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November-December 2018

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In this issue

Meet the restaurant Medicis of Salt Lake City

There’s a restaurant renaissance happening in a suburb of Salt Lake City. Much like the wealthy Medici family that bankrolled some of the greatest Renaissance artists, Four Foods Group is empowering early-stage restaurant concepts to become the next Leonardo da Vinci of fast-casual or Michelangelo of sandwich sculptors.

Glamping with Yogi Bear at Jellystone Resorts

As camper expectations swell along with attendance, Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts has joined an arms race in luxury family camping, while attracting institutional investors. Zombie hunts and pudding wrestling matches are part of the model.

Drone franchise BirdsiVideo heads to U.K.

A British lawyer, pilot and farmer plans to expand BirdsiVideo in England, to start, as she aims to be at the forefront of commercial drone use in a country that’s also about to exit the European Union.

‘New franchise. McDonald’s. Call Ray Kroc.’

Ken Lopaty was fresh out of the Army in the 1950s and playing poker with a few friends. They wanted “to go into this new thing called McDonald’s and they needed a third partner. They wanted $2,000 and I didn’t have $200,” the 88-year-old man recalls today from his seven-store operation in California.

YeloSpa has best nap money can buy

Few things drain a person’s batteries more than walking the teeming streets of New York City during rush hour, which is the idea behind the YeloSpa, a premier day spa that also includes napping, now set to expand through franchising from its single Midtown location high up inside an office tower.

Mozzeria aims to amplify its mission

There are a lot of pizza joints out there, but nothing like Mozzeria, which is owned, managed and entirely staffed by people who are deaf. Located in San Francisco’s Mission District and open since 2011, it’s been designed with franchising in mind so the concept can be replicated and brought to other cities to help address chronic unemployment and underemployment in America’s deaf community one slice at a time.

Smoke ’em like a Texan at Brisket U

“You can smoke just about anything.” Mike Albrecht has just finished listing the many class iterations that have evolved under BrisketU, the business he co-founded to bring pitmaster status to the masses.

Wahlburgers strikes accord with Hy-Vee

Everyone who’s been to a rock concert knows the feedback loop. One little sound can turn a collection of speakers, microphones and amps into an overwhelming screech.

TCBY neophyte now up to 22 stores

Sam Batt is a believer in TCBY, where he signed on when the brand and he both turned 30. He relies on a rockstar manager and a ‘discovery day’ for new hires to make sure they fit the store and vice versa.

We check out three cheesy brands so you don’t have to

The beef is just barely visible through the gooey web of cheeses, and it’s not until that first bite into my Good Stuff Melt that the burger reveals itself, flavorful juices and all.

A tingling feeling at Modern Acupuncture

If Matt Hale has that tingly feeling, it’s likely because the CEO of Modern Acupuncture has just launched a consumer-facing ad campaign called “Let’s Tingle” that punches far above the young franchise’s weight class.

Sampling four menus from around the globe

Curry Up Now The concept: In very Bay Area fashion, founder Akash Kapoor wrapped the flavors of Indian street food in a burrito and immediately found a following for his Curry Up Now food truck. “It was an instant success. One truck became two, then three and we opened our first restaurant, and people kept coming,” said Kapoor. The restaurants also sell bowls and platters. Given its food truck heritage, Curry Up Now is also known for Indian-inspired classics including spicy wings, tacos, crosscut fries and fish and chips.

Burgerim unit sales outstrip its openings

Burgerim, of Encino, California, is one of the nation’s fastest-growing better burger chains, with 80 units open around the country and more than 600 franchises sold since the start of 2017. How a franchise could hit those numbers with no corporate stores or national ad campaign is only part of the mystery.

New CEO at ComForCare aims high

The basic laws of economics suggest that increased demand usually spawns increased supply. That has certainly been the case in the senior care franchise sector, where the growing number of seniors in the United States has meant a rash of related outlets working to provide them with a wide range of care services.

Ghost kitchens help to ease site selection fears

They’re called ghost kitchens, foodservice fulfillment centers or delivery-only restaurants, among other nicknames. All involve a crew of cooks preparing food to be consumed elsewhere, and many figure they’re one smart answer to a scary real estate situation.

