“I’ve pretty much have done everything at IFA except being a lobbyist,” says Scott Lehr as he reflects on his nearly three decades with the International Franchise Association. Hired in 1990 as the director of advertising, Lehr had five more titles during the ensuing 29 years before retiring after the IFA’s annual convention in February as executive vice president of development, marketing and conferences.
HomeVestors, the largest home-buying franchise is celebrating a notable milestone, signing its 1,000 franchise as the U.S. real estate market appears to be cooling from the absurd heights seen in recent years as inventory remains tight in key cities.
A small footprint can be a big win for the right concepts. As rents continue to rise and traffic patterns continue to shift, a small-format mobile retail outlet can slash overhead and keep operations efficient.
As New York City’s $25 billion Hudson Yards opens to the public, many in the retail and restaurant worlds will be watching to see if this largest private development in U.S. history can succeed with a mega-scale formula representing the biggest bet ever placed on in-person shopping, people watching and dining.
Just last September Kathleen Kuhn launched a new brand—PatchMaster, a drywall repair service. Six months later, the sister company to HouseMaster has signed its 50th location, reaching the milestone much faster than most.
“The men in my household had so much conviction that women were equal to men,” said Indra Nooyi, who went on to become PepsiCo’s first female CEO and spoke about her career today during the Women’s Foodservice Forum’s annual conference in Dallas.
North Carolina-based Golden Corral is finding riches along the West Coast, as the southern-themed grill-buffet chain begins to tap the massive California market after first opening in the City of Industry back in 2012.
Greg Graber has big plans for Huckleberry’s, the breakfast and lunch concept he took over in 2016 and has spent the past two years readying for growth. Graber will share Huckleberry’s story and investment opportunity during the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference.
Planet Fitness, the big-box gym with low-cost memberships, will partner with Kohl’s in 10 test stores to sop up 20,000 square feet of the clothing retailer’s excess space, allowing Kohl’s to “right-size”to 50,000 square feet and Planet Fitness to gain prime locations in large shopping centers.
Last year was more than a little volatile for public franchisors. According to the Rosenberg International Franchise Center, the 50 public franchise companies ended the year down 9.5 percent. That’s behind the general market, as measured by the S&P 500, which was down 6.2 percent in the last 12 months.
The last time Gigi’s Cupcakes changed hands, in 2016, the franchise founded by Gina Butler sold for $6 million to Key Corp. and its affiliate Fund Corp. Now MTY Franchising USA is offering $2 million cash, and Gigi’s is seeking additional qualified bidders before a planned March 25 auction date.
I had a great time interviewing Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy last Tuesday at their home in Memphis, and also enjoyed staying in the new-ish Graceland Guest House where so many patrons were wearing fancy fringed cowboy shirts and glittery dresses that Elvis would have been proud.
Packaging is a hot topic, especially with off-premises channels growing across the board. In a partnership with the NextGen Consortium, Wendy’s is looking to develop more sustainable packaging for its products.
Speaking during a panel on balancing heritage and innovation at the IFA Convention in Las Vegas, Shane Evans, who launched Massage Heights with her husband, Wayne, and eventually brought in two brothers and her mom, said she was forced to reevaluate the structure in order to expand. Massage Heights also had to contend with some missteps in its early recruiting and franchise sales efforts.
They came from countries including Kenya, Hungary, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and of course the United States to impress the NextGen competition judges and hopefully snag cash prizes and investors during the International Franchise Association’s annual convention Monday.
As the tipping issue at restaurants rages on between front of the house employees and back, Joel O’Malley of Nilan Johnson Lewis in Minneapolis offers a quick refresher course on a complicated topic that’s been tripping up the likes of Starbucks, Outback Steakhouse and Pinstripes in Minnesota with lawsuits of late.
We’re reporting many interesting stories this month about our Franchise Times Dealmakers winners, including Auspex Capital/RGT Management’s longtime relationship as investment banker and restaurant operator. Which do they like better, the ride up or the ride down?
As part of a wider plan to refresh and expand Huddle House, the Atlanta-based diner announced a buffet of news that’s designed to elevate its presence across the country, and also to attract franchisees who will be interested in a smaller-format restaurant with an easier-to-swallow pricetag.
The restaurant industry has been in a sorry state since traffic and same-store sales peaked in the first quarter of 2015. But January data from TDn2K shows two consecutive months of two percent or higher sales growth.
Looking at per capita income and restaurants, size of the workforce and median incomes, a restaurant equipment reseller has published its list of the 50 best U.S. cities in which to start a restaurant. Using U.S. Census Bureau and American Community Survey data, it’s a data-based ranking that’s worth a look.
Everybody knows the National Labor Relations Board caused franchising’s biggest headache when it expanded the definition of who is a joint employer back in 2014. Now, new International Franchise Association research has put a number to the pain—$33.3 billion in lost economic output annually.
Even though Mountain Mike’s 200-plus pizza restaurants each have their own delivery team, the Newport Beach-based brand is working with DoorDash, UberEats and Grubhub to reach customers it believes wouldn’t otherwise order its food.
The franchise industry is known for its outreach to specific parts of the human herd, most notably with veterans and young entrepreneurs through the VetFran and NextGen in Franchising programs. LGBT folks like myself are cheering the latest International Franchise Association partnership with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. On a personal level, this is wonderful to see from the franchising industry’s association of record.
There’s no forgetting a conversation with the CEO and founder of Smoke’s Poutinerie, the exceedingly colorful Ryan Smolkin. It’s been a few years since checking in with the Canadian-based poutine brand and my first mission was getting an update on the so-called global domination that’s been his stated mission since starting the company more than a decade ago.
Slim Chickens’ second Kuwait restaurant recently opened in the Jazeera airport terminal and the brand is also in the midst of expanding in the United Kingdom through another international franchise agreement. It’s a lot of action for a brand that wasn’t actively looking to grow outside the United States and there’s been some useful learning along the way.
Has Domino’s lost its mind? The pizza company is launching a temporary loyalty program that includes all pizzas, including those from its prime competitors and pizzas made and cooked at home. The company says this new, temporary effort is a celebration of “all that pizza love.”
The dog is most certainly having its day in franchising, with pet-focused concepts drawing interest at the Franchise Expo South, running through Saturday in Ft. Lauderdale. Plus, drive-thru convenience stores.
You’ve heard about parties where baby’s gender is revealed with a pink or blue cake hidden underneath the frosting. Villa Italian Kitchen has gone one better—or weirder, depending on your point of view.
An intense focus on signing franchisees with a genuine appreciation for and love of pets has translated into steady growth for Camp Bow Wow, the doggy daycare and boarding franchise that last year opened 20 locations, more than double the previous year.