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These Fitness Franchises Are Still Helping Us Sweat

Like their counterparts in the restaurant segment, fitness franchises have had to close their doors following various state mandates to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and, much like restaurants, they’re pushing their business model online. Perhaps better prepared for this shift thanks to the rise in at-home fitness classes, brands are rolling out virtual workouts and giving many people—FT’s editorial team included—a much-needed outlet as the lockdown continues.

Restaurant Relief Fund Aims to Support Workers

With support from celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation created a Restaurant Employee Relief Fund that will provide one-time $500 checks to restaurant workers.

Off-premises Experts Share Actions to Implement Now

If your restaurant is keeping the lights on amid the coronavirus pandemic, status-quo business plans no longer apply. Two experts in the off-premises space are recommending operators make critical changes immediately to get through this crisis, while also setting their restaurants up for success when normalcy finally returns to the dining room.

TruFusion Rolls Out Meditation, Self-Care Tips for Members

If your local gym isn’t closed due to COVID-19 already, it likely will be soon. TruFusion, an everything-in-one studio backed by athletes such as Russell Wilson and Alex Rodriguez, decided to offer online classes for members ranging from bootcamp to yoga to Pilates.

Top Crisis Management Tips for Franchises

Franchises are—or should be—in the third wave of crisis communication, said Lorne Fisher, CEO of Fish Consulting. “It’s how do we re-engage with customers” and keep the brand relevant “even if you’re not open." Fisher and other industry professionals in PR and brand marketing offered tips for franchises as they navigate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

9Round Pivots on Membership Strategy During COVID-19

9Round pulled out all the stops to make a slew of new online workouts for members as COVID-19 leads to mass closures.

You Can Fight Insurers Denying Business Interruption Claims, Attorney Says

Franchisee attorneys Robert Zarco and his partners have a new big target: insurance companies, which are routinely denying business interruption claims made by restaurant, hotel and other operators amid COVID-19 shutdowns mandated by the states.

Adjust but Don’t Stop Franchise Development, Brands Say

“This is the time for smart people … to double down and really become aggressive with what you’re doing,” said Bryon Stephens, co-founder of Pivotal Growth Partners, which focuses on accelerating emerging brands. “Be a contrarian” while others are pulling back.

Franchises Offer Relief to Operators, With a Side of Encouragement

Franchisors are offering royalty and other relief to their franchisees during the COVID-19 crisis, along with advice and encouragement, while often feeling pain themselves.

As Restaurants Pivot, FT Reporters Test Curbside Service

Red Robin smartly began investing in its off-premises channels a few years ago, bolstering its online ordering platform and partnering with third-party delivery services to meet consumer demand. But, as the brand noted back in 2018, the most profitable transaction is when guests order online and pick up their food in the restaurant, which saves on front-of-the-house labor and skips the commission charge normally paid to the delivery service.

Data Quantifies Cratering Restaurant Traffic

While it’s probably obvious that restaurant traffic is down as state and federal mandates require the majority of U.S. dining rooms close, traffic and sales data show the full breadth of the damage so far.

Restaurant Brands Quickly Pivot to Off-Premises Options

Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Chick-fil-A were the first brands to announce they would shut down dining rooms but remain open for delivery and to-go orders. Short of full closures, many restaurant companies are significantly tweaking operations as coronavirus-necessitated social distancing radically impacts the industry.

Eureka Idea Leads Edible to COVID-Era Success

Amid all the chaos and fear, Edible Brands President Cheikh Mboup took a hard look at the company and how it could not just survive, but perhaps innovate.

Expecting Job Losses, Industry Associations Call for Billions in Aid

The International Franchise Association and National Restaurant Association are requesting billions in industry-specific recovery funds as businesses are forced to close or adjust operations in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Job losses in franchising alone could be near 400,000, according to FRANdata.

How Franchises Can Focus on Communication Amid a Pandemic

While scientists scramble to find a treatment for COVID-19, unprecedented quarantines and social distancing measures urged by the CDC have prompted closures of restaurants, bars, fitness clubs and other franchising sectors. This means a lot of business activity is grinding to a halt—except for drive-thru and delivery services.

The Ultimate Challenge for Restaurants: Surviving COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic in full force, what can you do to stay in business and protect the long-term viability of your restaurant operation? Two things are paramount: First, keep your employees informed and try to keep them working as much as possible. Second, as sales slow, cash must be protected at all costs.

