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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:

Packaging A Punch: NFL Vet Invests In Title Boxing Club »

By Kerry Pipes

Former NFL linebacker Bryan Scott has two things on his mind these days: 1) building a successful chain of Title Boxing Club franchises in the Atlanta area, and 2) overseeing the company he co-owns, Noene USA, which sells a line of high-tech, ultra shock-absorbing insoles. If his track record is any indication, he'll be successful.
Scott was a second round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2003. He spent the next decade in the NFL playing defensive back and linebacker for the Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Tennessee Titans before winding up his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills. Like most athletes who reach the professional level, he says he loved it and was honored to play successfully for so many years. But unlike many of his peers, Scott knew there was life after football...

Feature Story:

Former NFL Linebacker Tackles Title Boxing Club »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Bryan Scott spent a decade in the NFL backing up his defensive line. But when his playing time began to wind down he got prepared for life after football.
These days, the successful franchisee has two things on his mind: 1) building a successful chain of Title Boxing Club franchises in the Atlanta area, and 2) overseeing the company he co-owns, Noene USA, which sells a line of high-tech, ultra shock-absorbing insoles. Based on his track record, he'll be just fine.
Scott was a second round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2003. He spent the next decade in the NFL playing defensive back and linebacker for the Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Tennessee Titans before winding up his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills. Like most athletes who reach the professional level, he says he loved it and was honored to play successfully for so many years...

Feature Story:

Breakfast Market To Heat Up In Next Few Years »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Nobody needs to tell Americans that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The statistics tell the story. The consumption of breakfasts and morning snacks is forecast to grow faster than the U.S. population over the next few years, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Total breakfast occasions, in- and away-from-home, are forecast to grow by 5 percent through 2019, ahead of the expected population growth of 4 percent. Annual morning snack occasions per person have increased by 17 percent over the past six years, according to NPD's continual tracking of U.S. eating behaviors.
The need for speed, affordability, and portability are the reasons why morning meal traffic, which includes breakfast and morning snack, at traditional quick service restaurants has been growing...

Feature Story:

Winning Combination: Pizza And Subs Fuel Growth For Jerry Heath »

By Kerry Pipes

When we last profiled Jerry Heath in 2010, the Michigan native was busy operating 11 Hungry Howie's pizza restaurants and had recently become involved with Jimmy John's, opening 5 units. As you might expect with an entrepreneur in the franchise business, things have changed.
"I've sold two Hungry Howie's, relocated my first store, and opened one new store," says Heath. "I've also remodeled two of my older locations and will have the rest of them remodeled by the end of 2016." But it's with the Jimmy John's brand that things have really taken off for him. He's more than doubled his number of units since 2010, opening six new Jimmy John's with another scheduled to open within weeks. In all, he now operates 9 Hungry Howie's and 12 Jimmy John's (with two more set to open, one in May and one in June)...

Feature Story:

Huntington Learning Center Franchisee Selected As 'America's Star Franchisee' »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Brian Riddick thinks a lot of the value and power of education. So much so that he purchased and began operating Huntington Learning Center franchises in Oregon, Texas, and Washington. He's seen how the tutoring services he offers can lead to real change in people's lives. And now he has been recognized by CNBC and their research partner Franchise Business Review as one of the nation's top franchisees.
Only one franchisee in each state was identified as being one of America's Star Franchisees. Riddick owns Huntington franchises in Bellevue, Washington and San Antonio, Texas, and previously owned centers in Boise, ID, and Beaverton, OR. Huntington Learning Center was the only tutoring company included in the America's Star Franchisees listing...

Feature Story:

Brands To Believe In: Going Long With Popeyes And Captain D's »

By Debbie Selinsky

Numbers and research notwithstanding, veteran franchisee Brian Smith chooses his brands using his gut instincts. "I like to go with things I believe in and know I can sell," says the Arkansas family man.
That's why it wouldn't be surprising to find the jovial Smith on any given day attired in his Mossy Oak camouflage attire while he chows down on seafood at Captain D's or chicken at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in his hometown of Springdale, Ark. Smith is an avid outdoorsman and hunter and longtime fan of Mossy Oak camouflage clothing, so when the company began to market real estate specializing in selling farm hunting land and other rural property, he got on board in 2008.
"I didn't even have to clean out my closet because I've always worn Mossy Oak...

