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Two Sides to Franchising Cannabis: Part 1

Twenty-three U.S. states allow some form of legal marijuana use, primarily for medicinal purposes, while four states and Washington, D.C. have legalized its use for recreational purposes. With this growing cohort of states, the legitimacy of the cannabis industry is also rising as entrepreneurs examine how franchising can help them grow this still-untamed industry.

Traffic Softens, RPI Stays Positive as Restaurants Remain Hot

Same-store sales and customer traffic levels softened in May, but the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) remains very positive.

'Destroyed' by CrossFit, Massage Heights Co-Founder Heads to Games

There are some who hit the gym a time or two each week, unless happy hours, dinners out and summer barbecues get in the way. Then there’s Wayne Evans. The co-founder of Massage Heights, Evans is hooked on CrossFit, and is set to compete in the Reebok CrossFit games next month.

Non-traditional is the New Black, Maybe

Some journalists call out trends far too prematurely, but two recent interviews have me wondering if non-traditional restaurant locations (stadiums, airports, universities, etc...) are a new trend heating up the franchise world.

Centre Lane Plans Investment to Grow Saladworks

Saladworks has a new owner, Centre Lane Partners, which invested in the fresh-tossed salad restaurant chain that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in February. Centre Lane plans to invest “substantial capital” to accelerate the company’s growth nationwide,

Uncle Maddio’s Pizza snags private equity infusion

On the heels of the recent BDO report cementing the strength of the fast-casual and pizza segments comes news that Atlanta-based Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint received a new minority investment from S&S Group, LLC, a private equity firm out of Washington, D.C. that also invested in Five Guys.

Kneaders Bakery and Café seeks rapid, methodical growth

Kneaders Bakery and Café has embodied the “stick to what you know” philosophy throughout its rapid yet methodical expansion. Now a 35-unit franchise, Gary and Colleen Worthington opened the first Kneaders in 1997. Their son, James Worthington, has progressed from dishwasher to CEO. Worthington promptly learned that – even for him - it would be the Kneaders way or the highway.

Settling into Franchising

Last week’s International Franchise Expo marked the six-month mark for my career in the franchise world. It feels good knowing my new-guy smell is starting to wear off, and I now have relationships with excellent people in all corners of the franchise world. To quote Jim Morrison, “This is the best part of the trip.”

Attorney to SBA: Slap Back Franchisors' Heavy Hand

Here’s another take on the problem of defining a “small” business, for the purpose of obtaining a U.S. Small Business Administration loan—a problem detailed in this blogger’s column in the June/July issue of Franchise Times. It's from Jeffery Haff, Dady & Gardner.

Service Brands is Biggest Purchase Yet for Dwyer Group

CEO Mike Bidwell said Dwyer Group would ramp up acquisitions after last year’s purchase of the franchisor by The Riverside Co. Looks like he meant it: Waco, Texas-based Dwyer bought Service Brands International this week, a multi-concept system that includes Molly Maid, Mr. Handyman and ProTect Painters.

Protein Prices Stabilize as Fast-casual, Pizza Segments Outpace Industry

It’s no shock to anybody following the recent restaurant buzz, but the fast-casual and pizza segments are outpacing the overall industry, according to accounting firm BDO’s Q1 2015 Restaurant Benchmarking update. Even better, protein prices appear to stabilize after significant increases in recent months.

Driven Brands acquires 1-800 Radiator

Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group continued its buying spree today with the acquisition of 1-800 Radiator, the largest franchised automotive parts distributor in North America. The purchase was through Roark’s Driven brands portfolio, which it added to its stable this past April.

Wingstop is the latest: $110 million+ IPO and counting

Food couldn’t be much hotter these days, especially up-and-coming brands that are expanding nationally and going public to great fanfare. Today’s latest foodie IPO is Dallas-based Wingstop, which is on track to raise no less than $110.2 million on its first day on Wall Street.

Time Is Ripe for Trade Mission Applications

If it appears the franchise trade mission calendar is stacked in favor of the fourth quarter or thereabout, it is. The Southern China mission is August 21-28, Central America is September 20-25 and the Nordic countries will be visited October 18-24.

Gatti's Pizza gets scooped up

As the popularity of pizza chains continues to rise, Austin, Texas-based Gatti’s Pizza has been acquired by Sovrano, LLC, out of Fort Worth, Texas—one of several franchised restaurant brands to attract private equity investment in recent years.

