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May 2016

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In this issue

A mother’s work advice is never dull

Craig Ceccanti, CEO of Pinot’s Palette, inherited his work ethic from his mother, Linda. She juggled a home-based business with raising two sons, without slighting either her customers or her boys.

K-9 Resorts investor aims to Trump market

Not allowed by their parents to have a pet at home, Steve Parker was 14 and his brother Jason was 12 when they started a dog-walking business in 1999, with $20 and a set of business cards. “Everybody else had pictures of Michael Jordan on the wall, and we had pictures of Donald Trump,” Steve recalls today.

UFood Grill hopes weighty woes in past

UFood Grill’s CEO decided to slim down by eating off his chain’s own menu. Now he hopes to leave other baggage behind as well: financial problems for the brand he bought in 2013 and is trying to grow.

Stakes rise for Sport Clips heir

Gordon B. Logan smiles as he thinks back to his son’s first job with Sport Clips, the haircuts franchise Logan founded in 1993. The younger Logan, then a student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, visited company stores for plan reviews, his dad paying him $100 per store.

QSR International chief fears nothing but debt

Richard Eisenberg of QSR International operates more than 120 restaurants across Central America and the Caribbean. Fresh from the sale of 35 KFC restaurants, he is looking for his next growth vehicle.

Caps off to women in craft beer

Women and beer haven’t always gone together like a horse and carriage—or love and marriage. For years their relationship was based on the woman being eye-candy in mainstream beer commercials. Real women sipped pink drinks topped with umbrellas, or wine, while men drank the beer in the family.

Sweet Lorraine’s in the Gritty City

It was a gloomy day in Cadillac Square Park as I held a five-foot-tall camera flash to keep it from blowing over in the wind. From the west side of the park, I had the perfect vantage point for the good things happening in downtown Detroit—a city many Americans have left for dead.

Pancakes for dinner? Sure, more say

A strong craving for bacon and eggs—and other breakfast foods—all day has led to explosive growth in this already profitable daypart. But beware the operational glitches that can leave you laying an egg.

Restaurants get serious about warming planet

Reducing your carbon footprint is not only acceptable today; it’s expected. Here are ways for any business, even smaller chains, to make a step-by-step difference, and maybe even gain favor with customers in the process.

Johnny’s places hotel sidekick front and center

Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse works to defy the norm and become a destination restaurant in a hotel setting. Can an established franchisee make a go of it as franchisor?

Loyalty programs put punch cards on steroids

The good old punch card has grown up to become a complicated, expensive digital hodgepodge of apps, APIs, cloud-computing and social media. It’s a grab bag of buzzwords that get marketers excited and developers seeing dollar signs.

Getting schooled on four kids’ concepts

1. SafeSplash Swim School The lesson plan: While researching his industry a few years ago, Matt Lane discovered an eye-popping statistic: While only three out of 10 parents say it’s important to teach kids how to dance, eight out of 10 say it is important to teach them how to swim. The void induced Matt and Lara Lane, with partners Paul and Tami Gerrard, to start SafeSplash Swim School in 2003. The Denver-based franchise has provided more than 2 million lessons over 10 years.

Grandsons of CKE founder mired in mess

Jason and Carl LaVecke built a grand enterprise of almost 200 restaurants before landing in bankruptcy court this past summer—an event that drew widespread attention because their grandfather is the founder of CKE Restaurants. Even their own mother sued them.

Royalties 101: Daring to touch the sacred cow

As the lifeblood of a franchise, royalty fees are sometimes a sacred cow—never to be changed, let alone discussed. Times change, though, and in the wake of unprecedented competition for “sophisticated multi-unit franchisees” every franchisor covets, some brands are changing up their royalty programs or offering discounts to stand out from the herd.

Pedestrian expert walks the walk

You’d never guess based on his unassuming look, but Peter Bruce is not your average pedestrian. He’s watching you walk down the sidewalk or through a shopping center, and taking notes—how fast you’re going, what catches your eye, what storefronts you do or don’t inspect and, more globally, how retailers, shopping center developers and city planners can do a better job appealing to us civilian street dwellers.

