Nothing Comes Between Me and My Franchise Times
Actress Brooke Shields is about my age. Yes, really. Stop those comparisons whirling around in your brain right now. I mean it. Back in our day, when Brooke was filming her second, third or fourth movie—and I was worrying about what pair of leg warmers I wanted to wear with my “Flash Dance” ensemble to school the next day—the definition of risqué was very different from what it is today.
Brooke was on the cutting edge. “Do you know what comes between me and my Calvin’s?” she purred to the camera. “Nothing.” If you remember the Calvin Klein Jeans TV spot, she was a vixen, and those ads caused a stir. Those ads also sold jeans.
That was then—fast forward 25 years later to now. Paris Hilton clad in a tiny bathing suit and stilettos, washing a car, washing herself, taking a big, juicy bite out of a hamburger, crawling in front of the car, taking another bite from the large burger.
I’m not sure we could put a young Brooke in any league with today’s Paris, star of the Carl’s Jr. television spot. Paris, of the Hilton Hotels family, isn’t famous for anything but being a Hilton and a controversial figure at the same time. She flaunts her body, and bucks convention and social mores. And Andrew Puzder has capitalized on it.
Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, is our cover story this month. FT contributing writer Julie Bennett talked to Puzder about his ascent to the top of the once-weary hamburger company. Rather than compete with McDonald’s and other chains for that sought-after family dollar, he and his team decided not to fight the crowds. Let McDonald’s have the family; CKE would take a rowdier group who spends money on fast food: young males.
Carl’s Jr. and sister brand Hardee’s now are known for their ads where sex sells—primarily on ESPN and on the Internet. While conservative in nature himself, Puzder is getting a kick out of the controversy the ads create. And controversy abounds. In 2007, a commercial with a schoolteacher dancing on a desk with young rappers rhyming about “flat buns” created such an outcry, CKE edited the teacher character out of the footage.
Mary Jo can be reached at 612-767-3200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Puzder’s ads are just like Klein’s: They create a stir. And they sell hamburgers. As Julie reports, some CKE franchisees dislike the ads, but they love the traffic the commercials bring into their restaurants. Who wouldn’t want to read about Puzder, and what he may be doing next?
We’ve got plenty more to cover this month, as well. FT executive editor Nancy Weingartner talked with serial entrepreneur Mike Enos. We’ve met a few serial entrepreneurs over the years in our franchise travels, but I don’t remember one whose businesses were quite so colorful, or so varied. Think taxidermy, port-a-potties, and shrink wrapping. His latest business, the shrink wrapping, is doing well because of a weary economy. There are so many unfinished projects where the money dried up, that shrink wrapping is needed to preserve them. Who knew?
And of course, who could forget that this issue features the Top 200, a ranking of the largest 200 franchisors in the nation based on sales? You’ll have to peruse the list to find out who’s doing well, because believe it or not, not everyone’s sales have slipped. And take a look at what FT reporter Jonathan Maze has to say about the international growth of these companies. He’s dug into the numbers to give us some analysis of whether international is still the machine for growth or if companies are taking a second look at how to grow creatively.
Controversy. Paris. Port-a-potties. Top 200. Stuffed dogs. Hamburgers. Only Franchise Times covers what you want to know—and maybe even a little of what you don’t.