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March 2017

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In this issue

Franchise Times Zor Awards

What’s the best franchise to buy? At Franchise Times, we get that question over and over. We usually mumble, “it depends,” which isn’t a very satisfying answer. So we created the Franchise Times Zor Awards, our new project to identify a top pick in each of 10 popular categories, which we will present each year in March.

Franchise Times Zor Awards

Many players crowd the fast-casual pizza space, those choose-your-own ingredients restaurants with high-heat ovens that make pizza an option for lunch. But it’s surprising how few publish detailed financial information on profitability at the store level—which helped us quickly narrow the list to four finalists.

Franchise Times Zor Awards

Three models plus our adorable spokesdog strike a pose to help readers imagine what kind of franchisee they’d like to be. Left to right: Liz Olson poses as a healthcare operator and Xavier Brantley-Schauls wrangles Norman (whose parent is FT’s Tom Kaiser) as a pet-care franchisee. See more on our “types” throughout this package.

Stumpy’s throws down the hatchet

The Oliphants and Josbergers were such close friends they could invite each other over to break bread and end up chopping wood in the backyard together. On one such occasion, Mark Oliphant and Stu Josberger took a break from their lumberjack activities and began throwing the hatchet at a tree already on its last root, a victim of Hurricane Sandy.

Wits required for America’s Escape Game

I can hear growling, and it’s getting closer. My palms are sweating. I only have a few minutes to find a key in the darkness and escape before I’m devoured by genetically modified wolves. I blurt out a very Minnesotan, “Oh jeez,” as someone—or something—pounds on the flimsy metal door. Jim Llewellyn and Alex Reece laugh; it’s just another day in Orlando for them.

Amazing Lash hopes to addict clients

“Everybody wants to look pretty, especially in the eyes.” So declares Edward Le, the co-founder of Amazing Lash Studio, but he’s merely quoting his wife, Jessica.

Starting over at Modern Acupuncture

The management team that built The Joint from eight units to more than 340 over six years is now starting over with a new concept, and they believe they’ve learned a few things that will make the expansion of Modern Acupuncture go more smoothly.

Lenders tell how to fund renovations

Whether high end, middle-of-the-road or down to the studs, restaurant renovations take creativity to pull off. A wide variety of financiers are in the game to help, and they say operators who can show a sales bump from the remodel will fare best.

How to foresee your next big real estate project

Picture your last trip to Las Vegas, looking down at the cityscape from your high-rise hotel room. In this strange, dreamlike oasis where empty lots abut massive hotel complexes and golf courses, it’s easy to see where the next wave of development will occur—usually a huge pile of sand guarded by chain link.

Hidden costs lurk behind base rent

Tenants tend to have a laser focus on the base or net rent when it comes to negotiating a new store lease. But in reality there are many other charges and fees that can significantly add to the total occupancy cost. Here are six to consider:

Mideast operator details Slim Chickens debut

Kuwaitis love chicken and sauces, says Alghanim Industries’ Phil Broad, making a partnership with U.S. fast-casual concept Slim Chickens the right move for the Kuwait-based company as it grows its franchise portfolio.

It’s not only food that can be ordered on demand

No one can say I don’t take my work seriously, so as the somewhat newly appointed member to Franchise Times’ Food on Demand media project (people my age call it a newsletter-for-which-you-don’t-need-stamps, but I work with young enthusiastic journalists), I started wondering what else was in demand at these restaurants besides food.

Domino’s unveils a wedding registry

Domino’s, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based pizza giant, has outdone itself: a pizza wedding registry. Seriously. According to the press release, “Wedding bells are ringing at Domino’s Pizza” with a pizza registry going live at dominosweddingregistry.com.

British Swim boss is all-in on retention

When Bonnie Alcid did an audit on how long employees stayed, it was an eye-opener. Now the British Swim School operator emphasizes finding and keeping staff above all else.

Data shows ‘tipping point’ for Papa Murphy’s

Ask any franchise development executive and they’ll tell you it’s pretty tricky to focus on a specific market. Franchisees either want to be close to home base, they want exclusive territory or they just don’t think a concept can compete in a certain market.

Primrose’s Item 19 sets a high standard

The total investment for a single Primrose school ranges from $707,180 for franchisees that lease a facility from a third party to $3.5- to $5.7 million for the majority of franchisees, who purchase land and build their own preschool campuses under development programs offered by the franchisor. Mary Jo Kirchner has been CEO since 1999, but several top executives, including those in charge of school development, early childhood education and professional development, franchising, and franchise administration, joined the company since the beginning of 2013. President Steven Clemente arrived in May 2016.

Operators share tips from Dallas expo

Nimesh Patel estimated he called 90 percent of existing Boston’s Restaurant and Sports Bar franchisees before he signed on to open a location in Jacksonville, Florida. For the most part, he said, those operators were happy to give him the scoop on what it was really like to run a Boston’s and the insight proved valuable as part of his due diligence in choosing a franchise.

Country Profile: Kuwait at a glance

Based on the Arab Revolt flag of WWI, the flag has three horizontal bands of color. Green represents fertile fields, white stands for purity, and red denotes blood on Kuwaiti swords. The black signifies the defeat of the enemy.

How Living Large franchises boost sales

What sales strategies do franchisors use to attract franchisees? We find out in this edition of Living Large, with tactics ranging from beefing up management, using social media and enticing experienced operators into a new industry.

What’s love got to do with it? How to avoid trouble with franchisees

“You have to love people. You have to care about them,” declared Dave Mortensen, co-founder of Anytime Fitness at a recent talk about the reasons behind the franchise’s stunning growth, now up to 3,500 units worldwide.

Canary in the coal mine—why small, telltale events matter to franchisors

Because early coal mines had only primitive provisions for ventilation, miners would bring a caged canary into new coal seams. As long as the canary was singing, all was well—or as well as the life of a coal miner could be. But because canaries can detect even small concentrations of gas and react instinctively, a silent canary was the signal for immediate evacuation.

If luck of the Irish isn’t enough, try these tactics to find leads

It’s said that Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, used an ordinary shamrock, the three-leaf clover, to illustrate Christian teachings. Of course, he’d have been quite lucky to stumble upon a four-leaf variety in the first place, with only about one specimen in 10,000 of Trifolium repens having the elusive four leaves.

Leave it to the pros at Burger Fi, FirstLight and Dunkin’

Professional athletes make bundles of money during relatively short careers. Mike Miller, a small forward for the Denver Nuggets, is an exception. The 36-year-old entered the NBA in 2000 and has played ever since.

Executive Ladder

Alex Bingham graduated college with dreams of being a sportscaster, not a member of the franchising industry. Right out of college he obtained a job many in the field dream of, working at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut for several years. While Bingham said it was a fun job, he soon realized it wasn’t the right career path for him over the long haul.


Say what you will about President Donald Trump, his election got the market moving to new heights. But even with the flurry of executive orders, he’s been mostly quiet on one of the biggest opportunities for public companies: corporate taxes. Trump promised to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to “anywhere from 15 to 20 percent” by the end of 2017.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

Ax and you shall receive: an issue full of fun tales

Yeah, I got angry with my kids from time to time when they still lived at home. Sons Ben, now 28, and Sam, 23, caused me some angst at times. Like that time (plural?) I showed up at parent-teacher conferences and I learned assignments were missing.

Loose Ends

If it was called Kroc’s instead of McDonald’s, would we dine there?

I never thought the time Ray Kroc confiscated the play-by-play microphone at a Padres baseball game and heartlessly apologized for the deplorable way his team was playing would be my Woodstock. I kind of remember being there, although my son asserts he’d remember if we had been.
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