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People are Worth Trusting Despite Risk, MOD's Boss Says

Scott Svenson, co-founder of MOD Pizza, discusses how hard it is to keep a strong company culture as a franchise brand grows, in a new video interview.

Dogs in the Franchise Spotlight

According to the American Pet Product Association (APPA), Americans spent approximately $47.7 billion on pet products and services in 2010, an increase of 4.8 percent over 2009. That’s a lot of puppy money.

The Art of Team Building with a Twist

When Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney, founders of Painting with a Twist, added team-building sessions about two years ago, they envisioned a completely different offering than their consumer-oriented paint-and-sip classes.

Golden Corral Franchisee Dishes Out Helpings from the Heart

Now a successful businessman and the franchise owner of Metro Corral Partners, with 31 Golden Corrals in the Florida/Georgia area, Eric Holm has made a second career out of serving Thanksgiving meals.

DLA Piper's (and FT's) Zeidman Gains Free Enterprise Award

Philip Zeidman, senior partner at DLA Piper and general counsel for the International Franchise Association, is the first recipient of the IFA Dennis Wieczorek Free Enterprise Award. He will accept the award during the IFA’s annual convention, Feb. 20-23 in San Antonio.

Don't Miss the Delivery Boat!

We’re only months—a few years at most—away from drone delivery of everything from toilet paper to cheeseburgers, but many franchise brands are seemingly missing out on the wave of restaurant delivery companies like BiteSquad, DoorDash, GrubHub and Seamless.

How Enlightened Brands Are Transforming Their Teams

Every employer wants his employees present, i.e. at their desk or workstation, and he, or she, also wants them engaged (in their work, not to another employee). But it’s not enough in the hospitality industry to just show up to work, Fred LeFranc, CEO of Results Thru Strategy, said during his panel at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas earlier in November.

A Few Notes from Anaheim

As I begin to recognize more faces on the franchise expo circuit, I'm still amazed by the kindness of people in the franchise industry.

Three Operators Display Power of the 'Zee at RFDC Panel

Anyone who doubts large, multi-unit operators can wield more power than their franchisors wasn’t at the “success breakfast” featuring three entrepreneurs on the last day of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference. Franchisors who want to attract such owners—and who doesn’t?—should note the mindset of such entrepreneurs.

Smaller Operators have Outsized Hopes for Growth

Small to mid-sized restaurant operators are a bullish bunch, with 69 percent of respondents to a new survey by RSM expecting top-line growth next year and a mere 4 percent worrying about a decline, according to a Restaurant Finance & Development Conference presentation.

Around the Restaurant Industry in 60 Minutes

It was almost like speed dating, as nine experts at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference provided quick market snapshots and nuggets of information from their unique corner of the restaurant industry.

T-shirts from Franchise Brands Ship Out to Iraq

Not every thank you has to be a grand gesture. Sometimes showing appreciation to our military can be as simple as providing them what they ask for.

Famous Chef Weighs in on the Taxing Issue of Tipping

During the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin, considered one of the best restaurants in the world, had a different take on the hot issue of eliminating tipping.

Decoding Success of Triple Bottom-Line Brands

A new crop of companies have emerged in recent years, in the mold of Whole Foods Market, with a purpose that goes beyond profits. Encompassing people and the planet alongside profits, so-called triple bottom-line brands are an interesting phenomenon, and were the subject of a seminar at this year’s Restaurant Finance & Development Conference.

MOD Pizza Tale Shows Power of Culture, at RFDC Panel

We’ve all heard tales about creating the right culture at our companies. But the story of Cory tops them all, as told by MOD Pizza’s founder at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference today.

Economists Debate Policy at Restaurant Finance Confab

Who knew economists could be so entertaining? In a debate to open the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference Monday, Arthur Laffer and Robert Reich mixed it up in a lively session, from a conservative and liberal point of view, respectively.

Hot October Jobs Data Includes Franchising

Everybody’s talking about today’s blockbuster U.S. jobs report, with the BLS reporting an additional 271,000 jobs in October. That puts the unemployment rate at 5 percent. That’s not the whole story, as ADP reports U.S. franchise employment increased 52,500 during the month—nearly 20 percent of the total increase.

