Multi-Brand Mavens: One Brand Won't Do For These Operators!

For many franchisees one brand just isn't enough. They prefer to spread their risk across different brands, seeking diversity and economies of scale. And while the payoff can be substantial, it can be tough to succeed in this niche: they needed faith, persistence, and a solid infrastructure to make it happen.

We looked far and wide to assemble a talented group of multi-brand franchisees who are dynamic, engaging, and who offer great stories. These six hard-working operators represent different-sized franchisee organizations, and all have at least two concepts. Their stories are different, yet share common threads: a passion for great products and concepts, a customer-driven focus, an eagerness to provide jobs and career opportunities for their employees, and a burning passion to grow their business and serve their communities. Here's a sample of what you'll discover in the following pages:

Rose Colarossi

Rose Colarossi
is a high-energy multi-brand operator unafraid to embrace a challenge--and do whatever it takes to succeed. The New York native and former Curves franchisee relocated to Dallas 5 years ago because of her husband's job. First, the family opened an Egg & I Restaurant, then two more. Now they've teamed up with Mama Fu's Asian House, where they have one unit open and an agreement for 13 more.

Ahmed El-Hawary Ahmed El-Hawary
grew up in the family business selling glass doors, screens, and doors. Twelve years ago, he became the youngest franchisee of Firehouse Subs, and today operates four And last December, he opened a $3.5 million Golden Corral he built from the ground up. Recently, when the opportunity to acquire eight Sears Outlets came along, he didn't hesitate and signed on for 8, all in Florida.

Jack Hough Jack Hough
is a court pioneer. In 1996, faced with the problem of which restaurants to place in a Georgia shopping mall, he asked, "Why can't we run nine separate concepts out of the same kitchen with one GM?" Franchisors didn't take to the idea immediately, but the model worked. Today his company, MSE Branded Foods, is in a dozen states in 14 airports, outlet malls, universities, and other non-traditional settings. Nearly 20 years later, everyone's gotten in on the act.

John Mulherin John Mulherin
is a former investment bank CEO who jokes that he "flunked retirement." After 35 years in he retired and moved from his native Chicago to South Carolina. Itching for something to do, he researched consumer trends and discovered a growing need for auto care and repair. "My idea specifically was convenience, which translates into one-stop auto care," he says. Today his Car Pros Plaza One-Stop Auto Care business offers customers three brands: Meineke, Maaco, and Econo Lube.

Steve Reitz Steve Reitz
and his wife and Joanne have been eyewitnesses to the tough market of the past four years. When we last profiled him (Q4, 2009) he had seven Supercuts in Florida and had just opened his first Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Michigan. Despite the economy, they've managed to open two more Five Guys locations in Michigan (he grew up in Detroit) and added one more Supercuts in Florida. Today he's focused on serving one customer at a time and delivering it "perfect every time."

Ted Torres Ted Torres,
who grew up in the business under the wing of his father, was operating a Hilton Garden Inn and had inked a development deal to open five Microtel Inn & Suites locations when we last profiled him in 2009 (Q1). In 2010, after his father--his mentor and business partner--retired, Torres formed a new company, Caerus Hospitality. Today he operates four Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham, a Baymont Inn and Suites by Wyndham, and will soon open a $55 million, 171-room TRYP by Wyndham boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Austin.

For the seventh year, we present our annual Multi-Brand 50 Rankings, with the data supplied by research firm Frandata. The lists rank the country's largest 50 multi-brand franchisees (and their brands), plus a separate list of the 25 most popular brands they operate. See the top players and their brands on pages 52 and 54.

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