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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:

Anand Gala Is Bringing It All Back Home »

By Kerry Pipes

Anand Gala is a perfect example of taking one step back and two steps forward. In the last 5 years, he sold all of his Applebee's restaurants, centralized his holdings, and then doubled his number of Famous Dave's locations. It was all part of a calculated effort to simplify, sharpen, and renew his business focus. "It was 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...

Feature Story:

Groups Unite To Battle Discriminatory Wage Hike Efforts In New York »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The Coalition to Save New York Restaurants is a brand new organization that joins the International Franchise Association (IFA), the National Restaurant Association (NRA), and the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) in a concerted effort to fight discriminatory and mandated wage hikes throughout the state. A statement issued during the recent IFE Convention in New York says the Coalition was established to combat discrimination against the quick-service food industry in New York State, which is considering mandating a minimum wage increase for quick-serve food restaurants only.

"The Coalition to Save New York Restaurants will aggressively fight Governor Cuomo's politically-motivated decision to discriminate against local franchise small business owners for a wage hike, simply to satisfy the request of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE...

Feature Story:

Aligning Your Sales And Marketing Teams »

By Dayna Rothman

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on the Marketo website.

Most marketers know that sales and marketing alignment can be tough! A great way to build more alignment between the two functions is to staff your teams in a way that promotes collaboration and cross-functional goal setting. Creating the right structure between marketing and sales is imperative for proper alignment. This means defining roles in marketing and sales in a way that helps you move leads through the pipeline more effectively. Outlining specific roles ensures that every part of the customer's journey is accounted for. Let's take a look at some ways to consider structuring your marketing and sales teams for success.

1) Marketing Roles
How does your marketing team work with sales? Take some time to look at your role descriptions to ensure that they are truly cross-functional...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: June 23, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Looking for Free Visuals for Your Online Marketing Efforts?
Do you need fresh, engaging visual content for your website, blog, or social media campaigns? The Internet - particularly social media - loves visuals, but buying stock images from companies like Getty Images, Shutterstock, and Fotolia can run into big money fast. If you want to avoid pirating copyrighted material or otherwise misusing online images (whether by design or mistake), here's a collection of more than 65 sites featuring public domain images you're legitimately allowed to use - at no cost. These sources feature images that are free to use for commercial use; have no copyright restrictions; are royalty-free; and require no attribution.

Two White House Explosions - NOT! Avoiding "Hack Crash" Panic
A professor at the University of Buffalo's Department of Media Study has published an analysis of the 2013 Hack Crash...

Feature Story:

McAlister's Deli Grows Big In Southeast »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

McAlister's Deli is on the grow and has signed several more development agreements with new and existing franchisees to open restaurants in Southern Georgia, North, Central, and Southwest Florida.
Summerville, SC-based franchise group DMAC, LLC, which already operates McAlister's Deli locations across South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia, will be opening several more of their restaurants between Southern Georgia and North Florida. The brand also signed development agreements with two new franchise groups to open restaurants on the west coast of Florida between Naples and Sarasota, and in Orlando.
New franchisees Christina Berry, Mark Graff, and Jeff Paulsen bring to McAlister's an extensive experience in multi-unit restaurant management with Steak n Shake, as well as a background in commercial and residential property development...

Feature Story:

IFA Launches New Campaign To Highlight Franchising's Positive Economic Impact »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Franchising has for decades made a positive and significant impact on the overall economy. The business model provides opportunities for entrepreneurs, jobs for individuals, and a boost to local economies everywhere. Later this week, the IFA will launch its new public affairs campaign at the International Franchise Expo (IFE) in New York City.
The campaign is the next phase of IFA's comprehensive effort to highlight the benefits of franchising and the positive economic contributions of the industry. ADP Research Institute will also present its latest National Franchise Report during a press conference to kick off the Expo. The report captures two years of job creation and economic output generated by the franchising industry.
More than 20,000 attendees and 450 exhibitors are expected at this year's Expo...

