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November-December 2019

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In this issue

Jackmont Hospitality puts its secret sauce to work appealing to foodies

Soft scrambled duck eggs with black truffles are on the menu this summer night at One Flew South, celebrating its tenth anniversary with a special three- or four-course tasting menu in a stunning setting dominated by a wall-sized mural of towering Georgia pine trees.

Backed by Aurify, Melt Shop searches for perfection

Spencer Rubin taught himself to cook by watching the Food Network and met his goal—to launch a restaurant by his 25th birthday—by opening Melt Shop when he turned, you guessed it, 25. Meet Aurify, started by two Five Guys franchisees, and its first and most promising original concept.

FDD review shows wide divide in franchise lawsuits

Want to know which franchises have the most and fewest lawsuits? We examined Item 3 in hundreds of franchise disclosure documents to find out, and exposed a surprisingly wide divide.

Dogtopia program puts hiring focus on adults with autism

Attracting and keeping qualified, dedicated employees is a challenge in all industries, with no reprieve in sight. Blending benevolence with brass tacks, Dogtopia has sniffed out relief for its franchisees by educating them about the benefits of hiring adults with autism.

Garbanzo gets its ‘falafel in a row’ to spark expansion

When James Park became CEO of Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh in late 2015, his first order of business was tackling the “convoluted” menu and the very long prep line that accompanied all those food items.

We check out three poké brands so you don't have to, in FT Undercover

After interviewing Chef Sheldon Simeon and hearing him talk about the Lava Bowl he created, I was even more excited to check out Pokéworks while in Phoenix. A worker happily obliged with a sample, handing over a small cube of ahi tuna dipped in Lava sauce.

Ace rebrands its new franchise; Drew Brees joins Franworth

Ace Hardware, No. 5 on this year’s Franchise Times Top 200+ list, plans a major franchising push starting the second quarter of next year for Handyman Matters, the Denver-based home improvement service chain Ace acquired in September.

Powerhouse board backs Aloha Poké

Chris Birkinshaw was an executive at Potbelly in Chicago when the first Aloha Poké store opened in March 2016 on a street nearby, and it was a sensation.

For franchise lending, ‘reduce the friction’

“Franchisors understand that time kills deals,” says Mike Rozman, reciting an oft-used phrase especially applicable to the sometimes drawn-out process of signing an agreement with a new franchisee. And it’s especially applicable to franchisee financing which, if left until the tail end of the sales process, can delay and even derail a deal.

Training at core for Jimmy John’s ‘zee, in Multi-Unit Mindset

Dan Vansteenburg wants his employees to find a deeper meaning in working at his restaurants, and his Spinability program is rooted in ‘doing something for someone else’ to make the world better.

Self Esteem Brands CMO on how not to fail like the Fyre Fest

“I heard Kelly Clarkson say this and I think it’s great advice: Don’t take advice from anyone you wouldn’t trade places with.” — Amy Halford, Global CMO, Self Esteem Brands

Virtual assistants help franchisees tackle tedious tasks

Would you hand off your business email account to a new employee making $9.50, or let them set up the process that guides your business? Those two unnerving possibilities are exactly the kind of jobs that can be done by virtual assistants: far-flung workers taking care of the distracting tasks so business leaders can focus on the critical big-picture work only they can do.

New Town Square franchise brings ‘reminisce therapy’ to senior care

A working auto shop with a sparkling vintage Belair parked out front. A 1950s-style diner evoking those malt-shop and bobby sock days. A theater screening classic films like “High Noon” and “Some Like It Hot.”

Baby boomer ‘zees tackle retirement planning

Southern Rock Restaurants CEO and owner David Blackburn is keeping his foot on the gas to continue growing his business. The Franklin, Tennessee-based company owns 85 McAlister’s Deli restaurants with 49 remaining in Blackburn’s multi-unit development agreement. Yet, at 56, Blackburn also recognizes that it’s time to start thinking about slowing down a bit and laying the groundwork for an exit strategy.

A guide to demystifying online order aggregators

When third-party delivery hit the scene it was fun and novel for today’s digital natives. And as it has grown from a few orders to a substantial portion of some restaurant operations, an industry of vendors has grown up around it with the aim, they say, of making things easier.

