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Two Men and a Truck Helps Evacuate Wildcats in Oregon

It was easily the strangest moving request Eric Tremble’s ever received. “We typically don’t transport anything live,” the GM of a Two Men and a Truck franchise quipped.

Expect More Pickup Cubbies Next Year

Under a new licensing agreement and with the backdrop of low-contact restaurant operations persisting indefinitely, the restaurant industry will likely have a lot more pickup cubbies starting next year.

National Restaurant Association Urges Action to Stop Mass Closures

The National Restaurant Association put out a dire warning that scores of restaurants were set to close without congressional help.

Authority Brands Acquires Monster Tree Service, Expanding Home Service Portfolio

Authority Brands acquired Monster Tree Service in 90 days, marking the sixth brand addition since October 2018 and Authority’s eighth brand in its home service portfolio.

Saladworks Bets Growth on Sally, the Robotic Saladmaker

Saladworks recently partnered with Chowbotics and its robotic salad maker, Sally, which allows customers to build their own salads from 22 toppings in about 70 seconds. Eric Lavinder, vice president of development for Saladworks, says Sally is a key ingredient to growth for the salad franchise.

Restaurant Deal Trends to Watch

Merger and acquisition activity in franchising hasn’t stopped during the coronavirus pandemic—it just might look a little different.

Citing Pandemic, Sizzler USA Files for Bankruptcy

Sizzler, known for its cheap steaks and all-you-can-eat salad bar, is the latest restaurant chain to attribute its financial struggles to the coronavirus pandemic.

A Book-Lover’s Journey to Becoming Pizza Hut’s First Chief Equity Officer

Chequan Lewis’s first experience with Pizza Hut occurred as a child through their Book It! Program, which since 1984 has encouraged reading in schools nationwide by rewarding students who meet their reading goals with a free personal pizza. Now, Lewis is the brand's first chief equity officer.

Famous Dave’s Expands via Novel Co-Branding Model

A unique independent-franchise co-branding model could be a growth vehicle for Famous Dave's and help struggling casual operators.

Pinch A Penny's Sales Exec Enjoys New Industry's Challenge

A familiar face popped up in an unfamiliar place during reporting for the Franchise Times Top 200+ ranking—Michael Arrowsmith, a long-time restaurant development executive, is CDO at Pinch A Penny Pool Patio Spa.

Body Fit, F45 Fitness Franchises Spar Over Patents

Two fitness franchises born in Australia and now pursuing U.S. expansion—F45 Training and the much smaller Body Fit Training—are suing each other in a long-running dispute over technology and business strategy.

Mentor Program Puts Jersey Mike’s Manager in Owner’s Seat

Paola Portillo-Nolan opened her Jersey Mike's Subs store in Long Beach, California, earlier this month through the brand's STAY program and with the mentorship of multi-unit operator Alvaro Garcia.

Cheba Hut Tweaks Stores for Impending Pandemic Winter

As the restaurant industry returns to the generally slower winter months, Cheba Hut is making some updates to prepare for the first winter with COVID-19.

Collab With Regulators, Driver Training Group CEO Says

When the pandemic first hit, Joe Giammona, CEO of the Driver Training Group, sprang into action to work with Washington’s state government to establish web-based driver education, something the state had never allowed before, as well as virtual licensing.

Convenience, Ice Cream's Appeal Drive Bruster’s Growth

On solid footing heading into 2020, Bruster's Real Ice Cream braced for the worst with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this crisis is yielding far different results than the one more than a decade ago, said CEO Jim Sahene.

Mobile Concepts Are the Future, Kona Ice CEO Says

Since COVID-19 hit, Hawaiian shaved-ice brand Kona Ice started receiving more attention from national brands looking to launch their own mobile concepts, and CEO Tony Lamb welcomes the competition.

Pizza Guys Ready to Capitalize on Segment’s Popularity, Founder Says

Systemwide sales at Pizza Guys are up 30 percent over last year, said CEO Shahpour Nejad, with some restaurants seeing same-store sales jump as much as 80 percent. The 70-unit brand is pushing into Southern California and looking to grow in Oregon and Nevada.

Recovery Plateaus, but Delivery Grows in August

While restaurant results are slowly getting better, improving to the highest new levels since February, growth in August was fairly flat.