Credit Compliance Issue No Death Knell for Famous Dave’s

The headlines about Famous Dave’s aren’t pretty. Turmoil, chaos, dive, darkest hour—this isn’t what you want to see from a quarterly earnings report. But Famous Dave’s might not be in that bad of shape despite the news the barbecue company is out of compliance with creditor Wells Fargo.

What Happens when 800 Lawyers Meet Franchising's Bogeymen

Two of franchising’s biggest bogeymen, Dr. David Weil of the Department of Labor and Richard Griffin of the National Labor Relations Board, appeared before a group of franchise lawyers at their annual get-together last month—and it turned out they don’t have horns.

Road to Crowdfunding Gets Shorter with New Federal Rules

It’s been a long time coming—more than three-and-a-half years—but the Securities & Exchange Commission approved last week final rules for Regulation Crowdfunding, also known as Reg CF and the last remaining component of the JOBS Act of 2012.

The People Problem in Franchising

My day started with two divergent visuals on the challenge of hiring employees. First, a friend contacted me on behalf of his new-to-franchising father who’s having trouble finding employees. Then, I saw the horrible video of the (former) Taco Bell employee drunkenly assaulting his Uber driver. I don’t envy anyone whose livelihood depends on finding and keeping high-quality people.

A Saucy Marco's Clear Winner in GOP Debate

Apparently, pizza makes watching the GOP debates more palatable. According to a survey of 650 Marco’s Pizza stores in 35 states, pizza sales spiked 28.5 percent during the most recent televised debate, October 28. Since the debate’s theme was the economy, we’re thinking maybe it got people thinking about dough.

Driven Brands Adds Carstar to Burgeoning Holdings

Driven Brands continues its acquisition tear with the purchase of Carstar, the second-largest auto body repair franchise, which it’s adding to a new Paint & Collision division behind first-place Maaco.

NextGen Young Entrepreneurs Program Gets Cash Infusion

David McKinnon, co-founder of ServiceBrands International, pledged a significant endowment to the IFA Educational Foundation, which will be used to bolster the coffers of the IFA’s NextGen In Franchising program.

CEOs to Describe Brand Transformation at Restaurant Finance Confab

“The company was literally out of cash in September of 2008,” recalls James White about Jamba Juice, the company he was hired as CEO to fix that year. “For me to just save the company was job one.” White will detail how he transformed the brand, along with Scott Svenson of MOD Pizza and Phil Greifeld of Captain D’s, at a CEO panel at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, Nov. 9-11 at the Wynn in Las Vegas.

Exclusive: Dave Anderson on Returning to Famous Dave’s

Earlier this week, we brought you the story about “Famous Dave” Anderson rejoining his namesake company, Famous Dave’s. Now we’ve got Anderson’s thoughts on choosing to return to the brand he founded in 1994 and left in 2014, as well as his plans for his fast-casual Jimmie’s Old Southern BBQ Smokehouse he founded last spring.

Dave Anderson Puts Fame Back into Famous Dave’s

“Famous Dave” Anderson, founder of Famous Dave’s of America, has rejoined the company as part of a reorganization seeking to reverse the fortunes of the Minneapolis-based barbecue chain beset by falling sales and a succession of leadership changes.

Kono Pizza Heading Into Walmart

Kono Pizza, the innovative pizza-in-a-cone brand started in 2013, is planning its first store location within a Walmart, as well as an aggressive 10-store expansion deal in the Dallas area.

McDonald's Delivers First Quarterly SSS Growth in Years

Finally, McDonald’s has something good to talk about besides all-day breakfast. According to the company’s third-quarter earnings release, almost all the numbers look great, or at least better than the much-maligned fast-food giant has in the past few years.

How to Carry On, Plus Other Tips From Globe Trotters

Every time I find myself in the company of world-travelers I ask for tips on how to make it less painful. Here are some of the tips I scored from participants on the recent trade mission to Latin America. Be sure to read to the very end; the last two are invaluable to anyone who travels for a living.​

Full Circle for Smoothie King CEO, who Sells Korean Units

Wan Kim was Smoothie King’s biggest franchisee by far, building 105 stores in South Korea before buying the brand, moving to New Orleans and becoming CEO, in 2012. Now he’s sold those Korean stores to Shinsegae Group for $16.5 million, as the dominant department store retailer plans to add stores in South Korea and push into Vietnam.

