The Winner's Column - October 2012

As savvy franchise companies continue to flourish in today's transforming global economy, FUSR bring you positive news each month, highlighting brands that are adding increasing comp store sales, innovating, and continuing to grow, both domestically and overseas. We also take a regular look at brands starting to franchise. To be considered for next month's Winner's Column, please send your news to

New Units

Appleton Opens in Austin, First of 23-Unit Texas Deal
Appleton Learning, an academic coaching franchise, has opened the first of 23 locations announced in a 5-year deal last December for the Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas/Fort Worth areas. The first unit opened in Bee Cave, with a second scheduled to open this month in Westlake Hills (both are in the Austin area). The franchisee is Aristotle Holdings, Jon Plum representative.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill Coming to New Jersey
Denver-based Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill has awarded franchise development rights to its first New Jersey franchisee, Garjersey LLC, for up to 27 restaurants in northern and central New Jersey (Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties) and plans to open its first location in early 2013. Garjersey is co-owned and operated by Robert Rosenfeld, who has owned several concepts in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, including Wendy's, Roy Rogers, and Sbarro franchises, as well as various independent concepts of his own. Garbanzo has 14 company-owned restaurants in Colorado; in addition to expansion through franchising, the franchisor plans to continue its aggressive company-owned restaurant development both in the state and outside Colorado's borders, specifically in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area.

Mainstream Boutique Set To Ramp Up Growth
Mainstream Boutique, with 22 locations in 10 states and four new ones under development, plans have a total of 80 boutiques operating in the next three years. Expansion plans target Texas, Illinois, Colorado, and Wisconsin. The company also reported an average store sales increase of more than $100,000 between 2010 and 2011.
Founded in 1991 by Marie DeNicola as a direct sales company, Mainstream Boutique is a women's and accessories franchise that offers affordable pieces for women of all ages. Based in Apple Valley, Minn., the company began franchising in 1998.

Chester's Announces September Openings
Chester's opened nearly a dozen stores nationwide in September:

  • Buffalo, N.Y. - inside Caz Mini Mart's newly renovated convenience store; Alex Mothanna owner.
  • Atmore, Ala. - inside Creek Travel Plaza, near the Wind Creek Casino; co-branded with Nathan's Famous and 24/7 Diner; James Martin, owner.
  • Wetumpka, Ala. - inside Kwik Sack; Krupesh Patel, owner.
  • Bondurant, Iowa - inside EZ Mart, near Adventureland Amusement Park; Manpreet Singh, owner , his second Chester's.
  • Warren, Mich. - near Verizon Wireless; Brian Wade, owner.
  • Harrison Township, Mich. - inside D Brothers close to Lake St. Clair. D Brothers has another location in Clinton Township, open since March; Amer Assef, owner, and Ziad Darhali.
  • Indianapolis, Ind. - inside Jassy Plaza convenience store, the 15th location in the Indianapolis area; co-branded with Piccadilly Circus Pizza; Jesse Banwait, owner.
  • Flint, Mich. -inside C & P Party Store, across the street from Powers High School; Maher Alatrash.
  • Tampa, Fla. - inside the West Tampa Sunoco, the brand's fifth location in the area; Wahid Nagib, owner.
  • Idaho Falls, Idaho - inside the Shaka's near Idaho Falls Airport; Tom Price, owner.
  • Hohenwald, Tenn. - inside Darrin's Market convenience store; Raj Patel, owner.

Chester's has more than 1,800 Chester Fried licensed and Chester's franchised locations nationwide.

Corner Bakery Cafe Inks 18-Unit Deal for Seattle
Corner Bakery Cafe has signed a multi-unit agreement to open its first restaurants in the Northwest, beginning in 2013. Northwest Bakery Cafe LP, a group of veteran restaurant operators who also own 95 Jack in the Box locations, plans to open 18 restaurants in and around Seattle over the next 7 years. The first two areexpected to open in the next 2 years, most likely in Bellevue and Seattle. Zee Rajput is the co-operator and owner of Northwest Bakery Cafe. This is the sixth new development agreement for the brand so far this year, totaling 81 new restaurants. Overall, 22 agreements have been signed representing more than 279 new restaurants, and Corner Bakery Cafe plans to double its footprint in the U.S. over the next four years through franchised and company-owned cafes. Founded in Chicago in 1991, Corner Bakery began franchising in 2008. Now based in Dallas, the brand has more than 140 restaurants open in 15 states and Washington, D.C. Corner Bakery Cafe restaurants are owned and operated by CBC Restaurant Corp. with more than 140 company-owned and franchised locations in the U.S.


