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Your chance to weigh in on franchising's heavyweights


So who is the most pivotal pioneer in franchising: Ray Kroc, the brains behind McDonald’s? Subway’s founder, Fred DeLuca? Martha Matilda Harper who is credited with improving the lives of servants through her hair-care franchise and who created the reclinable chair salons still use for shampooing hair?

Don’t like any of them? Well, there are 47 more to choose from.

Empowerkit, a platform for franchisee websites, launched their own interactive website earlier this month to collect votes for the most influential franchise pioneers. There are 50 names with short bios, which make for interesting reading. Most of the names are familiar—at least for those of us who have been in this business for more years than we care to remember—but there are still surprises in this walk down memory lane.

Included on the list is one father and son team, Bill and Bob Rosenberg of Dunkin’ Donuts (although you vote for them separately) and three-and-a-half women. Flo Francis appears in her husband’s bio and picture—Joseph Francis of The Barbers Hair Styling for Men—but she’s not officially in the running.

As of today’s date, Don Dwyer Sr., founder of The Dwyer Group of service brands, is the leader with 362 votes, followed by Jim Bugg Sr., who made his mark growing first real estate franchises and then Decorating Den. Bugg has 209 votes.

Those two numbers are significant because Col. Sanders only has eight votes and the founders of Holiday Inn and Burger King each have goose eggs.

Voting ends July 31, so log onto www.Empowerkit.com/pioneers/ to cast your vote. And if you’re one of the trailblazers on the list, you may want to mobilize your franchisees and get out the vote.

The 10 pioneers withthe most votes will be a part of an upcoming series by Empowerkit that will take a more in-depth look into each individual, and all voters will also receive a free printed copy of the series, according to Empowerkit’s CEO Chris Anderson.


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About This Blog

The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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