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Feature Story:

Consolidation Nation: Large Franchisees Continue Expanding »

By Eddy Goldberg

In the world of multi-unit franchisees, the big keep getting bigger. In our Multi-Brand 50 rankings, which we began publishing in 2008, the number of units operated by both the top 5 and top 10 franchisees has climbed steadily since 2010, following a post-recession drop-off when franchisees retreated from growth and instead focused on operational efficiency and selling or closing under-performing units.
Also during the past decade: many franchisors worked hard to refranchise their corporate stores; a generation of retiring franchisees with sizable portfolios sold them, whole or in part, to other large operators; and to help grease the skids for all these asset transfers, bankers relaxed their underwriting criteria, alternative lending sources sprang up, and the coffers of private equity firms (overfilled and searching for investment opportunities) expanded their strategic and acquisitional sights from franchise brands to franchisee organizations...

Feature Story:

Millennials Looking For More Purpose In The Workplace »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Millennials have something of a mixed reputation when it comes to work.
Studies show that they aren't loyal to employers so much as to the job itself. They also want to find a purpose to their careers beyond making money - which is a pretty good thing, says Jackie Dryden, co-author with Bethany Andell of Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line: And Build Your Brand on Purpose.
Companies have had a front row seat in recent years for watching the difference between Millennials and previous generations, the latter being motivated more by traditional incentives, such as money.
"Millennials might be feeling the backlash of receiving negative press but they are right - a company must first start with purpose; then innovation and profits follow...

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:

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:

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:

New Overtime Rule Compels Problems For Franchisees »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The U.S. Department of Labor's new overtime law will force thousands of employers to shift the pay status of their employees from salaried to hourly and diminish their quality of work life, says the International Franchise Association (IFA). The group has previously expressed its concerns in comments to Department of Labor and meetings with Office of Management and Budget.
"Far from 'giving America a raise,' the new overtime rule will compel many franchise businesses to reduce their managers' take-home pay simply to comply with the extreme new salary level," said IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti, CFE. "The rule is unfair to employees who will need to be reclassified from exempt to non-exempt, and thus effectively demoted. The Administration irresponsibly failed to conduct any economic analysts of this rule's impact on myriad stakeholders and millions of employees will experience reduced take-home pay, opportunity and flexibility in the workplace as a consequence of the Administration's actions...

Feature Story:

"Compassion" & "Empathy": Powerful Words In Customer Service »

By John DiJulius

I think the two most powerful words employees need to have permeating through their consciousness are "compassion" and "empathy." When you genuinely serve with compassion and empathy, your customer service is on a completely different level. The challenge is, How do you teach compassion and empathy? How do you make them more than just buzzwords and platitudes?
The top world-class customer experience organizations constantly put their employees in the shoes of the customer. When your employees really understand the plight of the customer--what the customer is going through, their daily battles--it starts to crystallize for them the critical importance of the customer experience they deliver, as well as the level of genuine caring they show each customer...

Feature Story:

Turning Today's Employees Into Tomorrow's Leaders »

By Jeff Bannon

One of the biggest challenges of business ownership is attracting good talent - but retaining them is even harder. As a multi-unit franchisee business owner, you look at your strong employees as future leaders. With changing demographics in the workplace creating generational diversity, how do you turn your current and future employees into leaders?
There are consistent core areas of leadership development necessary to turn employees into leaders, regardless of age and generational differences. Communication, commitment, recognition, and growth are requirements for helping your people to become leaders.

Communication: It is a skill that the potential future leader must have, but also an act of leadership that they expect from you...

Feature Story:

Limited-Service Chains Leading The Way »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Technomic Inc.'s annual Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report has one clear message: Limited-service chains are in the driver's seat. According to the Chicago-based market research firm, cumulative year-over-year sales for chains in their Top 500 ranking grew 5 percent in 2015, while limited-service concepts significantly outpaced their full-service counterparts at a rate of 5.5 to 3.6 percent. Contributing to this sales gap was a sizeable differential in unit growth. In 2015, limited-service chains in the Top 500 grew at a rate of 2.3 percent, nearly tripling full service's cumulative mark of 0.8 percent.
Drilling deeper into limited service's strong year reveals numerous interesting plot lines. With Panera's move into the No. 10 position, the top 10 ranked chains were composed entirely of limited-service concepts for the first time...