Obituary: Wendy's Franchisee Mike Givens

Michael Jon Givens, a longtime multi-unit Wendy’s franchisee in the Twin Cities area, died in April of cancer at 58. In his online obituary, Givens, whose company FourCrown won several honors from the Wendy’s system, including Best Franchise Group in 2003, and induction into the Wendy’s Hall of Fame in 2006, was described as an intentionally quiet man, “because he never wanted anything to be about him.”

Watching the Weather

Blaming the weather for disappointing quarterly results can be a red herring in some cases, but El Niño may soon start having a serious impact.

Article is First 'Scholarly' Blast at NLRB on Joint Employer

A new Franchise Law Journal article minces no words when criticizing the National Labor Relations Board for its claim that McDonald’s is the “joint employer” of its franchisees’ staff.

Freshii Case May Show How to Avoid 'Joint Employer' Status

Franchisors can take heart from recent guidance on the Freshii case, in which the National Labor Relations Board said Freshii was NOT a joint employer with its franchisee.

More Info on Fastest-Growing Sandwich Chains

Our June/July issue features a story about fast-growing sandwich chains, and here’s some more interesting info that we couldn’t fit into print, about Capriotti's and Potbelly's, two of the fastest-growing chains according to Technomic, and Quiznos, whose sales declined.

Deadline Extended for South China Trade Mission

The doors are about to close on the trade mission to South China and Taiwan. Sponsored by the International Franchise Association and Franchise Times magazine and implemented by the U.S. Commercial Service, the franchise trade mission will include stops in Guangzhou and Fuzhou, China, and Taipei, Taiwan, August 24-28.

Pet Wants Gains Backer to Roll Out Franchise Plan

Pet Wants has landed a new investor and partner, the Franchise Funding Group, to help the Cincinnati-based pet food company develop a national franchise system.

Frisch's Last Two Family Execs Gain Exit Via NRD

Frisch’s Restaurants is the first acquisition for NRD Partners, the Atlanta-based private equity fund launched last August by CEO Aziz Hashim. It’s the first private equity owner in Frisch’s history. NRD is buying all outstanding shares for $34 per share, a 21 percent premium compared to the closing price May 21, or about $175 million total.

Q&A with Jack and Claudine Halpern of My Elder Advocate

At age 65, former nursing home executive Jack Halpern has seen the horrors of America’s elder care structure up close and personal. After becoming motivated to leave the system and dedicate his career to changing the status quo, he and his wife, Claudine, are working to launch 100 locations of My Elder Advocate.

EGS Receives Presidential Award for Continued Export Successes

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker presented Edwards Global Services with the President’s “E” Star Award for Export Service at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.

To Kick Off Swimsuit Season, a Waxing the City Study

From the “things we wish we didn’t know” file comes a new study from Waxing the City: While most young waxers start off smoothing their lower regions and chests, later in life “they are compelled to head north to groom more visible features.”

Home Franchise Concepts Reaches Milestone in Veteran Discounts

Home Franchise Concepts, parent company of Budget Blinds among others, achieved its goal of giving $1 million in discounts to U.S. military veterans through its Million Dollar Franchise program.

Despite Media Ban, FT Writer (and Shareholder) Attends McDonald's Meeting

McDonald's held its annual meeting today, but all the fun was getting there. State and local police cars with flashing lights lined streets leading into McDonald's Oak Brook, Illinois, campus. Despite the media ban, I managed to get inside, thanks to a handful of McDonald's shares I'd purchased in the 1980s.

Call for Nominations of Franchises Who Give Back

Roark Capital Group and the International Franchise Association’s Educational Foundation are seeking nominations of franchisors, franchisees and suppliers who are making a difference in their communities. Winners in five categories—“We reserve the right to have more to recognize (than just first place),” Roark Managing Director Steve Romaniello says—will be feted at IFA’s annual meeting in September.

Q&A with Christopher Fountain, CEO of FranConnect

Talking about the future of franchising and CRM with Christopher Fountain, the new CEO of FranConnect.

Twin Peaks revokes Waco zee’s franchise after shootout

If Waco was a person rather than a city, nobody would be able to say they “didn’t see it coming” after the news of a motorcycle gang shootout at the Twin Peaks sports bar over the weekend.

Data Breaches Likely Coming to a Franchise Near You, Attorneys Warn

“If data privacy and security is not keeping you up at night—it should,” said Leonard MacPhee, a partner at Perkins Coie and moderator of a panel on the topic at the International Franchise Association Legal Symposium in Chicago last week.

