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Ex-NFL Star Growing Stacked Pickle Affordably

Like he focused on the block and tackle, Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl champion linebacker Gary Brackett is laser focused on ROI.

Australia Next as Abrakadoodle Expands Internationally

Denise Wang and Chris Li are banking on art education's global appeal as they launch Abrakadoodle in Australia. The couple already has experience in franchising, having brought the My Gym brand to Sydney last year.

Most Burger Chains Flunk Antibiotics Scorecard

A new report co-authored by a handful of public interest organizations doles out failing grades to 22 of the 25 largest burger chains in the U.S. because of their continued use of antibiotics in the beef they sell. While there’s no questioning the added expense of going antibiotic free, this kind of negative press does the franchised restaurant industry no favors.

With New Investors, Sola Looks to Dominate Suite Space

In its quest to “remain the leader and widen the gap” between it and its competitors in the salon suite franchise space, Sola Salon Studios attracted funding from a trio of firms that now have a majority stake in the brand and, CEO Randall Clark says, will accelerate growth.

Subway Celebrates a Year at the Top of the World

If you want to visit the Subway in Utqiagvik, Alaska, prepare for a long trip.

‘Resounding Yes’ to McDonald’s Franchisee Association

More than 400 McDonald’s operators at a National Owners Meeting in Tampa this week gave a “resounding yes” to forming a self-funded advocacy group representing franchisees, to be called NOA or National Owners Association, according to a meeting recap dated October 10. It would be the first franchisee association in McDonald’s history.

McDonald’s Operators Discuss Next Steps at Invitation of Caspers Co.

An overflow crowd of about 380 people attended a meeting of McDonald’s franchisees this week in Tampa, Florida, hosted by Blake Casper, chairman and CEO of the Caspers Company. That’s according to Carmen Caruso, a 35-year franchise attorney based in Chicago who presented at the meeting.

Goosehead Insurance and the Thrill of the Chase

Mark Jones, co-founder and CEO of Goosehead Insurance, is a former Bain Consulting guy who is fond of predatory metaphors in describing the philosophy behind his franchised insurance brand that’s feasting on the lackluster service provided by many rivals in the industry.

Therapeutic Focus Helps Elements Grow in Massage Space

Elements Massage jumped 24 spots in the Franchise Times 200+ ranking this year thanks to double-digit sales growth fueled in part by its new therapeutic offerings, along with what CEO Jeremy Morgan says is an intense focus on finding and keeping therapists.

Smoothie King’s Arduous Move to ‘Cleaner Blending’ Nearly Complete

Few people get as fired up about health food as Wan Kim, the CEO of Smoothie King. He's almost done with a long, long project to make his smoothies healthier.

Bold Ad Campaign Has Modern Acupuncture Tingling

If Matt Hale has that tingly feeling, it’s likely because the CEO of Modern Acupuncture has just launched a consumer-facing ad campaign called “Let’s Tingle” that punches far above the young franchise’s weight class.

Operators at Jack in the Box ‘Hit a Dead End’

The heavyweights at Jack in the Box have “hit a dead end” with their franchisor, according to their attorney Robert Zarco of Zarco Law, and so issued a press release yesterday calling for CEO Lenny Comma “to step down and relinquish his position as CEO, and for the board of directors to replace” the current leadership team.

Court Sides With Applebee's Franchisee in Bankruptcy Case

A judge sides with Applebee's franchisee RMH Franchise Holdings in an ongoing bankruptcy dispute.

Customer Service Focus Helps ServPro Drive Sales

ServPro grew sales 13.5 percent in 2017 to lead the disaster restoration segment and move up in the Franchise Times Top 200+ ranking.

Raising Menu Prices? Do it Strategically

Raising prices as traffic sinks is a tricky game, but there's still room for price growth if it's done right.

With Digital Shift, Mountain Mike’s Sales Climb

When a trio of private equity firms acquired Mountain Mike’s in April 2017, the Newport Beach, California-based pizza brand already had strong momentum, one of its new owners said, which carried through the year and put Mountain Mike’s on the Franchise Times Top 200+ for the first time.

Newcomers to This Year’s Franchise Times Top 200+

Eight companies stepped it up and found a spot among the leading 200 brands on the annual Franchise Times Top 200+, our ranking of the 500 largest U.S.-based franchised brands based on systemwide sales. Painting with a broad brush, food franchises are once again the most popular, with some unique outliers along the way.

