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Every franchisee who relies on hourly employees has struggled with finding good, dependable staff and managers. There are some tricks of the trade, techniques, and processes that can help you interview better, hire smarter, train better, and retain longer. Successful franchisees are the ones with great employees who are passionate about the brand, its customers, the people they work for, and their own career advancement.

Find tips and insight from human resources experts, franchisees, and franchisors who know what it takes to hire, train, and retain top-performing employees.

Feature Story:

Moving Targets: Franchisees Respond To Changing Markets »

By Helen Bond

When retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Tim Hershberger signed on as a franchisee with Dickey's Barbecue Pit in Florida, the 30-year military veteran was already focused on the customers he knew best. And his military ties have helped jump-start his first nongovernmental venture.
His first Dickey's, in Pensacola, is one of three planned restaurants that will cater to current and former military members in the Florida Panhandle, home to Naval Air Station Pensacola and Eglin Air Force Base in nearby Fort Walton Beach. Military customers will receive a 15 percent discount, and catering orders are delivered to the bases free of charge.
"We will continue to refine our strategies to get better at what we do," he says. "We will always cater to the military because I believe what they do is vital to the safety of our nation...

Feature Story:

DQ/Huddle House Zee Growing »

Ahmad Sowwan is no stranger to franchising and no stranger to success. The 33-year-old multi-unit, multi-brand franchisee operates two Dairy Queen locations and a Huddle House restaurant and has just taken over a second Huddle House in Florence, SC.
Sowwan says he was looking to further expand his operations from North Carolina into new markets when he discovered the Florence Huddle House location was available. He jumped on the opportunity to take over the previously company-owned location.
"It was a personal goal to expand my business across state lines and into South Carolina," says Sowwan. "Florence is an area with a strong sense of community, and the restaurant already has a strong and loyal customer base. I look forward to becoming more involved with the community and continuing to provide the great food and southern hospitality everyone has come to expect...

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:

Living The Dream: And $100 Million On The Horizon »

By Helen Bond

As a kid growing up in New Orleans, Yaron Goldman dreamed of owning a restaurant.
"I have always enjoyed cooking, ever since I was a child," says Goldman, who grew up to become the second largest franchisee of McAlister's Deli. "My sister and I used to cook all the time, and there is nothing better than serving someone a great meal."
These days, Goldman is dishing up even loftier dreams. His strategic growth plan includes 2016 revenue projection in excess of $100 million and the addition of three more brands in the next 10 years. His company, SD Holdings, operates 59 McAlister's Delis in North and South Carolina, Missouri, Colorado, and Wyoming, along with 3 units of the rapidly growing MOD Pizza brand.
Goldman started with McAlister's in 1996 in Tuscaloosa, when he took a job making sandwiches to earn extra cash while attending the University of Alabama...

Feature Story:

MVP Award Winners Named By Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

An impressive list of candidates was ultimately narrowed down to only 10. Those selected for this year’s Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine’s Most Valuable Performer (MVP) Awards will be presented with their awards during the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference April 26-29th at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Each of this year’s winners demonstrated outstanding performance in growing both their organizations and their brands. They are the power operators, the innovators, and the creative thinkers. Franchisees must have at least five operating units and have been in a franchise system for a minimum of two years in order to be considered for the MVP Award.
Here are this year’s winners:

Feature Story:

Planet Fitness Zee Signs Agreement With ZIPS Dry Cleaners »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Shawn Bishop and his partners at ZDry LLC already operate 10 Planet Fitness locations in Los Angeles and are moving to add even more. Now the franchise group has inked a major deal to build 110 ZIPS Dry Cleaners locations throughout Southern California over the next 15 years. The deal marks the brand's largest to date and first expansion outside of its Mid-Atlantic hub.
ZDry LLC will develop the dry cleaners throughout Los Angeles and San Diego; the first two locations are projected to open in Los Angeles later this year.
"What attracted us most to ZIPS was the company's successful business model that is based on a concept revolutionary to the industry and clearly in high demand to today's dry cleaning customer - dry cleaning that is ready for pick-up the same day it's dropped off and all for a flat-rate price," said Shawn Bishop, one of the managing partners for ZDry...