Beware, says The Urbane Franchisor, don’t ghost a ghost kitchen

There’s something stirring in the shadows of the restaurant business, and it’s too early to say if it’s spooky, scary, creepy or perhaps like Casper, friendly. I’m talking about the fast rise of ghost kitchens and other delivery-focused restaurant formats that are flipping the age-old restaurant business model on its head by taking dining rooms, costly high-vis real estate and front-of-the-house staffers out of the mix. If initial reports are true, these foodie phantoms are well capitalized, multiplying quickly and headed right for us.

BurgerFi makes leap from Florida to Puerto Rico

Real estate developer and longtime Denny’s franchisee Phillip Faigenblat has high expectations for BurgerFi, which he thinks will stand out from QSR competitors and appeal to fellow Puerto Ricans seeking a higher quality burger.

Familiar territory for U.S. brands in Puerto Rico, reports Country Profile

The white star symbolizes Puerto Rico, while the three sides of the triangle signify the executive, legislative and judicial parts of government. Blue stands for the sky and the coastal waters, red symbolizes the blood shed by warriors, and white represents liberty, victory and peace.

Establish brand standards, plus ‘why’ behind them, in Living Large

Securing intellectual property is just the start as franchises position themselves for growth. Develop clear brand standards and stick to them to avoid backtracking and inconsistency.

Wingstop ‘zee taking Tin Drum to Texas market

Shairoz Lakhani grew up around food and watched her father build a portfolio of franchise brands but never thought she’d follow a similar route. Not long after earning an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta, however, she decided to start working in one of her family’s local Church’s Chicken restaurants, “and found out this is something that I actually enjoy,” says Lakhani. “The inventory management, marketing, I took an interest in those.”

‘Always be the adult in the room,’ and other views about franchise lawsuits

As a partner at Dady & Gardner, known for representing franchisees in disputes with their brands, attorney Jeff Haff has seen piles of litigation. When told our new research project turned up a wide gap in the number of lawsuits at franchises—from 855 cases listed in Item 3 all the way down to zero—he was quick to sum up what the numbers mean to him.

From Seoul, South Korea, where new tech and old relationships collide

Columnist note: I traditionally report on the activities of the International Bar Association’s International Franchising Committee during the IBA Annual Conference. Because colleagues Stephanie Zosak and Tao Xu participated in this year’s conference (in September in South Korea), Stephanie filed this report from Seoul.

When you mix sales and marketing, the result can be a recipe for success

When we do audits of a franchisor’s sales efforts, one of the most difficult issues to address in identifying the source of a problem is the inherent conflict between sales and marketing. When a salesperson fails to produce the expected results, they will invariably point a finger at marketing. And if the numbers are there in quantity, the marketing folks will push back. “We are providing plenty of leads. The problem lies in the sales process.”

Bottom line focus for Wireless Zone; an Amazon labor fix at Mosquito Squad

“That’s a phenomenal question,” said Wireless Zone franchisee Chris Severo, after being asked how he plans on recruiting workers for the outlet he intends to open soon in Chappaqua, New York, in affluent Westchester County (median household income: $213,040).

Smart companies prep for recession

A new look from three Bloomberg economists shows there is a 27 percent chance of a recession in the next 12 months based on economic indicators. And those indicators are actually looking better than they did early in the year when the model predicted a nearly 100 percent chance of a recession within 2019.

Data is ‘major foundation’ for Goddard School’s new boss

Dennis Maple, new CEO of children’s education franchise Goddard Systems, attended a meeting in Boston during his first few weeks on the job, in which members of the system’s advisory board talked to about 100 parents, many of them millennials with their first children going to preschool. “I was riveted by the opportunity,” he said, “and learned a great deal.”
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From the Magazine

Publisher's Column

Motivation to get off the couch and improve lives

When my kids were young, I was busy with volunteering for their activities, as all parents are. But once the kids left home, driving them to basketball practices and lessons was a thing of the past. And I knew I needed a steady volunteer gig to make sure I stayed active in my community.
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