What’s in a Name? Dunkin, Neighborly to Find Out

“Dunkin’ Donuts to change its name to Dunkin'. Apparently the company is sick of the hole thing.” So wise-cracked Mike Stobbe on Twitter, probably the best attempt to mock the name change of the storied brand. But at least one expert marketer approves of the change, as well as another, less high-profile switch from Dwyer Group to Neighborly announced in recent weeks

Hilton Launches 'Big Five' for Sustainable Tourism in Africa

Following the recent launch of Hilton’s Travel with Purpose 2030 goals to double its investment in social impact and cut its environmental footprint in half, the hotel giant announced an initial investment of $1 million to drive sustainable travel and tourism in Africa.

Dealmakers, It’s Your Time to Shine in Annual FT Project

The good-looking crew pictured nearby are the folks from FAT Brands, winners of last year’s Deal of the Year award in the Franchise Times Dealmakers project, which recognizes excellence in mergers and acquisitions in the franchising space. Nominations open today.

Control of the NRA Show Shifts to Winsight

The National Restaurant Association will no longer manage or own its annual convention, commonly called the Restaurant Show.

Club Pilates Debuts on Top 200+, Sales Up Triple Digits

Club Pilates led all performers in the $5.9 billion fitness segment with its impressive percentage sales growth, as reported in the Franchise Times Top 200+, our exclusive ranking of the 500 largest franchises.

Oxxo Rolls Out Aggressive Franchise Conversion Program

Oxxo Care Cleaners rolled out a new business conversion initiative to convince competing dry cleaners to join the Oxxo family, which is known for its eco-friendly cleaning process.

Mr. Gatti’s Pizza Sells 13 Units, Continues Franchise Push

A former Papa John's executive is staying in the pizza game, buying 13 Mr. Gatti’s locations in the Austin, Texas, market. The sale of company restaurants comes as Mr. Gatti’s continues its refranchising program while also working to attract new franchisees to the system.

Inspire Brands to Take Sonic Private in $2.3B Acquisition

Inspire Brands added another legacy brand to its multi-brand stable.

Edible Founder Backs NextGen’s Social Standout

Sometimes the good guys and gals finish first, and such is the case for Stella Sigana, founder of Alternative Waste Technologies and winner of the 2018 NextGen competition in the social franchise category.

Amazing Lash Gains New Owner, Bids Founders Goodbye

When Heather Elrod joined Amazing Lash Studio two-and-a-half years ago, charged with building the semi-permanent eyelash extension franchise and creating an exit for the founders, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based brand had 75 units open. Now, it has 200 open, and Elrod’s concerted work since last November has attracted a new buyer, WellBiz Brands backed by KSL Capital.

MidiCi Bet Lands in Bankruptcy Court

Three years ago, Menchie's frozen yogurt CEO Amit Kleinberger gambled against conventional wisdom and started selling franchises for a new pizza concept before opening a single company store. He lost the bet and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September 21.

Sola Salon Building 150 Corporate Stores, Going International

As more landlords begin to view Sola Salon Studios in the same light as gig-economy giants like Uber or WeWork—with new stylists bringing attractive books of business with them—the company sees an opportunity to pounce. Its next moves will be building 150 additional corporate stores in the U.S., while also pulling the trigger on its first international locations.

Re-Order Technology Enables QSR Table Service

There’s a lot of buttons, tablets and doodads starting to clutter restaurant tables these days, and some of them are actually pushing sales.

101 Mobility Relies on Reviews, Custom Products to Grow

“Sorry, a truck just went by,” said Dave Pazgan, president of 101 Mobility, as he pulled over to the side of the road to talk about his brand’s sales performance on the Franchise Times Top 200+, and at the same time demonstrated the mobility in his franchise’s name.

NLRB Rollback a Return ‘to the Land of Sanity’

In a major walk-back for the franchise industry, the National Labor Relations Board seeks to return to prior guidance on joint employer issues.

Ace Chief ‘Leveraging Physical Stores in Digital World’

Think bricks and mortar retail is on the ropes? Don’t tell the CEO of Ace Hardware, who shared his strategies for boosting the hardware chain’s systemwide sales last year by 6.5 percent as part of our Franchise Times Top 200+ coverage.

Blended Burger Project Just a Glimpse into Larger Meat Alternative Movement

New York’s food-focused James Beard Foundation is working to make food both more delicious and more sustainable with its Blended Burger Project. Adding mushrooms to burger creations is not only a more flavorful option with less calories; it saves time and money by replacing meat with plant-based proteins, according to the foundation.

