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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:

Challenge The Pros: Choosing The Right Marketing Media »

Franchise Update

How do you choose the right marketing media to reach your ideal candidates, and how often should you communicate with them?

Mark Jameson
Executive Vice President, Franchise Support & Development
Fastsigns International
We believe in utilizing many different marketing channels to reach our candidates, and more importantly, in targeting those in the right markets and for the right category or model. Our brand relies on a strong public relations and digital marketing strategy to target and find the ideal candidates. With the help of a significant national TV buy, Fastsigns is lucky to have a strong brand presence that enables us to stay top of mind.
However, this is only a piece of how we communicate the franchise opportunity to candidates, so we must employ a variety of marketing strategies to attract the right candidates...

Feature Story:

NLRB Blues? How To Avoid Being Viewed As A Joint Employer »

By Barry M. Heller

Recent decisions and efforts by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) have raised the serious possibility that franchisors may, depending upon the particular circumstances, be considered joint employers, along with their franchisees, of the employees of the franchisee.

Last August, the NLRB issued a decision (Browning-Ferris) in which it ruled that a company could be a "joint employer" of the employees of its independent contractors even if it does not actually control the employment decisions of the independent contractors, as long as it 1) exerts indirect control or 2) possesses the right to control those decisions. Similarly, the current Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL (David Weil) has taken the position that to protect workers, franchisors should be held liable for the labor and employment liabilities of their franchisees...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Hiring, Training, And Retaining »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Todd and Kelly Mulvahill, Owner/President/CEO; Owner/Secretary
Brands: 6 Papa Murphy's Pizza; 14, Gyro Shack

How do you hire and fire, train and retain?We always try to hire and promote from within with management whenever possible. We have not gone outside the company for management now for three years. When we have gone outside, we use Indeed as a media tool to find candidates. If I'm guilty of one thing, it is leading a horse to the water trough too many times thinking they will drink and they just don't. I tend to believe everybody is good. But sometimes it's just clear, an employee needs to go find their happiness somewhere else when company standards are not followed. We have a main store that we call our training store...

Feature Story:

Good News! - June 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
Arooga's Grille House & Sports Bar Signs 3-Unit Deal for Staten Island
Dickey's Barbecue Pit Signs Deal for 8 Stores in Texas and Louisiana
Dippin' Dots Sees Continued Growth with 25% Sales Increase in 2016
Dog Haus To Open 5 Restaurants in Chicago in Multi-Unit Deal
Hurricane Grill & Wings Inks 2 Multi-Unit Deals for Virginia (3) and Florida (4)
Meritage Hospitality Group Buys 8 Wendy's Plus a Deal for 10 More
Pieology Pizzeria Signs 8-Unit Southeast Deal with Segovia Aslan Enterprises
Tim Hortons Signs Restaurant Development Partners To Franchise in MN
UFC Gym Signs UFC Bantamweight Urijah Faber To Open Gym in California
Weed Man USA Reports Strong First Half; Sees 49 New Territories by Year-End

Big Plans, Big Dreams
Cousins Subs Targets Growth Following Post-Recession Contraction
Sir Grout Unveils Strategic Growth Plans
Marco's Pizza Announces Aggressive Growth Plan for Maryland: 30 by 2017
Spray-Net, Canadian Home Painting Brand, Sets Sights on U...

Feature Story:

MOD Squad: She Saw A Need And Created A Brand (Twice) »

Franchise Update

Ally Svenson, co-founder of MOD Pizza with her husband Scott, is no stranger to starting and growing a business. When she lived in London in the 1990s, she missed her Seattle coffee--so they founded Seattle Coffee Company in the U.K., eventually selling it to Starbucks. Back home in Seattle she searched for "fast, affordable, real" food for her on-the-go family of four active boys. Not finding anything that met her expectations, she and Scott founded fast casual brand MOD Pizza in 2008. Today, with more than 100 locations, the dynamic duo is set to go back across the pond to the U.K., part of their plan to open more than 100 new stores per year. As the saying goes, "If you see a niche, fill it."
Name: Ally Svenson
Title: Co-Founder, Head of Brand
Brand: MOD Pizza
System-wide revenue: $60+ million (2015)
No...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Evaluating New Brands »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Sunny Ghai, President and CEO, Ghai Management Services Co.
Brands: Burger King (60), Taco Bell (9), Corner Bakery Cafe (2), Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza (1), Chevron (3), Conoco-Phillips 76 (2), Arco/AMPM (2)

What do you consider when evaluating new brands?The two biggest things we look at when adding a new brand are product and people. The most important thing is that you can't sell something you don't like. That was the first thing that attracted us to Taco Bell, its a brand my family has thoroughly enjoyed for years. When choosing Blaze, we actually compared it to its top competitors and the product was clearly far superior. In fact, we were on the verge of going with a different fast casual pizza concept when a chance meeting brought us to Blaze...

