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June-July 2020

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In this issue

Famous Dave’s climbs back from the brink with off-premises focus

As CEO Jeff Crivello put it, “we’re in inning number three of the turnaround.” In the top job at Famous Dave’s since November 2017 following a revolving door of CEOs and past management missteps, Crivello & Co. are charting a multi-faceted course toward growth as their newly formed restaurant group seeks to build a barbecue empire. Will their auspicious plans pay off or prove to be overly complicated? Perhaps Crivello says it best: “We don’t know which one it is, but one of them will be right for the next 10 years.”

Bricks & mortar franchises find ways to survive COVID-19

March retail sales slid 8.7 percent. April’s sales fell 16.4 percent, the biggest two-month decline on record. May brought better news, albeit tentative, as some states allowed some so-called nonessential retailers to begin reopening.

How franchise bosses lead from home, amid a crisis

On the day hair salons and nearly everything else were locked down in her locale, Bette Fetter, founder of Young Rembrandts, immediately pivoted to produce videos starring her teaching drawing lessons so students could learn at home.

Jersey Mike’s new program turns managers into owners

When Rod Smith loaned a 17-year-old Peter Cancro $125,000 in 1971 to buy a single sub shop, he set in motion a long series of events that eventually made Jersey Mike’s a sprawling, 1,700-store sandwich empire that sells more than $1 billion in subs a year.

Testing out three virtual franchise classes during COVID-19

Channeling my inner Pam Beesly, I carefully drew vertical and horizontal guidelines on my blank sheet of paper, then sketched out a nose, two eyes and a mouth. What was I drawing? Why, a cartoon monster with instructor Bette from Young Rembrandts, of course.

Pandemic pushes sandwich concepts to refocus

What tactics really work for restaurants in crisis mode? We spoke with four sandwich brands to find out how they’re driving sales and maintaining that customer connection.

Leap of faith led Mary Rawlins to Firehouse Subs

Mary Rawlins spent 21 years in the Burger King system, ultimately serving as controller for a large franchisee. Then she heard about a little sandwich chain started by “two actual firefighters and their dad, a retired fire captain. It’s a good story,” she said.

COVID-19 forces changes to franchise hiring, engagement

Every point along the employee engagement spectrum is being stress-tested, and even companies with a robust communication infastructure have made changes. Hiring also presents new challenges, and if operators want to bring their workforce back, they need to be nimble–and start now.

Legends Boxing preaches a gospel of grit

The hardest thing for longtime franchisee Scott Hatter to understand when he switched to the franchisor side: How some operators could give up so easily.

Great Harvest franchisee finds some success with clickbait

Blending charity and business, one Great Harvest Bread Company operator turned the pandemic into an opportunity to drive sales and help out as best he could.

From Wall Street analyst to Mad Science franchisee

Deepa Pulianda’s career journey was far from straightforward. She studied genetics as an undergrad and began a career in biomedical sciences. After finding herself as an analyst on Wall Street and realizing it wasn’t for her, Pulianda quickly pivoted to becoming a high school science teacher. Coming from a family of educators, the move made sense to her.

Spanish immersion is differentiator for Tierra Encantada daycare

Spanish is the second most common language spoken in the United States, but that’s only part of what inspired Kristen Denzer to start Tierra Encantada, a Spanish language immersion daycare center. Another reason was directly connected to her own children—and their stomachs.

Five Guys vet jumps in on Popeyes, in Multi-Unit Mindset

Now just could be the time to lean in on growth, says multi-concept operator Rick Fisher­—if you don’t go in undercapitalized. It’s about being cautious, ‘but not risk averse.

NextGen winners share their growth visions

Three finalists stood on stage at the International Franchise Association Convention in Orlando. The IFA’s NextGen All-Star competition, where past winners pitched their plans for the next five years, had been whittled down to clean drinking water franchise Jibu, created by Galen Welsch; STEM franchise MakerKids, created by CEO Jennifer Turliuk; and exterior home-painting franchise Spray-Net, led by founder Carmelo Marsala. Turliuk and Marsala tied for first, and we caught up with each finalist to find out what they’ve learned since first winning a NextGen title.

For franchises operating abroad, flexibility reigns

Agility is akin to survival, say franchisors and their international franchisees as they navigate uncharted territory during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adjustments made now will likely last long after the immediate crisis is over.

Country Proflie: South Korea relies on global trade

Flag Facts The blue section represents the negative cosmic forces of the yin, while the red symbolizes the opposite positive forces of the yang. Each black trigram denotes one of the four universal elements, which together express the principle of movement and harmony. White is a traditional Korean color and represents peace and purity.

How field reps, managers help franchises work to reopen

Though they may not be visiting locations and talking to franchisees in person, emerging brands say field staff and restaurant support centers are showing up in new ways to help steer operators along the path forward.

Big Blue’s tech, capable owners attract new franchisee

For Hiag Avsharian, the decision to buy a franchise began with his desire for more control over his life. “I decided, I don’t want to be an employee again, if I can help it,” said Avsharian, who most recently was director of operations for a tech company and before that helped run his family’s business, Shar Music, a supplier of violins and music accessories, for more than 20 years.

Meet the ukulele-playing founder of Stumpy’s Hatchet House

Who would play you in the biopic about your life? I know this right off the top of my head. I just finished ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ on Hulu, and it’s one of my favorite books. Reese Witherspoon is my favorite actress hands down. She’s also of a smaller stature, like me, so I think she’d be perfect to play me in the movie of ‘Trish and Stumpy’s Hatchet House.’

Are franchise M&A agreements too bloated?

When Sun Holdings bought 51 McAlister’s Deli restaurants from several franchisee groups last year, CEO Guillermo Perales also committed to open 47 new units for the brand. The deal stood out for its ambition, but the well-known Dallas-based restaurant operator with more than 1,000 stores takes it in stride.

With pivots during the pandemic, global brands embrace creativity

At the time of writing, we were about a month and half deep into COVID-19 protocols, which created unprecedented business disruption for many franchises across the globe. As the famous quote from Plato suggests, “necessity is the mother of invention,” and many franchise systems have taken brave steps to enhance, innovate and pivot so that their businesses could survive the tumultuous pandemic conditions.

Franchise development needs reinvention to reflect a new normal

Franchising has never faced a threat like COVID-19. And yet, this recession, like others before it, will drive new buyers. Some displaced workers will find business ownership appealing. Others buyers seek supplemental income. Don’t stop your franchise development efforts. Engage and maintain forward momentum. It is also critical to supporting re-sales.

Veteran franchisees reflect on an uncertain reality, restaurants’ future

Veteran franchisees reflect on an uncertain reality, restaurants’ future It’s mid-April as I write this, and restaurant sales and guest counts have been in the tank for a month because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PPP still a head-scratcher for franchisees

As if franchise operators didn’t have enough to worry about. Key forgiveness rules in the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program are still in flux—something especially vexing as key dates approach.

Code Ninjas hires first VP of education

Grant Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in information systems, then found his way to teaching STEM—science, technology, engineering, math—and coding in elementary and middle schools. He helped write curriculum for codeSpark, code.org and Girl Scouts of America. He even helped write the standards for K-12 education for computer science. Now, he’s the first vice president of education at Code Ninjas, which teaches coding to kids.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

Buzzwords aside, brands adjust & bring inspiration

A colleague once told me she disliked the phrase “I’m reaching out today” in an email. I’ve used that phrase, what, maybe hundreds of times? But now that I know it makes her wince, I am sure not to use it when I write to her. When you start to notice a certain turn of phrase or new jargon, soon, every time someone writes it, it jumps off the screen in blazing neon lights.
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