Franchises Face New Sick Leave Rules Amid COVID-19 Spread

As cities and states across the country order the temporary shutdown of bars, restaurants, gyms and other public gathering places in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, franchise business owners are grappling with how and if they can continue to pay workers—and wondering what requirements new legislation could impose.

4 Key Restaurant Tactics in the Time of COVID-19

There are several tactics restaurants could take as they operate during this uncertain time, but four stand out as must-address items.

Rusty Taco Ready for Kick Off Under Inspire Brands

Rusty Taco is a bit of an oddity within Inspire Brands, but after many big changes, the concept seems poised to grow.

Franchise Brands Detail Coronavirus Protections at FIC

As some attendees replaced hugs or handshakes with elbow bumps, we asked several attendees at the Franchise Investment Conference what they and their brands were doing to guard against COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.

Jimmy John's Parent Details New Development Strategy at FIC

Inspire Brands is promoting "cross-brand development" to prospective franchisees, trying to attract sophisticated, multi-unit operators who want to build Buffalo Wild Wings, Jimmy John's, Arby's and/or Sonic stores.

Image Studios 360 Founders Pitch Lenders on ‘Bulletproof’ Concept

“We’re the premier luxury brand of the salon suite industry,” said Shaun Olsen, who with brother Jason Olsen began franchising Image Studios 360 in 2015 and have 29 open locations in 11 states. “Our franchisees are doing amazing.” The brothers presented March 10 at the Franchise Investment Conference.

What Financial Markets Are Telling Us Now, at FIC

The current economic expansion is the longest on record, 127 months, said Peter Ricchiuti, and a lot of people think the good times will last forever. They believe the most dangerous words in investing, he added: "This time it's different."

Go Xperia Details Plan to Buy, Then Franchise Experience Brands

Proprietors Capital Holdings, the owner of Pedal Pub since 2017, formed a new umbrella company called Go Xperia and embarked on a strategy to buy and franchise "experience entertainment" brands in four categories, said Go Xperia CEO Bob Ruhland at the Franchise Investment Conference today in Dallas.

Modern Market Eatery Hopes to Become the Next Panera

“Our food tastes great in the moment and also feels great after,” said Renee Israel, Modern Market Eatery's chief franchise officer. Israel presented today at the Franchise Investment Conference, hosted by Franchise Times.

Chicken Salad Chick Captures Franchise Times Deal of Year Award

Chicken Salad Chick's attraction of a much-larger majority investor, Brentwood Associates with its $2.4 billion fund, captured the Franchise Times Deal of the Year award today at the Franchise Investment Conference, and CEO Scott Deviney invoked an African proverb when accepting the award.

Meineke Touts Incentives to Boost Multi-Unit Deals

“We are in deal mode,” said Devin Hughes, director of franchise sales at Meineke, which is looking to attract multi-unit owners. Hughes presented today at the Franchise Investment Conference, hosted by Franchise Times.

The Buffalo Spot Aims to be ‘Disruptor’ in Wings Category

The Buffalo Spot is putting everything wing-lovers want at center plate, without the actual wing.

Detail Garage 'Shine Shops’ in 500 Walmarts Anger Plaintiffs Suing Brand

An alert sent to Detail Garage franchisees last Saturday announced a deal to pilot "Shine Shops" in 500 Walmart stores that will sell popular Chemical Guys car-detailing products. A plaintiff in a lawsuit against Detail Garage founders calls the deal "complete madness."

Yum CEO David Gibbs Shows Culture Focus with Heartstyles Acquisition

Yum has acquired Heartstyles, a leadership development program, to enhance company culture from the "corner office to the restaurant."

Why Oxxo Care Cleaners Invites an Independent Franchisee Association

Most franchisors abhor (or at least dislike) when their franchisees want to form an association independent of corporate influence. The founder of Oxxo Care Cleaners, however, is exhorting franchisees to do so.

How a Waxing Franchisee Spun Delays to Benefit Her Business

Julie Eash, a Waxing the City franchisee in Texas, faced seven months of opening delays—but she decided to keep her entire staff on payroll and turned it into a grassroots networking and volunteering opportunity.

Franchise M&A Tips From FT Dealmakers Winners

Everybody wants a piece of the franchise M&A pie. Our interviews with the Franchise Times Dealmakers award winners reveal five franchise M&A best practices.

