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Fat Shack Nabs 'Shark Tank' Investment

Are you feeling like a Fat Slob or a Fat Cow tonight? That’s the chief conundrum for lines of inebriated Fat Shack customers looking for a high-calorie lullaby to whisk them off to dreamland.

At Kitchen United’s First Facility, Someone Else Does the Dishes

The conveyor belt may be the neatest thing at Kitchen United’s first ghost kitchen, in the River North neighborhood in Chicago, unless you count the fact that someone else does your dishes.

Frenchies Nail Salon Joins Century Club

While casting a skeptical eye on big franchise growth projections, it’s very cool to see a brand actually hit the milestones it has promised. The latest to pass a major checkpoint is Colorado-based Frenchies Modern Nail Care, which just hit 100 units.

Data Dive Shows What LTOs Actually Drive Metrics

What LTOs actually drive traffic is a big question in QSR, and some new data offers a glimpse at what makes a successful limited-time offer.

In Delivery Watch, Here Comes Amazon

It’s been clear that Amazon has its eyes on the meal delivery space, but it’s now making its big move with word that Seattle’s deliver-everything giant led a $575 million financing round in Deliveroo, one of Europe’s largest third-party delivery platforms that’s based in London.

Great Harvest Sees Success With Hub & Spoke Tweak

The bready concept Great Harvest Bread Co. is two years into a new format tweak, and it’s seeing success and growth as a result.

Long-time Operators Try Hand at Factory Donuts Launch

David and Heather Restituto spent a long time in the Grease Monkey, Meineke and Rita’s Italian Ice brands as franchisees, becoming the largest Rita’s franchisee in the system, and they’re now pivoting to launch Factory Donuts as a franchisor.

One-Liners Mark Pizza Schmizza’s Pitch to Operators

A garlic-infused pizza called “No Kiss Tonight” is just one of many clever names at Pizza Schmizza, the 23-unit brand founded in Portland, Oregon, that now has three separate concepts as described by Ron Berger, CEO, at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas last week.

With 100 Years Behind It, A&W Reshapes for the Future

A&W has no intentions of competing in the QSR discounting arena. “We’re not going to play there,” said CEO Kevin Bazner as he stressed the brand, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, is keeping its focus on quality food.

Structural Elements Has Perfect Pairing with Fitness Franchises

Structural Elements Founder Doug Bertram waited until he made a few salient points about his franchised orthopedic wellness clinic before introducing himself to the audience at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference May 6-8 in Las Vegas.

Melt Shop’s Guilty Pleasure Food Sparks Joy in Consumers

Josh Morgan, COO, described his concept, the Melt Shop, as a fast-casual restaurant granting diners permission to enjoy the food. “We invented the melted sandwich concept while playing with our friends,” he told the audience on day two of the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas. “We started with grilled cheese and evolved.”

Conserva Irrigation Sees Potential in Leaky Pipes

Making the pitch that growing Conserva Irrigation is job one after divesting Mosquito Squad, Outdoor Living Brands CEO Chris Grandpre said he sees massive potential in servicing irrigation systems in a world of growing water restrictions and costs.

Mountain Mike's ‘Agents’ Bring Localized Accountability

At Mountain Mike's Pizza, six development agents help "steward" franchisees through all of franchise life's trials and tribulations.

Sub Zero Pivots to Dietary Restrictions

Sub Zero showed a revised strategy based on the brand’s reaction to the tsunami of dietary restrictions, both real and self imposed. With a mix of shock value from a blast from the nitrogen tank and great on-stage banter, Sub Zero presented a truly fresh take on its growing ice cream business.

Pincho Builds Brand With Love From Millennials

Calling it a millennial-oriented brand that uses viral marketing videos and Instagram to help cultivate a “cult-like following” around its offering of meat skewers, wraps, rice bowls and burgers, Pincho isn’t only a restaurant brand but also a digital brand, notes CEO Jayson Tipp.

‘Art of the Deal’ as Told by FT Dealmakers Winners

Flynn Restaurant Group passed the $2 billion sales mark with its acquisition last year of U.S. Beef's 368 Arby’s stores, the Franchise Times 2019 Deal of the Year honored today at a gala luncheon at the Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas.

