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Kitchen Royalty spotlights 5 franchise chefs who rule

Heidi Gibson works with cheese the way another artist might manipulate paint, pencils or paper. Creamy chèvre, Tillamook cheddar and subtle Havarti are her implements, among so many others.
08.21.2019

Pincho boss shares midnight donut order obsession in new Grab Bag Q&A

Who would play you in the biopic about your life? Probably Leonardo DiCaprio, for sure. I don’t know why. I love him in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ and his hustle as an entrepreneur.
08.21.2019

On the water with finance pro and sailboat captain Bob Solliday

Some people dream about retiring and then sailing into the sunset, but longtime franchise finance pro Bob Solliday is finding a way to build a second career of sorts on the high seas.
08.20.2019

Culver’s ‘zee diversifies with Blaze, in Multi-Unit Mindset

To provide opportunities for her people—and shift into a smaller footprint model—Dianne Mayer adds Blaze Pizza, keeping in mind the need to ‘show up every day’ as her portfolio continues to grow.
08.20.2019

Can Tom Garrett guide GPS Hospitality to $1 billion?

Tom Garrett is charting an impressive course at GPS Hospitality, thanks in part to top execs who answered his call and share his motivation to grow. Approaching $600 million in sales from 400-plus Burger King and Popeyes restaurants, GPS is on its way to a new target. Can Garrett guide it all the way?
07.25.2019

Refugee turned IHOP franchisee brings the hustle

Though she was among the youngest IHOP franchisees in the country when she opened her first New Jersey restaurant at 27, Adenah Bayoh’s business acumen was evident much earlier as a 6-year-old navigating the market in her Liberian village of Foya. Her grandmother sold bread at the market and “I’d carry it around in a basket on my head,” Bayoh says. “I had the idea to lower the price at the end of the day to get rid of inventory and my bread basket would be completely empty.”
07.25.2019

Kat Cole talks naps, eating bugs in new Grab Bag Q&A

Who would play you in the biopic about your life? I would hope Sandra Bullock. Reputationally she’s got a perception and she’s played roles of no bullshit and also lighthearted, so that seems fitting.
07.23.2019

‘Market your buns off’ says finance pro turned Modern Acupuncture ‘zee

When Shannon Tolbert, formerly a marketing exec with GE Capital Franchise Finance, decided to jump across the table and become a franchise owner, she quickly zeroed in on Modern Acupuncture and was set to buy a unit of the Scottsdale, Arizona-based emerging brand.
07.23.2019

Building leaders goal No. 1 for Mike Hamra, in Multi-Unit Mindset

A focus on unit-level leadership helps Mike Hamra turn lemon locations into superstars. And when it comes to acquisitions, ‘you have to see a way to enhance value,’ he says.
07.23.2019

New CEO believes now is Greene Turtle’s ‘time to shine’

Geo Concepcion, the newly named president and CEO of Greene Turtle, had strong bragging rights from his tenure as COO at Famous Dave’s. “I helped them with three new prototypes, two full-service and one fast-casual, and then I led the third-party delivery” effort at the barbecue brand.
07.22.2019

Deka Lash attracts cast of characters

John Bianco answers the phone in his thick Brooklyn accent—“How ya doin?’”—and the Deka Lash franchisee in New Jersey sounds exactly like his memorable character in “The Sopranos,” Gerry Torciano.
05.28.2019

No sneaking in for Del Taco operator, in Multi-Unit Mindset

In going from worst to top of the system, Paul Hitzelberger put focus on the guest experience and building a team through real incentives.
05.28.2019

Gina Rivera is the maven behind the mohawk of Phenix Salon Suites

How a high school dropout with 27 hairdressers in her family built Phenix Salon Suites, a 250-unit franchise that gives salon professionals their own space and all the respect founder Gina Rivera believes they deserve.
04.23.2019

