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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:

Youth Movement »

By Debbie Selinsky

Red Mango's youngest (and largest) franchisee is a brand ambassador

In less than three years' time, franchisee Samantha Goldsmith opened a whopping 10 Red Mango locations on her native Long Island.
That's quite an accomplishment, even for a veteran franchisee, but Goldsmith is a bit of a prodigy since the 25-year-old woman has only been in the business for three years. She is currently the healthy yogurt system's youngest franchisee and largest multi-unit owner, and has made Long Island the single largest market for the brand.
That list of accomplishments, punched up by multiple Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare accounts, is the reason why Goldsmith is something of a rock star at her store grand openings and the recipient of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Influencer Award...

Feature Story:

Ideas And Innovation: Joe Hertzman Has Both At His Three Brands »

By Debbie Selinsky

As the father of four attending sporting events with his children, Joe Hertzman noticed that when they ordered ice cream they always requested waffle cones. So when Rally's decided to add new Cold Creations items to the brand's menu, Hertzman had a suggestion.
"I said, 'Look guys, why don't we put the ice cream in waffle cones and we can get another buck on the transaction and make another 80 to 85 cents?'" he recalls. "Around the office, we jokingly call it the JoeCone.'"
That kind of innovation over the years is what earned Hertzman the Franchisee of the Year Award from Rally's/Checkers and the 2013 Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine Innovation Award.
"Rally's has great brand relevance, and we truly appreciate their leadership...

Feature Story:

Maximize Your E-Sources: Using Social Media As A Recruiting Tool »

By Nate DaPore

"Google," which became a verb in June 2006, is among many new verbs that have transformed the way we speak--and interact. Today we "friend" someone on Facebook, "bookmark" a website, "blog" an article, and "text" from our phones. Social media is rewriting how we connect with each other--and it's happening in every aspect of our lives. Twitter transformed how we get our news; Groupon revolutionized how we consume; Foursquare revamped how we "check-in"; and now, social media is redefining how we hire.
More than a decade ago, HR saw the emergence of job boards that allowed employers to reach an expanded talent pool with the click of a few buttons. Since that time, virtual hiring portals have dominated candidate sourcing. As social media infiltrates everyday life, franchisees must leverage these resources to connect with both their consumers and candidates...

Feature Story:

Follow The Leader: Spencer Smith On His Simple But Powerful Strategy For Success »

By Debbie Selinsky

Sometimes leaders gain followers by being flashy and charismatic.
And sometimes role models are people like Spencer Smith, the soft-spoken Colorado multi-unit, multi-brand franchisee who has earned his success by "following the program" and the Golden Rule.
The winner of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Role Model MVP Award describes "following the program" - also known as Franchising 101 - as a "simple but powerful" concept. "Years ago, I read an article about franchising and some of the mistakes people make," says Smith, who opened 39 Aaron's stores in eight years and nine months and also owns two Big O Tires.
"I gleaned from that article, that when you buy into a franchise, you're buying into doing business that particular way...

Feature Story:

Happy Values: NBA Co-Owner Shares His 5 Tips For Staying Happy »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

In his years as a successful entrepreneur creating and selling corporations to the likes of Coca-Cola and Kimberly-Clark, Richard Jaffe, one of the owners of the Phoenix Suns, found a few constants to guide him in business and in life.
"Love myself; live my values, and learn to give back," says Jaffe, who gained respect as an inspirational leader.
The most important of these and the key to happiness, he says, is learning to love himself. It's a recurring theme in the poetry he's been writing for decades and recently published in, Inner Peace & Happiness: Reflections to Grow Your Soul www.richardjaffe.net.
"I've found that loving myself is fundamental to my happiness," he says. "The one person I have a relationship with for my entire life is myself, so it's essential to make that relationship my priority...

