Restoration 1 and Bluefrog Plumbing + Drain landed a majority investment from MPK Equity Partners and Princeton Equity Group, standing out when COVID-19 woes have paused or scuttled many mergers and acquisitions.
“I think people are ready now. They wear the masks, they bring their little tube of Clorox wipes, they don’t touch the handles … everybody is really, I think, pretty focused on it,” said Jersey Mike’s CEO Peter Cancro, speaking April 29 during a webinar hosted by FT sister publication The Restaurant Finance Monitor.
The Small Business Administration has discriminated against "franchised businesses in general and commercial cleaning franchises in particular" by "unlawfully restricting eligibility for loans" under the temporary Paycheck Protection Program, says a lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.
As millions of people across the U.S. hunker down at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, domestic violence rates have skyrocketed as abuse victims are trapped at home with their abusers. College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving is offering free moving services to anyone experiencing domestic violence.
A group of franchisees is suing Urban Air Adventure Park, claiming changes to the family entertainment brand are adding untenable costs to their operations that were never disclosed in the FDDs when they signed.
Lorne Fisher, CEO of franchise public relations and marketing firm Fish Consulting, said close consultation and communication with franchisees and all stakeholders, including employees, customers and suppliers, is crucial as businesses begin formulating their plans to reopen. “And safety has to be the main message,” he said.
New York City-based Delivery.com is national in scale through a franchise model, but smaller than rivals such as DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates. From its vantage point, it is seeing a tale of two cities as the pandemic hammers both car-based suburban markets, which are somewhat insulated, and large cities like NYC, where some merchants wonder if urban life can ever return to the way it once was.
Caribou Coffee workers in Minnesota shut down the drive-thru lane of a location in protest of the company's COVID-19 response. Similar protests and rallies in California have targeted fast food brands such as McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell and Domino's.
Hair salons were allowed to open last Friday in Georgia, the first state to loosen that part of its lockdown order. But Pigtails & Crewcuts operators sat it out and will wait to reopen until one week after the corporate store in Atlanta does so May 4.
Paycheck Protection loans may offer a lifeline to restaurant owners, but borrowers should take care to understand the program's still-changing requirements, said panelists on the fifth of five Restaurant Recovery Week webinars.
With restaurants cleared to reopen Monday in Georgia, the first state to loosen the lockdown, talk turned to that more hopeful yet still daunting challenge amid COVID-19, as panelists on today's Restaurant Recovery Week webinar discussed.
“For my family and Chandi Hospitality, we’ve been through a lot,” said Sonu Chandi, president of Chandi Hospitality, an area developer for Mountain Mike’s. The group just opened its newest location April 15.
Despite devastating economic impacts, the lockdowns from COVID-19 have resulted in decreased air pollution all around the world, giving residents of even highly polluted cities cleaner air. Meanwhile, a few environmentally focused franchises are reflecting on their best practices on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Wyatt Batchelor and his partners at MBN Brands, operators of 23 Jimmy John’s shops, decided to launch #WeGotYour6, an effort to provide meals to workers at VA hospitals near their restaurants in the Denver area, along with Salt Lake City and markets in Arkansas and Missouri.
Dale Carnegie Training, a global franchise with 200 operations in 86 countries, had warning signs from countries hit the earliest by COVID-19. Its quick pivot to online vs. in-person classes was possible because of heavy investment.
As third-party online travel agencies are scrambling to handle an unprecedented amount of calls and requests to cancel due to COVID-19, many customers are experiencing problems with hours of wait time and delayed or no refunds. For independent travel agents and franchises such as Dream Vacations and Cruise Planners, now is their time to shine as they’re showing personalized customer service and offering creative solutions for travelers.
Restaurants large and small that vowed they'd never do delivery are doing it. And people above 60 who had never tried delivery, "they're doing it now. They're not going back after it's over. It's here to stay," said a panelist on day one of Restaurant Recovery Week, offering help to restaurant operators and presented by Food On Demand, Franchise Times, Restaurant Finance Monitor and Foodservice News.
