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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:

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...

Feature Story:

High Flier: Gina Puente Makes Life Tasty For Travelers  »

By Kerry Pipes

Innovation in non-traditional locations defines Gina Puente's approach to business. When we profiled her in 2010, she told us how her family business, Puente Enterprises, had created La Bodega Winery, a winery in an airport, in the mid-1990s. She also had a half-dozen other concepts going in the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. We caught up with her recently and she's been at it again.
In 2013, Puente created and launched Sky Canyon by Stephan Pyles, a unique restaurant that serves contemporary Texas cuisine along with a dose of Southern hospitality and charm. It too, of course, is located in an airport--one at DFW and another at Dallas Love Field. She likes to say her company's "unique-ability" is to create and adapt new, innovative concepts into non-traditional environments...

Feature Story:

Michael Tucker Expands With Dickey's Barbecue Pit »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Michael and Margarita Tucker already own the Dickey's Barbecue Pit location in La Quinta, California and have now just signed a development agreement to open three more stores in Indio, Moreno Valley, and Redlands in 2016. The California expansion is on for the franchisee and the franchisor.
Tucker is no stranger to franchising or success. The California entrepreneur owns several franchises of the Dallas-based convenience store brand 7-Eleven. He's even won 7-Eleven's prestigious Retailer Initiative award for three consecutive years. He says he's eager to expand with the Dickey's brand.
"I have been a business owner for most of my life, but the support I receive from Dickey's makes all the difference," says Tucker. "Dickey's is not only a fun and happy place to work, it has systems and processes in place to support franchisees and is committed to our success...

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:

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:

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:

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...


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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