Feature Story:

Going Big: One Time Ski Coach Races To Top-Earning Status In Franchising »

By Debbie Selinsky

Jim Fitlow is a lifelong skier and as he loves to say, “Turning is highly overrated.”
Now the former ski racing coach and his partner Mike Allen are applying that same “go big or go home” philosophy as multi-brand, multi-unit franchisees for Re-Bath, Floor Coverings International, and HomeStory Doors & More, all in Utah and Colorado.
Fitlow, born in Florida, was raised in Michigan where the ski bug bit him at a young age. He met Allen later, in college at Montana State University. When Fitlow got out of ski race coaching—“I enjoyed it and had some success with that for a few years,” he says—he began to look around for something that would keep him in Salt Lake City.
Fitlow and Allen knew a local Re-Bath franchisee, a retired plumber they’d swapped jobs with on occasion...

Feature Story:

Tri-effective: Joe Hertzman Wins With Three Brands Over Three Decades »

By Debbie Selinsky

Joe Hertzman is always thinking.
When the Louisville, Kentucky, father of four attended sporting events with his kids, he noticed that they always requested waffle cones when they ordered ice cream. So when Rally's decided to add new Cold Creations items to the brand's menu, Hertzman had a suggestion.
"I said, 'Look guys, why don't we put the ice cream in waffle cones and we can get another buck on the transaction and make another 80 to 85 cents?'" he recalls. "Around the office, we jokingly call it the 'JoeCone.'"
That kind of innovation over the years is what has earned Hertzman the Franchisee of the Year Award from Rally's/Checkers and this year's Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine Innovation Award.
"Rally's has great brand relevance, and we truly appreciate their leadership...

Feature Story:

Diversification Strategy: Longtime Papa John's Franchisee Consolidates And Grows »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Ricky Warman was a Prudential Securities investment manager who chucked the corporate life to take a stab at franchising in the early 1990s. He's created a successful operation over the past two decades and lately he's been strategically consolidating his business to Southern Florida.
At one point in recent years he had 53 Papa John's locations throughout Florida. Over the past four years, however, he sold off all the units outside his core areas of Miami, Dade, and Broward counties and redirected his focus to the remaining 31 units.
"I like to be near the stores and be able to concentrate on doing things really well right here in my own backyard," he says. But with his Papa John's territory now maxed out, and his desire to grow propelling him, he's turned his attention to additional brands...

Feature Story:

Division Of Duties: Retired Husband And Wife Vets Leverage Discipline And Know-How To Franchise Success »

By Debbie Selinsky

When Kevin and Laurel Wilkerson, winners of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Veteran Entrepreneurship Award, came to Marco's Pizza from the military using the IFA's Vetfran program, they were pretty sure their total of 44 combined years in the U.S. Army stood them in good stead.
"What I enjoyed most about the Army was the variety of things I did every day: decision-making, analysis, operations, logistics, training," says Kevin Wilkerson, who retired in 2005 after 24 years as an infantry office in the Army. "Franchising, especially multi-unit franchising, tends to be similar to that. When you look at what a multi-unit franchisee does in a typical day, you're talking about the fact that we can apply ourselves to lease negotiations, site selections, hard and soft science, construction, sequencing, marketing, operations, business analysis, personnel, training...

Feature Story:

Rider On The Storm: From 25 To 50 Restaurants In 4 Years »

By Kerry Pipes

Things have been good for Greg Cutchall during the last four years. He's doubled the number of restaurants he operates from 25 to 50 units. And this from a guy who said he never wanted to go into the restaurant business.
That's because a young Cutchall watched his father and uncle struggle to make ends meet with their two A&W Restaurants and told himself he would never go into that business. Today, the 60-year-old Cutchall has not only entered the restaurant business (42 years and counting), he's done extremely well, providing a good life for his family and opportunities for his thousands of employees throughout the years.
"Nothing is more rewarding than being in a restaurant you helped create and seeing engaged, happy employees operating a restaurant that keeps customers coming back," he says...

