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Franchise Articles

Browse our selection of franchise articles and features to help further your knowledge in opening and operating a franchise business. Our exclusive features cover the , , , , , , and site of the franchise business. Written by the editorial team that produces Franchise Update Magazine and Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine, the franchise industries premier magazines.

Feature Story:

Renaissance Man: One Brand, 42 Years, And Multiple Interests »

By Helen Bond

When he was 16, Ed Wolak perfected the art of baking hand-cut donuts on the night shift at Dunkin' Donuts. He's been a single-minded brand ambassador ever since. Today, with 42 years of Dunkin' Donuts franchise experience behind him, Wolak, who will open his 100th location in the next year, is a true MVP for Single Brand Leadership.
"I believe success within the fast food industry is vastly underestimated and misunderstood," he says. "Franchising with the right brand provides an unparalleled ladder to success. I love the Dunkin' Donuts brand because it has provided me the opportunity to succeed."
In return, Wolak, who owns and operates 96 Dunkin' Donuts in Maine, New Hampshire, and New York, has given back to the brand in countless ways over the decades...

Feature Story:

Going Big: Big Data Around The World »

By William Edwards

In researching the use of big data in franchising outside the U.S., we asked two leading franchise development executives abroad to tell us how this it being used where they are. We also found several international companies that work with franchisors. Finally, we looked at how data is regulated in the European Union (very differently than in the U.S.).
According to Logi Analytics, a company that helps clients access, manage, and understand the growing volume of consumer data, "Big data refers to the ever-growing volume of data, increasing velocity in the generation of that data, and increased variety of types of data. In just a few short years, big data technologies have gone from nothing more than hype to being one of the core single disruptors in the digital age...

Feature Story:

Your People Are Biggest Competitive Advantage »

By Kendall Rawls

Competition in business is what helps to keep us focused on strategic growth. However, in today's landscape, competition is bigger, stronger, wider, and more present than ever. Innovations in technology give your customers access to similar products and services from companies that are not located in their geographic footprint. With a click of a button, an order can be placed, shipped, and received to a buyer that should have been yours.
In the retail automotive franchise niche, a customer can shop online and work with a dealer in another state to purchase their car. In fact, I know of someone who lives in the New England area and purchased their car from a dealership in the Carolinas.
In a food, service, or product driven franchise business, a customer can download an app on their phone, place an order, and see the timeline for readiness or delivery...

Feature Story:

Local Attraction: 5 Keys To A Hyper-Local Marketing Campaign »

By Lauren Reid

Franchisors, take note! Your franchisees have the ability to own a moment--many moments in fact. For example, the moment an office team needs to take a working lunch and an intern types "sandwiches" into Google Maps; the moment a Facebooker scrolls through pictures of her friends and decides she wants some new shoes for the weekend; or the moment a tourist needs some food or entertainment within a three-block radius of their hotel.
These are your moments to win the sale, and a solid hyper-local marketing campaign is the ticket your franchisees need to drive these customers through their doors. It's about foot traffic, repeat customers, and word of mouth. So in a sea of possibilities, can your target audiences find your locations when they're right next to them? Are you on the radar of every GPS app? Is your website design not just mobile-friendly, but also mobile-responsive? If you nail all the ins and outs of a successful hyper-local marketing campaign, you'll be miles ahead of your competitors, even if you're on the same block...

Feature Story:

New Legislation Delays DOL Overtime Regulations »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Congress has brought temporary relief for small business owners everywhere by passing H.R. 6094, the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI). This legislation provides a six-month delay that will help America's 733,000 franchise establishments that employ nearly 7.6 million workers by delaying the implementation of the overtime rule until June 1, 2017.
"A six-month delay in implementation is the least Congress can do to ensure compliance with such massive change imposed by the Labor Department on small business owners and their employees," said IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti, CFE. "We applaud Rep. Walberg and bipartisan members of Congress for recognizing the burden this rule places on franchises and how dramatically this will alter how businesses operate across the country, but urge them to take additional steps to mitigate the impact of the automatic increases imposed by the draconian rule...

Feature Story:

Cousins Subs Reinvention Sets The Stage For Expansion Into New Markets »

By Christine Specht

The fast casual space is one that continuously evolves to meet consumer demands. From restaurant design to ordering methods and digital advancements both in-store and online, brands are continually undergoing changes to keep their dynamic guest base happy... and full. We at Cousins Subs are no exception. But before I introduce you to the reinvented Cousins Subs, I must first set the stage as to how we got here.

