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My Franchise Times colleagues and I had to brave a Minnesota snowstorm and long airline delays to get there, but as I write this, I have just returned from the International Franchise Association's annual convention. It was a great event, and I enjoyed talking with the other attendees and learning about their businesses—as well as seeing the much-anticipated sunshine we sometimes lack at home.

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In a world full of waaaaaay too many choices, many of them disgusting in the case of donuts, happening upon Le Pain Quotidien was a respite. We hunted around the charming French Market in Chicago for about a half hour, finally finding The Dapper Doughnut, the intended target that turned out to be closed.

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Today, a healthy lifestyle is about more than opting for salad over fries or cutting that breakroom donut in half. As consumers become more educated about what food does to their bodies, functional foods, those with a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition, are creeping out of the holistic healing blogosphere and into the mainstream.

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Restaurant brands that are watching more of their food being carried out the door by the likes of DoorDash and Uber Eats are taking a hard look at how takeout and delivery orders are impacting real estate strategies, store designs and operating efficiencies.

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It takes a village to guide new franchisees toward smart decisions, as they often are capital constrained and lack the kind of personal experience that only comes from years or decades in the industry. Nowhere is that truer, and more consequential, than on the real estate side of a young franchised business, where picking the wrong location or agreeing to lopsided lease terms can sink a new enterprise before it ever takes flight.