Brands study up on student tastes

The captive audience of students and faculty at college campuses has long been viewed as an attractive target market. That niche is drawing even more interest these days thanks to a new class of millennials.

What to do when rent is sky high

As many operators know, the real estate market is extremely competitive right now and prices are as high as ever. But as this growth cycle comes to an end, distressed leases are set to become a boon and a bane for business owners.


Industry data show the restaurant world is still locked in a battle for market share.Traffic accelerated by 300 million visits in 2015, according to the market research company NPD Group. That’s a healthy increase from 2014 when restaurant traffic increased by 100 million visits, but it’s still down from pre-recession days.

Ample opportunities still exist in Peru

Peru has one of the most robust economies in Latin America and a government that’s committed to upgrading infrastructure. And even though the cuisine is a marriage of the best of several regions, there’s still a need for F&B concepts.

Country Profile: Peru at a glance

Location: Western South America, between Chile and Ecuador and bordering the Pacific Ocean Capital: Lima (pop. 9.9 million) Other major cities: Arequipa (pop. 850,000); Trujillo (798,000)

Street Talk: Operators share points of view

Isalmou Boussaa, Hicham El Abbassi H&I Burgers When it comes to the economy in the next year are you optimistic or pessimistic? Very optimistic. We’ve seen lower pricing in commodities, in food cost, which won’t push us to raise our menu cost.

Street Talk: FT quizzes conference attendees

Kenny Truong Truong Capital LLC When it comes to the economy in the next year, are you optimistic or pessimistic? I believe it’s going to be a positive year. People with savings spend extra income elsewhere. The economy is actually doing well, like jewelry is blowing up and the food industry follows.

Dispatches from FT’s Finance & Growth Conference

At the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference, 33 franchise brands told their financial stories to a roomful of lenders, investors, operators and private equity firms. Our staff was there in force, and filed these dispatches.

Putting science into location, location, location

Franchisors helping their ‘zees with site selection have a balancing act. Finding the neighborhoods with the right demographics while weighing price, traffic patterns, and proximity to rivals takes a team effort.

Executive Ladder

Lukas Krause was promoted from COO to CEO of Real Property Management. Also, John Gohde was hired as chief operating officer.

‘New day’ for joint employer litigation

A complaint against Domino’s landed in U.S. District Court in New York on April 4, and it takes the joint employer battle to an entirely new level. The complaint, called Kucher v. Domino’s, essentially indicts the franchisor as jointly responsible for franchisees’ employees because it is, well, a franchisor.

At the convention, a moveable feast

In last month’s column (“So two guys walk into a franchise convention...), I swooped, drone-like, over the International Franchise Association’s annual convention and admired the extraordinary menu of international programs and activities of which two (fictitious, but realistic) attendees could partake.

Managing in the big leagues

As Spring Training transitions to Opening Day, I am reminded that many of the best franchise systems function like great baseball managers. They evaluate their prospects, recruit the best, mentor younger players, and manage the personalities of All-Stars to make the team even better.

Three operators who are cleaning up

When Bill Wolfe’s partner was transfered by his company from Phoenix to Seattle, Wolfe picked up where he left off. But it’s tough for a real estate broker to break into a new town. A job selling tax software didn’t pan out, either.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

Nothing cheesy here: We shell out the good stuff

When I was in college back in the day, a huge splurge for my dorm roommate and me was to order Domino’s. We didn’t have extra money, and that purchase would empty our already-thin wallets. What I’m trying to say is, she and I didn’t have the pizza deliverer on speed dial. First, there was no speed dial back then, and second, the times we called them were few and far between.

Loose Ends

Goody, goody: Three yogis bag best of NYC with open hips, open minds

Dear Hilton NYC Cleaning Staff, Please feel free to take home the six full-size bottles of lotion and face wash, plus the unopened Bai drinks I left on the dresser. I think you’ll particularly like the blueberry-flavored tea. Time ran out and I was only able to down three of the 24-ounce drinks, and I left you the ones I didn’t like.
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