Who we are
For those not familiar with Cousins Subs, our 40-plus year journey began in 1972 when my father Bill Specht and his cousin Jim Sheppard brought their favorite style of sub sandwich from the East Coast to their new hometown of Milwaukee. Setting out to serve "Better Bread. Better Subs." they began a legacy of meticulously crafting the finest sandwiches possible...

Feature Story:

Good News! - October 2016 »

By Eddy Goldberg

The good news: Franchising is experiencing a remarkable growth phase - not only in unit count and system-wide revenue, but also in the number of new and emerging brands. The bad news: It's harder to keep up with all the good news! That's a nice problem to have - and why we've brought back our "Good News!" roundup of selected news items on unit growth, investment and financial developments, international expansion news, refranchising, and milestones attained by franchisors large, medium, and emerging. Here's your chance to follow the leaders, every third Tuesday of the month.

So if you're not doing it already, send us your good news here.

New Units/Growth/Expansion
Starwood’s 3 Specialty Select Brands Ink Deals for 132 Units in 2016
Hooters Signs 5-Unit Deal with F&S Restaurant Group for NC and Virginia
Del Taco Inks Deal with Bajwa Group To Add 5 Units in San Diego County
Realty One Group Continues Strong 2016 Growth with October Openings
Captain D’s Opens 23rd Virginia Restaurant; Group Plans Three More
Uncle Maddio’s Signs Two 3-Unit Deals for Nashville Area
ZIPS Dry Cleaners Signs Leases for Next 4 Stores
Edible Arrangements Signs 13 New Franchise Agreements in August
Homestyle Dining Opens 4th Restaurant in 6 Months; 5th by Year-End

JAE Restaurant Group Buys 97 South Florida Restaurants from Wendy’s
Cowboy Chicken Inks 30-Store Deal for California
Twin Peaks Agrees To Sell Majority Stake to Its Largest Franchisee Group

Big Plans, Big Dreams
Dairy Queen Targets 100 New Units for New York’s Buffalo Niagara Region
Carvel Targets New Jersey for Up to 20 More Locations
The Driver Training Group Targets California and Texas for Growth

Cajun Global (Church’s Chicken, Texas Chicken) Opens 500th International Unit
Smoothie King Opens in Dubai, Its First Middle East Location
Senior Helpers Opens in Toronto, Its First Canadian Location
Denny’s Opens Its First Restaurant in The Philippines; Plans for 10

New And Emerging Brands
Naugles, SoCal Taco Chain, Begins Franchising, Hires Fransmart
Legal Cannabis Industry Eyes Franchising at Franchise Expo West
Sugar Plum Parties (Flip Flop Shops Founders) Inks Deals for 5 Cities

Zaxby’s Opens Its 800th Restaurant (Mustang, Oklahoma)
9Round Opens Its 400th Gym (Greenville, South Carolina)
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Celebrates 75th Anniversary in October

People & Awards
The Melt Hires Former Pei Wei CEO Ralph Bower as CEO
Papa Murphy’s Chair John Barr Steps Down; Jean Birch Named New Chair
Big O Tires EVP/COO Kevin Kormondy Retires; John Kairys Named New EVP/GM
Newk’s Promotes CFO Michael Clark to President; Jim Greco Departs
Toppers Hires David Biederman as Chief Development Officer

Feature Story:

Going Big: Big Data Has Great Value--if You Know How To Use It »

By Helen Bond

Big data: Extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. (Oxford Dictionaries)

When Tropical Smoothie Cafe pondered an ingredient upgrade to a popular smoothie, the brand turned to data for direction. Using information culled from its recently launched app, the company surveyed customers who regularly ordered the smoothie and pulled together a blind taste test of 50 customers in its hometown of Atlanta. Within days, the franchisor was armed with enough insight to launch a test market of the tweaked drink, a menu move that previously would have taken weeks or months and often required hiring outside help.
Big data is changing the way franchise brands do business...

