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Feature Story:

Burger Kingdom: Arby's Ex-CEO Returns To His Multi-Unit Roots »

By Debbie Selinsky

Tom Garrett breaks down his 30 years with Arby's--first as an assistant manager, then as the brand's largest franchisee, and finally as CEO of the franchisor--this way: "I like to say that 25 of those years were great, 3 were mediocre, and 2 were miserable--in that order."
In mid-2005, Garrett was president of RTM Restaurant Group (operator of 775 Arby's in 22 states with sales of nearly $800 million) when it was acquired by Triarc Companies (franchisor of the Arby's brand). Following the sale, he became COO of Arby's at a time, he says, when the company was "overleveraged in an economic crisis." However, he adds, the time he spent there, before exiting as CEO of Arby's Restaurant Group in early 2010, was ultimately worthwhile. "I can't say it was fun, but those 5 years made me tougher and smarter and better prepared to go back to what I love: being a multi-unit franchisee...

Feature Story:

Challenge The Pros: The Importance Of Franchisee Validation As A Sales And Development Tool »

Franchise Update

Discuss the importance of franchisee validation and how you use it as a sales and development tool.

Michael Powers
Managing Director
Painting with a Twist
Unit franchise growth is the fuel that supplies life and sustainability to every franchisor's existence. Without significant annual unit growth, your brand and market share will eventually erode away while your growing competitors will gladly capture the excess and continue to grow their own brands. Simply put, you are either growing or dying. And in today's competitive franchise environment, the latter is not an option for any franchise organization.
Franchisee validation can heavily influence your development success, whether you're an emerging franchisor or a large established one...

Feature Story:

Speed And Hospitality: On-Time Delivery Was Not Enough At RPM Pizza »

By John DiJulius

In 2011, RPM Pizza (the largest U.S. franchisee of Domino's Pizza) made major improvements in its speed-of-delivery service by improving its percentage of on-time pizza deliveries by 17 percent. However, according to an independent third-party mystery shopper survey, RPM ranked last among its major competitors in hospitality--demonstrating how a company can get overly focused on one component of their business while letting other key components slip away.
So in 2012 RPM committed to changing its culture from being solely an operationally excellent organization, which they called being "Brilliant at the Basics," to also being known for being a world-class hospitality company. They started by creating a "day in the life of a customer" video, to teach their employees to view things from the customer's perspective...

Feature Story:

Baskin-Robbins Grows And Offers  »

Baskin-Robbins, has signed development agreements with two franchise groups to develop three new ice cream shops in Banning and Temecula, Calif., over the next few years. But the brand has also just launched a unique new development strategy by creating a "ready-to-operate shop" for potential franchisees.
New franchise group M DB Enterprises, LLC, led by husband-and-wife team Hemant and Hemlatta Bhakta, plans to develop one new shop in Banning. Hemant previously held several positions with Baskin-Robbins before deciding to open his own shop. The new Banning location is planned to open at the end of this year.
Gary and Maria Yarbrough have been Baskin-Robbins franchisees since 2011 and plan to develop two new shops in Temecula. They currently own and operate a Baskin-Robbins in Chula Vista and are developing a second location in the area, which is slated to open in April...

Feature Story:

Mosquito Joe's Marketing Director Details 2016 Marketing Plans »

By Matt Smith

We asked Angela Zerda, director of marketing at Mosquito Joe, what changes she's planning in her marketing strategies and tactics for 2016. Here's what she had to say.

The marketing landscape, particularly in the digital space, is constantly evolving. To be a leader in our industry we must always be looking out for new opportunities. As we plan for 2016 I expect a continued increase in digital marketing spend, as well as a focus on tying those campaigns to our off-line campaigns for greatest impact. For example, if we're using direct mail in an area, we're serving up banner ads to that same area. Frequency remains vital in marketing, and with new technologies we have additional opportunities for touch points throughout the day...

Feature Story:

HuHot Franchisee Turns To Private Equity »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

HuHot Mongolian Grill's largest franchisee has just been acquired by private equity investment firm Sun Capital. The Omaha, Nebraska-based CCW, is the franchisee of 21 HuHot restaurants across the Midwest, including locations in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota.
"CCW has built a strong business on a unique concept, and we're excited to partner with this experienced management team to build on their tremendous success," said Marc Leder, co-CEO at Sun Capital. "The company is well positioned for continued, substantial growth."
Sun Capital's Managing Director Anthony Polazzi added, "We see significant opportunity for CCW to expand with the HuHot brand and beyond. We are actively exploring development partnerships with fast-casual franchisors, as our focus will be on working with the business' outstanding operating team to scale this single concept franchisee into a multi-concept platform...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: February 9, 2016 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Sharing Online: Why Do People Do It - and What Do They Share?
Sharing content is one of the most common online activities. Marketers work hard to provide content people will want to share. But what drives the impulse to share online? Adobe surveyed more than 12,000 consumers in 6 countries to find out. All were over 18 and owned at least one digital device, such as a smartphone or tablet. According to the survey, "The State of Content: Rules of Engagement for 2016," almost two-thirds of respondents share content online (64%). Their top motivation was to make people laugh (37%), followed closely by a desire to raise awareness of a cause or issue (29%). Another important takeaway: most people will stop viewing online content if it takes too long to load, is overly long, or doesn't look good on their device...

