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Cherry Hearn Brings Many Hats to Role of Which Wich President

From outside counsel to franchisee to general counsel for the brand, Cherry Hearn brings a lot of varied experience to her new job as president of Which Wich.

Five Guys, BurgerFi Show Better Burger Strength on FT Top 200+

Though it remains a small portion of the overall burger category, which sits at $154 billion in total sales, better burger franchises on the Franchise Times Top 200+ grew their top lines by nearly 7 percent to $2.9 billion in 2018. The Top 200+ is Franchise Times’ exclusive ranking of the 500 largest franchises based on global systemwide sales.

Famous Dave's Shrinks Restaurants, Shifts Menu for Delivery

Famous Dave’s released details of a new, more compact restaurant prototype geared toward increased delivery and catering in Minneapolis. This smaller store format is part of the brand’s multi-year revival that has included several new store designs.

Frequent Founder Adds ‘Automatic Fit’ in Kitchen Wise

Paul Flick is the founder of three franchises—360 Painting, Pro Lift Doors and Handyman Pro—and he’s just completed his second acquisition, adding Kitchen Wise under the Premium Service Brands umbrella.

Rebrand First, Then Sales Push for New Ace Franchise

Ace Hardware, No. 5 on this year’s Franchise Times Top 200+ list, plans a major franchising push starting the second quarter of next year for Handyman Matters, the Denver-based home improvement service chain Ace acquired in September.

Cousins Subs Tweaks for Non-Traditional Locations

Wisconsin-based sub shop Cousins Subs is finding success in operating non-traditional locations, including its first-ever airport location at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.

Applebee’s Is Lone Casual Dining Grower on FT Top 200+

When two of the supposed top three brands in a segment actually saw sales decline, you know there’s a problem. Though it actually recovered slightly from 2017’s 3 percent drop, the casual dining subcategory of restaurants in the Franchise Times Top 200+ is still going in the wrong direction, save for Applebee’s, the only brand to see positive sales growth in 2018.

Wendy’s 'Rolls' Out Supremely Nerdy Marketing

Do you have what it takes to help Queen Wendy protect her fresh burgers from the insidious Ice Jester and his frozen patty-slinging minions?

Drew Brees Joins Franworth, Likes ‘Gut and Courage’ of Franchising

“When the opportunity came to join Franworth as a partner alongside John, David Barr, and the incredible team and brands assembled within, it was a no-brainer,” said Drew Brees of joining the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based firm in August as a partner and executive board member.

With 94-Unit Denny’s Deal, WKS No. 1 in Three Brands

WKS Restaurant Group out of Cypress, California, is now the largest Denny’s franchisee in the system. The new location-count leader took the crown by adding 94 restaurants that formerly belonged to QK Holdings.

Time to Gain Recognition for Brilliant M&A Deal-Making

It's been a busy fall already with mergers and acquisitions in franchising, with many of the deals sure to be competitive in our annual Franchise Times Dealmakers project, with nominations open now through December 31 by clicking on the Dealmakers button nearby and at www. franchisetimes.com.

Another Broken Egg Grows as Breakfast Stays Hot

As the restaurant industry keeps struggling with sluggish traffic numbers—at best—Another Broken Egg Cafe is attempting to double down on the continued strength of the breakfast daypart.

Cameron Diaz Lends Celebrity Shine to Modern Acupuncture

The man who arranged 50 Cent’s equity investment in Vitamin Water and Madonna’s deal with Vita Coco, Seth Rodsky and his firm Strand Equity have bought a stake in Modern Acupuncture and brought actress Cameron Diaz into the deal, too.

7-Eleven Owners Air ‘Cold, Hard Facts’ Against Corporate

Franchisees leaving the 7-Eleven system are “creating a glut of available stores across the nation, including in major markets like Los Angeles and New York,” says the latest missive from the convenience store giant’s biggest critic—its coalition of 7-Eleven owners.

Dave’s Hot Chicken Hopes for ‘Blow Your Head Off’ Launch

There are seven levels of “hot” at Dave’s Hot Chicken, which officially launches its franchise program today, with the Reaper so spicy it comes with a waiver.

R.I.-Pizza: Rapping Calzone Now Repping D.P. Dough

Rapping calzone and D.P. Dough mascot Stoney Calzone, calling out the pizza industry at large—and the beats are as hot as the oven in the back.

Roark Sells Jimmy John’s to Its Inspire Brands

Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic, has entered into an agreement to acquire Jimmy John’s Sandwiches from Roark Capital Group. The Atlanta-based Roark private equity firm purchased Jimmy John’s in 2016 and has been the longstanding owner of Arby’s, which was rolled into the newly formed Inspire Brands in 2018.

Constant Evolution Returns Dippin’ Dots to Growth

Nitrogen-frozen drops of ice cream aren’t exactly mind boggling 30 years on, but Dippin' Dots has things moving in the right direction again.

Moe’s Coaxes Customers to In-House Delivery Channels

As the corporate guy in charge of marketing, field operations and off-premises at Moe’s Southwest Grill, Tad Low’s job includes threading the needle between customer expectations, franchisee pain points and a fast-changing delivery environment that shines a spotlight on how different foods weather the car trip to at-home diners.

Technology Change: Test, Test and Communicate

After identifying a technology update, the real work begins.

Fazoli’s Readies Off-Premises 2.0

With more than half of its sales now leaving the restaurants, Fazoli’s is preparing a second generation off-premises strategy, which CEO Carl Howard suggested may come at the expense of arch rival Olive Garden.

Blaze Takes Aim at Big Pizza? Good Luck

The 341-location Blaze is taking aim at the “big three” pizza competitors in a new ad campaign that pits its new, larger pizza against the same old pizza. Good luck.

AB-5 is ‘Cannon Aiming at Mosquito,’ IFA Lobbyist Says

There are media circuses, and then there’s the extravaganza of grandstanding surrounding the passage September 11 of Assembly Bill 5 in California.

If All Else Fails in March on the Hill, There Will Be Puppies

When members of the Franchise Action Network storm Capitol Hill tomorrow to lobby Congress, they will have two main targets, as instructed by the government affairs pros at the International Franchise Association who prepped them Tuesday afternoon. Encourage your state’s representatives and senators to vote NO on the PRO Act, and YES on the Trademark Licensing Protection Act.

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.
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