Feature Story:

CEO Profile: The Dwyer Group's Mike Bidwell - From Franchisee To The C-Suite »

By Kerry Pipes

Breaking news: The Dwyer Group announced yesterday (June 15) the acquisition of Service Brands International. SBI, with $283 million in system-wide sales, has 244 Molly Maid franchisees, 118 Mr. Handyman franchisees, and 55 ProTect Painters franchisees.

Mike Bidwell is a leader who is clear, pragmatic, and to the point.

"I'm passionate about creating opportunities for others to grow," says the 57-year-old president and CEO of The Dwyer Group. It's this focus that keeps him excited about the organization and its potential. Growth has been strong and strategic plans are in motion to continue growing through the expansion of its eight service brands and the acquisition of other, complementary brands.

Early in 2014, Bidwell, president of the Waco, Texas-based brand for the past eight years, also became CEO...

Feature Story:

2015 AFDR Highlights: Franchisors Exceeding Goals »

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: franchisors exceeding goals.

As usual, the franchisors who exceeded their goals focus on the fundamentals - and on executing them at every level, every day, with every customer. Among this group of franchisors:

Feature Story:

Franchisee Has Brought Bruegger's Bagels To Raleigh-Durham »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Kevin Green left his job in education back in 2006. He was looking for change in his life and said he wanted to "control my destiny by building a business." He's done well so far and never looked back. Today he operates four Bruegger's Bagels in Raleigh-Durham. He says he is most proud of opening four locations in five years, increasing sales each year, and being recognized as franchisee of the year in 2011.

Name: Kevin Green
Title: Owner
Company: I own and operate four Bruegger's Bagels in the Raleigh-Durham market. My official company name is Carolina Bagels.
No. of units by brand: Four Bruegger's Bagels
Age: 44
Family: My kids occasionally spend time working with me in the shops.
Years in franchising: Prior to investing in Bruegger's Bagels franchises, I was a special education teacher...

Feature Story:

Franchise Businesses Set The Pace »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Franchising businesses continue to outpace the rest of the economy, according to the mid-year forecast update of The Franchise Business Economic Outlook: 2015. The report released last week by the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation and IHS Economics, finds franchising remains on track to outperform the U.S. economy for the fifth consecutive year.
While the forecast of U.S. GDP has been revised downward and now shows growth of only 3.4 percent increase in nominal dollars in 2015 for the overall economy, IHS expects the Gross Domestic Product of the franchise sector in nominal dollars to increase by 5.2 percent to $521 billion in 2015.
"Local franchise small businesses continue to grow at a faster pace, creating more jobs for Americans and producing higher sales growth than other businesses," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira...

Feature Story:

CMO POV: Pet Supplies Plus - No Silos On This Marketing Team! »

By Amy Parker

We asked Amy Parker, SVP and chief marketing officer at Pet Supplies Plus, "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.

The main goals for most marketing teams at multi-unit brick-and-mortar franchises are primarily the same: acquire new customers and drive in-store traffic. It's how each marketing department chooses to build its team and communicate the brand's message that differentiates one from another. At Pet Supplies Plus, we are structured in a fairly traditional manner with support groups that include analytics, creative, and retail marketing components. However, the way we use these groups to build our marketing programs has recently evolved...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: June 9, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Still Confused About Hashtags?
People use hashtags almost everywhere in social media today, but many are still confused about what they mean and how to use them effectively. Basically, hashtags serve as a way to index the subject of a post or a tweet. (Hashtags started on Twitter.) The most important things to know are: 1) tweets with hashtags average twice the engagement on Twitter, 2) too many hashtags decrease engagement (except on Instagram), and 3) Facebook users still don't like hashtags (and don't like or share posts with them). This infographic has much more to enlighten you about the ubiquitous hashtag, and why you should be using it. "This infographic from Ghergich & Co. and SurePayroll offers a basic primer for hashtag use for those new to the social media space or still confused by the intended uses of that weird pound symbol in front of all those words," wrote Alan Rapp on spiral16...