Fit20 Welcomes First Investment Partner, Army Veteran Raymond Kusch

Army veteran Raymond Kusch is Fit20 USA’s first investment partner and newest shareholder, as well as a member of the board of directors. Founded in the Netherlands, Fit20 features a 20-minute slow-motion workout once a week with a certified personal trainer.

Fransmart Taps Service, Retail Brands for Growth

Franchise development firm Fransmart announced two new brands as an initial foray into the service and retail side of franchising.

Claiming Abandonment, Quebec Operators Suing Edible Arrangements

Franchisees of five stores in Quebec are suing Atlanta-based Edible Arrangements, claiming the fresh-fruit bouquet franchisor has "totally abandoned them," according to the lawsuit.

Steak 'n Shake Auction of 15 Stores Shows Alternative Path

Fifteen corporate-owned Steak 'n Shake restaurants were set to sell September 3 via public auction, a process that can benefit sellers that fail to find buyers for troubled stores in the traditional way, said Harold Bordwin of Keen-Summit Capital Partners, the firm that handled the transactions with NAI Global.

Popeyes, Regis Corp. Announce Top Leadership Changes

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has a new brand president following the departure of Felipe Athayde to hair salon franchisor Regis Corp.

Digital Pickup Surges in the New Normal, Likely Beyond

In a world of mostly off-premises operations, drive-thrus are exceptionally busy, delivery is up but digital pickup may be the habit that sticks.

Safe From Spread Launches to Provide Workplace Sanitization

Franchising since May, sanitizing and disinfecting concept Safe From Spread has quickly grown to 17 franchisees operating nearly 40 territories. The company recently inked a contract with NBCUniversal for its operators to sanitize and disinfect locker rooms, studios and production trailers at NFL, PGA, LPGA and NASCAR events.

Pool Service Franchise Sees Spike During COVID-19

Pool Scouts, a residential pool cleaning and maintenance franchise, has seen a same-store network revenue increase of 74 percent during the pandemic as homeowners are spending more time in their pools, according to Pool Scouts president Michael Wagner.

Should Uber and Lyft Franchise? Yes and No

If Uber and Lyft roll out a "franchise-like" model in California to avoid classifying their drivers as employees, as the New York Times reported they were considering in August, would that be good for franchising? Yes, said one franchise leader. No, said another.

'Instant' Home Buying Gains Favor During COVID

The pandemic is speeding up the movement toward ibuying in residential real estate, in which institutional buyers use technology platforms to buy homes speedily and without seeing them in person. The "instant buying" trend is now being adopted by traditional real estate brokers, too.

Retro Fitness Franchisees Back in the Gym After COVID Closures

Finally able to welcome members back inside their gyms, Retro Fitness franchisees in New Jersey share how they navigated the prolonged COVID-19 closure.

Beauty Trends: Lash Franchises Benefit From ‘Eyelash Effect’

With pandemic mask mandates, beauty trends are changing as lipstick sales are dropping and mascara and eyelash-enhancing service sales are growing. Case in point: An Amazing Lash Studios ‘zee has seen a 46 percent spike in year-over-year client leads since COVID-19 began.

Pizza Inn Operator Battles Shutdown Orders in N.M. With 'Zor's Backing

Michael Moore, a Pizza Inn franchisee in Hobbs, New Mexico, spent the first week of August preparing to open for outdoor dining, going to considerable expense to put up a 30-foot-by-50-foot tent, outfitting servers and more. "We got it open," he said, on Friday, August 7. "We had a court order late that afternoon so we had to shut everything down."

The Core of New Taco Bell Prototype: Load-Balancing

The new, futuristic Taco Bell prototype is smaller, more digitally focused and primed for off-premises efficiency.

John Teza Joins Hand & Stone Massage as New President

Before coming to NRD Capital in 2017, John Teza spent 20 years on the operations side of the franchise equation at brands such as Jersey Mike’s and Quiznos. After three years largely spent building NRD’s technology portfolio, Teza made the leap back to a franchisor, joining Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa as president and chief development officer.

Clean Juice Franchise Founders Buy Freecoat, Plan More

The founders of Clean Juice, Landon and Kat Eckles, have made their first acquisition, buying the non-toxic nail salon Freecoat from its founder and planning a franchise rollout.

