Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine 2011 MVP Award Winners Honored at Annual Conference

Brand Leadership, Franchise Innovation, Commitment to Quality,
Outstanding Customer Service, and Community Involvement

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 24, 2011 - Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine honored the 2011 MVP (Most Valuable Players) at a special session of the 10th annual Multi-Unit Franchising Conference on April 28, which highlighted the brand leadership, franchise innovation, commitment to quality, outstanding customer service, and community involvement of the award winners who were in attendance. The conference was held at The Venetian in Las Vegas, April 27-29.

The 2011 MVPs are:

Lawrence "Doc" Cohen, founder and CEO of Cookie & Associates, and franchisee for Great American Cookie Company, TCBY, Pretzel Time and Coffee Beanery

Kevin Hatton, owner of the Second Alarm Restaurant Group, and franchisee for Firehouse Subs

Gary and Sally Myers, owners of BMW Management, Inc., and franchisee for Sizzler

John Scharnweber, COO of Classic Restaurants, and franchisee for Ground Round and Denny's

Zane Tankel, COO for Apple-Metro, and franchisee for Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar

Greg Thomas, president of Baci/Parkside Ventures, and franchisee for Great Clips and Smoothie King.

After being laid off 32 years ago, Mr. Cohen joined the franchise industry, and has never looked back. He has worked tirelessly throughout his career to give back to the industry that helped make him successful, playing an important role on Capitol Hill in apprising the President and members of Congress on the issues of importance to and franchising in particular.

Mr. Hatton has grown to five franchise locations in just eight-and-a-half years, the direct result of his leadership and innovation. He is also an EMT by which played a vital role in his response to a major fire in 2007 that erupted and engulfed an entire building very close to one of his restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina. Not only did he keep the open and feed the first responders, he provided a rest area as well.

As the largest Sizzler USA franchisees, operating 24 units throughout California, Mr. and Mrs. Myers are very active in revitalizing the brand, leading the way in restaurant updates and remodels. The Myers actively collaborate with Sizzler USA and other franchisees to develop new ways to deliver the best possible guest experience and unit growth opportunities. They support several charitable organizations throughout California, and Mrs. Myers has created several student recognition programs designed to encourage an educated future workforce.

A Ground Round franchisee since the mid 1980's, when the brand filed for bankruptcy in 2004, Mr. Scharnweber and fellow franchisees formed the Independent Owners Cooperative, purchasing the rights and trademark. His expertise at hiring, training, and mentoring staff - from hourly employees to managers and regional directors - has resulted in setting sales records and winning awards for many of his Mr. Scharnweber is an active supporter in his local community as well as with national charitable organizations such as Special Olympics, the Red Cross and 911 Appreciation Meals.

Mr. Thomas specializes in buying "distressed" businesses and turning them around. After mortgaging everything to buy his first distressed Great Clips, it went so well that he bought another four units in four years. Since 2006, Greg and his partner Grant Simon, have purchased more distressed businesses, including carwashes, Smoothie Kings and more Great Clips. As president of the Great Clips Atlanta co-op, Mr. Thomas engineered the revitalization of the Great Clips 300. Results for the 2010 event included the highest attendance for a Nationwide Series race in the history of Atlanta Motor Speedway, and the Atlanta Great Clips stores having their best year ever.

Click here to view the video of the awards presentation:

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