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January 2018

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In this issue

How Orangetheory and 39 more brands drive smart growth

‘Kinda crazy’ is how CEO Dave Long describes the pace of franchise sales at Orangetheory, the top brand on this year’s Franchise Times Fast & Serious list. With unit sales rocketing 218 percent over the past three years, one recent week brought 11 gym openings. But with a solid foundation learned at Massage Envy and honed when he paused franchise sales in 2012 to beef up training materials, Long is setting up the franchise to last. Learn his growth strategies, plus those of 39 franchise execs who are intent on growing quickly but only in ways that can last.

NEW! FT Undercover gets the skinny on 3 brands

The good news at Orangetheory, the No. 1 brand on our Franchise Times Fast & Serious list this month, is each participant’s heart rate is displayed on screens for all to see, with the goal being to get in the “orange zone,” or 85 percent of maximum heart rate, as quickly as possible and stay there.

Four C-Suiters—from Taco Bell, Toppers Pizza, Honeygrow and Naf Naf—talk shop

Liz Williams talks global expansion. Toppers Pizza’s founder looks for a ‘genetic defect’ in his franchisees. Naf Naf is ready to franchise. Honeygrow’s founder tells how to attract capital. Four C-Suiters sat down with FT at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference.

How to make vertical work, by The Urbane Franchisor

Big cities are dusting off old playbooks by once again building multi-level shopping centers in central business districts as suburban malls continue grinding through their Amazon-induced identity crisis.

NEW! ‘The Boss’ gleans lessons from franchise leaders

What was your upbringing? I grew up in Palm Springs, and never planned to go back to Palm Springs. There’s nothing to do. We played in the dirt and dug holes and rode our bikes all over. My father was a pilot for Continental and my parents got divorced when I was 6 or 7. They were a pioneer with divorce.

Bobby Flay details franchise plan for new burger concept

Mesa Grill, Gato, Bar Americain. These are some of the restaurants Bobby Flay has opened in his decades-long culinary career and, as he describes them, “they’re all high-end,” with per-person check averages hovering around $60. But it’s Flay’s love for a greasier, cheesier—and cheaper—menu item that inspired the concept he’s grown to 17 restaurants and counting.

At Isla Ora, pizza with a social twist

Isla Ora offers hand-crafted, affordable pizza with quality ingredients all cooked in less than three minutes in a small-format location. Anyone thinking, “Not another fast-casual pizza concept,” fret not, it’s not popping up in the U.S. just yet. The brand is growing where few of the largest brands have any presence: the Philippines.

Koreatown B-Dubs bridges old divide

Some people might see a location in Koreatown, remember the Watts riots and stay away. Two Buffalo Wild Wings operators in Los Angeles saw an opportunity to help heal old wounds.

Muscle Maker Grill tries populist debut

T-shirts, signs and pop-up ads to promote an initial public offering? Muscle Maker Grill is using those populist tools and others to promote its initial public offering under a new option known as Reg A+ or a mini-IPO.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s operator tries for Cheers effect

A chance to own 25 percent of a Beef ‘O’ Brady’s started Aaron Carricato’s path to five units. He’s returning the favor, giving loans to promising GMs to become part owner.

Gyms venture beyond the treadmill

The fitness industry now stands at $31 billion, and the franchise model is taking a healthy chunk of that. That share, however, is getting sliced and diced with every next-wave fitness concept that hits on some of the biggest trends.

Future uncertain, R Taco keeps calm, carries on

The street taco concept’s acquisition by Buffalo Wild Wings in 2014 was seen as a gift, but then activist investors came knocking, culminating in the recent sale to Roark Capital. R Taco is soldiering on amid the tumult.

Focus Brands stays flexible as it grows snack concepts

There’s no one-size-fits-all model for Focus Brands as international expansion continues for Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon. Instead it’s about adjusting to the local market—and the local challenges—to offer an indulgent snacking experience.

In China, food dominates, rules complicate

Each component of the red flag with its large yellow star and four smaller yellow stars has a meaning. The color red symbolizes revolution, while the stars symbolize the four social classes—the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie (capitalists)—united under the Communist Party of China.

In Living Large, three new brands aim to beat odds in hopeful start

We’ll follow DMK Burger Bar, Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders and Digital Doc throughout the year as these emerging brands tackle the challenges of franchising. Up first: getting the model right.

‘I’ll be watching you,’ a Sting chorus, sounds too familiar to 7-Eleven ‘zees

Every year, 7-Eleven Inc. holds a giant convention and trade show meant to “recognize and celebrate our franchisees” at what’s called the 7-Eleven Experience. This year, the presidents of all 43 franchisee owners associations voted unanimously to skip the event, planned for February, and want the 6,700-plus members they represent to stay away, too.

In a country not full of franchises, time to re-think business model?

In early October, I flew Down Under to attend the International Bar Association’s annual conference. When I walked out of the Sydney Airport, I was greeted by a huge billboard advertising a pickup truck made by a Chinese car maker, Shanghai Automotive International Group (the joint venture partner of Volkswagen and GM in China, which never franchised its dealer network).

Gooooaalll! or its tragic opposite— how to score more points in 2018

Anyone familiar with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, knows that Italy is one of the most decorated international soccer teams in the world. So it shocked the world when, for the first time in nearly 60 years, the four-time world champions did not qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Freddy’s operator keeps kids close, while cappuccino fuels CC Holdings

Some business-owning families band together out of necessity. Others, like the Youngs of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, do so to keep family together. The franchise “was a great vehicle for my kids to help me grow a business—and to keep them close to home, selfishly speaking,” concedes dad Mike, a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchisee since 2014 “We are now the epitome of a family-owned business.”

Executive Ladder

Jersey Mike’s named Brian O’Hagan vice president of sales. Nestlé Toll House Café hired Rudy Frederico as vice president of franchise development. United PF Partners, the largest Planet Fitness franchisee, named Shelli Taylor as chief operating officer and part of the company’s executive leadership team.


The activist hedge fund that assailed Buffalo Wild Wings made some money, but nowhere near what it projected.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

Hey! Eating a lot is hard work too, so don’t judge

As I write this, it’s mid-December. For the last week or so, when the UPS driver pulls up to the office, one of us is receiving a gift, most often an edible one from our colleagues and friends from around the country. And let’s just say it’s never a veggie tray.
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