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Doing business better, and getting done before 3 a.m.


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When I was charged with launching Franchise Times 20 years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. Sure I was the editor of FT’s sister publication, the Restaurant Finance Monitor, but that’s a 12-page newsletter. Franchise Times was a different beast.

And, when you don’t know what you’re doing, you learn most things from hard knocks. There were days I was crazily frustrated: One particularly problematic issue that first year caused me to work until 3 a.m. with a graphic designer who had “alternative business hours.” But there was also fun and camaraderie: The staff and I joked as headlines were rewritten, lead paragraphs were fine tuned and new photos replaced old ones from the first to the second draft. It was exhilarating, those first issues: The magazine got out the door on time, and I was rewarded with a product I was proud of.

Launching something is oh so difficult, but so very fun at the same time. And so I related to Shannon Radke’s story of how she grew her brand, Cinnaholic. Radke is one of the entrepreneurs who headlines our cover story this month on Kitchen Royalty—the chefs creating the magic behind culinary innovation at various franchise brands.

Radke, at first a self-proclaimed hobby baker, took a year to perfect her vegan cinnamon rolls before embarking on the concept. “There were nights I was covered in flour on the kitchen floor crying because I couldn’t get it right,” she told FT Editor-in-Chief Beth Ewen. Today, Beth writes, Radke’s recipe for cinnamon rolls has  customers lining up around the block when a new store opens.

Other chefs featured said it wasn’t all smooth sailing for them, either. Debbie Roxarzade, the founder and culinary pro behind Rachel’s Kitchen, said at first her concept got mixed reviews. Some liked it, but some questioned, “Why are you putting goat cheese on a sandwich?” All of them powered through their ups and downs, and created the concepts they are proud of today. Their stories will inspire.

Also inspiring are the people and brands who will receive Franchising Gives Back awards this month. The International Franchise Association’s initiative, Franchising Gives Back is a chance to celebrate the entrepreneurs and their team members who are especially generous to local or international communities. The initiative will be capped by a ceremony at the Franchising Gives Back Celebration and Awards Dinner on September 4 in Washington, D.C.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson

Publisher
Reach Mary Jo at 612-767-3208
or mlarson@franchisetimes.com

As the media partner for the awards since it commenced a few years ago, we’re glad to have the opportunity to tell these amazing stories. The causes range from childhood hunger and domestic violence to fighting stereotypes of mental illness. Nick Friedman, CEO of College Hunks Hauling Junk, gives sage advice for folks wanting to jump into charity work: “Do it because you truly believe in making a difference, not just because you’re trying to be a marketable differentiator.” Well said.

Also in this month’s issue: expanded finance coverage with a finance and real estate directory of the firms that target the franchise sector, a retail franchise that successfully untangled itself from the “buy-one-get-one-free” conundrum so many operators love to hate, and how to refresh that inline row of franchises. And, not to be missed, we have a feature on the changing role of the franchise CFO: Much more than bean counters, they are stewards of their companies’ growth, dealing with everything from performance metrics to Yelp reviews.

It’s all here this month, the stories that motivate and help you do business better. And, just like any other business, Franchise Times has evolved, too. And, I don’t stay until 3 a.m. any longer. Bonus.

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