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February 2016

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In this issue

Brushing up on crucial vocabulary

This month’s vocabulary lesson, as gleaned from the rare “clean” entries on the Urban Dictionary site, includes: Special snowflake — a term for someone who believes she or he is different and unique.

The end of industrial chic?

You’ve seen it in your favorite restaurant, as well as the upscale grocery store around the corner. It’s lurking in Arby’s and Panera, but also surrounding you at breweries and tap houses: industrial chic. This design aesthetic that took over the world since the dawn of warehouse conversions (and Chipotle) appears to be on its way out.

Yogurt Stop attracts paparazzi crowd

What happens when Kim Kardashian, Richard Simmons and Leonardo DiCaprio walk into a yogurt store? If you’re Shoshana Joseph and Marta Knittel—owners of West Hollywood’s Yogurt Stop—your fledgling franchise gets major free press and street cred just when you need it.

Freddy’s namesake is ‘living brand’

From the classic diner design to the comfort food inside, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers radiates post-war optimism.

Pizza Press rides black-and-white wave

Living in the resort hinterlands surrounding Disneyland, Dara Maleki felt a lot of the local restaurants served up poor service and lackluster food with prices seemingly aimed at fleecing the throngs of tourists that flock to Anaheim, California. Even with no experience in the restaurant business, he felt he could do better, so he dreamt up a concept that could appease tourist-weary locals as well as mouse-eared visitors.

Zoup’s boss likes to rattle cages

When soup is the heart of your business, you can’t serve just the basics. That’s why founder Eric Ersher tries to keep dreaming up new soups, sometimes from the unlikeliest places.

Meaning in the middle for City Wide

As the dot-com bust slowed the economy at the end of the 1990s, Jeff Oddo noticed a significant opportunity for his facilities maintenance business as his clients began outsourcing ever more services to reduce their headcount of employees handling non-core functions.

The Tresslars’ need a bigger Closet

Collectively, brothers Chris and Tim Tresslar own 10 Plato’s Closets and two Style Encores. In their 15+ years in the recycled fashion biz, they’ve convinced six younger relatives and a few family friends to get into the same Winmark brands, and they offer a simple, but important piece of advice: Put a fresh face at the counter whom the young, primarily female customers can relate to.

Newcomb family poses a triple threat

It was long after the lunch rush, but Chris Newcomb still wasn’t comfortable taking up a booth in the Jackson, Mississippi, restaurant that bears his nickname, Newk’s. The reason was what James Patterson was holding in his hand—a camera. As Newcomb sat in the booth with an ahi tuna salad and a slice of pink cake in front of him as props, he raised and lowered his chin, looked away, looked at the camera just as Patterson, the photographer, instructed, but it was clear he wasn’t enjoying it, no matter how many times he reassured us he was fine.

Some QSRs bank on one-dish wonders

The Liege waffle. The Kolache. Tapioca. Franchises that focus on one food item gain props for being specialists. But they also risk exposure when tastes change or commodity prices rise. Here’s how to win in a fickle business.

‘Still here’ is refrain for Roy Rogers

After a recessionary pause, cowboy-themed Roy Rogers is back to growing its stable of franchises. But what to do when the younger set hasn’t heard of your eponymous Western movie star?

’18-hour’ cities emerge as hot spots

Forget the cities that never sleep. Many franchises are finding growth opportunities in a tier of towns just below the biggest, which don’t shut down after 5 p.m., but don’t keep going around the clock, either.

Mobile pay hits security speed bump

If you aren’t accepting mobile payments today, it’s likely you’re considering ways to embrace them in the near future. If you haven’t given it serious thought, don’t worry. Mobile payment is still very much in its infancy.

No robo-burgers yet for automators

The more than 3 million U.S. food workers are set to see some radical changes in the workplace as advanced robotics, sensors and artificial intelligence become affordable and even more efficient.

CEO: Del Taco can weather any shock

All of a sudden, Del Taco came on the public radar screen in 2015 as a company poised for national growth. The concept went public in a merger when a buyout company owned by long-time restaurateur Larry Levy sought a growth brand. The deal included $120 million in private equity to pay off debt.

Ireland is easy fit for franchisors

No need to kiss the Blarney Stone to get the gift of gab when heading to Ireland. The Irish don’t like hype, but they do appreciate negotiating with people they know and trust. So take the time to pop into the local pub to enjoy a pint of Guinness or cider with prospects.

Country profile: Everything about Ireland

Officially the flag colors have no meaning, but a common interpretation is: green represents the Irish nationalist (Gaelic) tradition; orange represents the minority supporters of William of Orange; white symbolizes a lasting truce between the nationalists and the Orange supporters.

Secret shoppers know what’s in your store

There’s nothing like reconnaissance to learn what goes on when nobody’s watching. Mystery shoppers provide this service, looking behind closed doors and reporting back.

Up your franchise game with a board

If your franchise system doesn’t have a board, you’re missing out on a critical opportunity to develop your business’s (and people’s) credibility and inspire confidence throughout the organization.

Watching your back at contract time

How do you draft a franchise agreement that fits the needs of your growing brand and train your salespeople not to make mistakes when selling it? The three bold entrepreneurs we’re following in this column all year have different strategies.

Report card on last year’s Living Large brands

We caught up with last year’s subjects of Living Large—Wild Wing Cafe, Bottle & Bottega and Executive Care—to see how well they reached their growth goals.

Executive Ladder

Fazoli’s promoted Doug Bostick to vice president of franchise services. He is responsible for franchise operations, as well as sales and development.

‘Drive-by’ lawsuits flatten thousands

A year later and Amy Rowland, co-owner of the Bulldog bar and restaurant in Minneapolis, still feels depleted. She forked over nearly $25,000, a sickening sum when owners have so many other uses for the money, to settle a claim that her business violated Title III of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the corresponding Minnesota statute—something she vehemently denies.

Taiwan packs an outsized punch

Author’s note: Because my colleague Tao Xu has been intensively engaged in franchise matters in Taiwan in recent days, I have asked him to utilize this space to give Franchise Times readers a glimpse into that interesting market. Here’s his view, direct from Taipei:

Fancy car put dreams in young man’s head

When he spotted his dad’s boss pulling up to their house in a new Corvette, the proverbial light bulb blinked on above young Charles Keyser’s head. It ended up sparking an entrepreneurial journey years later.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

Not fun for whole family, but maybe next best thing

Husband Doug and I have been married 28 years. The realization we probably shouldn’t work together full-time came earlier in our marriage when I was creating a valance for our window, and I asked him to help me hang it. That was probably 20 years ago, so I don’t remember exactly what was said, only that hanging a curtain amounted to much gnashing of teeth—too much for what the job really entailed.

Loose Ends

2015: a year of food imitating art and pictures worth a thousand bites

Last year my travels took me to some interesting places and revelations. For instance, I’m smarter than the average AMC movie goer, because I don’t need a sign to tell me not to flush my 3-D glasses down the toilet.
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