The Winner's Column - September 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 and incentives for military veterans. To be considered for next month's Winner's Column, please send your news to

New Units

Pancheros Signs 5 Agreements for 39 Units
Pancheros Mexican Grill has signed five development agreements for 39 locations, including its first on the West Coast. The new agreements are in three new states (California, Nevada, and Oregon), with additional units coming to Minnesota. Pancheros, with 54 locations open in 17 states, has commitments for more than 85 new locations, which are set to begin opening in the fall of 2013, according to Rodney L. Anderson, company founder and president. The new units include 16 in Nevada (The Genesis Group, Ltd., Scott Miller managing partner); 5 units in Orange County, Calif.; 10 units in San Jose, Calif.; 4 units in Portland, Ore.; and 2 units in Minnesota, in Rochester and Mankato (D&D Minnesota Restaurant Group, partners Don Ryan and Dave Tallett).

Juice It Up! Grows Raw Juice Bar to 25 in 8 Months
Juice It Up!, which launched its Raw Juice Bar initiative at the start of 2012, has opened its 25th Raw Juice Bar, in Aliso Viejo, Calif. "The popularity of the Raw Juice Bars has steadily increased since debuting our first upgraded location in January," said Frank Easterbrook, president and CEO. The brand is retrofitting its 85 stores to offer the new Raw Juice Bar, which features an expanded line of healthy and functional blends. Of the company's 25 Raw Juice Bar stores, seven are in Orange County. The company expects 50 locations by year-end. Founded in 1995 and based in Irvine, Calif., the company is on track to increase same-store sales by 15 to 18 percent this year.

HomeVestors Notches Strong First Half
Home-buying network HomeVestors of America opened 64 new franchises in the first six months of 2012, a record for the brand. "This is a good indication of the interest in the investor market," said HomeVestors' co-president, David Hicks. "We anticipate strong sales to continue." The company's goal is for 100 new franchisees by year's end. HomeVestors ("We Buy Ugly Houses") was founded and began franchising in 1996. Since then, franchisees have purchased more than 50,000 homes in 37 states. The new franchisees are spread across 22 states.

Pizza Patrón Signs 8-Store San Antonio Deal; Expands to Windy City
Dallas-based Pizza Patrón is expanding in Texas and venturing north to Chicago for the first time. In Texas, SA Pizza, Inc. has signed a development agreement to add eight more stores to the San Antonio area within the next 31 months. SA Pizza (which has an exclusive development agreement for the San Antonio market) has seven locations open and one under development, has been with the brand for nine years and is a two-time winner of the Patrón of the Year award.

In Chicago, Pizza Patrón is taking its entry into the area seriously. In June, company founder Antonio Swad moved to the city to personally oversee development. "The Chicago metro area is a very important market for our brand because it is the third largest Hispanic market in the U.S.," said Swad. The first store was set to open in August in Cicero. "It is a perfect fit for our brand given 86 percent of the population is Hispanic, and 98 percent of the Hispanics living there are of Mexican heritage," said Swad, who expects to have three locations open in the area by year-end. He is targeting 30 locations for the DMA, and once the market is established he may consider turning it over to a developer. Founded in 1986, Pizza Patrón has 104 locations in 7 states and more than 80 under development.

Sophie's Cuban Cuisine Inks 4-Unit Deal for D.C.
In its first deal outside of its home base of New York City, Sophie's Cuban Cuisine has signed a four-restaurant development agreement for the Washington, D.C., area with the Running Cedar Restaurant Group. Sofia Luna, co-founder and president of Sophie's, says the first is scheduled to open early next year at 1134 19th Street NW. The Luna family opened their first restaurant in Lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center in 1997.

CherryBerry Signs Two Deals, Tops 100-Store Mark
In Florida, Beautiful Brands International, parent of CherryBerry Self-Serve Yogurt Bars, has signed a master franchise agreement with Julie Harris to expand development throughout the state. The first unit from this agreement is slated to open in this winter. In Wisconsin, the opening of a new store in Whitefish Bay, was the brand's 100th. The company, which opened its first store in Broken Arrow, Okla., in 2010, has 35 stores under and predicts 60 more open in the next year.

100 Montaditos, Spanish Fast-Casual Chain, Expands in U.S.
The Madrid-based restaurant chain 100 Montaditos, which operates more than 300 stores in Europe and Latin America, has opened 8 stores in Florida since January 2011, and is slated to launch an additional 6 franchises in New York, Washington, D.C., and other key markets along the East Coast by early 2013. The company is named after its signature item, the montadito, a crunchy roll baked to order and packed with traditional Spanish meats, cheeses, sauces, and other toppings.

