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Feature Story:

IFA Opposes Damaging California Franchise Legislation »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A bill making its way through the California State Assembly would undermine existing business contracts between franchisors and franchisees, says IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. The IFA opposes the bill and issued a statement saying Assembly Bill 525 would create untested new statutory language that will lead to costly litigation and hinder future franchise development for an industry that has outpaced overall economic growth for five years since the recession.
"In keeping with the spirit of Governor Brown's veto message last year on this matter, the International Franchise Association has been working in good faith with Assemblyman Holden (D-CA-41) to reach a consensus on a number of outstanding contractual issues between franchisees and franchisors...

Feature Story:

2015: Year Of The Franchisee? »

By Darrell Johnson

On many levels, 2014 was a tumultuous year for the franchise business model.
First, a quick overview. Franchising is regulated at the federal level, and 15 states have specific registration and approval requirements--yet we entered the year with 19 ongoing or new state legislative initiatives involving franchising; several city councils also got into the act. Back in D.C., the NLRB piled on with additional efforts to alter the franchise business model, and the SBA is re-evaluating how it defines "affiliation" standards for franchise brand SBA-guaranteed lending eligibility. Some of these actions have been challenged in the courts; others will be in the near future.
The motivations for all these efforts are varied and generally political in nature...

Feature Story:

IFA Calls Labor Union Report Flawed »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The way the IFA sees it, franchisees are highly satisfied, renew their contracts at an extremely high rate, and are part of a wave of franchise industry growth that is moving faster than the rest of the economy. And they have the data to prove it.
In a news release, the IFA has responded to a new report out by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The IFA and its franchisee members dispute the SEIU report, question its validity and its motivations, while offering evidence that franchising is a thriving, widely-accepted and robust part of the American economy.
"The SEIU is so desperate to lend credibility in its fledging effort to convince government officials to help it unionize franchise workers that it has ginned up a report that grossly misrepresents attitudes toward franchising," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE...

Feature Story:

Multi-Unit Franchisee 'Strategies For Growth' Collection Available »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Multi-unit franchisees who are looking to gain an edge on their competition have a new resource at their disposal. Franchise Update's Franchise Learning Academy has just released its "Strategies For Growth" Collection, a series of 14 video seminars, covering more than 20 hours of programming, and providing access to the insights, experience, and success stories of more than 40 multi-unit and multi-brand franchisees and franchising professionals.
The timely and topical information found on the videos comes straight from many of today's top multi-unit franchisees who have been there, done it, and successfully lived to tell the tale. Their invaluable advice can provide tips and insight for taking your business to the next level. All video seminars were produced at Franchise Update's Annual Multi-Unit Franchising Conferences in 2014 and 2015...

Feature Story:

IFA And Franchisees Oppose California Franchise Bill »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A California franchise bill is threatening the livelihood of the state's franchisees who would face additional and unnecessary regulations if Assembly Bill 525 is passed. The IFA and franchisees in the state are urging lawmakers to oppose the bill.
"The unintended consequences of this bill would dramatically change the franchise relationship between franchisors and franchisees and we have serious concerns about some of the provisions included in the bill, particularly those that introduce vague and ambiguous language into the enforceability of franchise contracts which will ultimately lead to increased, unnecessary and costly litigation," says IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE. "The last thing we need is further government intervention into an industry that has proven itself as a steady job creator and bastion of small business ownership throughout the state...

Feature Story:

Survey Finds Government Proposal Would Impact Middle Management »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The Obama administration is proposing to expand overtime and redefine what it means to be a retail or restaurant manager. The move could affect the career paths of many employees and undermine the quality of customer service they are able to provide, according to a new survey conducted for the National Retail Federation.
"The administration is singling out the service economy, specifically restaurants and retailers, with these new overtime regulations," says NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French. "The proposed Labor Department regulations will hinder the career paths of millions of American workers, restrict the duties a manager can perform while working, impact the customer experience, and add lots of paperwork and bureaucracy to the job description...

Feature Story:

Melting Pot Launches New Recruiting Incentive Program »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The Melting Pot is looking to reopen some franchise locations and it has created a new incentive to help recruit qualified restaurant operators. The new program will provide financing to those who sign a franchise agreement to purchase an existing Melting Pot location in select markets across the country, starting with Chattanooga and Memphis.
Under the guidelines of its new "Path to Grow" program, approved restaurant operators can inject as little as 5 percent liquidity into the purchase of the restaurant to partner with the franchisor, who would provide the financing. In exchange, the franchisor would initially assume 51 percent ownership of the restaurant under the conditions that the operating franchisee agrees to pay back the initial loan within three years of signing the franchise agreement...