Operators ‘Wait and See’ as Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall

Hurricane Florence is just hitting the coast of North and South Carolina, and restaurant operators are preparing for a rough week.

Red Roof Inn Beefs Up Development Amid Hotel Boom

We glean countless stories and industry trends from our exclusive Top 200+ data that’s coming out in the October issue of Franchise Times—more, in fact, than we can fit in the magazine. One of many bright spots in the hospitality category is Red Roof Inn, which has added to its franchise development team as consumers are traveling more than ever.

The math that counts – accounting and finance for franchisors

Once a franchise relationship is in place, it’s time to get to work – and whether the franchise sells shoes or makes hamburgers or offers in-home medical care, the common work of all franchise systems is to make money. Among other things, this means someone has to do the accounting.

Buffalo Wings and Rings Tests One-Time Franchise Fee

In an effort to enhance growth among multi-unit franchisees, Buffalo Wings and Rings is testing a one-time franchise fee.

Joint Employer Still a Key Issue for IFA on Capitol Hill

Great Clips’ 1,200 franchisees employ close to 40,000 people across the brand’s 4,300 locations, said Steve Hockett, CEO of the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based hair salon brand. “And their employees cannot be our employees,” continued Hockett. “It’s a huge distinction and there needs to be clarity.”

Caruso Joins WSFS to Lead SBA Efforts

Longtime franchise finance executive Candice Caruso recently joined WSFS Bank to head up its SBA lending to small businesses, including the franchise sector.

FranNet CEO on Mission to Clean Up Brokerage Biz

Jania Bailey believes what the franchising world needs is another franchise disclosure document or FDD, but this time for brokers. Her company, FranNet, is launching what she calls the first broker disclosure document or BDD in franchising, meant to throw open the doors on the often hidden ways that third-party franchise brokers work.

Inspire Brands Makes R Taco Rusty Again

You heard it here first: Renaming Rusty Taco to R Taco was a terrible idea, especially since Rusty was the name of the taco brand’s late founder, Rusty Fenton. As one of the first public-facing changes under the new Inspire Brands parent company, the 27-unit fast-casual brand has reverted to its old name—Rusty Taco.

IFA Honors Charitable Efforts Through Franchising Gives Back

“Giving awards for community service is one of the greatest things we can do,” Doc Cohen said from the stage during the 2018 Franchising Gives Back awards dinner Tuesday night, September 4. Cohen had just finished sharing some big numbers: $245 million and more than 2 million hours. That’s the amount, in dollars and time, IFA members and volunteers have donated to hundreds of community organizations and charitable groups.

Launching the Definitive Resource for Franchising

We at Franchise Times are hard at work on a new project: the acquisition of The Franchise Handbook, for 30 years a recognized industry resource and now preparing for a re-launch.

Wide Gulf Between Average, High Frequency Diners

Restaurants face a constant balance between attracting new customers and keeping their best customers happy. And some new data brings a little clarity around each of those unique customer sets.

The Price of Brand Loyalty at Anytime Fitness

How much is brand loyalty worth to your franchise? To Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness, the answer is a cool half million and counting. That’s how much Anytime has spent reimbursing any franchise partner or customer who gets a Runningman tattoo, the company’s symbol, snaps a photo of it and sends it in to headquarters in Woodbury, Minnesota.

Got Conflict? Zee and Zors Advise Talking it Out

“My role is to make the dream come true for the person who had the idea,”said Tam Kennedy, a Taco John’s franchisee with nine locations in Minnesota and Iowa, and with a mindset that she must be the embodiment of a premier operator. She spoke on a panel about working through conflict between franchisees and franchisors at the Faegre Baker Daniels Franchise Summit last week.

Unlock the Power of Data, Franchise Experts Say

The smartest franchise brands are not simply looking at data, but also gleaning useful insights to improve operations, such as reducing food waste by evaluating inventory or understanding which menu items are selling and stocking accordingly.

Inspire Brands Creating 1,100 Jobs in Atlanta

Inspire Brands, the newly created parent company of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Rusty Taco, announced it will create more than 1,100 new jobs and move its headquarters a mile west in the northern Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs, Georgia.

From Firefighter to Fashion: The Story Behind Apricot Lane Boutique

In the time not spent fighting flames and saving civilians, many firefighters turn to construction or other manual labor-type jobs—but not Ken Petersen. Instead, he went the retail route and founded Apricot Lane Boutique, a women’s fashion franchise that offers unique flexibility in franchising and has partnered with Disney.
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