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


Mike Rotondo is the new CEO of Edible, joining the 1,200-unit company founded by Tariq Farid.

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. For Mike Rotondo, it sounded perfect. “I’ve been a huge fan of Edible for years. I’m a customer of them,” he says, using the new, shorter name for Edible Arrangements and recalling an encounter between himself and Edible’s founder, Tariq Farid, in February. “We shared a lot of that passion for the franchising industry and for franchisees, like being that advocate to help franchisees,” Rotondo said about his long relationship with Farid. “I said, this is for me. I’m supposed to go do this.” Now for the daunting part. “We have to get sales back on track. Comp sales are low at Edible. I’m all about sales and growth,” Rotondo says, adding he will push for “a reversal of where we are. We’ve got to reverse this trend and get back to positive and then some.” The biggest change for Edible will be a step into QSR, with fruit-based treats.

Poaching Probe

So much for summer vacation for the eight franchises targeted by 11 attorneys general in an investigation announced July 9 into anti-poaching clauses they may have in their franchise agreements. That’s the wry comment made by Carl Zwisler of Gray Plant Mooty in Washington, D.C., when reached July 11. He and partner Mark Kirsch say they are representing a number of franchise brands targeted in the probe, who will need to provide detailed answers to the attorneys general in 10 states and the District of Columbia. “It’s imposing a considerable cost on the companies that have to respond,” Zwisler said. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D), who is leading the probe, said, “No-poach agreements unfairly limit the freedom of fast-food and other low-wage workers to seek promotions and earn a better living.”

Fleet on Their Feet

North Carolina-based Fleet Feet, formerly Fleet Feet Sports, is overcoming headwinds in retailing by combining a rebranding effort with new features such as an app mimicking the millennial favorite Bitmoji. “Retail has never changed this fast before, but then again it’s also never going to change this slow again,” said CEO Joey Pointer of Fleet Feet’s efforts to not only stay relevant but also stay ahead. Part of this initiative is runMoji, an app they launched last October that includes running-specific quirks like port-a-potties and racing bibs.

“Running just has this unique culture,” said Pointer.

HFC’s New Home

Home Franchise Concepts prides itself on consistently training its franchisees, and with the move to new company headquarters in Irvine, California, the franchisor plans to further increase its level of support. HFC’s new 38,000-square-foot home office and franchisee support center, which it moved into in May, has more than double the space devoted to interactive product displays and state-of-the-art training, education and support facilities for its growing base of franchisees and employees. HFC’s three brands have more than 1,400 franchise territories operating in 10,000 cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Privacy Push

Your inbox is probably clogged right now with a bunch of emails asking you to read some new terms of service. This surge of really boring emails is the outcome of a landmark European decision to adopt a privacy framework called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. All those emails are part of a requirement that consumers opt in to new marketing. “A lot of users are not opting-in anymore,” said Josha Benner of Uberall. “They have a drop of 30 percent when people are opting in, so you lose a significant chunk of people.”

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