Feature Story:

Fresh CREAM Deal Coming To Florida »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The cold rush is coming to Florida. The Sunshine State will be the location of more than 30 new shops of the San Francisco-based dessert franchise CREAM over the next 7 years. The franchise specializes in premium ice cream sandwiches and other frosty treats.
The new agreement marks CREAM's largest and most significant franchising announcement since launching its franchise opportunity in 2012, and will develop stores starting in South Florida before moving towards West Florida and beyond.
"There's definitely a lot of excitement around the brand," says CREAM president and COO Jim Ryan. "We are very excited to have over 30 units available to entrepreneurs in Florida and to make our East Coast debut."
The initial deal was inked with Armando Martinez Stone, who discovered the brand while participating in his High School DECA program in which participants were given the challenge to outline a plan to improve a company's national and international success...

Feature Story:

IFA Appeals To Stop Seattle's Discrimination Against Franchise Business Owners »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Franchisees in Seattle have the International Franchise Association (IFA) on their side. The group is appealing a recent decision in federal court that allows the city of Seattle to discriminate against small franchised businesses as part of the city's 2014 minimum wage law. The IFA sought a preliminary injunction, which was denied by U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones court in mid-March.
The IFA and five Seattle franchisees have given notice that they will appeal Judge Jones' decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The original lawsuit filed in June 2014 requested fair treatment for franchises under the law, which treats them as large, national companies, rather than the small, locally-owned businesses...

Feature Story:

Fastsigns Franchisee Advocates For Industry At U.S. Chamber Event »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Fastsigns franchisee Clint Ehlers is taking a stand in support of the franchise industry at this week's U.S. Chamber of Commerce event, "The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Joint-Employer Standard: New Interpretations, New Liabilities and the Impact on Other Statutes."
Ehlers owns and operates Fastsigns locations in Lancaster and Willow Grove, PA. This isn't his first time to speak up about the issue. He previously took a stance against the ruling in an appearance on September 9, 2014, testifying before Congress against the "joint employer" decision, with Catherine Monson, CEO of Fastsigns International.
As a pervasively critical issue within the franchise industry--among franchisors, franchisees, and employees alike--the NLRB's ruling on the Joint-Employment Standard will be addressed by Ehlers at the March 20th event, including the threat to locally-owned and operated franchise businesses across the nation that provide incredible value to communities by providing jobs, products/services, and sales tax revenue...

Feature Story:

Georgia Franchisees Are Back To Fazoli's »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Allen Peake and Mike Chumbley are the powers behind C&P Restaurant Company, a Macon, Georgia-based company that operates Captain D's and Cheddar's locations. The duo has just inked a deal for six Fazoli's restaurants in Georgia and South Carolina.
The new deal brings Peake and Chumbley back to Fazoli's. As executives and minority owners of RMS Family Restaurants - where they worked together for 15 years - they previously operated 12 Fazoli's in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. RMS sold its Fazoli's restaurants in 2000; they eventually were closed.
Under the new agreement, C&P Restaurant Company plans to open Fazoli's restaurants in Macon, Warner Robins, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, and Savannah.
"We always knew that we wanted to again be part of Fazoli's, and now the timing is right," says Peake...

Feature Story:

Cybersecurity Tips For Small Business Operators »

By Darren Guccione

From Target and Home Depot, to Apple's iCloud, Sony, and Anthem, it seems there's a new security breach announced every other week. Polls indicate that 50 percent of small- to medium-sized businesses believe they are immune to targeted cyber-attacks because criminals are more focused on large corporations. The reality is these companies are easy targets because they don't invest in new tools to defend against today's new breed of cyber attacks.  All companies, regardless of their size, are at risk.
Older, traditional security solutions are based on technologies that rely on knowing something about the attack, such as the vulnerability targeted, the malware used, or the reputation of the email sender. These tools may block basic known malware, but they are incapable of identifying today's dynamic, multi-vector, multi-stage attacks...

Feature Story:

NLRB Ruling Hits Home With Husband And Wife Franchisee »

By Djenane Bartholomew

Every day my husband and I make decisions that affect the lives of 450 people and their families. It's a lot of responsibility but above all a labor of love. It is all part of being local franchise owners and living our American dream. The franchise model has been a gateway for millions of people over the years to achieve small business ownership, many of them from racial or ethnic minority groups. It is important to not only preserve, but to strengthen this business model.
My husband came from Grenada and worked for the UPS for over 20 years. As a young man, he had the foresight to invest in a property in Brooklyn that grew in value over the years. Blessed with some money when we sold it, we considered how to invest our good fortune into a new livelihood and soon discovered that franchising was the way to go for us...

