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Something to Believe In for Franchising Gives Back Winners

Just Between Friends was founded with giving back as a key component of the franchise model, noted its co-founder and CEO Shannon Wilburn at last night’s Franchising Gives Back awards event in Washington, D.C., but it takes more to create a sustainable charitable effort.

Naf Naf Grill Signs Four New Franchise Deals

On the heels of its first franchise agreement, a 10-unit deal with former Qdoba franchisee Greg Willman and 316 Investments, Naf Naf inked several agreements for a total of 25 restaurants.

Surviving Technology Change: Identifying Business Needs

Updating technology is a necessary headache, but navigating this era of intense evolution can be tricky.

Empire Franchise Group to be Hemp ‘Kings,’ Co-Founder Vows

Greg George is not shy about predicting the future for Carolina Hemp Company, the first acquisition under the newly formed Empire Franchise Group umbrella.

Franchise Times Launches Franchise Investment Conference

Franchise Times has changed the name and the structure of its annual spring finance conference in order to better serve its audiences: Senior executives from leading franchise companies and franchise lenders and investors. Now called The Franchise Investment Conference, this exclusive event will debut in 2020.

Malls Not Dead Yet Says Myth-Busting Cinnabon Prez

Cinnabon is a standout on this year’s Franchise Times Top 200+ ranking, to be published in October, leading the treats category by far with systemwide sales up 8.3 percent and surprising those who have proclaimed the death of the shopping mall.

The Wire: Fatburger, Angry Crab Shack Sign Deals

Every 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. That's The Wire, from Franchise Times.

TDn2K: Sales Decline Again, Restaurant Traffic Still Dismal

It was another month of mediocre performance for restaurants, according to TDn2K’s monthly survey of the industry.

New Pizza Hut CEO Pushes ‘Modern Pizza Experience’

Artie Starrs is sitting in the same office and working with the same people, but the new CEO of Pizza Hut is facing a different set of challenges as the brand drastically adjusts its footprint to better align with recent technological investments and retake its No. 1 spot among American pizza chains.

Arby’s Vet Rob Lynch Is Papa John’s New CEO

After a great run helping reinvent Arby’s, which led to the creation of Inspire Brands, Rob Lynch has been named the new president and CEO of Papa John’s effective immediately.

DQ Execs Talk Expansion, Rivals and Popeyes Boffo Debut

“We are making a big push into Chicago,” said Julie Davis, a franchise sales director for Dairy Queen for the past year, and the former Popeyes exec had a few comments about her rivals too.

As Cousins Expands to Big City, Charitable Efforts Do, Too

Now that Cousins Subs is entering the Chicago-area market in a big way, from its home base in Wisconsin, VP of Marketing Justin McCoy is starting over again to build relationships with sports teams and community groups as potential partners in the family-owned franchise’s charitable efforts.

Is all this Tech Worth the Cost?

We're in the midst of a monumental move toward more technology. But is the true cost really worth it?

Blaze CEO Jim Mizes Retires, CFO Amanda Shaw Steps In

Blaze Pizza announced Jim Mizes, who led the company for just over two years, retired as president and CEO.

Dunkin's Brandy Blackwell on Catering, Grubhub Launch

With millions of Americans living above or adjacent to a Dunkin’ or, at the least, passing one on their commute, the deal with Grubhub is an interesting experiment to make a brand that’s nearly ubiquitous even more accessible.

‘We Have to Do Our Part’ on Delivery, Says Denny’s ‘Zee

I talked with Clyde Rucker, CEO of Austin, Texas-based Rucker Restaurant Holdings, for a Restaurant 200 story in our August issue, and the franchisee of Denny’s and Jack in the Box restaurants had more to say.

Tariff Tussles, Brexit Impact International Franchise Outlook

International franchising expert Bill Edwards of Edwards Global Services offers his take on developments impacting various markets from China to the United Kingdom.

