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Title Boxing Prez Finds Courage to Lead

Teaching classes outdoors. Making Title On Demand temporarily free. Adding plexiglass barriers and face shields. These are among the tactics at Title Boxing Club to make it through the pandemic. But President Susan Boresow says the most important element is courage.

Eagle Merchant Partners Steps Into Code Ninjas

Eagle Merchant Partners is taking a stairstep approach to investing in Code Ninjas, its entry into the kids' education space. Poised to take a majority stake earlier this year, the private equity firm switched to a minority investment.

As PPP Winds Down, Other CARES Opportunities Shine

The historic Paycheck Protection Program was a lifeline for a lot of franchise business, but as the program ends on June 30, the COVID-19-era financing questions are changing to how to meet the program’s forgiveness rules and what other finance options are out there.

Tune Up Franchise Sues Texas as Governor Closes Bars

Tune Up, a chain of men's barbershops that defied lockdown orders in May, is suing Montgomery County, the state of Texas and Gov. Greg Abbott, asking the court to declare unconstitutional a series of executive orders issued since March 19 aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harbin Bids $760M for GNC Amid Chapter 11 Filing

GNC had about 1,000 franchises in the U.S. and 1,949 outside the U.S. in 2019. They'll have to get in line with other unsecured creditors to be heard during the bankruptcy process, said one expert.

Hand & Stone Sees Surge After Reopening, Despite High-Touch Services

Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa owners are seeing surges in appointment bookings at locations that hired back employees after furloughs and reopened, despite the obviously high-touch services offered.

Wingstop to Subdivide Territories, Explore Ghost Kitchens

While the COVID-19 crisis temporarily disrupted real estate operations, Dallas-based Wingstop is resuming its efforts to reach 6,000 locations, which will include a mix of traditional stores with dining rooms, delivery-only facilities in key neighborhoods and fortressing efforts to add new units in existing brand territories.

Court Upholds Force Majeure Defense for Missed Rent

A court held that government restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19 “qualify as a force majeure event and represent a valid reason” for non-payment of rent and other contractual obligations, according to an alert by law firm Marks & Klein. The case underscores the importance of the exact language in a lease.

Sales, Traffic Claw Back as Consumers Opt to Go Out

New data from across the restaurant industry is encouraging, but there is still a long way to go to get anywhere near normal.

Franchise Execs Talk Next Steps as Restaurants Reopen

The conversation turned personal on a Franchise Times webinar today about reopening the economy with three leading restaurant franchisors: Had those executives—of BurgerFi, Focus Brands and Checkers & Rally's—been back to dine in if their states were open? "No way, no how," said one.

COVID-19 a ‘Kick in the Butt’ for L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Like many restaurant franchises pushing to adapt quickly in the wake of the pandemic, Honolulu-based L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is working through its share of challenges. CEO Elisia Flores said franchisees' ingenuity has been paramount to its success.

School of Rock Launches Songwriting Program Amid COVID-19 Remote Learning

In-person performances at School of Rock are currently off the table due to the pandemic, but the franchised music school has added songwriting to its curriculum, including capabilities for students to record original songs and produce their own demos.

Leadership Lessons from 1-800-GOT-JUNK Founder

Brian Scudamore wrote the book on learning from failures in business—literally, as the founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK and the author of "WTF! Willing to Fail" explained in a recent interview full of humility. Those lessons are working overtime during the pandemic.

Subway Leans Harder on Delivery, Discounted Promotions

With fewer drive-thrus than some of its prime competitors, Subway has leaned hard on a third-party delivery strategy that is helping the mega-brand—with $16.2 billion in annual systemwide sales—post weekly sales gains after a year’s worth of work to roll out and integrate the four largest third-party delivery platforms into its corporate and in-store systems.

Restaurants Cram Years of Innovation Into 3 Months

During a day-long virtual event that included delivery, technology and restaurant experts, analysts from Cowen’s Restaurant & Food Technology Summit dove into the latest metrics showing where restaurants are heading after the worst impacts of the pandemic recede.

COVID-19 Forces Changes Large and Small in Zaxby’s 30th Year

Like a lot of franchise concepts, the 30-year-old Zaxby’s took a major hit in the COVID-19 pandemic, but the lessons learned only made it stronger.

The Joint Franchise Targets New Patients Slouching on Their Couch

Hey, you! Yes, you, slouching on your couch or worse yet draped over your bed while working from home. The Joint Chiropractic has a message and a free offer born from the pandemic.

How to Prepare for Franchisee Bankruptcies During COVID-19

“The unfortunate reality is some operators will not be able to weather the storm,” said James Wahl, an attorney at Lathrop GPM, during a discussion of how franchisors can prepare for franchisee bankruptcies during the coronavirus crisis. Which franchisees they want to keep in the system is a question many 'zors may need to answer.

Flexibility Act Loosens PPP Rules

More relief for businesses struggling through COVID-19 comes from the Federal Reserve.

Futuristic Health Tech Comes Closer Because of COVID-19

The move toward more digitally driven operations has been happening since the first digital calculator hit the market, but the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed restaurant operators to accelerate.

Lawsuit Against McD's Alleging Unsafe Workplace Is First in Flood

The first high-profile class-action lawsuit in franchising alleging unsafe workplace conditions during COVID-19, brought by five Chicago McDonald's workers and four of their family members, passed its first hurdle for the plaintiffs yesterday. A flood of such cases is expected, legal experts say.

CA Owners Blast 7-Eleven Alleging 'Unjust Mandates'

A letter to California's attorney general criticizes SEI, the franchisor of 7-Eleven convenience stores, for "unfair actions" against franchisees during COVID-19 and calls for an investigation of "SEI's unjust business mandates."

Private Equity Becomes Adviser First During COVID-19

Private equity owners are showing why industry specialization is so important.

PrideStaff, Uptown Cheapskate ‘Zees Grateful for Franchise System

As the unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent in April due to the pandemic, Amy Linn saw the impact first hand as a longtime franchisee of PrideStaff. The national staffing agency won the Franchise Times 2020 Zor Award in the employment/staffing category. This week, we checked in with past winning brands to learn how franchisees are navigating the pandemic and adapting to the new normal.

Experts on Rethinking, Reimagining & Reopening Your Restaurant

What’s been working for restaurants already open, and what’s in store for the future? Hear from Lazy Dog Restaurants, CapitalSpring and Hub International on operations, technology, guest flow and more.

For Retirement Play, Father Joins Daughter in Dogtopia

John Ledbetter spent 30 years with Liberty Mutual, serving large, commercial customers in insurance, risk management and crisis management. Now he owns a Dogtopia franchise in The Woodlands, Texas, north of Houston, with his daughter as operations manager. "It has been an incredible ride," he said, in this week's series of articles revisiting brands that won Franchise Times Zor Awards honors.

Nonstop Cleaning Part of Another Broken Egg Operator’s Strategy

Jake Alleman, who as co-founder of Cojak Investments operates eight Another Broken Egg Cafes in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, says a retraining phase "hugely focused on safety," has helped his restaurants reopen. Another Broken Egg was chosen in 2018 as a Franchise Times Zor Awards winner, and this week we're checking in on some of those brands to see how their franchisees are navigating the pandemic.

COVID-19 ‘Shifted’ Business for Toppers Franchisee

Toppers was named a Franchise Times Zor Awards winner earlier this year, and this week we’re checking in with some of those brands to learn how their franchisees are navigating the pandemic.

Paul Davis ‘Zee Deploys Resources to Help Limit Spread of COVID-19

Ofelia Lucas, a United States Air Force veteran, invested in Paul Davis Restoration in April 2015 and has become a top-performing franchisee. But in March, sales at her Miami location dropped 25 percent—even with Paul Davis being classified as an essential business during COVID-19 shutdowns. We’re checking in this week with past Zor Awards winners to learn how franchisees are navigating the pandemic.

Reopening a ‘Double-edged’ Sword, Says Pinot’s Palette ‘Zee

“January and February of this year were actually the best two months we’ve ever had, so yeah, it’s a little heartbreaking,” said Pinot's Palette franchisee Cherisse Lockerd, whose studio in Tustin, California, has been closed since March 15. Pinot’s Palette in 2017 was named a Franchise Times Zor Awards winner, and this week we’re checking in with some of those brands to learn how their franchisees are navigating the pandemic.

Fellow Operators Help Right at Home 'Zee Navigate COVID

A "profit mastery group," consisting of about a dozen fellow franchisees located up and down the East Coast, has been a lifeline for Ken Helmuth, a Right at Home franchisee. Franchise Times in 2019 named Right at Home a Zor Awards winner, our annual project identifying 10 best brands based on operator profitability. This week, we're revisiting some of those brands to see how their franchisees are navigating the pandemic.

CorePower Yoga Lawsuit One to Watch for Failed M&A Deals During COVID-19

Litigation is swelling from deals whose failure is being blamed on COVID-19, and how the Delaware Chancery Court rules on a CorePower Yoga franchisee lawsuit against the franchisor will be key to future cases.

Franchise Finance After the Dust Settles—Wrap-Up Webinar

Sale-leasebacks of real estate, mergers & acquisitions, credit availability and other finance topics are the focus of a webinar today presented by Franchise Times, Restaurant Finance Monitor, Food on Demand and Foodservice News.

