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Hand & Stone Massage Furloughs Employees, Retains Members

With more than 450 units, nearly all Hand & Stone massage therapists and estheticians have been furloughed or laid off to allow them to collect unemployment benefits—yet the brand retained about 90 percent of members.
04.16.2020

4 Key Legal, Operational Insights for ‘Survival Mode’

Now, about a month into the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S., things might be starting to feel somewhat normal, but there are a lot of considerations as businesses get into survival mode.
04.16.2020

A Shout-Out to Operators from Checkers & Rally's New Boss

Local curfews are the latest problem torpedoing Checkers & Rally's late-night business, the most recent one imposed April 13 in its headquarters county in Tampa, said Frances Allen, new CEO of the 900-restaurant chain.
04.16.2020

Xponential CEO Tells Operators: Prepare to Reopen Franchises

The eight boutique concepts, with more than 1,500 locations, under the Xponential Fitness umbrella have a new set of marching orders: get ready to reopen.
04.16.2020

Global Franchise Group Taps Naf Naf Boss as New CEO

What’s it like to start a new CEO gig during a pandemic? “Surreal, it’s totally surreal,” says Paul Damico, whose first day on the job as CEO of Global Franchise Group was April 6.
04.15.2020

Pool of Franchisees Keeps Growing for Big Blue Swim School

“We started Big Blue Swim School really in the height of the last recession, and what we learned then is that parents will continue to spend money on their kids, especially when it’s for a life-saving activity like swim lessons,” said Chris DeJong, founder and president. And franchisees recognize the opportunity.
04.14.2020

Chick-fil-A Reports Record Revenue in 2019, Profits Up 54.2 Percent

Chick-fil-A reported record sales and earnings in 2019. The Atlanta-based quick serve operator, ranked last year by Franchise Times magazine as the 12th largest franchise company in the U.S., was poised for another strong year in 2020. However, dining room closures and restrictions to operate drive-thru lanes only because of the coronavirus,will set back the chain in 2020.
04.14.2020

School of Rock Connects Students With Real-Life Guitar Heroes

The School of Rock's new partnership that connects the franchise's music performance students and their real-life guitar heroes—from Phil X to Mark Schulman and more—has to be the coolest virtual offering born from the pandemic.
04.13.2020

Its First Merger Deal Off, Unity Rd Tries Again

The planned merger between Unity Rd (formerly called One Cannabis), the Denver-based franchisor of marijuana dispensaries, and Cannabis One Holdings Inc. is off after regulatory hurdles proved too difficult to overcome, said Mike Wienberger, COO of Unity Rd. Instead, he was working in early April to close a deal with Item 9 Labs.
04.13.2020

With Hybrid Delivery Model, Wing Zone Sales Are Up

Restaurants that self-deliver with their own drivers have seen their ups and downs, as labor costs and availability have fluctuated along with the universal rise of direct-to-consumer convenience. For Atlanta-based Wing Zone, which has always had its own fleet, sales have actually risen during the pandemic.
04.13.2020

Sola CEO Manages Fear With a Focus on Reopening

“What is the stylist fear and how do we put that at ease? We wanted to make it very clear that if your building is closed, we are not going to charge you rent,” said Christina Russell, CEO of Sola Salon Studios. “Then for franchisees, it becomes how do you negotiate that with landlords.”
04.10.2020

How to Fight Denials of Business Interruption Claims

By now, most restaurant operators with business interruption insurance have heard bad tidings from their brokers: forget about getting coverage for your claims. Legal experts say that's fake news.
04.10.2020

Restaurant Franchises Help Feed Frontline Workers

A Chicken Salad Chick franchisee in Ohio and an Apple Spice Box Lunch & Catering franchisee in South Carolina developed creative programs to donate food to first responders, medical workers and other frontline workers during COVID-19.
04.09.2020

Digital Prowess, Wing Prices Help Wingstop Bridge COVID-19 Sales Pit

Wingstop seems to be bucking the brutal sales trends brought on by COVID-19, even growing in the last few weeks of March when stay-at-home orders spread across the country.
04.09.2020

How 2 Learning Franchises Switched to Virtual Lessons

How two learning franchises, TheCoderSchool and Young Rembrandts, quickly retooled to offer virtual classes when school shutdowns began mid-March.
04.09.2020

Batteries Plus Bulbs Daily Briefings Boost Morale

Batteries + Bulbs CEO Scott Williams is convening a "war room" update every afternoon over Zoom for his 20-person management and field staff, all working from home. It's helping to boost morale.
04.08.2020

McDonald’s CEO Takes Pay Cut, Brand Reduces Capital Costs

McDonald’s will reduce the number of Experience of the Future remodels across the U.S. and also cut the number of new restaurant openings in most markets around the world, two moves the company expects will save about $1 billion in capital expenditures.
04.08.2020

Looking Beyond Turmoil, Franchisee Signs 5-Unit Deal With Rise Biscuits

Parker Simon and Bradley Turney are already scouting locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they plan to open Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken after inking a five-unit deal despite an upheaval of the restaurant industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
04.07.2020