Pillar To Post Adds Four New Franchisees
Following a strong first half, in which brand Pillar To Post added 21 new franchisees, the brand announced the addition of four new franchisees: Bob Avery in Houston; Jim and Cara Shields in Allegheny County, Pa.; Arun Chaturvedi in Brampton, Ontario; and Blaine Fisher serving Annapolis Valley, Yarmouth, South Shore, and Nova Scotia. Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post, with more than 400 franchisees, is the largest home inspection company in North America, with locations in 44 states and 8 Canadian provinces. In 2011, the company added 20 new franchises and expects to more than double that number in 2012. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next 5 years.

16 Handles Frozen Yogurt Expands to Miami
Frozen brand 16 Handles is set to open in Miami's South Beach area in November, its second location in South Florida. "All signs show that will continue to be a hot commodity and an industry that isn't close to slowing down," said Solomon Choi, CEO of 16 Handles. Founded in 2008 by Choi, the brand has 27 locations in 5 states on the East Coast and is forecasting 40 stores open by year-end.

Sunny Street Café Breaks Ground on First of 40 New Units in Texas
Sunny Street Café announced ground-breaking at the first of 40 new units the brand plans to build in the Lone Star State. Franchisee Cliff Bowling, with sons Daniel and Patrick, will open their first Sunny Street Café in December in Weatherford, Tex., under the guidance of area representative Robert Andersen, whose company, Café Management Systems, has exclusive rights to the brand in Texas and will be responsible for all day-to-day operations and marketing support for existing and new restaurants in Texas. Andersen will also recruit qualified franchise developers and single-unit franchises to open restaurants in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin as well as Dallas-Ft. Worth. Additional locations are targeted in Tarrant, Collin, Denton, and Dallas counties. Sunny Street Café operates 14 in Ohio, Texas, and Missouri.

Rapid Recovery Opens 31st Territory, Expands to Atlanta
Rapid Recovery, a refrigerant recovery and abatement brand, has signed local resident Todd Beaver as a franchisee for the Atlanta area. Beaver also operates a local 1-800-GOT-JUNK? franchise. The new location is the 31st for the brand, founded in 2002 to provide refrigerant recovery services.

Sarku Japan Opens 6 Stores in Metro New York
Ontario, Canada-based QSR chain Sarku Japan has opened six new Teriyaki and Sushi Express stores in the New York Metro area (Brooklyn, Long Island, Harlem, Yonkers, and two in Queens). Since 2008, the brand has added a free-standing model to its traditional mall-based locations. Established in 1987, Sarku Japan has locations in more than 200 courts. Expansion plans call for adding 15 to 20 corporate and franchised stores annually over the next 5 years.

Abrakadoodle Signs Two New Franchisees
Abrakadoodle has signed two new franchisees, in Florida and Maryland. The Florida franchisee is Maria Parlade Gonzalez of Coral Gables, who is transitioning from Abrakadoodle-Miami instructor. In Maryland, the franchisee for Montgomery County is Nancy Delasos of Rockville, who has a bachelor's degree in art history and experience in IT, telecom, and politics. Abrakadoodle was co-founded in 2002 by award-winning educator/franchise developer Mary Rogers and children's services franchising expert Rosemarie Hartnett.

Flip Flop Shops, Ayala's Group Team Up at McCarran
Flip Flop Shops and the Ayala's Group have formed a strategic partnership (AFFS, LLC) to develop a Flip Flop Shops location inside McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Set to open in October, this is the first airport location for the quirky brand. Ayala's other brands include Moe's Southwest Grill, Freshëns, icandy, Tentation, red, Seattle's Best Coffee, and The Candy Shop in McCarran and Denver International Airport, among others. Founded in 2004, Flip Flop Shops has more than 60 locations operating throughout the United States, Canada, Guam, and the Caribbean, with 100-plus in development. The brand predicts 236 locations to be open or in development by 2013.

Chicken Salad Chick Expands to 18 with New Franchise Sales
Simply Southern Restaurant Group, the franchisor of Chicken Salad Chick, has announced the sale of several franchises in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Franchise locations include Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, and Dothan, Ala.; Columbus and Valdosta, Ga.; and Tallahassee, Fla. New restaurants are being built in Tuscaloosa and Montgomery, Columbus, and Tallahassee. The Auburn, Ala.-based brand, which opened its first takeout restaurant in 2008, offers a "custom-fit" experience, with 15 original flavors to choose from, as well as soups, side salads and freshly baked desserts.