Feature Story:

Collaborate, Communicate, Grow: Franchise Relations Come To The Fore »

By Eddy Goldberg

Franchise relations are in the midst of powerful, fundamental change. Driven by the maturity of franchising, the rise of large multi-unit operators, the after-effects of the recession, and, most recently, external regulatory and political threats to the franchise model itself, franchisors and franchisees are working together more than ever before--and looking for ways to do it better.
In our conversations with multi-unit franchisees and franchisors, we found three overriding themes: collaboration, communication, and having a structure in place to facilitate them. Here's how some are working together for mutual gain.

Collaboration
In his 35 years in franchising as a franchisee of Great American Cookies, Doc Cohen has seen the brand trade hands from its founders to a private equity firm, sold to its chief competitor, and then sold twice more to private equity firms...

Feature Story:

Check Your Franchise Agreement Before You Sell »

By Scott A. Augustine

Franchisees around the country are breathing a collective sigh of relief as the post-recession rebound officially sets in. For many who weathered the economic downturn, earnings have increased, profits are up (thanks to strategic management decisions), and potential purchasers are again lining up to enter the market with finances in hand. And for others, fair market value for the business has reached a point where it may make financial sense to sell, particularly for those who held on to see a better day.
But before you make plans to sell the franchise, whether now or in the next few years, there are a few simple steps that you should take to prepare and avoid unwanted surprises. After all, preparation enhances the value of your business; surprises cost money and time...

Feature Story:

Information Retrieval: FDDs Need More Useful, Actionable Detail »

By Darrell Johnson

When evaluating a brand, experienced operators have two big advantages over first-time prospects. First, they know what questions to ask. Second, most of the time they know what a good answer looks like.
The first advantage really isn't all that much of an advantage. Common sense leads prospects to ask many of the most relevant questions. In addition to how much they will be asked to invest and how much can be made from that investment, some of the more frequently asked questions include: the franchisor's financial position, the experience of the franchisor's management team, the amount of training and support, brand marketing efforts, and the performance of units and franchisees.
The second advantage is usually considered the big one...

Feature Story:

Can Energy Management Systems Really Work? »

By James Walton

Energy management systems (EMS) are great in theory but often prove problematic in practice for many multi-unit franchise owners. The reasons tend to vary but a common theme centers on the administration of the intelligent thermostats, the pre-conceived cost of installation and complexity to ascertain, analyze, and effectively apply the data.
All of these are valid points against EMS for entrepreneurial multi-unit franchisees who operate in environments with razor thin margins and who may have limited internal resources. These owners simply don't have the bandwidth or dedicated staff to effectively administer, monitor, and analyze the fire hose of data associated with energy management systems.
As a result, multi-unit operators often discard the notion of embracing energy management systems and the significant financial benefits and operational efficiencies they provide...

Feature Story:

Franchisees Testify NLRB Actions Could Shut Them Down »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Two franchise business owners urged Congress to address regulatory overreach by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to expand the definition of what constitutes a joint employer during a hearing February 5 before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee. The franchise business owners testified that recent actions by the NLRB would significantly undermine their ability to operate and sustain their businesses - potentially forcing them to close down. 
At issue is the recent NLRB recommendation to upend the decades-long, well-established joint employer definition. Should the NLRB expand the definition of joint employer to include a franchisee's national brand, it would destroy the franchise model - leading to industry consolidation and, ultimately, to store closures and a loss of jobs, economic activity and entrepreneurial investment...

Feature Story:

The 5 C's For Building A Business »

By Marsha Friedman

Small businesses have made a huge recovery since the economic crash in 2008 and that's good news for all of us. Since we account for 63 percent of new jobs, our success puts people back to work. That, in turn, helps us even more - people with paychecks buy stuff!
And here's more good news: Women are launching more businesses than ever - 1,288 a day, according to a recent analysis by American Express. That's up from 602 in 2011-12. Since 1997, women-owned businesses rose by 68 percent.
As a female entrepreneur who will soon celebrate my company's 25th anniversary, I'm well aware of the challenges these brave new CEOs face. I'm not exaggerating when I use the word "brave." My experiences have taught me that courage is essential to launching and growing a successful business - particularly if you're a woman...

Feature Story:

Top 10 Franchise Lead Generation Trends For 2015 »

By Thomas Scott and Joe Mathews

A blog from the Franchise Performance Group examines 10 trends in franchise lead generation for 2015. What follows are edited highlights. For the complete version, which explains each trend in further detail, click here.

Smart franchisors have seen these "game-changing" new trends in how franchise buyers research opportunity, how search engines affect website traffic and results, leading a reinvention of how they recruit franchisees. Here are our Top 10 trends for franchise lead generation in 2015 and beyond:

Trend No. 12015 spells the end of VPs of Marketing controlling the franchise development advertising budget. Marketing to franchise candidates is totally different than marketing to just about anyone else. For decades, franchise salespeople have been held captive by the marketing department, forced to use pretty but otherwise ineffective marketing materials...



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