Feature Story:

Time To Recalibrate?: Global Shifts Portend Change In Intermediate Term »

By Carol M. Schleif

After decades of seemingly inviolable correlations, shifts in markets, demographics, interest rates, and politics suggest that change may be in the offing. Two areas we watch closely to help us assess the macro environment and give us clues about potential secular trend changes are growth and inflation. Within each area, hints are emerging that relationships are shifting, though the ability to predict magnitude and timing remains as elusive as ever.
At Abbot Downing, we use three core models to help us frame the short-, intermediate-, and long-term context within which we construct and rebalance our portfolios. As we are assessing intermediate-term market/economic dynamics, we analyze a variety of factors that relate to various economic growth and inflation regimes...

Feature Story:

Retail Theater: Competing In An E-Tail World »

By Kay Ainsley

There is much discussion in marketing circles about how brick-and-mortar businesses can compete with the pricing and convenience of e-tailing. Yet for all the appeal of e-tailing, brick-and-mortar businesses maintain one huge advantage: the ability to go beyond just selling product and allow the consumer to experience and create a personal relationship with their brand.
The best illustration of a brand experience I know is one I witnessed firsthand. It happened at The Sage Room, our favorite restaurant on Hilton Head.
The Sage Room can make any foodie's heart beat faster just thinking about what's on the menu. But a truly outstanding restaurant is more than just the food, however wonderful. On our semi-annual pilgrimage to The Sage Room we were seated at the 10-person "chef's table"--seats where we could talk with the chefs and watch our meals being prepared--when another couple came in with a woman celebrating her 80th birthday...

Feature Story:

Finding The Right Balance With Technology »

By Rick Thompson

Technology can help restaurant franchises reduce operating costs, streamline their operation, build customer loyalty, enhance quality, and create more personalized experiences for customers. But restaurants must carefully weigh the benefits of technology against the potential challenges it can create. An inability to strike the delicate balance of technology and service can impact already thin restaurant profit margins.
Through regular meetings with our restaurant franchise clients, we have an understanding of their technology decision-making process and have learned first-hand what has and has not worked. Following are some of the key learnings and best practices we have gleaned from conversations with our restaurant clients.

Putting Control in Customers' Hands
One emerging trend our clients are taking into consideration is the ability to put more control in their customers' hands, literally...

Feature Story:

A Look Back To The Future: 10 Key Marketing Trends For 2016 »

By IBM Marketing Cloud

Last December, IBM Marketing Cloud released a white paper named "10 Key Marketing Trends for 2016 and Ideas for Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences." The paper highlighted 10 trends its experts predicted would drive consumer marketing this year. As marketers' thoughts turn to 2017 (and their budgets), a realistic look in the rearview mirror can be extremely helpful. Let's start with an excerpt from the introduction:

"C-suite executives think four technologies will be particularly important for marketing success in the near term: cloud computing and services, mobile solutions, the Internet of Things, and cognitive computing.... The biggest theme running through these key marketing trends for 2016 is gaining a deeper understanding of buyers and delivering the types of outstanding cross-channel experiences customers and prospects crave...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: Oct. 11, 2016 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Move ToCombat Online Bullying and Hate Speech
Responding to public pressure, three of the largest social media companies have independently moved to curb online bullying, abuse, hate speech, and propaganda. Facebook has expanded its Online Civil Courage Initiative to further combat extremist messaging, focusing on France, Germany, and the U.K. In September, Instagram introduced an anti-harassment comment filter, which allows users to ban specific words or terms from being displayed on the their page, or completely turn off comments. And in late August, Twitter announced it would extend its Notifications and a "Quality Filter" to all users. (It had been previously available only to "verified" account holders...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Cost Of Doing Business & Government Regulation »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Mara Fortin
Brands/Units: 7 Nothing Bundt Cakes

Mara Fortin is a multi-unit franchisee who fights for her business rights. Her strong beliefs about the virtues and values of being a small-business owner and franchisee led her in September 2015 to testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce about her concerns with the NLRB's redefinition of joint employer. She also led a press conference of small-business owners who spoke to members of Congress on Capitol Hill on issues facing their businesses during the annual FAN meeting in Washington, D.C. Today she remains focused on advocacy--and on perfecting her bakeries and continuing to grow her company.

How are business costs and government regulations affecting your business? California is a very tough state and the costs of doing business continue to rise...