Doctor by day focuses on finance, in Multi-Unit Mindset

Cousins Subs deal is latest for a multi-concept franchisee who uses cash flow and growth potential to evaluate concepts. Ultimately, he says, success is all about the people.
04.23.2019

From surf bum to SoBol founder, in The Boss

Tell me about your upbringing? I grew up in the town my parents went to school in, which is good and bad, South Shore Long Island. My mom is a big cooker. My grandparents, big cookers. My mother got that from them and passed it to me.
04.22.2019

Checkers operator hires all the time, reports Multi-Unit Mindset

Performance reviews are a one-pager at a Checkers franchisee operation that numbers 15 stores, and feedback goes both ways, with employees commenting on management and the other way around.
03.25.2019

The Boss: From The Wallflowers to growth at LemonShark Poke

Tell me about your upbringing. My parents got divorced when I was three. My mother had four kids to raise on her own, and finished her master’s degree at Berkeley with us four kids. I didn’t really see this as a big family tragedy. I got sort of an independent spirit. One of my childhood friends, my closest friend, was Richard Gottlieb. We met in third grade, and he’s my partner today in this poke business.
03.20.2019

Difficult recovery inspires Pilates ProWorks

It’s not every day a plane crash is the start of a happy story, but surviving a horrible accident in Colombia years ago began Oscar Sanin’s quest to build a better Pilates machine and, years later, the Pilates ProWorks franchise system.
02.25.2019

Founder is gung-ho about Dryer Vent Wizard

Dave Lavalle, the founder of Dryer Vent Wizard, has more enthusiasm than you can possibly imagine for cleaning your home’s dryer vent. First, there’s the dark and stormy angle: clogged vents can be terribly dangerous, causing 2,900 house fires, $35 million in properly damage and an estimated five deaths and 100 injuries each year according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
02.25.2019

Panera founder Ron Shaich acts as ‘Sherpa’ to operators

Summiting Mount Everest is a daunting feat that few achieve alone. Most climbers rely on someone who has been there, someone who knows the route and how to avoid the many pitfalls.
02.25.2019

Forced out of Liberty Tax Service, founder John Hewitt will try again

John Hewitt is poised to launch his third tax prep franchise from scratch after the other two brands he founded, most recently Liberty Tax Service where his alleged actions wreaked havoc, pushed him out in a chaotic mess. Can the man who sold 5,000 units, which he figures has ‘got to be the top 10 in the world,’ gain franchisees’ trust and do it all over again?
01.24.2019

Convert to craft beer taps Beerhead Bar

For Krupal Patel, it was a can of Daisy Cutter Pale Ale. Dry, with notes of citrus, papaya and mango, that beer, from Chicago brewery Half Acre, set Patel on a course that’s led him to home brewing and, more recently, to becoming a franchisee of Beerhead Bar & Eatery.
01.24.2019

Jollibee’s all in for Smashburger makeover, says CFO Brad Reynolds

As Jollibee Foods moves into the driver’s seat, CFO Brad Reynolds expands his influence on Smashburger’s coming rebirth. ‘We have the right scar tissue,’ he says, and so plans to never make the same mistakes again.
01.24.2019

Everything’s local for Jersey Mike’s ‘zee

An operating partner program helps Matt Patterson attract and retain talent, but one rule holds for all. ‘You gotta start by sorting tomatoes,’ he says.
01.24.2019

Taking ramen to world is Chef Orkin’s new challenge

Serving delicious, slurpable noodles in two Manhattan restaurants is one thing. Bringing them to the masses via a franchised chain is another. Ivan Orkin, known as Ivan Ramen from Netflix’s ‘Chef’s Table,’ will try to make it work with backing from the new Corlex Capital.
12.19.2018

Ripken’s a home run for Roy Rogers

Cal Ripken Jr. fielded dozens and dozens of questions during the past year as part of his marketing partnership with Roy Rogers, including these: Who’s the hardest pitcher you’ve ever faced? How do you hit a 100-mile-an-hour fastball? Should Pete Rose be allowed in the Hall of Fame?
12.19.2018