TGI Fridays SPAC Merger Is Terminated

Blaming “extraordinary market conditions,” the TGI Fridays SPAC merger with Allegro is off.
04.07.2020

How to Communicate in a Pandemic, by Cousins Subs' CEO

Christine Specht, CEO of Cousins Subs, believes communication—and especially, communication without all the noise—is the most important mission for franchisors right now.
04.07.2020

Pandemic Not Yet Boosting Big Third-Party Delivery Providers

Data from Gordon Haskett’s shows that nearly 60 percent of respondents don’t feel comfortable with a delivery person coming to their house. With data for the week of March 20, 58.6 percent of people included in the study said accepting deliveries at home made them uncomfortable.
04.06.2020

Advice From My Salon Suite Franchise on Staying Afloat

For My Salon Suite, a salon franchise offering fully-furnished suites where beauty professionals can own and operate their own businesses, COVID-19 closures require that all parties involved get creative to stay afloat.
04.06.2020

Hurry Up and Wait for SBA Help

The Small Business Administration shared its final guidance around the Paycheck Protection Program and financial institutions are reeling. But operators should get in line.
04.03.2020

Mayweather Boxing Sees Opportunity Amid Studio Shutdown

While the uncertainty is weighing on franchisees—“everyone is wanting to know when they’ll be able to reopen”—Mayweather Boxing CEO James Williams said there’s also opportunity to market memberships and even help franchisees in the sold-but-not-open stage find more attractive real estate.
04.03.2020

Walk-On’s Restaurants Go All In on Family Meals

Walk-On’s, the Cajun-themed sports bar and restaurant franchise partly owned by New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees, has gone all in on family-style meals after each of its 37 locations closed their expansive dining rooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
04.03.2020

Homecare Franchises On Front Lines of Virus Battle, Says Best Life Exec

Homecare franchises are on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle, and are seeing growth rather than shutdown. "We're hiring across the nation," said Best Life Brands' chief revenue and operating officer.
04.02.2020

Lawsuit Alleges Edible Arrangements Founder Is Self-Dealing

The franchisee association is suing Edible Arrangements and its founder, Tariq Farid, alleging "self-dealing" and improper use of the advertising fund among other complaints. Now they're adding retaliation to the list.
04.02.2020

AFC Urgent Care Franchise Gears Up to Fight COVID-19

Triage pods in the parking lots are among the innovations rolled out at five AFC Urgent Care clinics in Portland, Oregon, where owner Guru Sankar is trying to relieve an overburdened hospital and ER system while at the same time keeping his clinics' doors open.
04.02.2020

Can’t Pay Rent? Communication, Transparency Is Key

Today is a big mile marker in the COVID-19 pandemic—it’s the first time many business owners had to decide exactly what they were going to do about the rent bill.
04.01.2020

International Franchises Take Market-by-Market Approach to Pandemic Response

For brands with franchisees operating in regions around the world, they’re planning for what’s next—even as situations during the COVID-19 pandemic are sometimes wildly different from market to market.
04.01.2020

Sky Zone Plans More Non-Traditional Locations, Bad Timing Aside

If timing is everything, consider Sky Zone's first foray into the world of non-traditional locations as a case of the bad.
04.01.2020

Franchises Should Play Offense Not Just Defense, Buzz Brands CEO Says

"If it looks like you're overreacting, you're probably doing the right thing." That's a quote from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's point medical man on the pandemic, that Kevin Wilson, CEO of Buzz Franchise Brands, takes to heart. But he also advised playing offense, on a webinar sponsored by FranConnect.
04.01.2020

How Franchises Are Helping Senior Citizens During COVID-19

A Taco John’s franchisee is offering free meals to elderly citizens, a Junk King franchisee has partnered with a local food bank to deliver meals to seniors stuck at home, and Assisted Living Locators has partnered with Love For The Elderly, a nonprofit organization that mails handwritten letters to seniors.
04.01.2020

A Guide to Franchise Registration State Filing Extensions

Several franchise registration states are making adjustments to filing deadlines and are updating other guidelines for renewals and applications in an effort to assist franchisors experiencing a severe disruption to their business.
03.31.2020

Yum CEO David Gibbs Foregoes Salary Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Yum CEO David Gibbs joins other CEOs and business leaders in foregoing a salary as businesses around the world struggle to combat COVID-19.
03.31.2020

What Restaurants & Franchises Need to Know About the Payroll Loan Program

Options for beleaguered restaurants owners are mobilizing quickly. Here is what you need to know. The CARES Act, recently passed by Congress and signed by President Trump on March 27, allows the Small Business Administration to guaranty $349 billion in loans to small businesses that have been impacted economically by the COVID-19 virus.
03.31.2020

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.
03.31.2020

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.
03.30.2020

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.
03.27.2020

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.
03.27.2020

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.
03.26.2020

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.
03.26.2020

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.
03.26.2020

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.
03.25.2020

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.
03.24.2020

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.
03.23.2020

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.
03.20.2020

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.
03.19.2020

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.
03.19.2020

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.
03.19.2020
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