Feature Story:

Common Terminology: Franchisors Should Speak The Same Language »

By Paul Wilbur

Franchising is full of creative entrepreneurs and marketers. With creativity, however, comes the desire to explain franchising in terminology that differentiates a brand from its peers.
Take for example a model FRANdata has defined for years as the Area Representative Growth Model. This model uses intermediaries (area reps) to sell and support franchisees in a territory, but those intermediaries do not contract directly with franchisees. We've come across at least 10 different names for this model, including regional director, regional developer, regional manager, regional services, master franchisee, master franchisor, area franchisee, area director, area developer, and area representative. This is a terribly confusing situation for prospective franchisees, lenders, suppliers, and the industry overall...

Feature Story:

Van Jakes On Franchising After Football »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Van Jakes spent 8 years playing football in the NFL. He was a cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers. He says he enjoyed playing football at the professional level and thrived on the competition.
When it came time to retire from the game in 1991, he wasn't looking to sit back and take it easy. He felt that there was more to do. The budding entrepreneur started investigating business opportunities that eventually led him to franchising, and eventually to the McDonald's brand.
"I knew I wasn't done building my nest egg," says the 54-year old Jakes. "And I wanted to be a good steward of my financial resources." But, he says, he didn't foresee himself doing so by opening "Van Jakes' Hamburger Stand...

Feature Story:

IFA Battles Seattle's Minimum Wage Law »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The International Franchise Association is appealing Seattle's minimum wage law all the way to the Supreme Court. Last week, the organization filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, asking the United States Supreme Court to review the decision of the Ninth Circuit in the Seattle Case.
The association says the law's discriminatory provisions harm franchisees.
IFA and five Seattle franchisees sued the City of Seattle in June 2014, seeking to block portions of the city's law to increase the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour. The plaintiffs asked the court to enjoin the city from treating franchisees as large, national companies rather than the small, locally-owned businesses that they are.
"The controlling Supreme Court precedent and the conflict among the decisions of the federal circuit courts have proven that a Supreme Court review of the Ninth Circuit's decision is the appropriate next step," said IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti...

Feature Story:

Validation: The Key To Successful Development At Marco's Pizza »

By Kerry Pipes

We asked Cameron Cummins, vice president of franchise development at Marco's Pizza, to discuss the importance of franchisee validation - and how the brand uses it as a sales and development tool.

One of the first things we tell our potential franchisees is that we do not sell a franchise. Rather, we present a business opportunity and let prospects see if our opportunity and our culture are a match for them. The word "sales" does not appear anywhere in our Marco's vocabulary for the simple fact that we are not selling a franchise. We view franchisee validation not as a sales process, but as an exploration process.

The key to franchise development is that it's all about the validation. Prospects need to fully understand what they are deciding to get into...

Feature Story:

STAR Awards Website Best Practices: Bach To Rock »

By Helen Bond

Each year, Franchise Update Media honors the top performers in franchise sales and development at its STAR Awards dinner, a highlight of the annual Franchise Leadership & Development Conference, held this past Oct. 14-16 in Atlanta. The STAR Awards (Speaking To And Responding) recognize brands for overall development performance and in the key areas of franchisee recruitment, online sales follow-up, telephone responsiveness, website effectiveness, social media, and franchisee satisfaction.

STAR Award winners are chosen based on evaluations by a team of Franchise Update sales and lead generation experts. In 2015, Bach to Rock took home the honors for Best Website Practices. Their story is below. (Read about the #1 overall winner, Wild Birds Unlimited here...

Feature Story:

Lottery Winner Becomes Franchisee »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Upon winning a mega lottery like this month's $1.5 billion Powerball, you typically hear stories of winners putting their earnings toward buying a new home or a luxury car. While there are a million ways to spend the winnings, the key is to make smart investments that enable you to maintain and grow your fortune. Jason Fry, owner of four successful Batteries Plus Bulbs stores in Florida, would testify that franchising is one worthwhile investment.
After winning $47 million in the 2008 Florida state lottery, Fry did what most overnight millionaires would do: he bought a boat, an Escalade, a Shelby Mustang, a motorcycle, and a house in Ft. Myers. He also made several business investments, including acquiring a Batteries Plus franchise store in 2009...