Feature Story:

Putt-Putt: Revamping A 60-Year-Old Brand »

By David Callahan

New model preserves the best, adds new attractions

When I purchased Putt-Putt in 2004, I realized the primary challenges associated with a 50-year-old brand would be 1) to experience continued growth, and 2) to reinvigorate the brand to appeal to a younger consumer base by delivering more value to our customers.
Since its founding in 1954, Putt-Putt flourished and experienced significant growth throughout the 1950s, '60s, and '70s with its golf-only concept. In the '80s and '90s, the brand continued to grow with the addition of arcade games and other attractions. The recent efforts to rebrand have evolved over the past 10 years, developing into a modern, cost-effective concept to revitalize the brand in ways that will result in future growth...

Feature Story:

A Brand For All Seasons: Taxes And Mosquitoes Provide Year-Round Revenue »

By Helen Bond

When it comes to operating multiple brands, Craig Comer has discovered that differences can attract--profits, that is, for his two very different service brands.
Comer, who owns five Liberty Tax stores in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs, was itching to diversify when a postcard arrived in the mail from Mosquito Joe. Comer had considered the pest control company as a potential brand. Then a summertime phone call to his dad to discuss the opportunity sealed the deal.
"My cell reception in the house wasn't very good," says Comer. "So I went outside in the evening to talk and I got bitten alive by mosquitoes."
In July 2013, Comer took a road trip to Virginia Beach to meet company founder Kevin Wilson, who had launched the franchise system earlier that year...

Feature Story:

2015 World Outlook: Country-By-Country Economic Forecast »

By William Edwards

2015 is starting out as a very busy year for international franchise development. U.S. franchises are exporting their brands more than at any time in history--and to more places.
Last year ended with the highly successful opening of Burger King in India, and Carl's Jr. signing a 150-unit license agreement for Japan. Build-A-Bear Workshop opened its first two stores in Turkey to high sales. Anytime Fitness has reached almost 20 countries. Title Boxing Club opened it first international unit in Cancun. Five Guys continues to add new locations in the U.K. at a rapid rate. Fuddruckers opened in Italy. Popeyes is now open in 27 countries. Abrakadoodle continues to add units in China.
Food and beverage (F&B) franchises continue to be the leaders in global franchising, but education, retail, and service sector brands are becoming increasingly desired...

Feature Story:

Make It So!: Customer Growth Lessons From Amazon »

By Jack Mackey

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is a Star Trek junkie. He almost named his company, based on the adventures of the USS Enterprise, when Captain Jean-Luc Picard would confirm his commands with the words, "Make it so!"
"Make it so!" may also be the ultimate personal motto for multi-unit operators trying to grow their businesses. But the practical question is, How exactly do you increase sales and business value continuously over many years?
What is the secret to Amazon's growth? Bezos answers like this: "We know customers like low prices. We know customers like big selection. We know that customers like fast delivery. And we know those things are going to be true 10 years from now. They are going to be true 20 years from now...

Feature Story:

Guillermo Medellin Growing Russo's New York Pizzeria In Houston »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Guillermo Medellin came to the United States from Mexico searching for the American dream. Though he had no previous experience in franchising, he applied his business knowledge and work ethic and purchased his first Russo's New York Pizzeria in Houston in 2009. Today he operates three successful locations and is looking for more. He's a hands-on operator who is in his stores every day and has a passion for customer service and for seeing his people grow through advancement.

Name: Guillermo Medellin
Title: Owner
Company: Russo's New York Pizzeria is the brand name - each location is under a different company name
No. of units by brand: Three
Age: 44
Family: Wife (Debra), and two daughters ages 8 and 11

Years in franchising: My background is in manufacturing...

Feature Story:

Report Says Overtime Rules Would Hurt Businesses »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Retailers like franchisees could be saddled with millions of dollars in added costs if federal overtime regulations are revised, according to a new report by the National Retail Federation (NRF). What's more, the rules could also adversely affect working Americans.
The report, Rethinking Overtime, finds the Obama Administration's plan to revise federal overtime regulations would likely "hollow out" low- and mid-level management positions in the restaurant and retail industries and result in a shift toward more hourly and part-time workers. The report says that the proposal could cost retailers millions of dollars in added costs and would disproportionally impact retailers operating in rural states.
"This is a workplace regulation with massive hidden costs," says NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French...

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.

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