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:

Sport Clips Franchise Partners Are "Top In America" »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Arizona multi-unit franchisee partners Jared Lee and Val Hill had already won their brand's top award this year, and now they've been recognized by the new CNBC "Top Franchisees in America" report.
The two business operators first met at Brigham Young University before going on to become co-workers at Intel. They went out on their own in 2005 and have now operated Sport Clips franchise locations for 10 years. They own and operate 18 locations in the Phoenix metro area. Lee and Hill say they love the brand and how it caters to men and boys and offers what Hill calls "a little guy pampering."
Hill says of the brand, "I liked the fact that they weren't looking for experienced hairstylists as franchisees. They wanted people with business experience, and that's what Jared and I had...

Feature Story:

Burgers, Buffets, And Pizza: Securities Dealer Finds Security In Franchising »

By Debbie Selinsky

Mills Sinclair is a man living life on his terms. He's equally at home on the golf course at his Arizona home in Scottsdale, on the beach at his Mexican vacation home, or sitting in a corner of one of his restaurants on Sunday "watching families interact in ways they don't often do anymore."
A Chicago native who grew up in Arizona, he also has the best of both franchising worlds: he's not only a franchisee of Sonic Drive-In in Oregon and Golden Corral in Arizona and Idaho, he's also the franchisor of his own brand, Abby's Legendary Pizza, in Oregon and Washington.
Sinclair comes from a family of inventors (his grandfather invented the first vending machine to sell hot coffee), but as a young man he gravitated to finance. He earned his degree from Arizona State University in 1969 and went to work for Young, Smith and Peacock, an investment banking and brokerage firm that was a member of the New York Stock Exchange...

Feature Story:

One Brand Beyond: Multi-Brand Stars Keep On Shining »

By Kerry Pipes & Eddy Goldberg

Anyone who's operated a franchise business knows it takes a lot of hard work to attain (and maintain) a high level of success and profitability. Life changes dramatically with expansion from 1 or 2 to 5 or 10 units and beyond, with new challenges presenting themselves at each stage of growth.
Multi-brand franchising, a growing trend for some time, has many important advantages, most notably diversification, which spreads risk across different geographies, industries, and economic cycles. Signing on with different systems allows operators to learn from the best and apply those lessons across different brands, while some thrive on the stimulation and variety that working with several brands provides.
We all know business is really about people--the people who start businesses, the people who work in those businesses, and the people who buy from those businesses...

Feature Story:

Franchisee Earns Highest Overall Guest Response In Brand's History »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Cassandra Stokes has been a Newk's Eatery franchisee for just two and a half years, but she is already making restaurant history with the 101-unit chain. Stokes' Sekots Too LLC was chosen as Newk's Eatery's Franchisee of the Year due to high performance in a variety of operational categories, including zero leadership turnover and the highest overall guest response in the chain's 12-year history. Stokes was presented the award during the Newk's Eatery Convention last month.
Stokes spent 26 years in the military before redirecting her education and training in hospitality management to franchise ownership. After investing in a successful Wingstop franchise in Nacogdoches, Texas in 2007, Stokes stumbled upon the Newk's Eatery brand years later while on a family trip in Longview, sparking a desire to bring Newk's to her hometown...

Feature Story:

Southern Hospitality: Multi-Brand Host Keeps Tourists Well Fed »

By Debbie Selinsky

Brent Collier earns his bread and butter from tourism. His 16 restaurants from 7 different brands offer something for everyone--from a fun or romantic fondue dinner at The Melting Pot to Sunday afternoons for the family at Golden Corral.
Collier is a restaurant baron in an unusual market: a 25-mile stretch of an Eastern Tennessee tourist area that includes Dollywood, the mountain resort city of Gatlinburg, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the country. The area attracts around 15 million tourists a year, and Collier estimates that about one-third of them eat at one of his restaurants.
"Probably 90 percent of all our business is tourist-based. They'll come four or five times a year--many have a time share or a vacation home around here--and they'll stay for three or four days on average," says Collier, a Sevierville, Tenn...

Feature Story:

Buffalo Wild Wings Zee Going Big »

Diversified Restaurant Holdings, Inc. (DRH) was already the largest franchise operator in the Buffalo Wild Wings system, and now the group has opened its 63rd location. The newest restaurant just opened in Bradenton, Florida last month in a 6,000 square-foot space featuring seating for more than 200 inside and out, and the STADIA format, an open-space, stadium-like design that provides easier game viewing and socializing.
DRH now operates 63 Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in key markets throughout Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Missouri. The company also owns and operates 19 Bagger Dave's restaurants in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.
DRH President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ansley said, "The opening of our newest Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant advances our growth strategy, which is focused on expanding our Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant portfolio...

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...


Learn More

2016 MVPs: Celebrating This Year's Outstanding Operators    

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Issue III, 2016

Multi-Unit Buyers Guide    

2016 Multi-Unit Buyers Guide

Special Edition

Top Opportunities »

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