Feature Story:

Servant Leader: Building A Company, One Person At A Time »

By Kerry Pipes

Nader Masadeh didn't like what he saw at one of his franchise locations when we was featured on CBS television's "Undercover Boss" a few months ago. So the Buffalo Wings & Rings president and CEO promptly stepped out of his disguise to handle the problem.
"I will not allow anybody to be bullied," he told a kitchen manager during the episode. In fact, he encouraged the local franchise owner to terminate the kitchen employee over things he had said to employees. That's just part of who Masadeh is.
Masadeh was just 14 when his family moved from Jordan to the United States in search of better opportunities. The family settled in the Cincinnati area and began making the adjustment to life in their new country. As a young man, he got his first taste of franchising at a Burger King, washing dishes...

Feature Story:

The Future Of Franchising: Three Converging Trends Will Shape Its Future »

By Darrell Johnson

Since the turn of the century, I would highlight three fundamental trends within the franchise business model. The first is adaptability, which has a wonderful positive attribute but a dark side as well. The second is unit concentration, which is another way of describing the rise of the multi-unit operator. The third is the pendulum swing of franchise agreements toward franchisor interests. These three trends are having a converging impact on the 2016 version of the business model and suggest some things about further changes to come.
There are about 3,200 active franchise brands across more than 200 industry sectors. More than 300 brands dip their toes in the franchising water for the first time each year (some have good success, some stay a few years and decide it's not for them, and some never get off the ground)...

Feature Story:

Selecting The Right Lender For Your Business »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The financing options available to smaller businesses have been steadily increasing. The small and lower middle market lending arena is now busier than ever, with a wide spread of lenders keen to promote their individual products. One common mistake is to accept the first lender that offers its help, and another is to focus solely on a lender's interest rate. Below are four key criteria smaller businesses may wish to consider in seeking intelligent liquidity for their business.

1. Variety of Funding Options
Small businesses usually have very individual needs. Some lenders try to fit small-business customers into one of their traditional business loan products. By contrast, other more innovative lenders are increasingly offering a wide array of financing choices, and are able to tailor their products to meet the individual needs of their customers...

Feature Story:

Achieving Sustainable Excellence In Your Business »

By Kendall Rawls

Multi-unit franchisee businesses, regardless of the concept, location, or size, all strive to build value, create longevity, and generate success. Ultimately, with value, longevity and success, the world is your oyster. No matter your short or long term vision, whether it be a high value sale or transfer to a key manager(s) or family.
The multi-unit franchisee business is a highly dynamic environment with endless options for growing your business and reaching the epitome of how you define success. With a variety of established brands and emerging concepts to choose from, opportunities to diversify and strengthen your portfolio, or partner with a franchisor to develop an area, the choices can seem endless for your business. Add the day-to-day fires such as managing cash flow, adjusting to policy changes like the DOL ruling, and staying on top of franchisor requirements, and focusing on the right things versus getting lost in the fray can be a constant struggle...

Feature Story:

Minimum Wage And Franchising: A View From The Trenches »

By Michael Seid

Connecticut is a remarkable place to live and raise a family. We sit between New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts and are surrounded with extraordinary cultural opportunities, world-class educational institutions, decent roads, railways, and great airports. We should be the perfect place to attract new business and should be leading the nation in job creation.

Connecticut is as blue a state as there can be. We are over taxed, over regulated, and have been legislatively micromanaged into a ditch. GE and the insurance industry are relocating, and the only manufacturers left are defense contractors. We are near the bottom in the nation in private sector job creation and economic investment. Connecticut attempted to fix its budget this past year by taxing employers $1 per employee hour if they did not pay a super-premium minimum wage of $15 - despite the fact that the state's current minimum wage is $9...

Feature Story:

Man Of Many Hats: Longtime Hardee's Franchisee Also Is Mayor And Publisher »

By Helen Bond

If you want to see the positive influence of Hardee's franchisee Dan Ponder at work, look no farther than his hometown of Donalsonville, population 3,000. Nestled in the southwest corner of Georgia's Seminole County, Donalsonville is home to Ponder Enterprises, which opened its first Hardee's restaurant in 1983. Ponder is publisher of the town's award-wining newspaper, the Donalsonville News, and in 2013 was elected mayor.
At the moment, he is tirelessly leading an effort to make his town the nation's first Smart Rural City. The broadband project, which has the potential to transform the community, "could have never happened without franchising and my long relationship with Hardee's," says Ponder, the recipient of the 2016 Spirit of Franchising MVP Award...

Learn More

2016 MVPs: Celebrating This Year's Outstanding Operators    

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Issue III, 2016

Multi-Unit Buyers Guide    

2016 Multi-Unit Buyers Guide

Special Edition

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