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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:

CEO Profile: Julia Stewart, DineEquity, Part 2 »

By Kerry Pipes

This is Part 2 of our interview with Julia Stewart, Chair and CEO of DineEquity, the parent of Applebee's and IHOP. DineEquity operates 3,653 units (2,009 Applebee's and 1,644 IHOPs) and reported system-wide revenue of $7.3 billion (as of September 30, 2014). If you missed Part 1, click here.

How did you benefit from networking?
As I mentioned, I have opportunities throughout the year to engage in discussion with some of the best business minds around, so while I wouldn't specifically say that's "networking," it certainly is a positive in my business life. Having been associated with a number of great brands before joining Applebee's, then IHOP, and ultimately to the formation of Dine, I've been around some of the industry's best and brightest, which is always a good thing...

Feature Story:

2015 AFDR Highlights: Overall Closing Ratios Are Improving »

By Eddy Goldberg

This newsletter continues to present highlights from the 2015 Annual Franchise Development Report (AFDR). The 2015 AFDR is based on responses from 139 franchisors representing 36,313 units (32,693 franchised and 3,620 company-owned).

This week: closing ratios.

Despite all the shortcomings reported by franchisors (see previous issues of this newsletter), when it comes to closing ratios, the franchisors in year's AFDR are doing something right: their collective closing ratios continued to trend upward in 2014.

Feature Story:

Shattering Stereotypes: Dina Dwyer-Owens, Co-Chair Of The Dwyer Group, Lives R.I.C.H. »

By Helen Bond

Ask Dina Dwyer-Owens, co-chair of The Dwyer Group, about obstacles to the top for women, and she is quick with a suggestion: talk less about the proverbial glass ceiling and do more to encourage women to shatter their own self-doubt to compete.
"We, as women, are the biggest problem--the way we think, the way we talk ourselves out of what we are capable of," says Dwyer-Owens. "We have made the glass ceiling a problem for women, because we keep talking about it. It drives me nuts."
As leader of one of the world's largest service brand franchisors, with $1 billion in annual system-wide sales, Dwyer-Owens is doing her part to change the dialogue, break down stereotypes, and bring more women into the trades.
"What women know who join our company is that you are going to be treated with the same level of respect as men," she says...

Feature Story:

New Chip On The Old Card: October Deadline Looming For EMV Payment Readers »

By Tom Epstein

As you go about your day-to-day routine, you may have noticed some new ways to pay; and if you received a new debit or credit card recently, you also may have noticed the new chip embedded in it.
Grocery stores, coffee shops, pharmacies, and large national chains all seem to be installing new customer-facing devices to enter your credit and debit card information. For instance, you can now insert your card into a slot on the front of one of these new devices and enter a PIN. The device will read the encrypted information on your card's chip and pass that information, along with your PIN, to the card processor for decryption and authentication.
In essence, you are getting a double dose of security, unlike with a traditional swipe card, whose magnetic stripe data is easily read by any swiper in the event a physical card is stolen or lost...

Feature Story:

Just Be-Cause: Cause Marketing Is Making A Difference »

By Kerry Pipes

Doing good is a longtime pursuit in America. You might even say it's a part of the culture. Americans love a good cause and like to help when they can. Whenever needs arise, there always seem to be businesses, organizations, and private citizens ready to come forward to lend a hand. And in the past couple of decades, businesses, especially franchises, have been getting more and more involved in supporting charitable causes.
It makes sense, both personally and for business. Franchises are local operations, most run by people who are part of the community. As a result, many franchise brands and tens of thousands of franchisees have become involved with good causes. Sometimes those causes are global, national or regional, but more often they are local and franchisees and franchisors alike are there to step in...

Feature Story:

CMO Roundtable: Brand's Culture In Developing Your Brand Message »

Franchise Update

"Discuss the role of your brand's culture in creating, framing, and developing your brand message or image to customers."


Amy Olson
Vice President of Customer Experience/Marketing
The Maids
The Maids has more than 30 years of experience in the highly competitive residential cleaning industry. We know well the importance and challenges of differentiating our brand in the market, and how important culture is in conveying and creating a positive overall brand experience. Personifying the brand culture starts at the top through executive and franchisee leadership.
The personalities of the brand we strive to convey through our culture are professionalism and being detail-oriented, friendly, and considerate...

