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Music’s in the ear of the beholder


When sons Ben and Sam were in high school, I didn’t want to be one of those parents who tried to like their music. My music was from my era, theirs was from theirs. But when Ben, aged 15, said he liked AC/DC, I said, “HEY. They’re from my high school years. I listened to them!” And I said it proudly, like, how cool was I?

It didn’t make him like AC/DC any less at the time, but I know the fact that his mother listened to them, too, did not go into the plus side of Ben’s column for the band.

Today, Ben, age 26, and I compare tunes here and there, sending each other texts and emails about various artists we like. His musical palate has expanded (he loves Frank Sinatra), and mine has, as well. I even like the occasional rap song.

But I have to confess, I had never heard of Rick Ross, the subject of our cover story this month, until Executive Editor Nancy Weingartner told me she was flying to Memphis to interview him. “Who?” I asked. We had Pitbull on our cover a year ago. Him I had heard of. But this guy? No.

Sigh. That has something to do with age, I am going to guess. A hip-hop artist of great renown, Rick Ross has made a name, and amassed a few dollars, too, by being somewhat of the bad boy artist. His lyrics are explicit, and his tattoos, legendary. (Love his tattoo “Rich Forever” emblazoned below his bottom lip.)

What you might not know about him is that he owns nine Wingstop restaurants. With his choice of career, you might think he’s owning restaurants as a lark; that he would be a careless operator. But as the old saying goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover. He’s involved in the operations, and is a marketing guru. When Rick Ross tweets or posts the name Wingstop, wherever he may be, sales go up. You’ll have to read about Nancy’s adventure, and the fascinating person Ross turned out to be. 

Continuing on the fast-casual vein, we have a variety of stories that show what’s new, including the growth of the “better-taco” category. While not showing up the likes of Chipotle yet, these brands are labeling themselves as different. Even Taco Bell is giving a nod to the category by starting its own fast-casual taco shop.

We also have a Q&A with Glenn Cybulski, an entrepreneur with a very un-Italian sounding name for a pizzaioli (pizza maker) trained at one of the top pizzaioli schools in Italy. Cybulski has launched his concept, Persona Neapolitan, in franchising, and is excited to bring his knowledge (do you know what “double-zero flour” is?) of better pizza to the rest of us. You can hear from him in his own words in this month’s issue.

Speaking of diving into franchising, the founder of British Swim School just inked a deal with LA Fitness, launching her franchise into the big time. How she’ll execute is the question: She knows expectations are high. Find out how she didn’t take “no” for an answer (a trait of all successful entrepreneurs), and where she’ll go next.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson
Mary Jo can be reached at 
612-767-3200 or at mlarson@franchisetimes.com

Managing Editor Beth Ewen has brought us the top legal cases of the year, picked by member of our very own Legal Eagles ranking. The cases involve actions about data breaches, unfair hiring practices, sexual harassment, fraud and more. That’s better than an episode of “Law & Order.” Check out her line up and the interesting commentary by the Eagles.

And admit it, you read her column before mine, so you probably already know what Executive Editor Nancy Weingartner has written about in her editor-about-town column on page 66. But just in case you opened up to me first, make sure you take time for some humor before you put down this issue. I won’t give away the plot line, but let’s just say it includes snails, an Amsterdam coffee house, ground worms and more. 

You’ll enjoy her column, and more, in this issue of Franchise Times. And if you do, then that’s music to my ears. 

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