Feature Story:

The 5th Quarter: Former NFLer Van Jakes Lives To Help Others »

By Kerry Pipes

Van Jakes played cornerback in the NFL for eight years, routinely pestering receivers up and down the field while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers. Jakes 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:

GPS Hospitality Adds Popeyes »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Tom Garrett is at it again. The CEO of GPS Hospitality just signed a deal to acquire 7 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurants in Atlanta, and plans to develop additional restaurants throughout the Atlanta area and in West Virginia. His company now operates 229 Burger King and Popeyes locations throughout Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia..
The new purchase marks the first agreement between Popeyes and GPS Hospitality, which has attracted acclaim for using its goal-focused and talent-oriented approach to franchise management to rapidly become one of the largest Burger King franchisees in the U.S.
"Popeyes is a brand that has high consumer recognition and continues to gain momentum in achieving great results...

Feature Story:

Rollin' Stone: Franchisee/Franchisor Gathers No Moss »

By Kerry Pipes

A conversation with John Metz invariably leads to all kinds of topics, peppered with opinions and pointed insights gleaned from his many, and diverse, business adventures. Metz has a colorful history in franchising, as well as real estate. He's spent time with brands including Denny's, Dairy Queen, Marriott, Howard Johnson, Bennigan's, Old Chicago, Burger King, Hilton, and Days Inn. "I've been involved with at least 25 different types of businesses since 1999," he says.
In 2008, he became a franchisor by acquiring the 30-unit Hurricane Grill & Wings system and setting it on the path to growth and financial success. The brand now has 75 units open for business with healthy financials to boot. "Hurricane broke $100 million in system sales in 2015," says Metz, who has now proven his mettle on both the franchisee and the franchisor sides...

Feature Story:

From Burgers To Pizza »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Peter Ballantine has more than two decades of restaurant business experience. Like many seasoned franchise operators, he began working in restaurants early, at age 15, and worked nearly every position from dishwasher to manager. He first became a franchisee with McDonald's. He owned and operated eight McDonald's restaurants for the last 11 years and served as Chairman of the Board of Operators for five of those years, helping build regional strategies to grow the business.
But now he has left the burgers behind and picked up the pizza. He is set to open as many as 34 Pie Five locations throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. He'll have sites in his hometown of Harrisburg, State College, and Pittsburgh, as well as Columbus and the I-70 corridor...

Feature Story:

Put Your People First: Creating A Magnetic Culture »

By Julie Moreland

What makes a great company culture? Free food? Extra vacation time? Flexible hours? Employers spend more than $720 million on engagement every year, yet only 30 percent of the workforce is actively engaged. That's because it takes more than "stuff" to truly engage team members.
PeopleMatter recently partnered with workplace culture guru Laurie Ruettimann for a webinar on what it takes to build and develop a culture that helps you find and keep happy, passionate, loyal people. She says creating a magnetic culture boils down to six key things: 1) Mission-driven organizations are more fun. 2) Culture is a choice. 3) Straight talk with team members beats buzzwords and legalese. 4) Learn from the best; improved engagement and retention are possible...

Feature Story:

Success-ion Story: Family Business Diversifies To Expand »

By Helen Bond

As senior vice president and chief investment officer of Impact Properties, Shirin Kanji is in charge of all of the Tampa-based company's investment-related activities. As with most family businesses, however, his real job goes far beyond just getting a deal done. "Since I was a teenager, my role covered anything that would help support the operating team," says Kanji, who has been busy adding more to his business plate.
This past October, the company acquired 40 Rent-A-Centers, further diversifying a portfolio that already included six hotel franchise brands, Firehouse Subs, and BurgerFi. "We had gotten close on a handful of other targeted deals along the way, but ultimately I feel we got the right fit with Rent-A-Center," says Kanji...

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:

GPS Hospitality To Grow With New Chief Development Officer »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Atlanta-based GPS Hospitality is one of the largest Burger King franchisees in the country with 222 restaurants. The company now has a new chief development officer to spearhead continued growth.
Brian Arnold, a founding partner of GPS Hospitality, previously served as vice president of development. He successfully oversaw the completion of 45 remodels and the construction of three new locations, and played a key role in the nine acquisitions the company has completed during the past three years.
As chief development officer, Arnold will continue to oversee new restaurant construction, remodels, equipment and facility management with 21 remodels and six new restaurants planned for 2016.
Arnold has more than 20 years of development experience, including 15 years with Arby's Restaurant Group...

