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Two Sides to Franchising Cannabis: Part 1

Twenty-three U.S. states allow some form of legal marijuana use, primarily for medicinal purposes, while four states and Washington, D.C. have legalized its use for recreational purposes. With this growing cohort of states, the legitimacy of the cannabis industry is also rising as entrepreneurs examine how franchising can help them grow this still-untamed industry.

Traffic Softens, RPI Stays Positive as Restaurants Remain Hot

Same-store sales and customer traffic levels softened in May, but the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) remains very positive.

'Destroyed' by CrossFit, Massage Heights Co-Founder Heads to Games

There are some who hit the gym a time or two each week, unless happy hours, dinners out and summer barbecues get in the way. Then there’s Wayne Evans. The co-founder of Massage Heights, Evans is hooked on CrossFit, and is set to compete in the Reebok CrossFit games next month.

Non-traditional is the New Black, Maybe

Some journalists call out trends far too prematurely, but two recent interviews have me wondering if non-traditional restaurant locations (stadiums, airports, universities, etc...) are a new trend heating up the franchise world.

Centre Lane Plans Investment to Grow Saladworks

Saladworks has a new owner, Centre Lane Partners, which invested in the fresh-tossed salad restaurant chain that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in February. Centre Lane plans to invest “substantial capital” to accelerate the company’s growth nationwide,

Uncle Maddio’s Pizza snags private equity infusion

On the heels of the recent BDO report cementing the strength of the fast-casual and pizza segments comes news that Atlanta-based Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint received a new minority investment from S&S Group, LLC, a private equity firm out of Washington, D.C. that also invested in Five Guys.

Kneaders Bakery and Café seeks rapid, methodical growth

Kneaders Bakery and Café has embodied the “stick to what you know” philosophy throughout its rapid yet methodical expansion. Now a 35-unit franchise, Gary and Colleen Worthington opened the first Kneaders in 1997. Their son, James Worthington, has progressed from dishwasher to CEO. Worthington promptly learned that – even for him - it would be the Kneaders way or the highway.

Settling into Franchising

Last week’s International Franchise Expo marked the six-month mark for my career in the franchise world. It feels good knowing my new-guy smell is starting to wear off, and I now have relationships with excellent people in all corners of the franchise world. To quote Jim Morrison, “This is the best part of the trip.”

Attorney to SBA: Slap Back Franchisors' Heavy Hand

Here’s another take on the problem of defining a “small” business, for the purpose of obtaining a U.S. Small Business Administration loan—a problem detailed in this blogger’s column in the June/July issue of Franchise Times. It's from Jeffery Haff, Dady & Gardner.

Service Brands is Biggest Purchase Yet for Dwyer Group

CEO Mike Bidwell said Dwyer Group would ramp up acquisitions after last year’s purchase of the franchisor by The Riverside Co. Looks like he meant it: Waco, Texas-based Dwyer bought Service Brands International this week, a multi-concept system that includes Molly Maid, Mr. Handyman and ProTect Painters.

Protein Prices Stabilize as Fast-casual, Pizza Segments Outpace Industry

It’s no shock to anybody following the recent restaurant buzz, but the fast-casual and pizza segments are outpacing the overall industry, according to accounting firm BDO’s Q1 2015 Restaurant Benchmarking update. Even better, protein prices appear to stabilize after significant increases in recent months.

Driven Brands acquires 1-800 Radiator

Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group continued its buying spree today with the acquisition of 1-800 Radiator, the largest franchised automotive parts distributor in North America. The purchase was through Roark’s Driven brands portfolio, which it added to its stable this past April.

Wingstop is the latest: $110 million+ IPO and counting

Food couldn’t be much hotter these days, especially up-and-coming brands that are expanding nationally and going public to great fanfare. Today’s latest foodie IPO is Dallas-based Wingstop, which is on track to raise no less than $110.2 million on its first day on Wall Street.

Time Is Ripe for Trade Mission Applications

If it appears the franchise trade mission calendar is stacked in favor of the fourth quarter or thereabout, it is. The Southern China mission is August 21-28, Central America is September 20-25 and the Nordic countries will be visited October 18-24.

Gatti's Pizza gets scooped up

As the popularity of pizza chains continues to rise, Austin, Texas-based Gatti’s Pizza has been acquired by Sovrano, LLC, out of Fort Worth, Texas—one of several franchised restaurant brands to attract private equity investment in recent years.

Obituary: Wendy's Franchisee Mike Givens

Michael Jon Givens, a longtime multi-unit Wendy’s franchisee in the Twin Cities area, died in April of cancer at 58. In his online obituary, Givens, whose company FourCrown won several honors from the Wendy’s system, including Best Franchise Group in 2003, and induction into the Wendy’s Hall of Fame in 2006, was described as an intentionally quiet man, “because he never wanted anything to be about him.”

Watching the Weather

Blaming the weather for disappointing quarterly results can be a red herring in some cases, but El Niño may soon start having a serious impact.

Article is First 'Scholarly' Blast at NLRB on Joint Employer

A new Franchise Law Journal article minces no words when criticizing the National Labor Relations Board for its claim that McDonald’s is the “joint employer” of its franchisees’ staff.

Freshii Case May Show How to Avoid 'Joint Employer' Status

Franchisors can take heart from recent guidance on the Freshii case, in which the National Labor Relations Board said Freshii was NOT a joint employer with its franchisee.

More Info on Fastest-Growing Sandwich Chains

Our June/July issue features a story about fast-growing sandwich chains, and here’s some more interesting info that we couldn’t fit into print, about Capriotti's and Potbelly's, two of the fastest-growing chains according to Technomic, and Quiznos, whose sales declined.

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Covers everything from good news to bad judgment

About This Blog

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

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief 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.
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@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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