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September 2020

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In this issue

These culinary pros bring the flavor to franchising

Akash and Rana Kapoor exchange humorous barbs like the husband-and-wife team they are, married for 25 years and working together for much of that time. “We tried an enchilada one time—it totally didn’t work,” says Rana of experimenting with the menu at Curry Up Now, the Indian street food concept they created in 2009.

Looking for an IPO alternative? Consider the SPAC

The owners of F45, a fitness concept with more than 2,000 franchises sold in more than 50 countries, was planning a traditional initial public offering earlier this year when COVID scuttled the idea. Instead, Bob Beyer and Todd Purdy, partners at Crescent Acquisition Corp., plan to take F45 public via a merger with its SPAC, a special purchase acquisition company also known as a blank-check firm, a deal type that M&A experts say is on the rise.

Bankruptcy now for small businesses, too

If bankruptcy is a tool to help financially distressed firms, as finance experts routinely say, then small businesses for the first time can use it. That’s thanks to a new law making it far faster and much less expensive to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

HR management tip: Prepare for a rise in employee activism

Justin Butler opened his first Duck Donuts franchise in Woodbury, Minnesota, in December 2018. Also a Rita’s Italian Ice franchisee, both businesses took a sizeable hit during peak COVID-19 shutdowns. Then, George Floyd died May 25 at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

The Happy Cat Hotel lets cats rule the rooms

A beachside bungalow or a balcony view overlooking the Eiffel Tower? Perhaps reclining in an Egyptian pyramid sounds more appealing. Book a room in any of these destinations for only about $50 a night—if you’re a cat.

New Germinator mobile disinfecting concept has high hopes

The newest franchisee for Germinator, a mobile disinfecting and sanitizing service just launched in January, has Texas-sized plans for his new venture. J.R. Ferguson first bought two franchises, in Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas, and assigned about 50 salespeople that work for his construction firm to also sell Germinator business.

Franchises turn to philanthropy during pandemic

Franchise Times is reporting on the generosity of business owners throughout the pandemic, from restaurant franchises donating food to healthcare and front-line workers to franchisees getting creative as they find ways to thank those providing essential services in their communities. Here we take a look at four brands that came up with unique ways to practice philanthropy during COVID-19.

We review 3 adventure parks, antics included

A posse of annoyed children glared after the attendant cleared them from the Altitude Trampoline Park kiddie pit so two oldsters could try it out. Their anger became disgust as myself and the CEO of Altitude, Mike Rotondo, tried to jump over the slowly moving foam arm, lamely in my case but with verve in Rotondo’s. Who knew the timing needed would be so difficult to judge?

ETF Fitness founder shares advice from fellow Olympians

Who would play you in the biopic about your life? Will Smith would be good, I think. Not because he looks anything like me, but I think he does a really good job of crossing over between being fun and silly and then still being able to take on that serious role. That’s more like me. What’s your favorite franchise brand that’s not your own? I’d probably say Chick-fil-A. What they stand for with customer service and stewardship … the way they interact with their customers. They’re a family favorite.

First Naf Naf franchisee takes on CEO role

Almost exactly a year ago, Greg Willman made franchise news as the first franchisee of emerging concept Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill. Since then, he’s opened the first franchise location, broke ground on his second and was named CEO of the now 40-unit company.

A&W franchisee aims for destination locations

Longtime c-store operator Eddie Khoury plans to differentiate his A&W restaurants by making them into destinations—and having the cleanest stores around.

Ziebart franchisees find success with family business

Along with his four kids, Tony Mattiacio operates six Ziebart auto detailing shops, having turned an after-school job into a successful business. Dividing roles to match skillsets is one lesson learned, along with the kids working their way up to build credibility.

Learn how the COVID pullback impacts financing

As the franchise world charts a bumpy path forward, financing has changed. Unlike the Great Recession, there’s not a liquidity crisis, but a major fear of the unknown. Lenders hate the uncertainty and have high guardrails in place to avoid risk.

9Round makes push further into Southeast Asia

Vietnamese consumers, many new to fitness programs, want structured workouts with someone to lead the way. So says Ted Lee, the master franchisee who believes 9Round’s concept is the right fit and is moving forward with development despite pandemic delays.

Pool Scouts, Salata, share ways data can improve operations

Data, when understood and effectively scrutinized, can help identify opportunities to boost sales, reduce expenses and market more effectively. Capturing it can give franchisors and their franchisees a competitive edge.

Former Five Guys franchisees sign deal for Taffer’s Tavern

With sous vide cooking used for its food preparation, eliminating the need for typical restaurant kitchen prep and venting equipment, Taffer’s Tavern is attracting franchisees to multi-unit deals, the latest being Marc Magerman and Peter Weber, who signed on to bring five locations to the Boston area.

Defining the unusual terms of Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The “cramdown” is the most vivid word in the bankruptcy lexicon, by a mile, and also the No. 1 reason so many are competing to buy assets out of Chapter 11 proceedings this year. Which end you’re on will dictate how you view it.

Learn from top trends in the reopening revolution

While the world has been exploring and experimenting with various phases of reopening over the past few months, several jurisdictions have had a case of “one step forward and two steps backward.” Uncertainty is a strong theme through this period, together with the ongoing push to innovate within international franchising.

Should your brand partner with franchise brokers in order to grow?

Brands that create significant deal flow through brokers tend to fall into specific categories, and must be active to maintain mindshare. If your brand is small, new or in a crowded category, brokers can raise your profile. If your price point attracts first-timers, brokers reduce lead screening costs.

Famous Dave’s franchisee sees promise in ghost kitchens

Elliot Baum, like many restaurant operators, delights in talking about growth. Right now, for example, he is imagining starting from scratch as a Famous Dave’s franchisee. “If you had an endcap with a Starbucks on one side and I could do an endcap on the other side, I’d look to get 2,500 square feet and put a drive-thru on. That’s where I’d be at,” he explains in a mid-July phone call.

As mall traffic declines, sales follow

One not so surprising effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the intense pressure on mall retail. Social distancing and malls just don’t mesh, as is plain to see from the traffic data.

Former Church’s Chicken exec leads global push at Dine Brands

When Tony Moralejo was hired as president of international and global development at Dine Brands Global, he arrived at the parent company of Applebee’s and IHOP with two main goals. The first was to embrace innovation.
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