Town Square Is Fourth Brand From Senior Helpers Boss

The first brand Peter Ross co-founded is Senior Helpers, ranked No. 2 among home healthcare providers for percentage sales gains in the upcoming Franchise Times Top 200+ list. He expects his fourth brand, Town Square, to pump up sales even more once it gets rolling.

From ‘Blood in Streets’ to Sleek New Digs for Cheng Cohen

Cheng Cohen law firm has sleek new office space in the River North neighborhood in Chicago. It’s a long way from their first digs.

Pokéworks Looks to Innovate as Fad Fades

Pokéworks is charting a path to success as peak poké hype subsides.

Empathy Is ‘Greatest Engagement Tool’ for Field Reps

Talking about the importance of collaborative leadership and franchisee engagement, panelists shared their insight during the Faegre Baker Daniels Franchise Summit in July.

‘We Must Lean Forward’ Writes McD Owner After Tragedy

Blake Casper's August 11 note to members of the NOA, the independent association of McDonald’s franchisees he co-founded last October, was the most eloquent to date.

Main Squeeze Draws Investment From Another NFL Player

Main Squeeze has a second professional athlete in the mix as the juice concept looks to amp up growth.

Domino’s to Deliver With Rad Power E-Bikes

Domino’s Pizza is giving its U.S. franchisees the option of using custom electric bicycles through a new partnership with Seattle-based Rad Power Bikes. Domino’s says electric bikes are often a better solution to the traffic congestion and parking hassles that are inherent with urban pizza delivery.

Eat 182 Wings, Win Free Food for Year at Apple Texas

If you’re swinging through any of the 62 Applebee’s locations owned by Apple Texas, you can take a stab at a gut-busting challenge: Get free food for a year if you can eat more wings than a 127-pound mother of four.

C Squared Writes $100,000 Out to Charities

C Squared Advisors recently announced an inaugural donation of more than $100,000 to benefit 15-plus charities nationwide.

Sustainability Strategy: Think Ahead, Remember the Money

B.Good puts a lot of effort into sustainability, and its head farmer and sustainability leader has some advice.

Only 5.3 Percent of ‘Zees Cross 100-unit Mark, Says FranData

Only 16 percent of U.S. franchises, meanwhile, have more than 100 units, and a mere 4 percent have 500-plus locations. These were some of the FranData numbers shared by David Barr, chairman of the International Franchise Association, during his industry update at the Faegre Baker Daniels Franchise Summit last week.

Ruby Tuesday Must Recapture ‘Brand Love,’ NRD's COO Says

Speaking last week at the Faegre Baker Daniels Franchise Summit in Minneapolis, Susan Beth, NRD’s chief operating officer, noted in the subsequent two years since the firm took Ruby Tuesday private it’s been focused on harnessing dormant devotion to the brand and improving the guest experience.

Double Whammy Hits a Perkins Franchisee

Franchisee Bill Kane’s Pittsburgh-based company and his Memphis-based franchisor Perkins & Marie Callender’s LLC have filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Takes on Self-Improvement Approaching 35

We’ve all been there: that moment you say, “Oh my gosh, I’m seriously turning 35?” Beef 'O' Brady's is taking that milestone in stride.

Whimsy Cookie Steps Out to Texas Via Mother/Daughter Pair

Sharon Hicks and her daughter Sheridan Gleason were looking for a business they could do together, and they found Whimsy Cookie Co., a young franchise based in Memphis. Their first store is set to open in Southlake, Texas, a suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth, by the end of August/first of September.

At 1,200 Units, No Time to Celebrate for Kona Ice Boss

Kona Ice, the shaved-ice food truck franchise, just passed the 1,200-unit mark, only 18 months after another big milestone. CEO Tony Lamb explains some of the reasons in his trademark amusing way.

At Christian Bros., Using Tools Rather Than Talking About Them

If auto repair franchises are running a mad dash to improve their technician training—and they definitely are, as learned when reporting an auto aftermarket story this month— then Christian Brothers Automotive is leading the pack.

Overhaul of Maaco’s Cert Process Paying Off, Exec Says

When Bob Benjamin became Maaco’s new president about a year ago, one of his first moves was to ask for a complete overhaul of the auto repair franchise’s certification process. It’s beginning to pay off, according to the man tapped to head up the project.

