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March 2020

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In this issue

Zor Awards names 10 best franchises to buy

With thousands of brands to choose from in an ever-expanding array of industry segments, researching franchises can prove an especially daunting task, particularly for first-timers. That’s where the Franchise Times Zor Awards project comes in.

Franny’s Farmacy launches CBD franchise stores

It was a beautiful January day near Asheville, North Carolina, with the sun rising over the mountains and shining on Franny’s Farm, said Jeff Tacy, CEO of Franny’s Distribution, painting a pretty picture with words.

Go inside Dunkin’, Duck Donuts with FT Undercover

In a world full of waaaaaay too many choices, many of them disgusting in the case of donuts, happening upon Le Pain Quotidien was a respite. We hunted around the charming French Market in Chicago for about a half hour, finally finding The Dapper Doughnut, the intended target that turned out to be closed.

Wendy’s gets in breakfast game, Burgerim franchisees organize in wake of disaster

Get ready for Breakfast Baconators, Frosty-ccinos and Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits. Wendy’s announced breakfast will roll out across its U.S. locations March 2. Breakfast has been a bit of a headache for the company in the past, as it launched a breakfast menu three times before, but none of those efforts were national programs.

Menu trends: How restaurants can embrace functional food

Today, a healthy lifestyle is about more than opting for salad over fries or cutting that breakroom donut in half. As consumers become more educated about what food does to their bodies, functional foods, those with a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition, are creeping out of the holistic healing blogosphere and into the mainstream.

The latest real estate bet for franchises? Fit rows

Pilates one day. Boxing the next. Yoga the third. That’s the idea behind fit rows, which cluster several workout concepts together in hopes that all will complement each other. Plus it’s a nice way to fill those vacant big boxes as national retailers falter.

Multi-unit Halal Guys operator talks restaurant training

It’s not just about putting out a platter, says franchisee Joe Hafez, who also focuses on teaching soft skills as part of the training program at his Halal Guys restaurants.

How digital orders are reshaping restaurant footprints

Restaurant brands that are watching more of their food being carried out the door by the likes of DoorDash and Uber Eats are taking a hard look at how takeout and delivery orders are impacting real estate strategies, store designs and operating efficiencies.

Restaurants test the future of virtual kitchens

As the restaurant industry figures out how to best utilize ghost kitchens or virtual restaurants, franchised brands are also testing the concept to see if it really is the incremental, operationally freeing opportunity the kitchen companies tout.

Top real estate CEO shares advice for franchises

It takes a village to guide new franchisees toward smart decisions, as they often are capital constrained and lack the kind of personal experience that only comes from years or decades in the industry. Nowhere is that truer, and more consequential, than on the real estate side of a young franchised business, where picking the wrong location or agreeing to lopsided lease terms can sink a new enterprise before it ever takes flight.

How franchisees can take advantage of cheap capital

Franchise owners have enjoyed a longrunning stretch of good liquidity and, let’s face it, crazy low interest rates. The last time the 10-year treasury—the benchmark for long-term borrowing rates—was above 4 percent was back in 2008. And instead of trending higher, interest rates have dipped lower in the past six months.

Major restaurant companies tackle labor, tech at ICR

Companies public and private outlined strategies and discussed pain points during the annual ICR event, one of the first major restaurant and retail events of the year. Here are some of this year’s key trending topics.

Inside the evolution of restaurant finance firm CapitalSpring

When Co-founder and Managing Partner Richard Fitzgerald walked into the CapitalSpring conference room on a typical sunny January day in El Segundo, California, I asked him about the 80 or so tombstones lining one wall of the room in chronological order.

The latest employee benefit? Wages on demand

Betsy Mercado spent more than a year researching and piloting systems that allow employees to get instant access to their earned but unpaid wages—what some call wages on demand.

School of Rock accelerates growth in Brazil

In Brazil, former IBM exec Paulo Portela returned to his musician roots as a master franchisee and now expects improving economic conditions to spur growth for School of Rock, with Spain and Portugal up next.

Portugal offers franchises EU access, reports Country Profile

Flag Facts The national coat of arms, an armillary sphere and Portuguese shield, are at the center of the flag. While explanations for the color meanings are ambiguous, a popular interpretation has green symbolizing hope and red the blood of those defending the nation.

Emerging brands share advice to accelerate franchise sales

Emerging brands in growth mode should know speed isn’t everything, and having established criteria for franchisee selection is imperative to the long-term health of the system.

Multi-unit owner says Del Taco delivers on freshness

As Mark Miller put it, “I cut my teeth in grocery,” so when he decided to look at franchise brands more than a decade ago, fast food wasn’t much of a stretch. “I’ve always been around food,” said Miller, who owned grocery, food manufacturing and real estate businesses in Oregon.

Franchisees target Detail Garage, founders in lawsuit

Auto-detailing enthusiasts love their Chemical Guys products, devouring how-to videos posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on its YouTube channel with 532,000 subscribers, and arguing the finer points of how to fix paint fast or get a glossy wet shine on the cars they adore.

Successful fitness brand offers lessons in international franchising

Helen Keller penned the memorable quote, “life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Taking a franchise system beyond its home front is an exciting and challenging proposition all at the same time.

How to future-proof your franchise development

Franchise buyers (as well as finance partners, debt markets and investors,) want evidence of your brand’s sustainability. Your franchisees are also considering expansion options—should they expand with your brand or look elsewhere for growth?

Growth on the horizon for Rusty Taco, Tropical Smoothie owners

Quick, name the 12th largest “community” in Virginia. Hint: It’s where franchisees Chris Carabell and Kevin Donham opened their first Rusty Taco last fall. OK, I won’t torture you any longer; it’s Midlothian (population 35,000-plus), an affluent and unincorporated village west of Richmond.

Fitness Together boss says be brave, not perfect

Who would play you in the biopic about your life? I’d say Julia Roberts—I have a huge smile like Julia Roberts. Then I’d mix her characters from ‘Erin Brockovich’—I’m super ambitious and want to change the world—and then you’d mix it in with her character from ‘Pretty Woman,’ the scene in the bathtub singing Prince. I can be pretty goofy and just like to have fun. Also her character from the movie ‘Wonder,’ that’s the caretaker in me.

Market effects from coronavirus are minor, so far

There’s been a lot of fear that the scary coronavirus, or COVID-19, would shake the financial world like SARS did back in 2003. So far, that hasn’t been the case and there are more analyses of what coronavirus might do than actual market impacts.

New Edible VP wants to evolve brand’s retail footprint

Carey Malloy spent 22 years at McDonald’s in various roles, including finance director and regional controller of the Chicago region. After a stint at ConAgra Brands and becoming an empty-nester as her daughters went off to college, Malloy knew it was time to plan her next move. Move she did, all the way to Atlanta.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

What makes a good ‘zor? Let’s ask the franchisees

My Franchise Times colleagues and I had to brave a Minnesota snowstorm and long airline delays to get there, but as I write this, I have just returned from the International Franchise Association’s annual convention. It was a great event, and I enjoyed talking with the other attendees and learning about their businesses—as well as seeing the much-anticipated sunshine we sometimes lack at home.
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