Feature Story:

The Mystery Persists »

By Kerry Pipes

Our annual mystery shopping survey shows some improvement, with much room for more
Franchise recruiting is serious business. Incredibly, year after year, franchise brands continue to fumble the fundamentals. They are not executing the X's and O's. They are failing to meet prospects where they are (mobile devices anyone?), providing flat-out wrong information, responding too slowly to prospect inquiries, and worse, not getting back to them at all. These are just some of the key findings of Franchise Update Media's 2015 annual mystery shopping survey.
Every brand that registered by August 15 to attend this year's Franchise Leadership & Development Conference was mystery shopped by a "qualified, perfect candidate," said Gary Gardner, chair of Franchise Update Media, during his presentation of the survey results at the conference in mid-October...

Feature Story:

Franchise Growth Strong In 2016 »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

2016 should be another big year for franchises. Franchise small businesses will once again grow at rates that exceed non-franchise business growth this year, according to the Franchise Business Outlook: 2016 released by the International Franchise Association.
"We are forecasting that for the sixth consecutive year, franchise businesses will grow at rates that exceed the economy-wide growth of industries where franchises are concentrated," said IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti. "Franchise businesses are showing tremendous capability to provide new jobs for working families and new businesses for first-time business owners across all sectors in local communities, despite the fact that franchisees are facing many new regulatory threats at all levels of government...

Feature Story:

SweetFrog CMO Details 2016 Marketing, Growth Plans »

By Matt Smith

We asked Matt Smith, CMO at sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt, what changes he's planning in his marketing strategies and tactics for 2016. Here's what he had to say.

From a strategic perspective, we will be looking to connect with our customers in a more personal way to help strengthen repeat business.

A major tactical change will be the standardization of a national loyalty and rewards program with a move to a new vendor. In the past, sweetFrog has offered a fragmented effort with some franchise owners using a different platform than others. The new platform will change everything from the messages we deliver to their frequency and time of day - all built to give customers the kind of offers they want, when they want them...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: January 26, 2016 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Customer Advertising Preferences: 9 of 10 Actually Want Ads!
It's not news that consumers' preferences are changing with the technology they use - at home, at work, or on the go - leaving marketers confused about where to launch campaigns and how to allocate their media spend. In examining research on the advertising preferences of U.S. adults conducted by MarketingSherpa, social media expert Heidi Cohen highlights the following in her blog:

Feature Story:

Golden Opportunity: Jewelry Wholesaler Turns To Franchising And Shines »

By Debbie Selinsky

Annie Aggarwal, whose parents Renu and Bharat Aggarwal moved to Texas from India in 1989, recalls her extended family's surprise in 1997 when her mother decided to use her savings to purchase a Subway franchise in Houston.
Her mother Renu, who had been a full-time housewife, had saved funds from selling 22-karat gold jewelry from India wholesale to upscale jewelers in Houston and Dallas. She heard about Subway and franchising and decided that being a franchisee would be lower risk than selling jewelry, a "golden ticket" sure to take care of her family in the future.
Despite her husband's initial hesitance, the mother of two, who spoke minimal English and some basic Spanish, went ahead with her plan. Today she owns 55 Subways in Texas and New York, and to diversify, recently added Wing Zone in Houston...

Feature Story:

Getting It Right: Giving Franchisees The Information They Want »

By Darrell Johnson

"If it's on the Internet, it must be true." While we chuckle at that, franchisors also know the dark side of the Internet: that there is so much more misinformation than information out there. While it is easy to disregard misinformation for what it is, it is hard to do so when you are protecting the integrity and image of a brand. I'll describe what I see going on and, by way of example, show a way to take control of online information.
First, let's understand the problem in the context of current events. On the consumer level we use search tools to quickly determine who provides a local product or service. Then we take it further by checking any number of third-party sources for ratings on the quality of the product or service. Is it any wonder the same approach is rapidly being adopted by prospective franchisees, whether considering how much they can make, the likelihood of success with a given brand, franchisor performance relative to franchisees, or the ease of obtaining financing? After all, it's not just franchisees researching a brand; lenders are, too...

Feature Story:

Right Time, Right Place: Parlaying Military Experience Into Franchise Success »

By Debbie Selinsky

Scott Richburg, a former U.S. Army National Guard officer and owner of an engineering consulting firm, smiles when he recalls the learning curve he faced when he bought his first Sport Clips franchise in 2003. "Learning to relate to and communicate with hair stylists took some time," he says. Twelve years and 14 additional salons later, he's clearly figured that out.
As with many in the business, his transition into franchising began with a haircut--and a bit of good luck and timing. "When I went into a Sport Clips for a haircut, the experience just blew me away," he says. And he was ready, even eager, for a change.
"I didn't want to do engineering any more and was looking for something else to do. In a twist of fate, I was talking with a banker friend who'd heard from a business broker selling Sport Clips franchises...


Learn More

2016 Mega 99    

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Issue I, 2016

Multi-Unit Buyers Guide    

2015 Multi-Unit Buyers Guide

Special Edition

A Franchise Update Media Group Production
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