Looking for her next Jamba Juice

In a $200-million take-private deal completed in September, Focus Brands added Jamba Juice to its collection of concepts that already included Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill and others. For Marie Perry, the acquisition marked the culmination of more than two years’ worth of work to reinvigorate a Jamba Juice brand she says hadn’t evolved with changing consumer preferences.
12.19.2018

Operator sticking to Sonic for life

After nearly 50 years in the Sonic brand, Ricky Davis runs stores that exceed the company average in sales volume, even in small towns. One way he keeps customers coming: Make sure the juice is running down their elbows.
12.18.2018

Meet the restaurant Medicis of Salt Lake City

There’s a restaurant renaissance happening in a suburb of Salt Lake City. Much like the wealthy Medici family that bankrolled some of the greatest Renaissance artists, Four Foods Group is empowering early-stage restaurant concepts to become the next Leonardo da Vinci of fast-casual or Michelangelo of sandwich sculptors.
10.30.2018

‘New franchise. McDonald’s. Call Ray Kroc.’

Ken Lopaty was fresh out of the Army in the 1950s and playing poker with a few friends. They wanted “to go into this new thing called McDonald’s and they needed a third partner. They wanted $2,000 and I didn’t have $200,” the 88-year-old man recalls today from his seven-store operation in California.
10.30.2018

TCBY neophyte now up to 22 stores

Sam Batt is a believer in TCBY, where he signed on when the brand and he both turned 30. He relies on a rockstar manager and a ‘discovery day’ for new hires to make sure they fit the store and vice versa.
10.30.2018

‘Pick up the phone and take the heat’—advice from Pure Barre chief, in The Boss

Tell about your upbringing and education. I have one older sister, grew up in Orlando. I was a latchkey kid back when that was legal. I was 3 when my dad got back from Vietnam and they divorced. My mother was the head secretary of the whole bus authority. She bought her own house in 1977. We were proud of her.
10.29.2018

Detroit’s comeback story has a Twist

Michelle Lewis says luck has had a lot to do with her success operating Painting with a Twist franchise locations in Michigan but she adds, “that luck is also coupled with pursuing the opportunity at hand.”
09.25.2018

Everything matters to Wingstop operator, in The Boss

Tell me about your upbringing. I grew up in Brownsville, which is about as far south as you can go in Texas. Born and raised. I have one sister. I grew up in a single parent home with my mother who was in the real estate business, and that’s a pretty tough business.
09.25.2018

For Gigi’s founder, seller’s remorse

“It’s been really hard. You birth a baby and you put it into someone’s hands and you trust them,” said Gina Butler, the founder of Gigi’s Cupcakes who sold 100 percent of her cupcake chain to a private equity firm in June 2016.
09.25.2018

Trial, error helped Learning Experience operator

Running three locations in the first six months was a lesson in experimentation for new operators at The Learning Experience. Now their mantra is to empower their employees and ‘get the heck out of the way.’
09.25.2018

Kitchen Royalty: 5 reigning chefs in franchising

Chefs at independent restaurants are all the rage these days, attaining celebrity status, trotting the globe and hosting their own shows while they delight diners who flock to their celebrated kitchens. But we know plenty of great chefs are working in franchising, too, driving culinary innovation that can lead to a dizzying number of people trained in their methods and a multiplied portion of the masses who can enjoy top-notch food for a generally dialed-down price. In our new Kitchen Royalty package, planned as an annual feature, we shine the light on five of these innovators whose work is coming to a franchised restaurant near you.
08.22.2018

These finance chiefs are stewards of growth

Last month we published the Restaurant 200, our annual ranking of the largest franchisees who posted another year of eye-popping growth. This month we talked to four of their standout chief financial officers to find out how they’re driving their companies forward.
08.21.2018