Franchisors should take swift action to terminate a franchisee that's violating government shutdown orders, and send clear, systemwide memos documenting royalty and fee relief for use if disputes arise later, said Faegre Drinker attorneys.
Nearly all franchisors are offering relief to their operators during COVID-19, often saying "we're all in this together," but a Dady & Gardner attorney who represents franchisees says they're not all feeling the love.
Though many businesses remain closed, franchisees are taking steps now to position themselves for a strong reopening. Focus on communication with employees and customers, they say, and make sure you realistically assess your financial situation.
With more than 450 units, nearly all Hand & Stone massage therapists and estheticians have been furloughed or laid off to allow them to collect unemployment benefits—yet the brand retained about 90 percent of members.
Local curfews are the latest problem torpedoing Checkers & Rally's late-night business, the most recent one imposed April 13 in its headquarters county in Tampa, said Frances Allen, new CEO of the 900-restaurant chain.
“We started Big Blue Swim School really in the height of the last recession, and what we learned then is that parents will continue to spend money on their kids, especially when it’s for a life-saving activity like swim lessons,” said Chris DeJong, founder and president. And franchisees recognize the opportunity.
Chick-fil-A reported record sales and earnings in 2019. The Atlanta-based quick serve operator, ranked last year by Franchise Times magazine as the 12th largest franchise company in the U.S., was poised for another strong year in 2020. However, dining room closures and restrictions to operate drive-thru lanes only because of the coronavirus,will set back the chain in 2020.
The School of Rock's new partnership that connects the franchise's music performance students and their real-life guitar heroes—from Phil X to Mark Schulman and more—has to be the coolest virtual offering born from the pandemic.
The planned merger between Unity Rd (formerly called One Cannabis), the Denver-based franchisor of marijuana dispensaries, and Cannabis One Holdings Inc. is off after regulatory hurdles proved too difficult to overcome, said Mike Wienberger, COO of Unity Rd. Instead, he was working in early April to close a deal with Item 9 Labs.
Restaurants that self-deliver with their own drivers have seen their ups and downs, as labor costs and availability have fluctuated along with the universal rise of direct-to-consumer convenience. For Atlanta-based Wing Zone, which has always had its own fleet, sales have actually risen during the pandemic.
“What is the stylist fear and how do we put that at ease? We wanted to make it very clear that if your building is closed, we are not going to charge you rent,” said Christina Russell, CEO of Sola Salon Studios. “Then for franchisees, it becomes how do you negotiate that with landlords.”
A Chicken Salad Chick franchisee in Ohio and an Apple Spice Box Lunch & Catering franchisee in South Carolina developed creative programs to donate food to first responders, medical workers and other frontline workers during COVID-19.
McDonald’s will reduce the number of Experience of the Future remodels across the U.S. and also cut the number of new restaurant openings in most markets around the world, two moves the company expects will save about $1 billion in capital expenditures.
Parker Simon and Bradley Turney are already scouting locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they plan to open Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken after inking a five-unit deal despite an upheaval of the restaurant industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data from Gordon Haskett’s shows that nearly 60 percent of respondents don’t feel comfortable with a delivery person coming to their house. With data for the week of March 20, 58.6 percent of people included in the study said accepting deliveries at home made them uncomfortable.
For My Salon Suite, a salon franchise offering fully-furnished suites where beauty professionals can own and operate their own businesses, COVID-19 closures require that all parties involved get creative to stay afloat.
While the uncertainty is weighing on franchisees—“everyone is wanting to know when they’ll be able to reopen”—Mayweather Boxing CEO James Williams said there’s also opportunity to market memberships and even help franchisees in the sold-but-not-open stage find more attractive real estate.
Walk-On’s, the Cajun-themed sports bar and restaurant franchise partly owned by New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees, has gone all in on family-style meals after each of its 37 locations closed their expansive dining rooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic.