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Another socko event

How Chicago WFN\'s hopsitality bowled me over


PR mavens Sherri Fishman, left, and Rhonda Sanderson with IFA's Scott Lehr, ready to bowl. Perhaps, my ball handling skills are why my score's low.

Receiving socks at franchise events must be a Chicago tradition. After the panel presentation concluded at the International Franchise Association’s Women’s Franchise Network event in Chicago, Debra Vilchis, vice president of Fishman PR, presented the women wearing opened-toed shoes with a pair of socks.

Debra knew that most women would show up for the networking event sockless, and she wanted no excuses when it came to the evening’s entertainment.

Actually, the promise of bowling was the impetus to change my return flight in late May, just so I could attend. The WFN organizers rescheduled their meeting to coincide with the National Restaurant Association’s annual show in order to attract more attendees, including IFA President Matt Shay.

Since I was there to bowl, I surrounded myself with some elite bowlers: Scott Lehr, IFA vice president of marketing and development; Sherri Fishman, head of Fishman Public Relations; and Rhonda Sanderson, founder of Sanderson & Associates. I was secretly hoping Scott would be called into official duty to mediate as the two most powerful women in franchise PR competed in bowling, but much to my disappointment they were not only cordial to each other, they were friendly.

The trouble with teaming up with such social people is that no one wanted to sit on the bench and wait their turn to bowl. Scott, who had four strikes in a row—including two strikes when the center pin was red, thus earning him a free bowling party for 14—left after every frame to go talk to some guys in the back. But at least he completed two frames at a time. Rhonda would roll one ball and then sit down to continue her conversations. I had to constantly remind her she was still up. At one point, she even turned to me and said, “You’re really starting to tick me off” or words to that effect. I couldn’t believe it. “I am holding this team together, sister,” I retorted. Rolling her eyes, she threw her second ball, picking up the spare. I refused to high-five her. My huffiness only lasted seconds, however, because she instructed me to forego the house wine and add a glass of the premium stuff to her tab.

Only Sherri was into the game with me. But then, she’s married to someone who at one time owned his own bowling shoes.

None of us would want our bowling scores shared here, but I will divulge that Scott was the big winner. Actually, Sherri was the winner because Scott gave her his voucher for the free bowling party for her sons.

As I walked the two blocks back to my hotel, I reflected that bowling is not my sport. Neither is golf, although I play on two leagues during Minnesota’s nice weather. However, if I could reverse the two scores and use my bowling score as my golf score, and vice versa, that bowling party for 14 would have been mine.

Teen Taxi—a new driving force in franchising

There is only one reason—besides not having any money—that I don’t own my own business. I’m not a risk-taker. But that doesn’t stop me from having great ideas for other people. I came up with my latest franchise opportunity after my trip to Chicago for the National Restaurant Show, where every cab driver talked nonstop on their cell phone. In their haste to dump me at my destination, grab my cash and depart, they were not the most cautious drivers in the world, either.

Nancy Weingartner, Managing Editor

Nancy can be reached at 612-767-3207 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com

What a great franchise environment for my concept: Teen Taxi. Tell a teenager she—or he—can talk on their cell phones the entire time they’re at work, plus drive recklessly and scare parental look-alikes, and you’ll have every teen in town looking for employment.

The only downside is the insurance costs and the death toll.

Alcohol doesn’t kill people, people kill alcohol

Nothing should surprise me anymore, but one booth at the restaurant show took my breath away. It was promoting Alcohol Killer, for “all those who want to enjoy moments of careless fun (and) don’t want to suffer the unpleasant consequences of excessive alcohol consumption,” such as “residual alcohol in their blood.” Hmmm, could we be talking about trying to avoid DUIs on the way home from the bar?

The headline on their flier read: “Waaan allkkahool kilaaa, presse.” The translation for those not familiar with the way a drunk speaks was printed below in parenthesis—(“One Alcohol Killer, Please).

The product is from Austria and imported by a company based in Cleveland. Their Web site is www.alcoholkiller.com.

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