Domino's Opens 10,000th Restaurant
More than 50 years after its founding in Ypsilanti, Mich., Domino's Pizza opened its 10,000th store and celebrated the milestone in Istanbul, Turkey - fitting for a company whose overseas store count and retail sales surpassed its domestic ones earlier this year. Domino's president and CEO, J. Patrick Doyle, attended the event. Domino's Pizza in Turkey is owned and operated by Fides, a private equity company, and operated by Aslan Saranga, the brand's general manager. During the celebration week, Domino's planned to give away 10,000 pizzas to its Turkish Facebook fans, and offered a 50 percent discount for all online orders. The new store features the brand's "Pizza Theater" design, introduced this summer in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. Founded in 1960, Domino's global retail sales topped $6.9 billion in 2011, about $3.4 billion domestically and $3.5 billion internationally.

Papa John's Opens 4,000th Restaurant
Papa John's International marked the opening of its 4,000th store with a celebration at the opening of its new restaurant in New Hyde Park, N.Y., and by giving away 4,000 pizzas at various locations in New York City. "Opening the 4,000th Papa John's restaurant worldwide is a huge milestone for the brand. It's been a long road from the broom closet in my Dad's tavern where we first started making pizzas to Store 4,000, so it's appropriate that the celebration is anchored in one of the biggest cities in the world, and the restaurant itself is nearby," said "Papa" John Schnatter, company founder and CEO.

The Louisville-based company, with locations in 32 countries on 5 continents, recently unveiled its 2013 franchise development incentive program, which, effective immediately, includes no franchise fee, 0% royalty for 18 months, and $50,000 in restaurant equipment for new restaurants opened through 2013.

Aaron's Opens 2,000th Store
Aaron's, Inc. announced the opening if its 2,000th store, in the Bronx, New York. "Aaron's has experienced tremendous growth over the past three years including the addition of 345 stores, 2,200 jobs and record quarterly results," said Ronald W. Allen, CEO and President of Aaron's. Aaron's was founded 57 years ago in Atlanta by Charlie Loudermilk and a partner who borrowed $500 to purchase folding chairs and rent them for 10 cents a day to auction houses. The company became publicly traded on the NYSE in 1982 and was renamed Aaron's, Inc. in 2009. Aaron's now has 2,000 company-operated and franchised stores across the U.S. and Canada.

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt Opens 200th Store
Canton, Mass., is home to the 200th Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt store. The brand offered double points on loyalty cards on opening day. "Growing Orange Leaf to 200 stores in two years has been an incredible experience and we wanted to thank our loyal customers for their support by offering double points to help them earn free froyo faster," said Reese Travis, CEO of Orange Leaf. When Travis's group acquired the brand in April 2010, it had only 15 stores in operation. Orange Leaf has more than 95 planned additional stores across the U.S.

New Brands

Ranch House Grill Launched by Parent of Coco's and Carrows
Ranch House Café and Grill, a new, three-day-part, fast-casual concept, made its debut in LaHabra, Calif., this summer in a 5,500 s.f. former Carrows. The new concept was developed by the Catalina Restaurant Group, which owns the Coco's and Carrows brands. Catalina, based in Carlsbad, Calif., operates or franchises 117 Coco's and 68 Carrows restaurants. In 2006, it was acquired by Japan's Zensho Group, which operates brands in Asia, including Coco's and Bob's Big Boy, and formerly Wendy's. Keith Marron, Catalina's director of marketing, said Zensho does not plan to grow Coco's or Carrows. "The fast-casual segment is growing. From a profitability and labor standpoint, it makes more sense to go in that direction," Marron said. The menu features steaks, sandwiches, and a bar, with an average check of about $10.

Squisito NY Pizza & Pasta Opens First Franchised Restaurant
Squisito NY Pizza & Pasta opened its first franchised location this summer, in Burton, Md. The franchisee is John Minnick, a retiree from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The fast-casual Italian franchise, with 7 locations in the Annapolis area, is owned by husband-and-wife team Michele and Gennaro DiMeo. The company operates as the Monte Restaurant Development Group and is working with Fransmart to develop the concept in selected U.S. markets.

Executive Care Announces Nationwide Expansion
Executive Care, a comprehensive home care services concept, is implementing a national franchise growth strategy with plans to open up to 10 inaugural regional franchise offices by year-end. The company, based in Hackensack, N.J., and with an office in South Florida, was started by married couple Lenny Verkhoglaz and Mila Feldman, and her brother and co-owner Alex Feldman. Personal and services include seven revenue streams: homemaking, personal care, live-in care, skilled nursing, specialized service, and supplemental The $69,100 start-up cost includes the franchise fee.