Feature Story:

Largest Singly-Owned Domino's Franchisee In The U.S. On People And Success »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Mike Orcutt has experienced franchising from both sides of the fence. First as a corporate executive for Domino's and, since 1990, as a Domino's franchisee. He admits he was a "little nervous" about how the managers of the nine Atlanta pizza stores he purchased would welcome their new boss. Orcutt gathered the group in a small hotel meeting room and gave them their first assignment: name his new company.
"I said, 'You are the ones who are going to have to make it work. So let's come up with something that we can be proud of and have fun with,'" recalls Orcutt, a self-described quick decision-maker. The managers brainstormed some 200 monikers before selecting Cowabunga, Inc.
Orcutt, who previously led U.S. store operations for the country's second-largest pizza chain, tacked on "Team" to the front of the name and never looked back...

Feature Story:

IFA Claims SEIU "Manufacturing A Crisis" In Franchising »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The IFA's President & CEO Steve Caldeira is calling foul over a 33-page petition just filed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) with the Federal Trade Commission. The union is asking the government to investigate alleged abuses by franchisors against franchisees and develop reforms for the franchise industry.
"Once again, the Service Employees International Union is manufacturing a crisis as part of its increasingly expensive public relations campaign, now estimated to be more than $33 million, to destroy the time-tested franchise model in order to fill its own depleted membership," said Caldeira. "America's 780,000 franchises make significant contributions to the U.S. economy, growing faster than the U.S. economy for five consecutive years and employ nearly 8...

Feature Story:

Tropical Smoothie Cafe: Building A Great Marketing Team »

By Lisa Dimson

We asked Lisa Dimson, chief marketing officer at Tropical Smoothie Café, "How do you build an all-encompassing marketing department and assemble the kind of team that gets results?" Here's what she had to say.

Hiring the right team is absolutely the most important element of getting the results you want. Without a strong team behind you, even the best CMO won't be able to take their marketing initiatives to the next level of success. Compared with other brands, we have a small internal team tasked with developing innovative and amazing products, activating the national calendar, and, ultimately, driving brand awareness.

When hiring for the marketing team, we follow a list of guidelines we call "SIDE" to ensure that the potential candidate will fit in with our company culture and work ethic before they come on board...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: May 26, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Social Media Advice: 30 Pieces To Ignore
We've been hearing from social media gurus for years now about how to maximize the desired results of your social media marketing campaigns: Do this, don't do that, and here's where and how often to do/not do it, etc. In an it's-about-time effort to debunk commonly accepted social media advice, often from self-proclaimed "experts," Ellie Mirman, writing on Hubspot, dissects 30 pieces of common social media mistakes. Examples include:

Feature Story:

SRG Brings Newk's Eatery To Louisiana And Texas »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Southeast Restaurant Group, a franchisee of TGI Fridays and Chevys Fresh Mex restaurants in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, has signed on to become the Newk's Eatery chain's largest franchisee.
The New Orleans-based Southeast Restaurant Group (SRG) plans to open 15 Newk's locations throughout Southern Louisiana and Houston. The new agreement will make SRG Newk's largest franchisee. In addition to its franchise brands, SRG also operates its own concepts including a Mediterranean-style restaurant in the Miami area, a Creole-inspired restaurant in New Orleans, and The Round House Bar & Grill, located in the Holiday Inn Hotels owned by its affiliate, KFK Group.
"Newk's is a forward-thinking franchise concept designed for the way people eat today, and adds a fast casual element to our restaurant portfolio," says SRG Founder Elie Khoury...

Feature Story:

IFA Opposes Damaging California Franchise Legislation »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A bill making its way through the California State Assembly would undermine existing business contracts between franchisors and franchisees, says IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. The IFA opposes the bill and issued a statement saying Assembly Bill 525 would create untested new statutory language that will lead to costly litigation and hinder future franchise development for an industry that has outpaced overall economic growth for five years since the recession.
"In keeping with the spirit of Governor Brown's veto message last year on this matter, the International Franchise Association has been working in good faith with Assemblyman Holden (D-CA-41) to reach a consensus on a number of outstanding contractual issues between franchisees and franchisors...

Feature Story:

CEO Profile: Julia Stewart, DineEquity, Part 1 »

By Kerry Pipes

Julia Stewart, chair and CEO of DineEquity (Applebee's and IHOP) knows about determination, hard work, and always learning and improving. It's what she's been doing for years - and doing it well.

Stewart's first work experience was during high school at an IHOP, beginning what she calls "a lifelong love affair with the restaurant industry." From the very start, she says, she found it fun, exciting, and rewarding to "be part of a team that provides people with a warm, hospitable, and enjoyable place where they can find good service and good food." She had found a profession that suited her and would provide a lifetime of reward, both personally and professionally. Over the years, Stewart has worked with brands including Taco Bell, Burger King, Carl's Jr...

Feature Story:

2015 AFDR Highlights: Website Mystery Shopping & Social Presence »

By Eddy Goldberg

This newsletter continues to present highlights from the 2015 Annual Franchise Development Report (AFDR). The 2015 AFDR is based on responses from 139 franchisors representing 36,313 units (32,693 franchised and 3,620 company-owned).

