When the pandemic first hit, Joe Giammona, CEO of the Driver Training Group, sprang into action to work with Washington’s state government to establish web-based driver education, something the state had never allowed before, as well as virtual licensing.
On solid footing heading into 2020, Bruster's Real Ice Cream braced for the worst with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this crisis is yielding far different results than the one more than a decade ago, said CEO Jim Sahene.
Fifteen corporate-owned Steak 'n Shake restaurants were set to sell September 3 via public auction, a process that can benefit sellers that fail to find buyers for troubled stores in the traditional way, said Harold Bordwin of Keen-Summit Capital Partners, the firm that handled the transactions with NAI Global.
Franchising since May, sanitizing and disinfecting concept Safe From Spread has quickly grown to 17 franchisees operating nearly 40 territories. The company recently inked a contract with NBCUniversal for its operators to sanitize and disinfect locker rooms, studios and production trailers at NFL, PGA, LPGA and NASCAR events.
Pool Scouts, a residential pool cleaning and maintenance franchise, has seen a same-store network revenue increase of 74 percent during the pandemic as homeowners are spending more time in their pools, according to Pool Scouts president Michael Wagner.
The pandemic is speeding up the movement toward ibuying in residential real estate, in which institutional buyers use technology platforms to buy homes speedily and without seeing them in person. The "instant buying" trend is now being adopted by traditional real estate brokers, too.
With pandemic mask mandates, beauty trends are changing as lipstick sales are dropping and mascara and eyelash-enhancing service sales are growing. Case in point: An Amazing Lash Studios ‘zee has seen a 46 percent spike in year-over-year client leads since COVID-19 began.
Michael Moore, a Pizza Inn franchisee in Hobbs, New Mexico, spent the first week of August preparing to open for outdoor dining, going to considerable expense to put up a 30-foot-by-50-foot tent, outfitting servers and more. "We got it open," he said, on Friday, August 7. "We had a court order late that afternoon so we had to shut everything down."
The talk was all tech at the Restaurants of the Future panel at the virtual Food On Demand Conference last week. But Editor Tom Kaiser ended with a "sentimental" question for the panelists. Does all the technology take the human element out of the dining experience?
In a wide-ranging conversation that hit on everything from leadership qualities and customer safety to the future of buffets and the value of drive-thru real estate, industry experts Greg Dollarhyde and Malcolm Knapp offered their take on what lies ahead for the restaurant business in 2021 and beyond.
What is it like to run a restaurant reservations platform during a pandemic, Food On Demand Editor Tom Kaiser asked the founder of Tock to kick off today's virtual FOD conference. "It took work that was interesting, and made it important," replied Nick Kokonas in a pragmatic and hopeful discussion about third-party delivery and the survival of restaurants.
Bastian Lehmann, CEO and co-founder of Postmates, was man of the hour as his keynote address kicked off the third annual Food On Demand Conference today, for the first time in all-virtual format. That's because Uber is set to buy Postmates, in a key example of third-party delivery consolidation that raises many unknowns.
For Aaron Anderson, the motivation to push forward and even accelerate development came from a combination of personal determination, belief in The Original Hot Dog Factory concept and a desire to keep workers employed.
"Cinnamon rolls are essential!" declared Holly Roe, owner of a Cinnaholic vegan bakery in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her actions during the pandemic, particularly how she trains employees to deal with difficult customers, are a model for others as businesses open and close during COVID-19. Seventh in a series called Open/Close.
“There was a time when we were calling the health department every week,” recalls Jim Bailey, a Broken Yolk Café franchisee with two restaurants in Bakersfield, California. Bailey and Jay Marble, who operates a restaurant in Arizona, share their experiences as part of our Open/Close series.
The co-owners of a Pigtails & Crewcuts in Los Altos, California, were excited to reopen their kids' haircut salon in July after a four-month lockdown. But the restart was short-lived. Fourth in a series called Open/Close.
"PPE, proper protocols, dwell times, spray techniques—these are all things we’re experts at. To leave this in the hands of an employee could leave a business at risk," said Jeff Panella, president of Green Home Solutions.
"My thought process is, leaders lead," declared Catherine Monson, CEO of Fastsigns and chair of the International Franchise Association, in a bracing interview with Franchise Times this week about leadership, fear and the courage to rise above it.
Ari Tiktin, a New Jersey man with a media background, closed his purchase of a BrightStar Care agency on March 30, two weeks after a statewide stay-at-home order was issued. "If it's not difficult, I'm not interested," he joked about the timing. Third in a series called Open/Close.
With portfolios primarily made up of quick-serve restaurant brands, three of the largest franchisees in the U.S. are bullish in their outlooks as they and their stores continue to climb out of the hole created by COVID-19 shutdowns.
Cousins Subs had been working toward more drive-thru operations for years as the nearly 50-year-old brand remodeled locations, but the COVID-19 pandemic has been another reason to push in that direction.
Reggie Orchid, co-owner of two Title Boxing clubs in the Houston area, managed to break even after gyms were allowed to reopen in Texas in May. Then came a spike in COVID cases and another round of shutdowns. Second in a series called Open/Close.
“There was no intention to pull off the gas pedal and not get the deal done,” said Christina Russell, the CEO of Sola Salon Studios who's now leading Radiance Holdings, which acquired the Texas-based Woodhouse Day Spa franchise.
With the slogan “Die Fitnesshalle fur Alle” and a banana for a mascot, Rainer Schaller opened his first McFit gym in 1997 in Wurzburg, Germany. Now his company, Berlin-based RSG Group, has placed the winning bid for Gold’s Gym.