FT Columnist Zeidman Scores Burton Award for Legal Writing

Long-time Franchise Times columnist Philip Zeidman, a partner at DLA Piper in Washington, D.C., will receive a 2015 award for legal writing from the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement.

Q&A with Rui Barros, of Wyndham Hotel Group

After 16 years with the company, Rui Barros is the new president and managing director of North America franchise operations for Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey-based Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest based on the number of hotels.

"Greater" Day at Bojangles as BOJA goes public

On the day of its IPO, Bojangles CEO Clifton Rutledge says the fast-casual segment remains hot due to elevated consumer tastes.

At Termination Time, Attorneys Offer Tips in Dramatic Fashion

Attorneys channeled their inner Jack McCoy or Alicia Florrick, lead characters on the hit TV shows “Law & Order” and “The Good Wife,” respectively, in a presentation about terminations at the International Franchise Association’s Legal Symposium, in Chicago May 3-5.

'Fairness' is at Root of Collaboration at FASTSIGNS

“To me it’s all about fairness,” said Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS, when it comes to the franchise agreement she asks franchisees to sign. She and two others spoke on a panel about franchisor/franchisee collaboration at the International Franchise Association’s Legal Symposium in Chicago, May 3-5.

Researching a Pending Poutine Invasion

Have you tried poutine yet? If not, you might get your chance soon, as the Quebecois-derived heart attack in a dish (fries, gravy and cheese curds) is on its way into the United States in a big way. Smoke’s Poutinerie, the “world’s largest and original poutinerie” is a Canadian franchise that has bold plans to open 800 locations in the United States and 1,300 locations worldwide within the next five years.

Q&A with Ron Green, founder of Another Broken Egg Cafe

As Mother’s Day approaches, Another Broken Egg Cafe’s 51 locations are preparing for its busiest weekend of the year. Founder and CEO, Ron Green, estimates that his units will go through 580,000 eggs, with customer counts projected to exceed 900 people at each location before 2 o’clock.

Nothing Bundt Cakes Boss Didn't Let Naysayer Deter Her

When Debra Shwetz opened the first Nothing Bundt Cakes bakery in Las Vegas 17 years ago, one of her earliest customers was a wet blanket, she told the audience at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas last week.

Full Circle for Massage Green's Founder, A Tigers Fan

It’s been a long road to good fortune for Allie Mallad, CEO of Massage Green International, who said his small size as a youngster was an advantage and told this story at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas last week.

Rising food prices pack a punch

With skyrocketing chicken and beef prices, California’s drought and Minnesota’s bird flu outbreak, restaurant watchers have also taken notice of this year’s historically unpredictable food prices.

Roy Rogers seeks to double in size

After peaking at nearly 650 restaurants, and then shrinking drastically, the current owners of Roy Rogers are re-franchising the brand with a goal of doubling the number of locations within five years.

Dealmakers Winners Believe Right Partner Matters More than Money

You’re not just hunting for capital, when looking for a new investor. You’re looking for a partner to build a bigger business. So said Greg Flynn, Flynn Restaurant Group, at a panel today featuring three winners of this year’s Franchise Times Dealmakers awards.

Panelists Share Tips to Ease Costly Rollouts with Franchisees

Communication is key when franchisors roll out changes that cost franchisees money, according to a panel exploring the topic, “What do franchisees want?” at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference Tuesday morning in Las Vegas.

FFGC: Franchisee follows the bouncing ball to entrepreneurship

Years ago there was a debate in franchising centered on whether franchisees qualify as true entrepreneurs. After all, they were “just” following a game plan the franchisor dreamed up.

Roark Capital Acquires Driven Brands

Roark Capital Group has acquired Driven Brands, a nationwide franchise automotive company, from Harvest Partners. Driven Brands’ CEO, Jonathan Fitzpatrick, will continue to lead the business, which will remain headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.

Captain D's Moving Back to the Beach

Fast-casual seafood chain, Captain D’s, in the middle of a reinvention centered around beachy restaurant redesigns, a retooled, healthier menu and increasing its share of franchised locations.

Legacy Concepts Boosts Dunkin' Push in Minnesota

Legacy Concepts answered Dunkin’ Donuts call to re-introduce the coffee-and-donuts brand to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, a state it abandoned when it closed its last store in 2005.

Q&A with Dan Tarantin, president and CEO at Harris Research

After becoming the CEO of Jackson Hewitt at 31, Dan Tarantin is now the head of Chem-Dry and N-Hance international home service brands.
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