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‘If you treat people like they matter they will do anything,' says Kory Harp softly, belying his burly looks to explain why he believes the culture at MOD Pizza is a precious treasure. He and others in the MOD Squad, as more than 3,000 employees and eight franchise partners are known, are determined to keep that enviable culture alive even as the chain expands nationwide. Founders Scott and Ally Svenson have their backs, insisting they care much more about purpose than pizza.

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The No. 1 franchise on this year's Fast & Serious list—designating the fastest-growing franchises over three years, in order to ensure sustainability—ironically talks more about being methodical than pushing to the max. “We're very diligent—some people would call it slow, but we try to be real thoughtful about it,” says Hoyt Jones, president of Jersey Mike's, the sub sandwich chain that requires a full-week training for every franchisee in New Jersey headquarters. Learn his growth strategies, plus those of 39 more franchise bosses who are intent on growing quickly but only in ways that can last.

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Political pundits, restaurant CEOs and financial wizards shared advice and philosophies at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, presented each November by the Restaurant Finance Monitor, FT's sister publication. Here are some highlights, with many more online at franchisetimes.com.

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‘If I can do so much on the internet, why can't I do my financing?' That simple question drove Denise Thomas to start ApplePie Capital, which a couple of rounds of funding and a couple of years later is marrying tech with money.

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After the election I had this reaction, like a popular majority of the voting public unless in fact 2.8 million of those votes were illegal: UUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH. But I didn't think I could fill this column with that word, so I began moving through the seven stages of grief.

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Over the years, I have heard dozens of franchise salespeople lament the social media efforts of their franchisors. They often feel the money spent on social media is wasted when it comes to franchise lead generation. And while there are numerous ways that a franchisor can ineffectively utilize social media, savvy franchisors have found that social media, done right, can have a profound impact on their franchise marketing efforts.

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It is rare that the European Parliament has anything to say about franchising. Recently though, that august institution spoke up, in the form of a study published by one of its committees, looking at the impact of regulation on franchising in Europe. While it is not the official position of the parliament, it cannot safely be ignored.

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Most likely the last time bathroom humor was top of mind for the team at Fish Consulting was when they were in the third grade (junior high, maybe high school, for the boys). But when their client, Mr. Rooter, wanted to create consumer buzz around the plumbing brand, Fish drilled down and asked themselves, “How can we make this sexy?” according to Andie Biederman, senior account executive for the south Florida PR/advertising agency.