Feature Story:

Role Player: Gary Moore Has Done It All »

By Helen Bond

Multi-unit franchisee Gary Moore has spent most of his life in the restaurant business, assuming nearly every available job title along the way. "I relate very well to people in the restaurant business because I have that experience," says Moore. "I understand each role and can put that hat on because I have been in that role myself. It has helped me a great deal."
Based in Salt Lake City, Moore operates 58 Burger Kings in five western states, 6 Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill restaurants, and 10 convenience stores/gas stations. Most recently, he struck a development deal with the Utah-based Beans & Brews Coffee House to build 20 stores in Nevada.
With more than 30 years in franchising, Moore is still happiest behind the restaurant counter with his sleeves rolled up working alongside team members and talking with customers...

Feature Story:

McAlister's Deli Mega Franchisee On Track To $100 Million In 2016 Revenue »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Yaron Goldman grew up in New Orleans cooking all the time and says he dreamed of having his own restaurant one day.
"I have always enjoyed cooking, ever since I was a child," says Goldman, the second largest McAlister's Deli franchisee in the system. "My sister and I use to cook all the time and there is nothing better than serving someone a great meal."
These days, Goldman is dishing up even loftier goals. The chief executive officer of Southern Deli Holdings LLC is at the helm of a strategic growth plan that includes 2016 revenue projection in excess of $100 million and the addition of three more brands in the next 10 years. The franchisee currently operates 59 McAlister Deli restaurants in North and South Carolina, Missouri, Colorado, and Wyoming and three MOD Pizza spots, the made-to-order Seattle-based fast casual pizza chain...

Feature Story:

One-Brand Woman: Dawn Lafreeda Builds A Denny's Empire »

By Kerry Pipes

When we last visited with Dawn Lafreeda in mid-2012 she was operating 70 Denny's restaurants in six states and had been adding restaurants, even through the Great Recession. That's not really surprising for Denny's largest individually owned franchisee and one of the largest female restaurant franchisees in the country.
Since then, Lafreeda's San Antonio-based Den-Tex Central company has entered another new market and bought five more Denny's in Arkansas. She's also converted an old Shoney's restaurant into a Denny's location in Neosho, Mo., and closed one underperforming location, bringing her total to 75 locations.
Lafreeda takes growth, challenges, and success in stride. "We like to do whatever makes sense for us," she says...

Feature Story:

Mega Zees: 7 Franchisee Superheroes Tell How They Did It »

We kick off 2016 with our annual Mega 99 issue: a list of the largest U.S. franchisees ranked by total number of units--along with 7 profiles of multi-unit mega-operators. For the profiles we've identified movers and shakers who have gone big, whether by revenue or by number of brands, units, or locations--or by all of these signs of franchising success. These truly are franchisees who don't settle for less.
Going big takes a certain kind of drive and initiative, as well as a nose for deals, leadership skills, business savvy, and perhaps a dash of good fortune. Few actually make it, and the ones who do have invested blood, sweat equity, and sleepless nights to get there--building their success on the four pillars of strong brands, passionate teams, dedicated employees, and loyal customers...

Feature Story:

Texas Dairy Queen Franchisee Thinks Big »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Bill Spae was taking a little time off when he got a phone call with an investment opportunity too good to pass up. He took the deal to invest in and become CEO of Vasari LLC (the largest Dairy Queen franchisee in Texas and the second-largest in the DQ system), and to improve operations and double the size of the company.
Spae, who most recently served as CEO of Mooyah Burgers, Fries, & Shakes and COO of CiCi's Pizza, loves running companies. And in early 2014, he brought those 40-plus years of franchising experience to Vasari's 76 Dairy Queen restaurants--70 in Texas and 3 each in New Mexico and Oklahoma.
Spae, who began his career at Burger King, has a seemingly bottomless well of experience running, growing, and turning brands around...

Feature Story:

Area Rep Supreme: Mike Pietrzyk Is Setting The Pace For Firehouse Subs »

By Kerry Pipes

Mike Pietrzyk has always loved contributing to charitable causes. So it wasn't surprising that a decade ago the Firehouse Subs area representative came up with the idea of selling his restaurants' empty 5-gallon pickle buckets, rather than tossing them out. He estimates that his idea, at $2 per bucket, has helped the brand raise more than $600,000 for the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. "Corporate loved the idea, and now Firehouse franchisees everywhere continue raising money by selling the buckets," he says.
The 65-year-old Pietrzyk is a longtime food business veteran and franchise executive. Starting out as a manager in a Burger Chef in Michigan, he went on to work with Pizza Hut, Wendy's, and eventually opened his first Little Caesars franchise in Virginia in 1984...


Learn More

Multi-Brand 50    

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Issue II, 2016

Multi-Unit Buyers Guide    

2015 Multi-Unit Buyers Guide

Special Edition

Top Opportunities »

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