U.S. Tim Hortons Franchisees Sue RBI Over Supply Costs

The Great White North Franchisee Association-USA is suing Tim Hortons USA and parent company RBI, alleging an “illegal and fraudulent business scheme” that aims to “convert the Tim Hortons franchise supply system into a supply chain business disguised as a franchise system.”

Sanders' Pot Vow Boosts Cru Hemp Lounge, Weed Franchises

Bernie Sanders’ declaration about marijuana during the Democratic presidential candidates’ debate this week was a boost to Dennis McKinley. “I just heard Bernie Sanders say, if I’m elected, it will be legal,” said McKinley, who owns two cannabis franchises—Cru Hemp Lounge and Carolina Hemp Company—with business partner Greg George.

Sprouts Out at Jimmy John’s Following FDA Censure

The FDA sent out a rare public letter to Jimmy John’s, censuring the company over its response to a handful of foodborne illness outbreaks.

Figure Eight Launches Delivery-Focused Restaurant Consulting

Seeing the unstoppable rise of delivery and catering, a New York City-based entrepreneur with a background in farming, engineering and philosophy is turning his attention to helping restaurants streamline their third-party delivery programs and avoid worst-practices that don’t help restaurants build loyalty, traffic or profits.

Clean Your Dirty Face Educates 'Skincare Virgins'

Shama Patel launched Clean Your Dirty Face in 2015, a clean beauty facial bar amid a highly competitive beauty and wellness sector of franchising.

4 Lessons in Franchise Resales

If signing a franchise agreement is akin to marriage, as the frequent analogy goes, does that make a franchise resale the divorce? That’s not the right attitude for franchisors, who should instead understand that resales are a natural part of the life cycle of a brand, and addressing them early will make for a smoother transition for all involved.

Ike’s Love & Sandwiches Lands Multi-Unit Denver Deal

In its marketing materials, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches likes to say it has a “cult-like following” of fans and celebrities, a following it’s now turning into franchisees.

Men’s Groomer Hammer & Nails Looks to Double Up for Years

Once they come in to get a mani or pedi, men begin to understand the need for self care, says the president of Hammer & Nails, and that's driving explosive growth.

Wingstop CEO Shares Details of DoorDash Partnership

Buried in a very nice fourth quarter for Wingstop were some key details about a smart partnership between the brand and delivery provider DoorDash.

Launch Near for New Franchise, Ace Handyman Services

Ace Hardware is two weeks away from re-launching its new franchise, to be called Ace Handyman Services after an acquisition last September, and has hammered out details about one of 2020’s most intriguing new offerings in an amended franchise disclosure document.

Signature Dish Steals Show at Chicken Salad Chick 150th Opening

The first guest in line for the grand opening today of Chicken Salad Chick in Baton Rouge, Andrew Doan, showed up at 5 p.m. the evening before, slept in his camp chair and waited out the drizzle until opening time 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

How Stumpy’s Became America’s First Indoor Hatchet Throwing Franchise

Will axe throwing have the same staying power as bowling? Stumpy’s Hatchet House seems to think so.

Famous Dave’s Parent to Buy Granite City Out of Bankruptcy

In its first big deal, BBQ Holdings Inc., the parent company of the Famous Dave’s franchise, will buy fellow Minnesota-based chain Granite City Food and Brewery. The acquisition of the 25-unit casual dining concept comes two months after Granite City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

As Growth Explodes, Chicken Salad Chick Sticks to ‘Secret Sauce’

Now at 150 locations, Chicken Salad Chick had a good 2019 and it’s looking like a good 2020, too. But as the good times roll, CEO Scott Deviney said a key part of his job is keeping the concept feeling like it did at 15 locations.

Tips From Top Brands on Improving Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship

Experts from haircutting franchise Sports Clips, home service parent company Neighborly, and women-only kickboxing circuit 30 Minute Hit converged for a panel on building trust and engagement with your franchisees at the International Franchise Association convention in Orlando. Here are their top tips, ranging from surprisingly simple to easier-said-than-done.

If the KFC X Crocs Shoes Fit, Wear ‘Em

Broke fashionistas, this one's for you: Kentucky Fried Chicken X Crocs Clogs are billed as this spring’s hottest shoe, looking like a bucket of KFC chicken and complete with two removable charms that look like a fried drumstick.

Detail Garage VP Calls Lawsuit ‘Distressing,’ Touts the Positives

Detail Garage VP John Mansfield gave a general defense against allegations in a sweeping lawsuit filed in California District Court in late January, but did not address specific claims made in Cardinal Investments One v. Detail Garage.
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