Feature Story:

Study Says Consumers Want More From Pizza »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Pizza consumption is trending at its highest level in four years and showing growth for pizza-focused concepts across channels, says a new report by Technomic. To maintain this momentum and stay ahead in the competitive pizza space, operators must innovate and adapt to consumers' evolving demands for unique, high-quality and better-for-you pizza ingredients and add-ons. This is according to Technomic's 2016 Pizza Consumer Trend Report, which highlights the menu and consumer trends shaping the pizza category.
"Today's consumers are less beholden to their standard pizza orders, as emerging players push the envelope of what's expected on a pizza menu," explains Deanna Jordan, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. "New chef-designed specialty pizzas positioned as customizable thought-starters will serve to convey kitchen skills and allow for the personalization these consumers increasingly expect...

Feature Story:

The 3 T's For Franchise Success »

By Chris Taylor

Higher customer expectations, lower brand loyalty, and pervasive consumer technology have created a dynamic landscape for companies looking to differentiate and win. But for today's franchisees, the ability to adapt will ultimately determine which locations thrive and which disappear.
In this ever-changing landscape, what sets the winners apart? I believe that today, franchise success depends on conquering the 3 Ts: Team, Tools, and Transparency.

Team
Historically, franchisees have underutilized a not-so-secret weapon - the field organization. The field holds major responsibility as they funnel information from corporate to individual franchise locations, yet today they are not being used effectively. District managers are poised to be advisors for your stores, so making the most of your time with them to share objectives and goals can have a strong influence and impact on the success of your franchise...

Feature Story:

Benefits Of Employee Engagement Surveys »

By Dan Schneider

"The Millennial Generation loves itself. Its members have bad manners, contempt for authority, no respect for older people, and talk, tweet, or text nonsense when they should be working. They show no respect for the members of previous generations with whom they work; they contradict recognized authorities and experts; and they tyrannize parents, managers, and colleagues who are deficient in knowledge and practical application of social media and contemporary technology."
First, let me apologize to Socrates, a Greek philosopher who lived sometime around 450 BC, for having updated a quote often attributed to him about the generation that followed him into Greek society. While Socrates may not be around any longer, the human race is still going strong, and each generation seems to say to itself "Kids! What's the matter with kids today? Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way, what's the matter with kids today?" (from the musical "Bye, Bye Birdie")
Pundits and trainers everywhere are making a financial killing convincing organizational and business leaders that the Millennials have to be the greatest threat to the human race since the onset of the Bird Flu epidemic...

Feature Story:

Freedom Of Associations: Is 2016 The Year Of Franchisee Activism? »

By Eddy Goldberg

The usual reason for forming an independent franchisee association is to address problems with the franchisor or other conflicts within the system. While the goal of the franchisees who banded together was to improve the system as they saw it, the relationship often was adversarial--at least initially, until the two sides discovered they had overriding common interests. These internal "family feuds" were the norm for decades, especially in systems where the franchisees were not making the return on their investment they'd expected, for whatever cause.
In recent years, however, the focus of franchisee associations has expanded to include external threats--from competition and the battle for market share, to what many currently perceive as a threat from governmental and regulatory bodies to the franchise business model itself...

Feature Story:

Indiana Fights Federal Government Overreach »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is the latest to sign a state bill clarifying that a franchisor is not the employer of a franchisee or of a franchisee's employees under Indiana's employment laws. He signed House Bill 1218 in late March.
Specifically, the legislation establishes that an employee of a franchisee is not an employee of the franchisor. Furthermore, the measure outlines that it is the franchisee that is responsible for the employment relationship including hiring, firing, discipline, supervision and direction of the employee. The franchisee and franchisor are considered separate entities and therefore not joint employers.
Indiana joins nearly a dozen other states that have already passed similar legislation or are considering actions to protect local franchises against federal government overreach...

