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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.

I always read the issue before it goes to press, and that was on my to-do list earlier this week. I settled in at my desk: I had a strong cup of Joe and a cookie by my side. A frosted holiday cookie. With sprinkles.  

So I had to smile to myself when I started to dive into our cover story this month—our annual Fast & Serious, a ranking of the fastest, sustainable growth franchises in the nation over the last year. The No. 1 company that tops the list is Orangetheory, a fitness franchise. How ironic that I was getting a sugar rush WHILE reading the opening story. Was the universe trying to tell me something?

But it didn’t end there. Turns out No. 2 and No. 4 are fitness franchises, as well. I was starting to feel guilty, and actually put down the cookie to Google one of the fitness franchises to find out if there were locations in my area. You can’t imagine my relief when I finally happened upon the story of company No. 5, Freddy’s Frozen Custard. Did anyone see where those chocolate truffles went?

While the Fast & Serious will both tempt you (bundt cake!) and motivate you (cardio!), it’s also a fascinating read if you want to learn from the success of others. Some franchise leaders have struggled with and conquered real estate challenges; worked with and later released franchisees not fitting the system; or grappled with issues of operational consistency throughout their locations.

Their tales are informative. It’s also fun to read about what they implemented that helped them make this list, from social media initiatives to digital training platforms, and all those things in between that good franchisors provide to franchisees in exchange for royalty payments.

As Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Café, told Franchise Times, “I like to say, ‘Dance with who brung ya.’  We’ve grown….and it’s by the grit of our franchisees, so we think a lot about how do we show love to the new, but also help the people who have helped move this brand along.” Well said.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson

Reach Mary Jo at 612-767-3208
or mlarson@franchisetimes.com

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two new, regular features that debut this month: First, is our FT Undercover column, written by our crack editorial team each issue. Our writers visit three franchises from one industry to glean the perspective of the consumer. This month, staffers Beth Ewen, Laura Michaels and Tom Kaiser worked out in three different fitness franchises, and reported on them, so, you will know what to expect.

I was extremely grateful, because as they left for a workout, I was wandering around the break room in search of that chocolate drizzled popcorn I saw come through the door.

Busy, busy!

The second is The Boss, which will grace the inside back page every month. The Boss, written by Beth, will feature a revealing Q&A with franchise leaders. It commences with a sit-down with Nancy Bigley, CEO of Bottle & Bottega. You will enjoy her candor.

This issue is packed, including info on a duo bringing B-Dubs to Koreatown, a story featuring a flavor scientist, and, somewhere in the pages, the phrase “even-toed ungulate.” ($5 to the first person who emails me where they found that phrase.)

When you read this it’ll be January, and by all predictions, I’ll be at the gym. Or at least I should be. Happy New Year.

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