First Chili's Opens in Costa Rica
Chili's Grill & Bar has opened its first restaurant in Costa Rica, in the country's capital, San José, at the Centro Comercial Multiplaza. The San José menu features several items exclusive to the country, such as lomito, a traditional Costa Rican cut of beef, and patacones, a staple treat made of fried plantains, as well as Chili's Southwest-American cuisine. The franchisee, CRB Restaurants, a privately held company based in San José, has agreed to develop seven additional Chili's restaurants in Costa Rica over the next five years with a second set to open in December. CRB Restaurants is a joint partnership between Robert Florsheim, an American entrepreneur, and Rodrigo Apestegui, a local business innovator with more than 13 years of experience in the restaurant industry, said Guy Constant, EVP and CFO for Brinker International, Chili's parent company. Brinker owns, operates, and franchises more than 260 Chili's restaurants outside the U.S. in 32 additional countries and two territories and is looking to expand the brand by focusing on emerging countries with a growing middle class. Based in Dallas, Brinker owns or franchises more than 1,500 restaurants in 33 countries and two territories. Restaurant brands include Chili's and Maggiano's Little Italy, and a minority stake in Romano's Macaroni Grill.

Papa Murphy's Signs 100-Unit Middle East Deal
Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza has signed a franchise agreement with MAM Foodco LLC that includes a plan to open 100 Papa Murphy's throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. The GCC represents the union of Arab states in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Jim Perkins, Papa Murphy's VP of international development, said two locations are expected to open in Dubai in the next four months. Mohamed Aaly Maghrabi is the founder of MAM. Papa Murphy's has nearly 1,300 locations in 37 U.S. states and another 15 in Canada. Based in Vancouver, Wash., Papa Murphy's was acquired by New York-based private equity firm Lee Equity Partners in 2010.

Villa Enterprises Adds Restaurants in Azerbaijan
Villa Enterprises Management has announced the grand opening of another Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen and Bananas in the Republic of Azerbaijan, the franchisor's third location in the country. The two new stores are located in Baku. Founded in 1964, Villa operates 35 international locations in Mexico, Italy, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Dubai, and 330 Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen concept locations in 38 U.S. states. Villa's brands include Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen, Villa Pizza; Green Leaf's; Bananas; Casa Java; Mo' Burger; Far East; and South Philly Steaks & Fries.

Cinnabon: First U.S. Brand to Enter Libya
In case you missed it, this summer Cinnabon announced that it became the first U.S. brand to debut in Libya. The brand is seeking franchise partners in other North African countries, such as Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. In July, a co-branded Cinnabon and Carvel store debuted in the country's capital, Tripoli. The store was in the works for more than two years, but the opening was delayed by the Libyan revolution. The franchisees, brothers Arief and Ahmed Swaidek, plan to build another Cinnabon location later this year and will develop at least 10 Cinnabon stores in the next 5 years. They also have signed on to bring more Carvel and Moe's Southwest Grill locations to Libya. Cinnabon, with more than 900 locations in 51 countries projects opening approximately 130 new overseas bakeries by year-end with new market launches in Nicaragua, Iraq, and Ukraine. International expansion is a main focus for the brand's immediate growth, with plans to enter eight new international markets in the next 12 months. The company has opened 71 Cinnabon locations in Russia in three years, with plans for another 80 over the next five years. Founded in Seattle in 1985, Cinnabon is now based in Atlanta and is a part of Focus Brands.

Pizza Rustica Signs Master Agreement for the Middle East
Pizza Rustica has signed an agreement with Kuwait International Franchise Company (KIFCO) to open Pizza Rustica units in the Middle East. Pizza Rustica and KIFCO expect to open the first two units in Kuwait and Bahrain in the upcoming months. The concept serves salads, and panini sandwiches. In 2008, Rustica opened the first of four outlets in Paris, and last year opened a unit in the Dominican Republic. Founded in 1996 and based in South Beach, Fla., Pizza Rustica has 20 restaurants worldwide, most owned by franchisees.

Signarama Expands into Zambia with Master Agreement
Signarama, which signed a master licensing agreement with Zambian businessman and entrepreneur Rocky Sombe this summer, has opened its flagship location in the country's capital of Lusaka. Sombe, an accountant, has been involved in the Zambian banking industry, owned several successful franchise concepts, and was recently elected president of the Zambian Rotary Club, where his induction ceremony raised money for two Zambian orphanages. Signarama, part of the $500 million United Franchise Group, is approaching 900 locations in more than 50 countries.

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