Feature Story:

All The Right Moves: Guillermo Perales Puts The Focus On Operations And Growth »

By Kerry Pipes

Guillermo Perales is at it again. When we spoke to him last year (MUF Q4 2012) he was on the grow and flirting with 400 locations throughout his restaurant kingdom. Now he has been recognized with the Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine MVP Award, while busy remodeling more than 40 of his Burger Kings, Popeyes, and Golden Corrals, cutting the ribbon on three new Popeyes, and in the building stages of several more units in his core markets of Dallas, Houston, and Orlando, Florida.
"We've still got around 400 total locations," he says matter of factly, "But we did sell off 10 Golden Corrals in January and have been heavily remodeling a number of our other units." He says another handful of restaurants are awaiting building permits that are "tough going...

Feature Story:

Above And Beyond: Steve Baliva Uses His Friday's To Go Extra Mile During Hurricane Sandy »

By Debbie Selinsky

Just before Hurricane Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coast, Tom's River, N.J., resident and franchisee Steve Baliva was huddling with team members from his area T.G.I. Friday's restaurants to try to prepare for what many forecast to be the storm of the century.
"We knew it was coming and thought that we had five restaurants in the path of it," he recalls. "Turns out we had seven in the path - five in Jersey and two on the border of the Pennsylvania side. We were laying up plans to close down on Sunday, Oct. 29, since we knew we'd lose power."
Baliva, Friday's 2011 Franchisee of the Year and vice president/restaurant operations for Metz Culinary Management, lives within 10 minutes of several of the restaurants, so on Tuesday, he headed out to check on things...

Feature Story:

2013 MVPs Selected & Named: 9 Individuals In 7 Categories »

By Kerry Pipes

Franchising is a tough business, and succeeding even tougher. But with a keen eye on the bottom line, customer service, and community involvement, there are a handful of multi-unit franchisees who rise to the top. We like to call them superstars and once a year Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine recognizes a select few with our Annual MVP Awards. This year we carefully selected 9 individuals who have demonstrated character, innovation, and sacrifice within their markets and brands. We'd also like to thank our sponsor, Comcast, for their support in making these awards possible. Here's a little more about each of this year's winners. Their full profiles follow.


William Ray Bruce
Noble Cause
Abundant Brands; Subway, Costa Vida, Roxberry Juice, and Big Al's BBQ

William Ray Bruce has always had a "do good vibe" philosophy to business...

Feature Story:

Tavern Tycoon: Young Entrepreneur Knew His Destiny In Third Grade »

By Kerry Pipes

A third-grade writing assignment led to a real revelation for Brandon Jones and his father. The teacher asked the kids to write about what they wanted to be when they grew up. "Most kids said things like 'Be a policeman or a firefighter,'" says the 33-year-old today. "I wrote 'Own a bar with my dad.'" It may have sounded odd to his teacher, but that's exactly what he went on to do.
Jones grew up in La Porte, Ind., a town of about 22,000. He was a hard-working kid who was throwing newspapers by age 13, earned enough money to buy his own moped at 14, and stayed busy doing various jobs when he wasn't on the athletic field or in the gym. When Jones was still a toddler, his father converted an old house into a small tavern, and it was here that Jones would finally fulfill his third-grade desire...

Feature Story:

Triple Player: Veteran Papa John's Franchisee Expands His Brands »

By Kerry Pipes

The last time we spoke with Ricky Warman, in 2009, he was pouring his blood, sweat, and tears into successfully operating 42 Papa John's units in Florida. The former Prudential Securities investment manager had left the corporate life behind in the early 1990s for the rough-and-tumble world of franchising. He liked what he found there, and he was good at it.
Early in his franchising career, before finding his real rhythm with Papa John's, he spent time with brands including Jenny Craig and Schlotzsky's. Papa John's turned out to be a good fit for Warman, and he eventually grew to 53 locations in various locales throughout Florida. Over the past four years, however, he sold off all the units outside his core areas of Miami, Dade, and Broward counties and redirected his focus to the remaining 31 units...