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Rhea Lana's Brand To Move Against DOL Overreach »

Rhea Lana Riner, the founder of Rhea Lana's children's consignment franchise, will be able to challenge the Department of Labor (DOL) thanks to a new ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court.
Rhea Lana's business model, which allows consignors to volunteer in exchange for early access to the sales, was singled out by DOL in 2013. Even though none of Rhea Lana's volunteers has ever filed a complaint, DOL decided the franchise's volunteers are employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act and asserted Rhea Lana should have been paying them wages. DOL also argued she did not have the ability to challenge the agency's determination in court.
"In the near-constant struggle against the overreach of big government regulators, small franchisors like Rhea Lana Riner stand at the front lines," said IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti...

Feature Story:

Customer Service Excellence Starts At The Top! »

By John DiJulius

Any big initiative, project, or revolution must have the support of the senior leadership team; otherwise it will be considered "flavor of the month" or "management by bestseller."

Customer service must be as important as finance, sales, operations, and technology. It must be discussed at board meetings and strategic planning sessions with leaders and everyone else in the company, including front-line employees. To create long-lasting change, the senior leadership team must provide the necessary resources.

This doesn't mean just increasing the budget for customer service. It is having someone in charge of the project - that is, a chief experience officer (CXO) - who is dedicated and loses sleep over the customer experience program and the results...

Feature Story:

Out-Sourcerers: Mastering The Art Of Hiring Out »

By Helen Bond

Franchisees of all sizes are increasingly discovering that business goes better with outside help. Many have found the key to bottom-line success is to focus on what they do best and find the right fit to outsource the rest.
Former corporate controller and CPA Joel Karg has the know-how to tackle any financial function at his multi-unit Sky Zone franchise. He also knows enough to hand off time-consuming tasks to someone else.
Karg and his franchise partner David Beckett have chosen to outsource the payroll, tax, human resources, information technology, and social media marketing needs of their Columbus, Ohio-based company, which operates three parks in Dayton and Pittsburgh, with a fourth under construction. Going outside for help has allowed the duo, who honed their franchise management chops as executives at Stanley Steemer, to spend less time pushing paper and more hours strategically growing their indoor trampoline park business...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: June 14, 2016 »

By Daniel Lieberman

How to Promote Your Local Franchise Online
This article from Mediavine Marketing provides a good collection of tips for local franchise promotion with social media and other online directories, such as Google and Yelp. Here are a few of the ideas of what to post to promote interest and engagement:

Feature Story:

Packaging A Punch: NFL Vet Invests In Title Boxing Club »

By Kerry Pipes

Former NFL linebacker Bryan Scott has two things on his mind these days: 1) building a successful chain of Title Boxing Club franchises in the Atlanta area, and 2) overseeing the company he co-owns, Noene USA, which sells a line of high-tech, ultra shock-absorbing insoles. If his track record is any indication, he'll be successful.
Scott was a second round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2003. He spent the next decade in the NFL playing defensive back and linebacker for the Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Tennessee Titans before winding up his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills. Like most athletes who reach the professional level, he says he loved it and was honored to play successfully for so many years. But unlike many of his peers, Scott knew there was life after football...

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Founded In Love: Necessity Was The Grandmother Of This Brand »

By Kerry Pipes

Shelly Sun, co-founder of BrightStar Care, never planned to start a company. But in 2001, she and her husband, J.D. Sun, were struggling to find quality in-home care for his grandmother and discovered they weren't alone. Soon after, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
"We built a healthcare staffing company to provide the full continuum of care, from home care to supplemental staffing for corporate clients such as nursing homes and physicians," she says. Sun says she worked 90 to 100 hours, 7 days a week in those early years, but the payoff has been worth it.
They launched the company in 2002 and began franchising in 2005. "Although we already had three successful company-owned locations, we knew that through franchising we would be able to expand much faster than if we were to do it on our own," she says...

Feature Story:

Aiming For Aha!: Matching Your Brand To Candidates' Goals »

By Jim Bender

If you've been around the sales and marketing world for any number of years you know the concept of an "Aha!" moment. It is that point in time when the proverbial light bulb goes on, the moment when everything makes sense, the moment when someone finds what they need or, more importantly, what they want.
Aha! moments are key milestones when making monumental decisions such as buying a home, getting married, or investing in a franchise. In the franchise sales world, these moments have a special function. They confirm that we successfully matched the benefits of our brands to the dreams and goals of the candidates. As sales pros, it is up to us to create Aha! moments in the mind of our candidates. At the end of each conversation, ask your candidates to describe the Aha! moment they gleaned from the conversation...