Koala Insulation Founder Shares Entrepreneur Journey

Scott Marr, founder of Koala Insulation, launched his first franchise concept, Fleet Clean USA, at 20 years old. Now 31, the entrepreneur shares his background, how he hated high school and that he’s “just not a spreadsheet guy.”

The Local Culinary Launches as First Ghost Kitchen Franchise

Putting 50 restaurant brands in one kitchen. That’s the model of The Local Culinary, launched last year in Miami and now franchising its delivery-only concept.

Transaction Data Shows Improving but Uneven Recovery

In a deep look at restaurant credit card data, Capital One shows that the recovery from COVID-19 is going well in some markets and some segments, but others continue to struggle.

Will Tech Torpedo the Human Element? FOD Panel Says No

The talk was all tech at the Restaurants of the Future panel at the virtual Food On Demand Conference last week. But Editor Tom Kaiser ended with a "sentimental" question for the panelists. Does all the technology take the human element out of the dining experience?

What the Experts Say About Restaurants in a Post-COVID World

In a wide-ranging conversation that hit on everything from leadership qualities and customer safety to the future of buffets and the value of drive-thru real estate, industry experts Greg Dollarhyde and Malcolm Knapp offered their take on what lies ahead for the restaurant business in 2021 and beyond.

Edward Logan Elected to Lead Sport Clips as CEO

The Sport Clips board of directors elected Edward Logan, son of founder Gordon Logan, to lead the brand as the franchise’s new chief executive officer.

Advice From Panera & Data Execs to Prep for Foodservice Future

Hear from Panera Bread and data executives on marketing, using data and how to prepare for the future of the foodservice industry.

McDonald's Suit Against Easterbrook Not Credible, Attorneys Say

McDonald's Corp. already had information on its servers about ex-CEO Steve Easterbrook's affairs with subordinates when agreeing last November to a separation package worth $57 million today, Easterbrook's attorneys said in a filing last Friday. They asked a judge to throw out McDonald's lawsuit filed August 10.

New Corporate Office Brings Taco John’s Closer to Franchisees

Taco John's suburban Minneapolis office is also a franchise support center, noted Jim Creel, and an extension of a collaborative culture he’s worked to revive with franchisees since taking over the chief executive post in August 2016.

FAT Brands to Acquire Johnny Rockets, Escape ‘Microcap Hell’

FAT Brands is set to acquire Johnny Rockets in a transformational deal for the concept and the company.

Largest 'Zees Buy Gyro Shack, Plan Franchise Reboot

Two investors who were also The Gyro Shack's largest franchisees, with four locations in Boise, Idaho, have purchased the brand and plan to restart a franchising program that foundered after a promising push beginning in 2015.

Shanghai Opening Marks Start of Pieology’s Growth in China

Pieology’s flex model, which gives franchisees more autonomy than is typical in a franchise system, was especially attractive to Ben Tsen and his TZG Partners as they sought a U.S. pizza brand to bring to China. It’s since proven vital to Pieology’s launch in Shanghai, where one restaurant is open in the Jing’an District and another will follow August 18.

Tracking the Shifting Expectations for Food Delivery

Executives from Gallup, Sense360 and ItsACheckmate discussed data and the shift in consumer expectations during a session at the Food On Demand Conference this week.

McDonald’s Board Under Fire After Reversal on Ex-CEO Severance

Back in April, CtW Investment Group issued a proposal urging shareholders to vote against the re-election of McDonald’s longtime board Chairman Rick Hernandez and its compensation committee Chairman Richard Lenny. The failed proposal is again shining light on the board’s decisions, now that McDonald’s Corp. sued Easterbrook alleging he lied about affairs with three additional employees and attempting to claw back a lucrative severance package.

Chili’s, DoorDash Detail Strides in Delivery Partnership

“At a time when most sit-down restaurants are wondering whether they’ll survive, we’re thinking about thriving like we haven’t in years,” said Steve Provost, chief concept officer for Chili's parent Brinker International. Provost and DoorDash's Toby Espinosa discussed their partnership during a session at the Food On Demand Conference this week.

Penn Station Transforms Comms to Combat Pandemic

Every restaurant company had to rethink core business operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. At Penn Station, that meant a radical communications pivot.
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