Feature Story:

Coming On Strong: John "JD" Draper Makes It Happen With 125 Units, 6 Brands, And 4,000 Team Members  »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

John "JD" Draper simply looks like a leader. Maybe it's his dapper attire, mile-wide smile, and booming voice. Or maybe it's his decades long command of operating franchises. He's experienced, successful and has the acumen to continue being successful.
Draper has been a student of franchising since his first job out of Wayne State University. "I went to work straight out of college as a shift manager for a Burger King in Detroit. I made $1.75 per hour," he says. Today, as president of operations for V&J Holding Companies in Milwaukee, he is responsible for 125 units, 6 brands, and 4,000 team members in 6 states (Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Minnesota, and Massachusetts).
Draper describes himself as a "participatory manager," and can readily discuss the Affordable Care Act, multi-brand challenges, the economy, and relationships with franchisors, team members, and employees...

Feature Story:

No Turning Back: Former Ski Coach Races To Top-Earning Status In Franchising »

By Debbie Selinsky

When Jim Fitlow skis, he goes at it full tilt. In fact, one of his favorite quips is, "Turning is highly overrated."
Now the former ski racing coach and his partner Mike Allen are applying that same "go big or go home" philosophy as multi-brand, multi-unit franchisees for Re-Bath, Floor Coverings International, and HomeStory Doors & More, all in Utah and Colorado.
Fitlow, born in Florida, was raised in Michigan where the ski bug bit him at a young age. He met Allen later, in college at Montana State University. When Fitlow got out of ski race coaching--"I enjoyed it and had some success with that for a few years," he says--he began to look around for something that would keep him in Salt Lake City.
Fitlow and Allen knew a local Re-Bath franchisee, a retired plumber they'd swapped jobs with on occasion...

Feature Story:

A Keen Sense: Lloyd Sugarman Uncovers Success One Brand At A Time »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

When Cold Stone Creamery first showed up on his radar, Lloyd Sugarman knew it had great franchise potential years before the couple who started it were ready to grow. And he had a special feeling in his gut the first time he visited a tiny coffee shop in Chicago called Starbucks, but he listened to friends who insisted coffee shops had limited growth potential, and didn't make a move.
But all systems were go in the late 1980s when the self-made businessman who'd battled ADHD as a youth, got a tip from a 9-year-old girl on a flight to California. When he asked her father about new restaurants in the LA area, she piped up, "There's that new place in Melrose--Johnny Rockets. It's a little hamburger and malt shop."
Sugarman liked the name so much that he rented a car and drove to Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, near West Hollywood...

Feature Story:

Rider On The Storm: From 25 To 50 Restaurants In 4 Years »

By Kerry Pipes

As a youngster, Greg Cutchall watched his father and uncle struggle to make ends meet with their two A&W restaurants and told himself he would never go into that business. Today, at 60, Cutchall has not only entered the restaurant business (42 years and counting), he's done extremely well, providing a good life for his family and opportunities for his thousands of employees throughout the years.
"Nothing is more rewarding than being in a restaurant you helped create and seeing engaged, happy employees operating a restaurant that keeps customers coming back," he says.
Things have been good for Cutchall since we last spoke with him four years ago. He's grown from 25 to 50 restaurants operating in five states, experiencing the most growth with Paradise Bakery & Cafe, which he's grown from four locations to 17...

Feature Story:

The Pursuit Of Innovation: Glenn Mueller's Passion And Innovation Have Helped Make Him Domino's Largest Franchisee »

By Kerry Pipes

Glenn Mueller is Domino's Pizza's largest single franchisee with 135 units. It's a partnership made in pizza heaven.
It's been three years since we spoke with Mueller. At that time he recalled how he and his team had not only weathered the massive Hurricane Katrina--which affected many of his Gulf Coast Domino's stores--but how he had reopened stores within days to take care of his team members and the people in the communities they served.
Beyond his compassion and relentless drive, it's difficult to write about Mueller without acknowledging his unending pursuit of innovation. For example, those insulated bags that keep your pizza steaming hot while it makes its way to your house? Courtesy of Mueller and his team. And those illuminated portable car-top signs? You guessed it...



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