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May 2018

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In this issue

Claim your life, urges Budget Blinds’ CEO

Eight years ago Shirin Behzadi was recovering from surgery to remove a life-threatening brain tumor. During a rehabilitation process that took two years, Behzadi had to learn to walk again, to speak and, as she tells it, to take ownership of her life and help others do the same.

Post-sale, cupcake wars hit Gigi’s

The cupcake business is hard work, but it’s not incredibly complex. Mix flour, butter and sugar and sell the treats. That simple but effective model was the foundation for Gigi’s Cupcakes, the cupcake chain started in 2008. But a group of franchisees say that simple model became unsustainable.

Ex-Banfield vet bites Zarco with suit

Zarco Law is one of the brashest in franchising, boasting an “aggressive litigation style” on its website, deployed in high-profile cases against franchisors.

Camp Transformation loves to lose

Alejandra and Louis Font are in the business of selling dramatic life transformations, and have the personal experience to back up the you-can-do-it messaging that’s the foundation of their Camp Transformation Center weight loss boot camps.

Two education brands talk teaching

Huntington Learning Center and The Goddard School each fills its own niche in the education space. But one thing they have in common—decades of franchising experience and the tales of ups and downs to show for it.

HouseMaster prez walks in franchisees' shoes

What was your upbringing like? My father founded HouseMaster but growing up he was a Fortune 500 marketing executive. His father immigrated from Ireland and my father grew up working with his dad in food and beverage. That taught him he wanted to be in business himself and that he didn’t want to be in food and beverage. After 15 years of corporate America he was ready to jump. In the early ‘70s, there was no franchising in the home inspection market.

Startups try to entice kids to code

There’s a new breed of kids education, preparing them not just for the jobs of the future, but the logic of the future. If everything is digital, then kids today need to understand the basic logic of code.

Hurry-up-and-wait is historic refrain

Real estate is bonkers. The competition for inline spaces is stiff and it’s a brawl for a coveted end cap. That means franchisees are looking at every way to keep growing, including taking on the challenge of historic buildings.

FT Undercover checks out three grooming brands

When I asked Jameson, The Gents Place barber behind my straight razor shave, what was up with my hot-towel blindfold, he said it’s meant to be relaxing. But as a first-timer at the business end of a straight razor, it was not.

No toxic leadership, says Yum’s former CEO

When David Novak was CEO of Yum Brands, he said his greatest pleasure was teaching leadership development programs reaching 4,000 people in the company until his retirement in 2016.

Straight talk from Erbert’s operator

Aubrey Janik is wise beyond her years. Just two years after opening her first Erbert & Gerbert’s location in Plano, Texas, the 23-year-old franchisee has pushed pause on her ambitious five-year business plans to instead create The Franchise Blueprint, an online video-based franchise training course that helps other beginning franchisees avoid some of the frustrating mistakes that often cost newbies precious time and mental anguish.

Sugar plums, flip-flops and now MVS

As the owner of two dogs who have the preternatural ability to tell when grabbing the leashes means a scary vet appointment rather than a lovely walk, paying a little extra for the convenience and serenity of an at-home visit makes plenty of sense.

How reality meets stardust at Epcon

Virtual reality is being used to create incredibly immersive—borderline freaky—video games, but it’s also uncorking a range of new sales and marketing opportunities for companies willing to take a leap into hyperspace.

'It’s OK to dream big’ says Goalz boss

Franchise exec turned franchisee Shawn Eby has big plans to develop hundreds of locations with American Development Partners. His main goal: helping 100 employees become owners

Lining up behind restaurant kiosks

The first commercial kiosk went live in 1985 to sell shoes. It worked OK. But just watch the lines at the airport or the grocery store, and the logjam of people behind check-in or self-checkout kiosks makes it clear— today’s consumers love to do it themselves.

Art of the deal panel to highlight FFGC

It’s not news to Susan Beth, COO of NRD Capital, that plenty of people questioned why the Atlanta-based private equity firm purchased Ruby Tuesday. When the $335-million take-private deal was announced last year, Beth said, all of her colleagues called and wondered why—they told her they hadn’t even bothered to look at the book promoting the deal.

Onus on operator to make delivery work

What’s at the intersection of food, technology and mobility? Food On Demand, a media project developed by FT’s sister pubs. At the debut Food On Demand Conference in March, nearly 400 operators and tech experts tried to sort out the promise and peril. Here are highlights.

How to do franchise resales right

Jumping into discussions about resales before the ink is dry on a franchise agreement is a little like discussing divorce before the wedding. However, exit strategies are a natural part of the life cycle for any business, and franchisors are recognizing that addressing resales early on can help to pave the way for a smoother transition in the future.

How to breathe life into plastic cities

After passing Philadelphia in 2017, Phoenix is now the fifth-largest U.S. city—but you’d never know it from the sidewalks of this largely desolate downtown. Everything in Phoenix is too diffused for any sort of critical mass that gives the best downtowns their zip.

Operators take Denny’s, Which Wich to U.K.

In London, Which Wich aims to capitalize on a craving for hot sandwiches via a new deal with AAA Investment House and the brothers Awada. In Wales, Denny’s banks on demand for diner fare, with its new operator there saying he’s a ‘massive’ fan.

Brexit puts U.K. in uncertain position

The red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white is superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which itself is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland).

Finding right site takes strategic thinking

How important is site visibility? What about convenient access or tenant mix? This month our Living Large brands—including the newest entrant, CPR Cell Phone Repair that purchased Digital Doc—explore these topics and more as they seek to grow.

Everybody loves franchising—or do they?

For most of the lifetimes of most of the readers of this publication, the trajectory of general approval of franchising has been steadily upward.

Darwin’s theory of owner selection

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating—the success of your franchise system depends heavily on the success of your franchisees and the validation they provide. Without successful franchisees, your franchise program simply cannot flourish.

CoreLife operator says no thanks to finance calls

Franchise lenders, be advised. If you cold-call Bill Janikies (as many regularly do) he’ll take your name and politely tell you Jan Companies may in the future need the capital you’re offering. But right now, well . . . no thank you.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

A hurdle or two shouldn’t keep you from finish line

Years ago—please don’t make me give you a number—when I first began working for this company I was a young journalist in my 20s. It was my job to write about franchise lenders, banks and finance companies, and to get to know the players, especially when they were all in one room together at the Restaurant Finance Monitor’s annual Restaurant Finance & Development Conference. (The Monitor is the sister publication to Franchise Times.)
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