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May 2019

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In this issue

Gina Rivera is the maven behind the mohawk of Phenix Salon Suites

How a high school dropout with 27 hairdressers in her family built Phenix Salon Suites, a 250-unit franchise that gives salon professionals their own space and all the respect founder Gina Rivera believes they deserve.

Restaurant bar programs get weird, wonderful and profitable

There’s a lot to balance in a restaurant bar program, including menu complexity, ingredient customization and localization. Adding some flair can go a long way, but consistency and price play major roles.

Fyzical Therapy finds balance in the medical space

Balance issues are big business in healthcare and an increasingly serious problem as the U.S. population gets older, grayer and less sure-footed. With more facets of traditional healthcare being franchised every year, Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers’ rapid growth is a reflection that an increasing cohort of independent doctors are seeing value in converting to a franchise system, rather than staying on their own in an unsteady medical landscape.

Franchise mergers, sliced five ways

We’ve heard what the operators had to say in our annual Dealmakers project published in April. But behind the scenes are investment bankers, brokers, lenders, attorneys and more who are pushing the levers to get deals done. We asked some of them for views on the franchise mergers and acquisitions market today.

We sample three signature dishes so you don't have to

What’s better than a noodle and wedge of cheese hugging? The two ingredients combined in a bowl and served hot with crispy breadcrumbs, that’s what. While the I Heart Mac & Cheese logo is adorable, it’s the food I was most interested in when I finally found the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, location, tucked into the back corner of a slice of real estate within the Southport Shopping Center.

IFA’s Scott Lehr retires, plus more from our bloggers

“I’ve pretty much have done everything at IFA except being a lobbyist,” says Scott Lehr as he reflects on his nearly three decades with the International Franchise Association.

Stoner’s Pizza aims for ‘high’ quality, eyes new markets

Stoner’s Pizza Joint, a small regional chain based in Charleston, South Carolina, is getting a second life with some big goals.

Doctor by day focuses on finance, in Multi-Unit Mindset

Cousins Subs deal is latest for a multi-concept franchisee who uses cash flow and growth potential to evaluate concepts. Ultimately, he says, success is all about the people.

Packaging bans bring an invisible mess for operators

We’ve all seen appalling images of the great Pacific garbage patch, along with closer-to-home parking lots, sidewalks and medians polluted by plastic bags, burger boxes and other foodservice items blowing in the wind. Moving from shock to action, cities across the country are taking aim at single-use delivery and takeout packaging by creating a new, invisible mess for franchised and independent restaurateurs trying to keep up with a patchwork of new restrictions and regulations.

Take a dip into four swim school concepts

Goldfish Swim School The concept: Geared toward children ages 4 months to 12 years, the concept created by Jenny and Chris McCuiston in Michigan has a tropical flair to go along with its 90-degree heated indoor pools, which Chris McCuiston says is a differentiator. Private changing rooms, online booking and personalized lessons, including a student-to-teacher ratio of 4:1, are others. The goal “is to make life easier for mom and dad,” says McCuiston. Goldfish looks for areas that have large amounts of families with small children, quality grade schools and “where parents are targeting activities that are healthy.”

With eco initiatives, franchises aim to reduce carbon footprint

It’s not always easy being green, especially amid rising construction costs, but brands that emphasize energy-efficient options can appeal to customers and help ‘zees save money in the long run.

Don’t go it alone during lease negotiations, experts say

Leases, like a franchise disclosure document, are something too few people spend enough time on and never really read until they have a problem.

Less is more in exterior signage, in The Urbane Franchisor

I’ve read enough issues of Dwell to cultivate a potentially unrealistic dream: being one of those effete, creative types who sits down with an architect and tells them not what I specifically want and where, but rather how I want to feel in various rooms of this hypothetical home. As I’ve read time and again, giving one’s designers a long leash is where the real magic comes from. I’m already practicing my intonation as I describe the intent and childhood roots of my Eames chaise and fair trade wallpaper.

Dale Carnegie franchise gives training global scale

From appealing to the ‘emotional side’ of the Dutch to making leaders out of ‘tech integrated’ millennials in Australia, franchisees take Dale Carnegie’s professional training to an international level.

Changes coming in the Netherlands, Country Profile reports

The colors were derived from those of William I, Prince of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against Spanish sovereignty in the latter half of the 16th century. Originally, the upper band was orange, but because its dye tended to turn red over time, the red shade was eventually made the permanent color.

Gut instinct doesn’t cut it in site selection, in Living Large

Site visits and personal experience still play into real estate decisions, but smart franchisors are adding some science to site selection and giving franchisees clear guidelines to boost the likelihood of success.

Passion, unit economics attract AKT ‘zee, plus more multi-unit news

With an economics degree from Harvard and a career path that’s included founding a software company, leading global business development at American Express and serving as a managing director in digital finance at Goldman Sachs, Colin Kennedy knows how to dig into the numbers. And that’s exactly what he did when he began researching franchises, a process that led him to Xponential Fitness and AKT, one of the rapidly expanding franchisor’s eight concepts. After exploring Xponential’s portfolio, AKT stood out, Kennedy said, “due to the uniqueness of the concept itself and—as an investor—the sound unit economics and business model that it was built upon.

After month of sweetness and light, dive into dark side of deals

I spent last month reporting our Franchise Times Dealmakers package, relaying the good feelings and wonderful promises between franchise companies and their new investment partners. Everything was glorious, the compliments were flowing—and pretty soon a hard-nosed business reporter like me starts to feel a little bit sickly sweet.

The tolling of a bell for franchising in Australia?

The parliamentary inquiry into franchising was just being started in Australia when I wrote about it almost a year ago (“Still a laid-back and easygoing land? How things are changing down under,” June/July 2018). More attention was then given to some of the highly charged language about franchising than to the sober government announcement itself: “scandal-ridden,” “oppressive,” “brutal,” “toxic,” with promises of stories of franchisees “driven to financial ruin.”

When influencing, ‘We don’t want nobody nobody sent’

Growing up in the great city of Chicago, where every Democratic candidate for president would come calling on Mayor Richard J. Daley in the hopes of kissing the ring, I learned a bit about the power of influence. Take a ride down K Street in Washington, D.C. today and you’ll find our capital city is full of influencers in the form of lobbyists and advocates. Turn on your television, smartphone or podcast and you’ll find them there, too.

Chicken Salad Chick, Captain D’s ‘zees share insights

“I did lots of paperwork, praying and waiting,” recalls three-unit Chicken Salad Chick franchisee Misty Hudson Whitehead, and not necessarily in that order.

From surf bum to SoBol founder, in The Boss

Tell me about your upbringing? I grew up in the town my parents went to school in, which is good and bad, South Shore Long Island. My mom is a big cooker. My grandparents, big cookers. My mother got that from them and passed it to me.

Uber hints at brutal delivery market, in Scoreboard

An IPO filing from Uber shows just how competitive the delivery world is for restaurants and retailers.

After ‘priceless’ Subway tenure, exec joins Biggby Coffee

Lisa Oak started as a lease negotiator at Subway between her second and third year in law school for $6.75 an hour, she recalls. She became a vice president there in 2005, working with Subway co-founder and her mentor, the late Fred DeLuca.
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

A mix of style, substance all in one informative read

During our weekly company meeting a while back, FT Senior Editor Beth Ewen mentioned she was writing a cover story on Gina Rivera, founder and president of the Phenix Salon Suites franchise. Colleague Cindee Geach queried, “Wasn’t she on ‘Undercover Boss’?”
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