Taco John’s Innovates Around Legacy Heritage

Taco John's CEO Jim Creel said there is a lot going on as the brand turns 50. While nothing will change the core concept, the brand is adding some polish.

Multi-brand Sun Holdings Hits 1,000, CEO Sees More Ahead

Guillermo Perales and Sun Holdings opened the group’s 150th Popeyes restaurant in July in its home market of Dallas, Texas, bringing the company’s store total to 1,000 across nine brands spanning food and retail.

BoConcept Sees Americans Embracing Modern Design

As farmhouse chic and eclectic clutter are (finally) on the wane in American home design, Danish furniture builder and international franchise retailer BoConcept hopes Americans are finally starting to embrace the clean lines and painstakingly simple modern design trends that are so popular in other countries.

McDonald’s Sees Strong Results Amid Market Share ‘Street Fight’

McDonald's saw some impressive growth in the second quarter, but continues to be challenged by the market share "street fight."

Arby’s Beams Up Secret Menu for Area 51 “Raid”

Nope, I’m not having a stroke or dreaming, Arby’s is really launching a top-secret menu to the hilarious sounding “raid” on the U.S. government’s Area 51 that will include one of the PR savvy brand’s food trucks to dive conspiracy-first into the fun.

Motorcross ‘Superwoman’ Backed by Dad’s Fibrenew Franchise

When Kassie Boone heads to Sturgess, South Dakota, in early August to perform at the iconic annual motorcycle rally, she’s likely to roll out her latest favorite trick. “Call it a one-handed Superman,” she says, describing the hair-raising trick shown in the photo nearby before correcting herself. “Or call it the Superwoman.”

Buyers of 13 Mr. Gatti’s Stores Claim They Were Misled

Two men who bought 13 corporate stores from Mr. Gatti’s Pizza last September for $4 million have filed a complaint against the franchisor, claiming executives did not disclose financial problems at the firm that led to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in January.

With Fresh Capital, Slim Chickens ‘Ready to Take Over the World’

From an inauspicious beginning to a fresh capital infusion, Slim Chickens' founder says they're ready for a big push to the next level.

Legal Eagle Talks Disputes, ‘Demise’ of Mom-and-Pop Operator

Quentin Wittrock has seen plenty of evolution in the franchise industry during his 32 years as an attorney with Minneapolis firm Gray Plant Mooty, perhaps the most impactful and far-reaching being the rise of the large multi-unit operator.

Kahala Helps Guide System With National Delivery Deal

The jump into delivery for Kahala Brands started organically, but now it's being standardized with the first of many national contracts.

Restaurant Association Takes Job Training to Prison Inmates

The restaurant industry is uniquely suited to provide jobs for people transitioning out of the prison system, says Rob Gifford, and with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is launching a new program aimed at doing just that.

Cookie or Talk Trigger? Carstar Speaker Explains

“Nobody here has ever said, Hey, let me tell you about this perfectly adequate experience I just had,” said Jay Baer, a speaker at the Carstar annual convention in Chicago last week. Rather, owners should try to generate a “talk trigger.”

Hot Cheetos vs S’Mores at Wetzel's Twisted Kitchen

Decisions, decisions. That’s the conundrum when visiting Wetzel's Pretzels Twisted Kitchen at its headquarters in Pasadena, California, and choosing among the concoctions the food stylist and marketing team are whipping up on a visit this week.

Holly, the Drive-Thru AI, at Work in Good Times

Behind the sliding glass window of a typical fast-food drive-thru is a chaotic place. Employees sitting there have to process orders, hand off food and listen to all manner of customers through background noise, music and passing traffic. Valyant AI says it has largely solved the order-taking task with a new digital employee named Holly.

Did Dan Rowe Find the ‘Next Big Thing’ at Ike’s?

Fransmart founder and CEO Dan Rowe chases big dreams further than most in the restaurant industry, and he's loving Ike's Love and Sandwiches.
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