Toppers Pizza Notches First Texas Location
Toppers Pizza, which has been expanding steadily across the Midwest from its base in Whitewater, Wisc., was set to open its first Texas location last month, in Fort Worth. The franchisees are husband-and-wife team Heidi and Jim McGregor. She works in pre-hospital sales for one of the world's leading technology companies, and he owns an ambulance dealership called Professional Ambulance. Toppers, which has 44 locations in Wisconsin, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, and Nebraska, has upcoming openings in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, and Missouri. The company seeks to open an additional five to six locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the next 2 years, and plans to open 50 in the state. Longer term, the company's growth plan is to reach 150 restaurants by the end of 2015 and 500 by 2020. The company already has 30 new locations under contract to be built by the end of 2013.

New Brands

Canada's Nurse Next Door Opens First U.S. Location
Nurse Next Door, a Canadian care brand, has begun expanding in the U.S. The company's first U.S. location, in Mission Viejo, Calif., is operated by Tony Uzzi, a 54-year-old former nurse and pharmaceutical company executive who wanted more control over his career and more meaning in his work. "We're tremendously excited to open our first U.S. location, and we've reached agreements on seven others, which certainly will help us quickly build market share," said CEO John DeHart. Founded in 2001, Nurse Next Door has more than 50 locations across North America and plans 25 more U.S. locations in the next year.

Florida-based Sloan's Ice Cream Brand Begins Franchising
Sloan's, a homemade brand that opened in West Palm Beach in 1999, has targeted Florida, New York, New England, and California for its first franchise stores as it begins a nationwide franchising campaign. Founded by Sloan Kamenstein, the brand is looking to build out 150 stores in the next 5 years. Entry cost for the approximately 2,000-s.f. stores ranges from $640,000 to $900,000, which includes store build-out, and support. Sloan's currently has company stores in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, and Boca Raton. Sloan, a classically trained chef who attended London's Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and trained in kitchens in France, has designed the menu of creative ice and sweet treats. Sloan has hired David Wild as director of franchising.

Taco Taco Café Signs First Franchise Deal
San Antonio-based Taco Taco Café, a Mexican recently signed its first franchise deal, a multi-unit development agreement for North Carolina. This is the brand's first franchise deal, as well as its first location outside Texas. The franchisee, Shashin Desai, along with his team, have signed on to develop stores in the state's "Triangle" area, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Cary. They are hoping to open their first location in early 2013 and plan to develop one store every 18 months after that. The brand is working with Fransmart to build its franchised business.

Primary Dentist Begins Franchising
With a new twist on the conversion model employed by many service brands, Primary Dentist is offering individual and area developer franchise options to both dentists and non-dentists. "Many dentists are finding it difficult to deal with the important day-to-day business needs of their practice to make it financially successful," said founder Dr. Steven Poulos, D.D.S. "The Primary Dentist franchise addresses this by helping franchisees associate with, learn from, and apply the marketing and in-office methods and techniques used in our franchise model." Poulos, who owns and operates a dental office in Scottsdale, Ariz., says his practice is the model for the franchise system. Dentists with a current practice are not required to refurnish, reinvest in equipment, remodel, or even change the name of their office. Design, equipment choice, and layout services are provided to new dental offices. Primary Dentist has teamed with John Power, of AdvantaFran Franchise Consulting, who designed the franchise program and is assisting with sales.


Denny's Expands to Chile
Denny's has signed an agreement with Musiet Group for the development of 10 new restaurants in Chile over the next 15 years. The Musiet Group has exclusive rights to open units in the country and expects the first restaurant to open in Santiago in 2013. The Musiet Group is a family-operated company with diversified holdings throughout Chile that include being the master franchisee for Ruby Tuesday. The group also owns and operates PAL Airlines with service routes throughout Central and South America. The agreement is the brand's first major expansion in South America and one of its largest international development agreements to date, said John Miller, Denny's president and CEO. As of June 27, Denny's had 1,684 franchised, licensed, and company-owned restaurants across the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Guam, Curaçao, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and New Zealand.

Domino's Signs Master Franchise, Opens First Store in Nigeria
Domino's Pizza has signed a master franchise agreement with Eat 'N' Go Restaurant Group, the master franchisee for Domino's Pizza Nigeria. Eric Andre is managing director. Domino's operates in more than 70 markets worldwide, with more than half of its global sales coming from international stores, which account for more than one third of its adjusted operating income. Domino's 2011 global retail sales topped $6.9 billion (about $3.4 billion domestically and $3.5 billion internationally). Founded in 1960, Domino's has 9,924 franchised and company-owned stores worldwide.

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