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Weighing in on a meaty issue


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I’m a Minnesota Twins baseball fan. Besides watching them on TV, I’m guessing I probably attend 20 games or more a year at Target Field, their home ballpark. It’s still a pretty new venue with slick restaurants featuring avant-garde food (for a ballpark), craft beers and wine, climate-controlled areas with padded seats and more. This isn’t grandpa’s ballpark, folks. (That's yours truly with mascot T.C. to the left.)

And, it sports the fourth largest scoreboard in major league baseball—which is part of my personal entertainment as a fan. Sure, I like a homerun by rookie Miguel Sanó as well as the next guy, but I love seeing the photos of the team up in lights, and then reading and analyzing their accompanying stats. I like the personal side of the game: how old they are, where they were born, and, yes, their height and weight.

Perhaps the boys of summer aren’t as vain as me, but if I were a professional ballplayer, that would be too much data up there for all the world to see. Sure, put up my job performance stats, like RBIs and batting averages—even if I’m in a slump, who cares? But weight? No way. That tells you just a little bit too much about the real MJ.

And here’s my segue into this month’s issue: Usually, data is a good thing. It tells us what we need to know about something so we can make better decisions. The more data we have, the better the decision.

Since we first started publishing Franchise Times in 1999, we have produced the Franchise Times Top 200: a ranking of the top franchise brands in the nation based on worldwide sales. This is, as FT Managing Editor Beth Ewen puts it, “a treasure trove of data. The numbers are a manifestation of who is making the best strategic decisions.”

Beth and team have produced fantastic coverage—we have five distinct voices reporting on the list this year—including breaking out information from 12 different industry segments, insight from Top 200 CEOs and more. And, as you may have noticed, a new logo graces the ranking, which includes a “plus sign” to denote our coverage now goes much deeper than just the top 200 franchise brands. We want to know who’s climbing to get into the 200, which means someone will drop out. It’s all in the data, and we have it.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson
Publisher 

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

Yes, we have the data, but numbers on their own are not as interesting as the analysis that comes along with it. You’ll find that in the coverage, too.

Paul Brown, CEO of Arby’s, a Top 200 company as well, also used data to help bring that brand back to life. According to FT reporter Tom Kaiser, Brown and team put together a study of customers and employees, trying to learn where Arby’s fit in the restaurant spectrum. You’ll have to read Tom’s account of what they learned and how they turned out a 5.7 percent increase in sales in 2014. Something about “proudly embracing its meats.”

We have that coverage and more this month: franchisees who give back and thus have attracted the applause of the franchise community; beards in foodservice (I learned extreme facial hair is what the men on Duck Dynasty have in common with the Amish); licensing Father’s Day Eve; and a bit about the Planet Fitness IPO drama, just to name a few.

Trust me, you will want to spend a couple of hours with this issue. Or don’t trust me. Just start reading. As the famous engineer and statistician William Edwards Deming said, “In God we trust. All others, bring data.” But in my case, don’t expect me to share more than my height. (It’s 5’6”.)

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