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A comeback story for the ages


Living in a household of guys—with husband Doug and sons Ben and Sam—I decided one day I was tired of not being included in certain conversations: those surrounding sports.  OK, I occasionally made a reference to the football players’ “hats” just to get a rise out of the boys, but once they were onto me, they’d just roll their eyes and walk away in response to my lame attempts at humor.

So, years ago I decided to take sports seriously so I could take part in discussions, and it became, well, fun. Hmmm. Who would’ve thought I’d like football and baseball? 

Still no expert by any means, I love to ask questions from those sports aficionados in the know. And occasionally, I come up with a random factoid or two of my own while in discussions with the boys. Impressive, eh?

So when it came time to decide who would interview the subject of our cover story this month, NFL star quarterback Drew Brees, Franchise Times Executive Editor Nancy Weingartner and I both jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately for me, we had to arm wrestle for it and she won. (She also did all the leg work with Brees’ franchisor, Jimmy John’s, setting up the interview, the photographer, etc. But so what?)

I certainly would have impressed the guys in my life by actually meeting the New Orleans quarterback in person. But apparently, according to Nancy’s cover story this month, there’s more to Brees than just his trusty arm. 

Brees and the city of New Orleans needed each other. Both were down and out, and needed to prove to themselves and the world they could be a comeback story for the ages. You’ll want to read Nancy’s story to learn their secrets to determination and success, and how Brees has parlayed this into franchising. 

Speaking of family, check out contributing reporter Laura Michaels’ story on David and Justin Gibson, a father-and-son team, respectively, who are the master franchisees here in the U.S. for Vom Fass, a German specialty oil and vinegar retail concept. According to Justin, it was his dream to work with Dad, and he had to convince his father to take a deeper look at the concept. 

Once he decided his son had an idea worth pursuing, David jumped in with both feet. The key to working together, however, is to respect each other’s ideas. As Laura reports, one family business expert says parents especially have to, well, basically, not order around their kids. “Treat your son as a decision maker,” says family business expert Karen Spencer. And dad David has made sure he’s done just that. 

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson
Mary Jo can be reached at 
612-767-3200 or at mlarson@franchisetimes.com

With family, things can get pretty tangled up. The article is a good read for both franchisees working with family members, and franchisors who have family-owned businesses within their network. 

I’m proud to tell you Franchise Times financial reporter Jonathan Maze took one for the team recently and filed a story on breakfast sandwiches. Within a few days, he consumed eight different QSR and fast-casual breakfast offerings, from Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco to Hardee’s Frisco Breakfast Sandwich, and everything in between, and rated them on taste and on his own coined term, “eat-in-carability.” Yes, that’s how efficiently you can eat it in your car. 

While done a bit tongue in cheek, Jonathan also points out breakfast is an important daypart in the restaurant biz. It’s the only daypart that’s growing, and one research firm is predicting it will grow 9 percent at QSRs over the next few years. (P.S. Let’s all give Jonathan a round of applause for his selflessness as he gets the scoop for FT.)

We’ve got zombie photos, a yoga acquisition, the death of the hotel minibar, trade show etiquette and more covered in this issue of Franchise Times. You won’t want to put down this issue. And if your co-workers want it, make ‘em arm wrestle you for it.


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