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Keeping you abreast of workplace trends


I hope your copy of Franchise Times isn’t delayed in the mail this month or you may miss out on an opportunity to celebrate National Breast-Feeding at Work Week September 4-8. Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in April and Take Your Dog to Work Day in June required only eight hours to make their point, but advocating breast-feeding at work apparently requires an entire week.

Although I did breast-feed my three children—not at the same time, of course—I wasn’t working in an office at the time, so, it caught me by surprise to learn some companies have locked lactation rooms furnished with easy chairs, electric pumps and refrigerators in which to store the milk.

There’s also a profession called a lactation specialist.

On the La Leche League’s Web site, the pro-breast-feeding group encourages a pregnant woman to sit down with her boss and educate him or her on the accommodations she will need in order to continue breast-feeding after returning to work. That’s not a conversation my boss would relish having with me; I’m sure he’s relieved I’m past child-bearing age.

If you’re an employer, don’t think you can avoid this issue. Some states already have breast-feeding laws, while legislation is pending in other states. I’m confident IFA will be adding the right to pump milk at work to its list of laws to watch.

While I personally have no issues with people taking breaks to pump milk inside or smoke cigarettes outside, I do worry coworkers will complain that once again parents are getting more rights at work than childless workers.

I remember when I organized Bring Your Dog (Pictures) to Work Day at our office, disgruntled cat owners became petty. We finally agreed to let them enter their cats’ photos in our contest, but as you can imagine none of their pets won.National Breast-Feeding at Work Week sounds like an event that’s long overdue—just as long as there’s no contests involved.

Your ad makes us want you

Advertisers, I don’t know if you know this, but you get a ROI on your ads in Franchise Times you’d never suspect. There’s not a billing cycle that goes by when our bookkeeper Donna Garey doesn’t go out to lunch at Fuddrucker’s after staring at the hamburger in the ad as she gets the tear sheets ready for billing.

When our conference director Gayle Strawn sees Sonic’s Web site, she craves a milk shake. The problem with fulfilling that craving is we don’t have any Sonics close by.

I could barely finish writing the story on Auntie Anne’s new marketing materials, because I wanted a pretzel so badly I could taste it—or rather, wanted to taste it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work as well for nonfood franchises, because not once while I was writing the cover story on Anthony Martino and Maaco did I feel the urge to get my car painted. Sorry, Tony.

So on behalf of the staff here at Franchise Times, I’d like to issue this call to action: To help us with our quest for a healthier lifestyle, we’d like to see more ads for fruit, ice cream, salads and massages.

Give a man a sandwich and he’ll eat for a day, but give him a cookie and he’s a customer for life

Living the life of an Air Force brat growing up, I never got used to having a regular place to hang out. I crave change, so the fact that I keep returning to the Subway by my office in St. Anthony, Minn., is a testament to the franchise owner, Wolfe Ifonlaja. (September seems to be the Subway issue—this is the fourth mention of the company.)

I always order the same thing—a 6-inch veggie on wheat—so Wolfe assumes I’m a vegetarian and insists I try the veggie burger. I’m going meatless at lunch for the calories, not the health benefits. Without the added calories from meat, I can add chips for just 190 calories. (Which reminds me, I think Jimmy John’s should be severely punished for having nutritional information on their chip bags for one serving when there are two servings in the bag! Especially since I like their chips better.)

I’m not the only customer Wolfe likes to see come through his line. The other day as I waited, he was carrying on a conversation about glasses with a customer. When he complimented the man in front of me on his glasses, the man at first didn’t understand. When Wolfe explained they were celebrating their good taste in eye wear, the customer enthused, “Oh, well, good. Cookies for everyone.”

There was a moment of silence and then Wolfe began handing out cookies to the people in line. I don’t know how much the cookies cost him (I do know they’re 220 calories), but the goodwill was priceless.

I think Wolfe is the reason owner/operators will always be an intrinsic part of franchising.

Please tell us what you think

Don’t make me have to call you, because I will. Well, maybe not you specifically, but I am thinking about calling a few readers each month to find out how we’re doing. We’d like to know what you like about the magazine and what you don’t. What you’d like to see more of, and what you could live without.

Please feel free to call me or e-mail me at nancyw@franchisetimes.com, plus contact the columnists or writers. Their contact information is under their column pictures or in the staff box.

If you don’t hear back from me right away, don’t think I’m not interested in hearing your feedback or story idea. It could be that I just need a break from the grind and I’m hiding out in our lactation room. Just the thought of 15 minutes of uninterrupted quiet pumps me up.

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