Feature Story:

The Trouble With Saying 'I Got This' »

By Champ Rawl

Designated successors generally have a vision of what one day being "the leader" is; I will do this better, this differently, and these changes will be made immediately. As one works toward this role of leader or owner, one key component to understand is the practice of humility. In addition, and probably most important but hardest to understand, is the idea of patience. As you take the stage, natural inclination may be to get overly excited with the mantra "I got this" and work full steam ahead towards your agenda and showing everyone how capable and competent you are.
A hiking analogy comes to mind. When tackling a big hill, I look ahead and find the highest peak; mentally take note of it and then put my head down and go for the top...

Feature Story:

Social Media Listening Builds Relationships Between Brands And Customers »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A new report that examined the overall performance of 100 restaurant brands across social media, looking at more than 740 million restaurant-related posts, has found that the most successful brands are focused on listening to and engaging with customers online and creating some best practices that are applicable for many others. The results are in NetBase's, a social analytics company, first NetBase Restaurant Report.
"It's clear from the NetBase Restaurant Report that companies who listen to their customers - whether it be critical customer service feedback, ideas for new recipes, or excitement over a recent promotion - reap the benefits of real-time feedback and higher quality social interactions, which can ultimately lead to more sales," says Paige Leidig, chief marketing officer at NetBase...

Feature Story:

Arby's Is Back! How A 52-Year-Old Brand Turned Itself Around »

By John Bowie

Arby's has come a long way in the past few years. Over that time, the legacy brand has launched a series of innovative, meat-focused menu items, including the sizzling Brown Sugar Bacon sandwich lineup, the most successful LTO platform of 2015. It was so tempting that we even created a Vegetarian Support Hotline for our non-carnivorous guests who were lured by the sandwich's "meaty goodness."

This past year, we opened 69 new restaurants system-wide - including 60 new restaurants in the U.S., the highest number since 2008 - and completed more than 175 remodels. In December, we were proud to reopen our doors in New York City after nearly a decade, just a few steps from Times Square. Adweek said it best: "If you haven't been inside an Arby's lately, you probably wouldn't recognize the place...

Feature Story:

Reaching Your Ideal Candidates: Which Media To Use – And How Often? »

By Kerry Pipes

We asked Charles Watson, Chief Development Officer at Tropical Smoothie Café, how he chooses the right marketing media to reach his ideal candidates, and how often he communicates with them. Here's what he had to say.

When choosing the media vehicles for communicating with your target audience, it's important to have a clear definition of that audience. If you are targeting Millennials who tend to be heavy digital users, then digital tactics such as Facebook and retargeting ads may be the best way to reach them. If your ideal prospect is an older "Corporate America" executive looking for a career change, then national business media may be the best way to connect with these potential franchisees.

Also keep in mind whether or not you're targeting a single-unit or multi-unit owner, as they usually have drastically different behaviors...

Feature Story:

When Is Big Too Big?: Re-Evaluating Unlimited Multi-Unit Growth »

By Dean Zuccarello

Consolidation is perhaps the single most significant trend we have seen in the restaurant industry over the past decade. It is easy to understand why franchisees and investors have chosen this direction. Under the right leadership, consolidation leads to greater predictability of operational results and returns through economies of scale, implementation of modern technology, market control, and fixed-cost leverage. We have entered into the era of the "mega-franchisee," but as these entities become ever more massive, is there a case to be made for these organizations to strategically divest assets, becoming smaller over time?
There are two catalysts for where a mega-franchisee could find deconsolidation the best course of action: 1) when it reaches an inefficient tipping point in the context of day-to-day operations, or 2) when it becomes more beneficial to break apart the whole to maximize shareholder value as it relates to an exit strategy...

Feature Story:

Toy Story: It All Began At Nursery School... »

By Kerry Pipes

Sharon DiMinico had a "Eureka" moment following the birth of her second child in 1987. She recognized something was missing for the parents and children in her local community. "I saw there was a real need for a unique store that could offer high-quality toys, books, and games for little children through preteens," she recalls.
DiMinico already had some retail and business experience and knew firsthand what parents were looking for when it came to raising their children. She wrote a business plan for a special kind of toy store and presented it to her children's nursery school in Acton, Mass., where she was a board member. Her idea was not only to provide needed resources to the children, but also to supplement the school's revenue. It worked, and then some...

Feature Story:

Franchise Development 2016: Your Online Presence Is A Critical Component »

By Keith Gerson & Tim Johnson

Marketing isn't what it used to be. Your once tightly controlled brand identity is a thing of the past. We live in an era dominated by social media, where literally everyone can share their opinion on what your franchise brand stands for. Supporters, detractors, activists... like them or loathe them, if you want to grow your franchise system you must know how this model works.
One of today's most critical keys to growing a franchise system is evolving into a brand that can honestly demonstrate the answer to the question: "Do they love you, or just know who you are?" The difference has proven to be critical in providing a franchise candidate with the confidence needed to move to close--as well as in improving metrics from historically lackluster closing effectiveness rates (typically about 1...


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