Traffic Surges in Some Sectors, but Year-Over-Year Trends Dismal

As many more states plan to reopen in some capacity, the data from those that took the lead is not exactly encouraging.

What to Do When Franchisees Defy Shutdown Orders

Tune Up-The Manly Salon's CEO Anthony Milton led his system in defiance of the governor's order in Texas that shut down barbershops longer than other businesses. Many attorneys recommend franchisors take swift action against such violations, as happened with an Anytime Fitness operator in Texas and a Rosati's store in Illinois.

Here’s How 3 Franchises Approach Data Privacy During COVID-19

From taking temperatures to screening questionnaires, execs from The Lash Lounge, Dave’s Hot Chicken and BrightStar Care share how they’ve approached the issue of data privacy as they’re implementing safety technology during COVID-19.

As Restaurants Reopen, Employee and Guest Safety Comes First

'Learning' is the operative word for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, and attendees of today’s Franchise Times webinar were able to learn from panelists as they discussed the new normal in hiring and keeping employees safe.

Tips for Welcoming Back Restaurant Staff and Customers

As states start allowing dining rooms to reopen, how do restaurant owners keep employees and customers safe? Here are best practices and tips from industry experts on getting back to business.

As Freddy’s Reopens Dining Rooms, Off-Premises Focus Remains

While its drive-thrus remain a crucial way for customers to access Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, the brand also quickly shifted what was a limited test of third-party delivery at a couple dozen locations to a full-fledged rollout across the system. A new mobile ordering initiative is also in the works.

What’s Working for Franchise Off-Premises During COVID-19?

States are reopening, but major challenges persist for all restaurants out there, maintaining the need for strong delivery and off-premises operations.

Pet Adoption Increase Will Mean Rise in Business, Says Hounds Town CEO

Pet fostering and adoption have increased significantly during COVID-19, but as folks are slowly returning to work, pet care franchise Hounds Town USA expects to see a rise in business.

Massage, Salon Franchises Discuss Reopening Plans

Like the entirety of this pandemic, which for most businesses has been a dizzying series of adjustments, the process of reopening storefronts is anything but straightforward. For those brands operating in beauty and wellness segments where close contact is unavoidable, turning the salon lights back on takes careful consideration.

Experts on How Franchises Should Market to Consumers During a Pandemic

Experts from ad agency OBI Creative and loyalty program tech company Poln8 offer best practices to franchises on how to market smartly yet sensitively to anxious customers during a pandemic.

Franchises Scramble to Rehire Amid Employee Fears

Talk about whiplash. Wisconsin-based Cousins Subs immediately went into reopen planning mode, said President Jason Westhoff, after the state's Supreme Court struck down the governor's stay-at-home mandate May 13.

Children's Lighthouse Franchise Uses Airplane Theory in Crisis

The "airplane theory"—place the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others—is guiding Children's Lighthouse execs through the pandemic, said Stephanie Russ, vice president and general counsel.

Positivity, not Panic, Helps Propel Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

“We’re not going to panic,” said President Mel Knight, referring to a guiding principle in place at Fuzzy's Taco Shop throughout the crisis. “We chose to not focus on the negative. A negative for us is we don’t have drive-thrus,” so the franchise immediately set a goal of identifying a new idea to execute around its off-premises operations every three to five days.

Boston Market Buyer Is Cricket Booster, P.M. Modi Fan

Jay Pandya spent the days after buying Boston Market, the rotisserie chicken restaurant chain that has seen fatter times, in a mad dash to get stores open again.

Calming Words, Quick Moves by American Family Care CEO

Dr. Bruce Irwin, CEO of American Family Care, is rolling out a new service for his chain of urgent care clinics: rapid testing for the novel coronavirus or its antibodies for employers. That's just one of a handful of moves quickly implemented since March that has put the franchise front and center in providing healthcare during the pandemic.

Getting Back to Work: Hand Scanners and Social Distancing Apps

As states and companies begin to reopen and employees head back to work, brands are coming up with creative solutions to safety issues. Dave’s Hot Chicken has implemented a new technology called PathSpot that scans hands to make sure they’ve been washed properly. New York-based consulting firm From, The Digital Transformation Agency, has developed a social distancing app that alerts employees if they’re within six feet of each other.

Discovery Days Go Virtual as Brands Keep Up Development

LunchboxWax is still in development mode, quickly adjusting to host a virtual discovery day in April that yielded two multi-unit deals: a five-pack in Detroit and a three-pack in Sacramento, California, both new markets. Restaurant franchise Checkers & Rally's also recently signed four new franchisees after its version of a virtual candidate day.
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