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August 2018

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In this issue

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.

A showy debut for King’s Bierhaus

Before there was King’s Bierhaus there was a car wash, which Philipp Sitter and his father, Hans, immigrants from Austria when Philipp was 6, opened outside of Houston. Soon they found it took too long to hand-detail the F250 pickup trucks that so many customers drove, so people would wait a bit but then drive away angry about the lines.

DP Dough ‘rock star’ is the real deal

A lot of companies like to call their employees rock stars. Cheryl in accounting might be great, but she’s no rock star. Jerry DePizzo at D.P. Dough, however, is a bona fide rock star.

Emerging brands look to reboot casual dining

Although some casual dining restaurants are down, other legacy brands are attracting younger guests and investing in technology. And four young brands are entering the segment in defiance of the naysayers.

We check out three meatless burgers so you don’t have to

Cheeseburgers are what Bobby Flay said he craves after a long night in the kitchen and that’s exactly what his newly franchised Bobby’s Burger Palace should stick to: all-beef burgers with American cheese. Forget the veggie burger; I wish I could.

Tough job for Edible’s new CEO, plus more from our bloggers

Here’s a daunting job description: Become the first CEO other than the legendary founder for a 19-year-old franchise involving fresh-cut fruit arrangements with more than 1,200 units. Reverse declining same-store sales and promote a new brand, launch a new prototype store and enter into an entirely new category of offerings.

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.

Breaking away from the cycle of blah

You could call it the perfect storm. On the one hand, casual dining franchises like Ruby Tuesday, Chili’s, Olive Garden and others have become commoditized to a point where consumers can hardly tell the difference between them, says Andrew Becks, chief operating officer of marketing agency 301 Digital Media.

Medical franchising starts second wave

Iatrophobia, or the fear of doctors, is a reasonable phobia given the pinpricks and backless gowns often faced in a doctor’s office. These same neuroses are similar to what’s kept so many facets of the American healthcare system controlled by the existing medical establishment, rather than opened up to the efficiencies that come from innovative smaller-scale providers.

Restaurant 200: Big operators show the power of scale

In the world of restaurant franchising, bigger is almost always better, as shown in our annual ranking of the 200 largest U.S. restaurant franchisees. Reasons vary, but “scale” usually tops the list.

Franchises made their investment case to financiers

Growth plans, average unit volumes, rebranding, redesigns and much more were on the agenda at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference. See full coverage at franchisetimes.com/conferences.

Is your storefront hot or not?

I’m surprised I haven’t given myself whiplash on one of my trips to New York City. There’s so much to look at, especially for an ADD-fueled reporter on assignment to document the best and worst storefronts in this wonderful megacity often called the capital of the world. I go into squirrel model taking pictures, peering inside windows, jotting down notes and trying to keep my perma-grin under control as I dart down sidewalks populated by aggressive pedestrians.

Catering player takes Wetzel’s into China

Fifty stores are planned in an ambitious entry to China, and Wetzel’s Pretzels is keeping an eye on the first store’s performance. Food safety will be one draw, believes the partner who will bring his ‘love’ of the brand to his native country.

Hong Kong provides easy Asian entry

With its red color that’s the same as that on the Chinese flag, representing the motherland, Hong Kong’s flag has a stylized, white, five-petal Bauhinia flower in the center. The flower was developed in Hong Kong in the late 19th century.

For employee matters, offer guidance not mandates

Providing HR support is tricky business for franchisors not wanting to stumble into a joint employer mess. This year’s three franchise brands all have their own way of acting as a resource—and still keeping their distance.

NEW! Popular Deal Tracker e-newsletter makes print debut

When Danny Grammenopoulos discovered CoreLife Eatery, he recalls saying to himself, “If they’re really doing what they say they’re doing, I want to meet them.”

Slapfish founder ‘never thought I’d be in lawsuits’

Andrew Gruel, founder and executive chef of Slapfish, has seen success with his young franchise he calls a modern seafood shack, with 13 locations open since selling its first franchise deal in 2013, 12 more slated to open this year and “we’ve got a lot more deals signed, over 150 in the pipeline,” he told me in an interview in May.

Internationalization of franchising not just a matter of opinion

The International Franchise Expo at the Javits Center in New York became once again the center of the franchising universe for three days at the beginning of June. All those who revolve in the orbit of franchising were there.

Lessons for franchises from Late Night

For three decades, Johnny Carson reigned as the King of Late Night on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” During the Carson years, CBS and ABC made attempts to compete with NBC’s star-studded program with shows like “The Merv Griffin Show” (1969–1972) and “The Pat Sajak Show” (1989–1990). But, the efforts were futile until NBC actually introduced the individual who would challenge the network’s position at the top.

Orangetheory operator fills gap in London

We’re a nation of slugs. The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, reports just 5 percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day and only one in three exercises enough. The Centers for Disease Control claim 93.3 million adults in this country (or roughly 40 percent) are obese. And we haven’t even mentioned children.

RBI sending Tim Hortons into China

Restaurant Brands International is heading to China with Tim Hortons. The multi-brand owner of Burger King, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Tim Hortons is taking the latter to the Chinese market in a big way.

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.

‘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.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

More than 200 reasons to read this issue—no joke

Awise man (or was it a man crackin’ wise?) once asked, “How do you make a million dollars in the restaurant business? Start with two million.” Boom. As we’ve all heard, it is tough to make money in restaurants. But there are folks out there who know how to do it right, and franchising has helped. How do I know this? Well for one thing, this issue highlights the Franchise Times Restaurant 200, the ranking of the top 200 restaurant franchisees based on sales.
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