dunkin’ Discriminates” and urging people not to buy Dunkin’ products, which she plans to circulate on social media. Dunkin' Brands "categorically denies" the allegations of discrimination.

Arby's Named One of Best Workplaces for Women

Arby’s has been named to FORTUNE’s 100 Best Workplaces for Women list. Arby’s is the highest-ranked restaurant brand on the list and is the only quick-service restaurant selected.

Starting a Juice Concept With 5 Kids in Tow

Two young parents with five young kids stumbled upon an idea that seems crazy from an outside perspective: starting a food-based franchise from scratch as a way of improving their work-life balance. With seemingly no fear, they took the plunge and launched Clean Juice Bar in 2014.

These 4 ‘Super Elements’ Are Key to Hiring the Right People

Last week’s IFA Franchise Action Network event in Washington, D.C., put the politics impacting franchising front and center. But mixed in with the various labor law concerns and worry about the joint employer rule was the general sentiment that it’s never been more difficult to find and hire the right person.

Ethics Complaint Dismissed in SoR Case, 'Ambiguity' Remains

An ethics complaint against Craig Tractenberg, a prominent franchise attorney for Fox Rothschild in Philadelphia who represented School of Rock, was dismissed September 7 by the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, but the contents of a letter “expressing this office’s concerns regarding his conduct” will not be made public under board rules.

Liberty Tax Situation Not a Problem, General Counsel Says

It may seem awkward if your CEO gets booted by the board of directors but keeps his status as chairman, holds all the Class B shares and so retains the right to name a majority of board members, as happened to founder John Hewitt at Liberty Tax Service last week. But Liberty’s general counsel, Vanessa Szajnoga, doesn’t think so.

Learn, Play & Grow (Really Fast) at The Learning Experience

The franchised education space is morphing from competitive to crowded, mirroring other categories—such as medical franchising—that is undergoing a massive shift away from established systems. The Learning Experience is growing rapidly and focusing on its corporate culture as the education category hits a critical inflection point.

New Pillar to Post Owner Has Sept. 11 Story

This Monday, September 11, was a special day for Matt Robertie of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He became a new franchisee for home inspection franchise Pillar to Post, 16 years to the day after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Joint Employer ‘Could Be Catastrophic’ for Franchise Model, ‘Zees Say

Hundreds of franchisees and franchisors are meeting with representatives and senators on Capitol Hill today as part of the International Franchise Association’s Franchise Action Network event and to push for support of the Save Local Businesses Act.

Franchisors, ‘Zees Gather in D.C. to Talk Joint Employer Issue

Introduced in July by a U.S. House committee, the Save Local Businesses Act counters the NLRB’s August 2015 ruling in the Browning-Ferris Industries case that adopted a broad joint employer standard based on “indirect” or “potential control” of employees, meaning franchisors can be held liable for a franchisee’s employees.

HealthSource Chiropractic Focuses on Injuries, Rehab

Compared with The Joint, a large chiropractic franchise that focuses on maintenance care, Ohio-based HealthSource Chiropractic is different, geared toward patients with fresh injuries looking for progressive rehabilitation treatment.

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.
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