Earning Your Business Chops

In China, chops are almost like a fingerprint. They are distinctive, hard to duplicate, and when sealing an envelope, proof that no one has tampered with it. For Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, their chop is their logo.

Call for Nominations: Who Will Make Franchise News in 2016?

Franchise Times is seeking nominations for our annual “20 to Watch” feature, presenting 20 notable people, companies and trends in franchising that will be making news in 2016.

Kolaches: The Freshest Idea in Franchising?

There are so many franchises in the United States—approximately 780,000, according to the International Franchise Association. I love hearing about so many creative businesses on a daily basis. My latest fling? The Kolache Factory. There’s truly a niche for everyone.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit Unveils Lean New Layout

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is celebrating the first week of a radically redesigned new restaurant layout in Dallas.

Selecting Your First Franchise

The number of franchise opportunities is staggering, and they’re not all good ones. As a reporter constantly evaluating various franchises, here are a few bedrock principles for investigating and choosing your first franchise investment.

If Loyalty Programs Annoy You, It Could be Your Age

I had just been thinking how most loyalty programs annoy the heck out of me, when a new study by Colloquy arrived explaining why.

Minneapolis Dumps Scheduling Rules after Outcry

Under intense pressure from business owners, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges yesterday dumped proposals to require employers in the city to schedule workers weeks in advance and offer “predictability pay” when schedules were changed. She is pressing ahead with the other half of a set of controversial proposals, requiring sick pay.

A Peek at the Culinary Scene Via a Trade Mission to Latin America

My recent trip to Latin America wasn’t supposed to be a culinary experience, but, hey, a girl’s gotta eat, right?

How to Throw a Great Trade Mission Stop

The last time Franchise Times’ readers met Nicole DeSilvis was in the November/December 2012 issue, when the Franchise Times, IFA, U.S. Commercial Service trade mission visited Panama, Chile and Colombia, and she was the senior officer for the Colombia office.

Noodles & Co. Makes the Right Move

With last week’s announcement that it’s removing artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from its menu—as well as introducing meats that have never been given antibiotics or hormones—Noodles & Company is going down a much-welcomed path to reviving its brand: honesty.

Attorneys Show Yin, Yang in ProCuts Hearing

A hearing last week in Ansari v. Regis gave a birds-eye view into how much attorneys’ styles can differ in the courtroom, and enliven what could be a bone-dry debate.

Workforce Proposals in Minneapolis Draw IFA Ire

Minneapolis is newly in the sights of the International Franchise Association, which is blasting proposals by the city to require employers to pay sick time and to publish schedules 28 days in advance.

U.S. Franchises Added 33,000 Jobs in September

With only 142,000 jobs added during September according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those of us in the franchise world can feel good knowing that 33,000 of those jobs came from franchising—23 percent!

Dunkin' Donuts Announces 100 Store Closures as Sales Slow

Shares of Dunkin' Donuts fell more than 12 percent after the Canton, Massachusetts-based coffee chain announced the closure of 100 stores amid lower-than-projected EPS and a slowdown in same-store sales and customer traffic.

Now Calling the Boldest Dealmakers in Franchising

Nominations are now open through December 31 for the 2016 Franchise Times Dealmakers awards, the fourth annual project recognizing the boldest players driving mergers and acquisitions in franchising.

Taco Bell's New City Concept

By ditching the drive-thru, tweaking the menu, adopting a fresher design and adding alcohol, Taco Bell is offering city dwellers a much more modern version of itself.

Cresanti Takes CEO Spot at IFA, Replacing Caldeira

Robert Cresanti, the International Franchise Association’s top lobbyist, is now its new president and CEO and is expected to continue the trade association’s aggressive fight against what it calls attacks on the franchise business model. Cresanti replaces Steve Caldeira, who resigned after failing to reach terms on a new contract. Caldeira’s tenure began in 2010.

A Pretzel of a Tale

Most companies have an interesting backstory, but Ben’s Soft Pretzels has one that’s more charming than most. Ben Miller, an Amish baker in northern Indiana, ran a bakery stand at farmer’s markets across northern Indiana. After given opportunity to buy a neighboring flea marketer’s pretzel company, he leapt at the chance, but ended up having to invent his own recipe. And so, Ben’s Soft Pretzels was born.

Packing A Lot Into an International Trade Mission

Conventional wisdom on the franchise trade missions is that you pack light in order to avoid checking bags.
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