Three keys to unlocking customer intel

CRM is big business; the ubiquitous business acronym that stands for “customer relationship management” is almost impossible to escape.

Cut through clutter with mobile apps

Editing photos? There’s an app for that. Ordering food? There’s an app for that. Looking for a customized experience from your favorite franchised brands? Now, there are almost too many apps for that.

Why catering may be the new black

Third-party delivery of restaurant meals has opened up the eyes and wallets of restaurateurs, investors and hungry consumers. Several years into this dinner-on-demand revolution, catering is emerging as an adjacent option to give restaurants another avenue for adding incremental sales and revenue—with a much smaller fee than what accompanies traditional third-party delivery partners like Grubhub and DoorDash.

Blink Fitness finds its own cool-kid city, in The Urbane Franchisor

Before Austin, Raleigh and Nashville were the cool-kid cities, real estate in those towns was cheap, hole-in-the-wall restaurants were still sleepy and the recent population spurts were just visions in some optimistic city official’s PowerPoint. Flocks of incoming young people spurred the redevelopment of historic buildings, construction of new high rises and rebranding of neighborhoods that were once eyesores.

MidiCi tale lands in bankruptcy court

Three years ago, Menchie’s frozen yogurt CEO Amit Kleinberger gambled against conventional wisdom and started selling franchises for a new pizza concept before opening a single company store. He lost the bet and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 21.

Technology is rising sector in Poland, Country Profile reports

The colors of Poland’s flag are derived from the Polish emblem: a white eagle on a red field. Its flag is similar to those of Indonesia and Monaco, which have red on top, white on bottom.

Locking down recipes is just the beginning

Protecting the brand commonly means securing the company’s intellectual property, but when it comes to growing a franchise system, our Living Large bosses know it means much more than that, as they share this month.

In Deal Tracker, StretchLab’s parent company proves attractive

A customer at its Los Angeles location first, Byron Elton said he immediately thought StretchLab was a concept ripe for growth. Then when Xponential Fitness, the group behind explosive brands such as Club Pilates, bought the now four-unit assisted stretching concept, Elton attended its first discovery day and was sold.

Attorney cites ‘half-baked concept’ as key reason for MidiCi’s stumble

Amit Kleinberger, the CEO of frozen-yogurt chain Menchies, was bullish when he talked with me about his new fast-casual pizza concept, MidiCi, in August 2015. He saw a “tremendous opportunity” in the space despite a long list of much bigger competitors. In fact, he wished the other players well. “How can you be No. 1 without having a lot of No. 2’s?” he said at the time, confidently reserving the top spot for MidiCi.

Rain falls on just and unjust alike in South Korea, as in everywhere else

A year ago I wrote in this space about the continuing upheaval in franchise relations, government regulation and private disputes in South Korea. Since then the flow of proposals to increase regulation seemed to have slowed somewhat. Many franchisors have assumed that the roiling waters have now calmed. Not so fast. Many of the developments since that column echo the themes raised a year ago.

A game of adjustments—when it’s time to tweak your selling playbook

November can mean one of two things for NFL fans. Either you’re looking ahead to the playoffs or you’re beginning to wonder what kind of draft pick you will get next year. As frustrating as it may be for a fan, NFL coaches in the latter category often take their slow starts as an opportunity for adjustment. Perhaps it is time to overhaul the defensive scheme or bench the non-performer to give the rookie a chance.

Checkers ‘zee spreads the wealth as Schlotzsky’s couple doubles down

Veteran franchisee Angelo Freites assures me that despite his long tenure operating fast-food eateries, he would never be tempted to launch one of his own. “I don’t have one iota of creativeness in my body,” insists Freites, who has opened 17 Checkers Drive-Ins in south Florida over the past two years. “I’m a nuts-and-bolts type of person. The recipe is there. All you need to do is lead your people.”

‘Pick up the phone and take the heat’—advice from Pure Barre chief, in The Boss

Tell about your upbringing and education. I have one older sister, grew up in Orlando. I was a latchkey kid back when that was legal. I was 3 when my dad got back from Vietnam and they divorced. My mother was the head secretary of the whole bus authority. She bought her own house in 1977. We were proud of her.
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