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Sound of music, franchise style, hits the right notes


Ask yourself this question: When at work, what is music to your ears? For the high school teacher, it’s probably, “Tell me more about the Stamp Act of 1854. So fascinating!”

For the caterer, it could be getting the big order over the phone, “Ms. Kardashian is wondering if you are available for…”

Or for the football coach, “Yes, Rodgers (or insert your player here) will take your offer.”

For me, it would be “Mary Jo, I’ll take a full year of advertising, plus a side of web banners.”

If you are a franchisor reading this, how about: “It’s super hard to get into their concept. They have franchisees who want to take everything.”

That’s a quote from Elie Khoury, a multi-unit, multi-brand operator who had to go through the vetting Taco Bell puts every new franchisee through—no matter who you are. And Khoury was a large, successful ‘zee before getting into their system. As he’s quoted in this issue of Franchise Times, big, successful brands have franchisees vying for existing stores.

You’ll hear more from Khoury, and franchisees of other brands, as part of our Zor Awards coverage. As you may recall, the awards are, as our editorial team puts it, “designed to cut through the marketing speak and narrow down the choices by providing a top pick and three runners up” in industry categories of our choosing.

For instance, the “Wakey Wakey” category, which covers the white-hot breakfast sector. Or “Celebrity Brands,” which highlights the top franchises with celebrity franchisees, spokespeople or investors. Or how about “Chicken Coop,” which chooses the top restaurant in, what else, chicken restaurants. The aforementioned Taco Bell took first place in the “Cheat-Day Lunch” division of the awards.

You get the picture. We have fun with it. But our ranking is serious. These are the top franchises based on a return-on-investment metric put together by our editorial gurus that emphasizes profitability for the operator, not top-line sales of the franchisor as other rankings do. And what’s nice is we don’t hear from the franchisors but instead the franchisees themselves who really put their money on the line to operate the brand at the store level.

Consider this an authoritative guide to investigating brands and making an informed choice, complete with sidebars explaining how prospective franchisees can successfully navigate through three stages of the selection process. “We question the status quo a lot,” said one franchisee interviewed, “and they listen.” I can hear the music playing now.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson

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

Within these pages, we talk to other franchisees, but on different topics, like taking advantage of opportunity wherever you find it. Witness the interview with ubër ‘zee Roland Spongberg of WKS Restaurant Group, who says operators have to be more proactive in hiring good people. I won’t give up his secret here, but pity the business near him who isn’t paying attention.

We searched out large multi-unit franchisee Anand Gala, who recently formed Gala Capital to invest in franchisor companies. He’s sitting on the other side of the table now.

Also in this issue: Is the retail apocalypse overblown? Where are franchisors spending their cash? Do you follow Walmart everywhere, without question, when selecting sites?

And March brings doggie discos, taco weddings, brain training and employees who only wanted someone to buy them coffee and toilet paper. We’re here to entertain and inform. And hopefully we’re singing your song.

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