A Merger and New Music for Calzone Brand D.P. Dough

D.P. Dough CEO Matt Crumpton helped start the 2019 Finance & Growth Conference off in a big way, announcing Monday the Columbus, Ohio-based calzone brand that calls itself “the pizza alternative” is merging with competitor Calios, a 13-unit chain out of New York.

Data in Hand, Homewatch Caregivers Tees Up a Rebrand

Coaching franchisees at Homewatch Caregivers used to be “more random, back in the day, and now it’s more diagnostic and gets into the why,” said Jennifer Tucker, COO, at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas Monday.

Broken Yolk’s Trick to Open With 500-plus Fans

The marketing efforts at Broken Yolk bring in hundreds of people on day one by getting active on social media long before a location actually opens.

Naf Naf Grill Ready to Fan Flames of Franchising

Speaking today at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, CEO Paul Damico touted Naf Naf’s chicken shawarma, made in-house at each restaurant, along with each location’s full bakery dedicated to making “best in the industry” pita bread, as reasons why the brand stands out in an increasingly competitive Mediterranean-focused segment.

Landing Private Equity Still a Goal at Pearle Vision

“We’ve been trying to land this plane for over a year now,” says Alex Wilkes, SVP, about his efforts to attract private equity firms to buy independent eye care brands and roll them up under the Pearle Vision platform.

Phenix Touts New Tech Tool at FT Finance Event

Phenix Salon Suites plans to roll out its new technology application called Gina’s Platform within the next month, CEO Jason Rivera announced at the opening day of the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas today.

Buzz Brings 'Analytical Rigor' to British Swim School Buy

Adding to its portfolio of home service concepts, Buzz Franchise Brands acquires British Swim School as founder Rita Goldberg exits and brings in new CEO Greg Longe.

Hotel Boom Times Slowing Down

It’s not lights out, but the U.S. hotel market is slowing down after a multi-year growth streak across all categories. According to STR Global, the U.S. hotel industry reported negative year-over-year results in three key performance metrics during the tail end of April.

Market Immersion Key After Panera Acquisition

When Hamra Enterprises acquired a handful of Panera Bread cafes, the most important part was building trust with the new employees, says Hamra's CEO.

‘Tis the Season for Registration Rovers in the Office

Lane Fisher is no dog whisperer. In fact, he was pretty vocal—talking at a rabid clip, hands waving—when the young lawyers in his office started showing up at work with their dogs to help get them through franchise registration season, an intense period that lasts from January through the end of April.

Del Taco Goes ‘Beyond Meat’ for Alternative Protein

Beyond Meat blew up in its first day as a public company, and at the same time, Del Taco is rolling out the product in a big way.

From KFC, a Better (But Not Classier) Way to Greet Mom

What says Happy Mother’s Day better than the Chickendales, KFC’s Colonel Sanders-themed takeoff on the scantily clad all-male Chippendales dancers? Well, nothing.

ConnectOne Bancorp to Acquire BoeFly

“We were looking for an entrepreneurial bank,” said Mike Rozman, CEO and co-founder of online lending platform, BoeFly.

‘Extreme Frustration’ at Jack in the Box as Sale Drags On

Jack in the Box’s road to a possible sale, now in its sixth month, is “painful” to members of the national franchisee association who say they object to cuts in general & administrative expenses to make the brand attractive to potential buyers but harm the operators, according to Michael Norwich, chairman of the association’s board.

Dog Haus Set for Kitchen United’s Chicago Debut

When Kitchen United’s first virtual kitchen opens in the River North neighborhood in Chicago, scheduled for early this month, Dog Haus will be one of a dozen brands testing the viability of a mobile-ordering and delivery-only restaurant.

‘Raving Fans’ Help Build Burn Boot Camp to 200 Units

“If people are looking at multiple fitness brands, trying to decide which one to go with, that’s a big red flag,” says co-founder Devan Kline, who wants franchisees who only have eyes for Huntersville, North Carolina-based Burn Boot Camp.