Dad’s guinea pig’ now helms Learning Rx in The Boss

Tell about your upbringing. I grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, a little college town. I’m the oldest of five kids. I was my dad’s guinea pig. He taught me how to read with flashcards when I was 2. I was kind of an experiment.
08.21.2018

No troughs for Rent-A-Center owner

With 76 Rent-A-Centers and two Carstar units in eight states, this operator believes in diversification. He likes industries that may not have huge growth spurts but they also don’t have many valleys.
08.21.2018

Into the Zen Den at Modern Acupuncture

Dr. Stephen Gubernick operates a busy location of The Joint in Scottsdale, Arizona, but found himself referring his chiropractic patients elsewhere for acupuncture, something his franchise doesn’t offer. He even had a clever name for the new acupuncture clinic he wanted to open: It would be called The Point, referring to the ancient Chinese practice of pricking patients’ skin with 4-inch needles to gain health benefits, so The Joint and The Point would be side by side.
07.26.2018

One idea at a time for Chem-Dry pair, in Multi-Unit Mindset

At first they weren’t good at anything, claims the wife half of this husband-and-wife Chem-Dry operation, but then they learned their strengths. If all else fails, there’s always pie.
07.26.2018

Executive Ladder

After spending time in the Air Force, teaching high school in Chicago and operating a coffee shop, Dustin Jones found his passion at Dream Vacations. “After I went on my first cruise, I realized I love this industry,” said Jones. Jones’ history in training and education will combine well in his new role as vice president of engagement. Since joining in 2011, he has worked his way up from training specialist to managing the support team and training at the travel agency franchise.
07.24.2018

‘Patience is not my virtue,’ says uBreakiFix prez

I grew up in South Florida. I’m one of four children, and rushed through school as quickly as I could. I graduated on the same day with my associate’s degree and my high school diploma, then to college. Both my parents were the opposite of entrepreneurs. They worked the same jobs my entire life, 9 to 5. They commuted over an hour to work every day, and retired from the jobs they were in when I was born. Things were pretty predictable.
07.24.2018

The mad scientist of Smashburger

Tom Ryan wasn’t interested in being CEO of the Smashburger brand he co-founded in 2007, but as he rolls up in his BMW X6, impeccably dressed and with a full tank of confidence, it seems he was born ready for this role—and this interview. Ryan’s impressive resume precluded his arrival at the restaurant. With a Ph.D. in flavor and fragrance chemistry and the inventions of the McGriddle and Stuffed Crust Pizza under his belt, he looked more like a flashy executive than a food science savant that’s the bedrock of his career.
05.23.2018

Farm hand, railman, bankrupt—and then Findley bet on Curves

I grew up in a little small town in Texas. I had 23 people in my graduating class, and I married one of them. I worked for a custom farmer for years, driving combines and building fence. We learned, I think, a very, very strong work ethic.
05.23.2018

British Swim operator stays in lane

A fast growth pace, including a new store in another city, proved a problem for a British Swim School operator. He put renewed focus on profitability and is now back on track.
05.23.2018

Claim your life, urges Budget Blinds’ CEO

Eight years ago Shirin Behzadi was recovering from surgery to remove a life-threatening brain tumor. During a rehabilitation process that took two years, Behzadi had to learn to walk again, to speak and, as she tells it, to take ownership of her life and help others do the same.
04.24.2018

Straight talk from Erbert’s operator

Aubrey Janik is wise beyond her years. Just two years after opening her first Erbert & Gerbert’s location in Plano, Texas, the 23-year-old franchisee has pushed pause on her ambitious five-year business plans to instead create The Franchise Blueprint, an online video-based franchise training course that helps other beginning franchisees avoid some of the frustrating mistakes that often cost newbies precious time and mental anguish.
04.24.2018

'It’s OK to dream big’ says Goalz boss

Franchise exec turned franchisee Shawn Eby has big plans to develop hundreds of locations with American Development Partners. His main goal: helping 100 employees become owners
04.24.2018
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