Feature Story:

Call To Reverse NLRB Ruling »

Danny Farrar, CEO and founder of SoldierFit Fitness Company, testified last week on behalf of the Coalition to Save Local Businesses before the U.S. House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations. He asked the committee to take action to reverse the NLRB's decision to alter the "joint employer" standard for all small businesses.
In his testimony, Farrar--who served eight years in the military, including a combat tour in Iraq, 700 missions, and tasked with leading the first Army team into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, stated that small business owners around the country are being forced to try to grow under great uncertainty because of this new standard.
"When the National Labor Relations Board decided to change the joint employer liability standard last fall, it was a scary moment for local business owners like me," said Farrar...

Feature Story:

Letting Go Without Giving Up Control »

By Dan Schneider

What happens to your blood pressure when someone asks you about your "exit strategy"? Oftentimes, the term "exit strategy" stirs up emotions and fears tied to giving up control and "what's next." As a result, the question and necessary discussion are often ignored, leaving you as the business owner in the exact place you are hoping to avoid - vulnerable. As uncomfortable and overwhelming as it may seem to be, strategically discussing an exit strategy along with business vision and growth goals actually puts you in the driver's seat. Sort of like athletes retiring at the top of their game - you are now in control by choice rather than by chance. Just as the building of your multi-unit franchise business happened over many years, the most effective exit strategy is deployed over time and is unique to your personal and business interests such as:

Feature Story:

Never And Always: Creating A Customer-First Organization »

By John DiJulius

You want customer loyalty? Be brilliant at the basics.
World-class service companies have what I like to call a "customer bill of rights" that every person in that organization clearly knows and follows 100 percent of the time. Would you ever expect to see a Disney cast member on break, in full uniform, chewing tobacco and spitting on the ground near the front entrance where guests are walking? Doubtful. Would you ever think a Ritz-Carlton employee, when asked for directions to the ballroom, would respond, "I don't know. I work in housekeeping."? Highly unlikely! One of the most effective ways to elevate your company's customer service level is by instituting your own customer bill of rights.
If anyone is going to wear your uniform or name tag or represent your brand, you need only a small set (6 to 10 actions or standards) for your employees to live by...

Feature Story:

Utah Takes On NLRB Ruling »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Utah is joining the growing statewide bandwagon to create a bill that defines and separates franchisors from franchisees and their employees. House Bill 116 clearly establishes franchisees as the sole employer of their workers. The bill now awaits the governor's signature, which is expected soon.
State legislatures across the country have been taking up the mantle of franchise business owners and their rights. Utah's HB 116 comes in the wake of a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to change 50 years of federal labor law and legal precedent. The law clarifies that neither a franchisee nor a franchisee's employee shall be deemed to be an employee of the franchisor for any purpose.
"It has become clear that bipartisan agreement in states all over this country have coalesced around the issue that franchisors and franchisee s are separate entities," said IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti...

Feature Story:

Cicis Redefines Its 30-Year-Old Brand For Future Growth »

By Darin Harris

For 30 years, Cicis has been delivering unlimited pizza, pasta, salad, and dessert to every guest who enters its restaurants. But over the course of three decades, customers evolved. They wanted something better, more innovation, more contemporary restaurant designs... something beyond where Cicis had been.

So, with the introduction of the company's new leadership team, the Cicis brand underwent a comprehensive review to pull itself out of the past and into the future. We started from the ground up to evolve every facet of the business, including product, price, place, promotion, and the meaning behind our name.

First, we listened
The first step to understanding where we needed to go was to listen in on what guests enjoyed about Cicis today...

Feature Story:

Wisconsin Passes Pro Franchisee Bill »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Wisconsin is the latest state to push back against the overreaching National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by passing a new law that affirms franchisor and franchisee employees are separate entities. Senate Bill 422 was just signed last week by Governor Scott Walker and applies to state enforcement agencies.
SB 422, which excludes a franchisor as the employer of a franchisee or of an employee of a franchisee for purposes of certain laws relating to employment, was signed in the wake of a decision by the NLRB to change 50 years of federal labor law and legal precedent.
Wisconsin is the latest state to enact legislation that provides clarity to the small business community. Nearly a dozen states have passed or are considering actions to protect local franchises against federal government overreach...


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Multi-Brand 50    

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Issue II, 2016

Multi-Unit Buyers Guide    

2016 Multi-Unit Buyers Guide

Special Edition

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