IOT in Action at Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A shares some of its tricks (and a few "what ifs") as it aggressively pushes toward a truly connected restaurant.

Wetzel’s First Test of Delivery Yields Pleasant Surprises

Just a few weeks into a test of delivery for Wetzel’s Pretzels, new CEO Jennifer Schuler counts two surprises, in a good way.

Antarctica Is Next for Anytime, and Then, Mars?

When the Magellan Explorer departs on its maiden voyage to Antarctica in November the adventure expedition ship will have one more amenity.

Hyatt’s Hip Centric Brand Hitting Up Memphis, Nashville, Austin

Hyatt just announced plans to open new locations in the hip U.S. cities of Nashville, Austin and Memphis. Each will be built in the downtown areas, expressly designed for “savvy explorers” looking to build out their Instagram profiles.

Heading Inland But Trying to Keep Shuckin’ Shack Vibe

Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar, which started as a 900-square-foot shack in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, in 2007, is heading inland for growth.

Survey: Historic Labor Headaches Continue

While restaurant operators need little reminder about labor headaches, a new survey shows how they are reacting.

Dale Carnegie ‘Zee Sees Opportunity in China

Dale Carnegie Training began operating outside the United States in the 1940s. Now, 127 of its 228 territories are in international markets, and about five years ago revenue from international operations began exceeding its domestic system.

Nominations Open for Franchising Gives Back Awards

Now in its fifth year, the IFA and its Educational Foundation are seeking nominations that highlight the charitable efforts of franchisors, franchisees and industry suppliers. Gold award winners receive a $5,000 donation and Silver winners receive a $1,000 donation for their charity partner and are recognized during the Franchising Gives Back Celebration and Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., on September 9.

Still Flat at MAACO but New Prez Forecasts Growth

2018 was another flat year for sales growth at MAACO, the auto repair and paint franchise that also stayed flat the prior year, said Bob Benjamin, president for about 11 months. But he predicts growth will get going again in 2019.

UberEats Dangles Swanky Events to Lure Customers

Select restaurant delivery customers of UberEats can participate in decidedly swanky events, according to Bowie Cheung, head of regional operations for the delivery service. Think South by Southwest, March Madness and the Oscars, as he described at the Food On Demand Conference in Chicago earlier this month.

That Voice in Your Head Telling You to Re-Order? It’s Google

In the future, tapping an app to order food will be soooooooo 2019, says the Google executive charged with convincing the masses to use Google Assistant, its artificial intelligence offering.

Randy’s Donuts Franchising With or Without Giant Donut

After 66 years and with a new owner at the helm, Randy's Donuts is ready to franchise.

Training, Correcting Errors Drives Real Money to Bottom Line

There are a lot of areas where restaurant operators can save without denigrating the customer experience.

GPS Adds Pizza Huts, Could Cross 500-unit Mark in 2019

Atlanta-based franchisee GPS Hospitality recently added 75 Pizza Hut restaurants to its portfolio that already includes 400 Burger King and Popeyes locations, bringing its footprint to 13 states.

Dessert- and Drink-Only Restaurants? Yes, Please.

I am delighted by the new Edwards Dessert Kitchen bar and restaurant in Minneapolis. A brick-and-mortar experiment by Schwan’s, this restaurant for drinks and treats feels like something new.

Legal Eagles Tackle FDD Bloat, Complexity

Franchise disclosure documents have gotten absolutely massive and complex—and some franchise attorneys want to do some major trimming.

Many Approaches to IoT in the Wind

The internet of things (IoT) is here, but how this low-cost, high-impact technological framework fits in restaurants, healthcare or retail hasn’t quite been fleshed out out.

Delivery Dudes Boss Jabs Underbelly of Delivery Explosion

In case anyone was overwhelmed or even jaded by the shiny, giant delivery players speaking on stage at the Food On Demand Conference today—Grubhub, UberEats, Postmates, Google and their impressive peers—along came Delivery Dudes’ founder Jayson Koss, speaking truth to power in funny fashion and rocking the best hair of the conference.
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