This week: website mystery shopping and social channel performance.

Process Peak conducted this portion of the mystery shopping, examining the websites of 147 franchise brands to evaluate how well they are using their online presence to grow their brand and manage their reputation.

Process Peak's Jon Carlston noted that franchisors are doing a "great job" of getting their websites to appear on Google's first search results page, but are not doing a great job using social channels as an additional way to promote their franchise opportunity...

Feature Story:

Franchisee Group Brings Dunkin' To New Mexico »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Amin Habib, Murad Fazal, and Menjinder Bhambra are the principals behind NMR, LLC, a franchisee group that has more than 30 years of experience with Dunkin' Brands as well as the gas and convenience industry. They will now bring five Dunkin' Donuts restaurants and four multi-brand restaurants with its sister brand, Baskin-Robbins, to Albuquerque and its surrounding areas. The first restaurant is planned to open in Summer 2016.
Amin Habib, already owns four Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in Chicago, two of which are multi-brand restaurants with sister brand, Baskin-Robbins.
"We are excited to expand the brands' presence in New Mexico and play an important role in the daily lives of people who live, work and visit here," said Habib...

Feature Story:

Executives Caution New York About Discriminatory Wage Increase »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Three pro-business group representatives have spoken out about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's push to raise minimum wage in the state. The governor has said that he will ask the state labor commissioner to convene a panel to decide whether fast-food workers' wages should be raised.
But Melissa Fleischut, president and chief executive of the New York State Restaurant Association, and Ken Pokalsky, vice president of the Business Council of New York State, told The New York Times the move was ill advised.
"Singling out a sector of one industry to have a higher minimum wage than all other occupations is unfair and arbitrary. The minimum wage is rightfully set by the Legislature and should affect all businesses equally," said Fleischut...

Feature Story:

Wienerschnitzel's New CMO Doug Koegeboehn Arrives Well-Prepared »

By Kerry Pipes

Doug Koegeboehn is a great example of the connection between ad agencies and franchise brands. Named CMO of Wienerschnitzel earlier this year, Koegeboehn already had decades of experience with the brand when he came on board: the former account director at DGWB Advertising had been working on the Wienerschnitzel account since 1995. Along the way he developed a marketing toolbox that includes experience developing annual ad plans and promotions, menu strategies, and even helped create new products. At DGWB, he also worked accounts that included the California Avocado Commission, Yogurtland, Dole, and El Pollo Loco.

"I love the enjoyment of eating food," says Koegeboehn. "I know everybody else gets enjoyment from eating too, and that's why I have relished spending much of my entire career working on food-related business...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: May 12, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Google Boosts Mobile in Search Rankings...
On April 21, Google changed its ranking algorithm so that mobile-friendly sites are rewarded with higher rankings and sites that don't play well on mobile are downgraded. This reflects official recognition by the search giant of the tremendous rise in the importance of mobile search over the last few years, as smartphones and tablets have become the dominant channels that users employ to shop, search, and buy. "While mobile users of Google search will surely be happy with today's development, businesses without a mobile-optimized website and who remain unaware of the changes will be left wondering where on earth their site's disappeared to in Google's revamped search listings," writes Trevor Mogg on Digital Trends...

Feature Story:

2015: Year Of The Franchisee? »

By Darrell Johnson

On many levels, 2014 was a tumultuous year for the franchise business model.
First, a quick overview. Franchising is regulated at the federal level, and 15 states have specific registration and approval requirements--yet we entered the year with 19 ongoing or new state legislative initiatives involving franchising; several city councils also got into the act. Back in D.C., the NLRB piled on with additional efforts to alter the franchise business model, and the SBA is re-evaluating how it defines "affiliation" standards for franchise brand SBA-guaranteed lending eligibility. Some of these actions have been challenged in the courts; others will be in the near future.
The motivations for all these efforts are varied and generally political in nature...

Feature Story:

Resetting Priorities: Anand Gala Resizes, Refocuses, And Restrategizes »

By Kerry Pipes

Simplification and a renewed focus on business and life have taken center stage for Anand Gala since we profiled him in 2010. "It's really a simple story of taking a step back and reassessing where I am," he says.
At the beginning of 2010, Gala and his company were coming out of the recession and picking up steam. He had 19 Applebee's, 5 Famous Dave's, and 3 Del Taco locations. But he says with units spread across several western states he was looking to bring his operation back home when an unexpected offer came his way.
"We had been going through the massive reimaging program rolled out by Applebee's with all of our locations," he says. "Then about two years ago we were approached by the largest Applebee's franchisee in the system who wanted to buy our locations...



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