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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:

Building Success Through Culture »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Culture is something that can't be measured by Google analytics. But it has inherent value and it makes a tangible difference. Creating, implementing, and maintaining a strong culture that reflects your values and beliefs can pay off in employee and customer satisfaction - not to mention the bottom line at your franchise locations. Creating a culture is just what Brent Collier has done.
He operates 14 restaurants from 6 different franchise brands along a 25-mile stretch in the tourist mecca of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and faces a nice kind of problem: his restaurants compete for the same customers. But that's not really a problem, since the area draws more than 11 million tourists a year.
The way he figures it, most visit for an average of three days, which he translates into "nine meal opportunities...

Feature Story:

50 By 50: Welcome To Growth! »

By Helen Bond

The way Steven Taylor and Chris Smith see it, operating multiple brands just makes their business better.
"I got tired of hearing for so long, 'This is how every franchise does it'; or 'This is how it has always been done,'" says Taylor, a franchisee of Moe's Southwest Grill and Smashburger. "I was excited about branching out and diversifying to another concept and learning how they do it--and try to do it better. We have done that and have been able to cherry-pick the best of each brand and incorporate that into our own company."
At 40, Taylor and his partner Smith, 42, are gearing up for growth. The duo, who have three Smashburger locations and 14 Moe's in North and South Carolina, aim to operate 50 restaurants or post $50 million in sales by age 50...

Feature Story:

Selling An Experience »

By John DiJulius

What business are you really in?

Was I wrong when I said you should offer a price match guarantee?
This question was inspired by reading Jeff Shore's article on Entrepreneur.com, "Don't Wage a Price War. Win Sales by Eliminating Your Competition." A paradigm shift is needed from selling a commodity someone can get anywhere to selling an experience customers can enjoy only with your company.
Everyone in your organization needs to have this mindset: We are the ultimate experience provider. We will not be oversold. In fact, if you can find it more expensive somewhere else, we will raise our prices and match it.

Feature Story:

Jann Birt Is Jackson Hewitt Franchisee Of The Year »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Jann Birt has worked hard to make her Jackson Hewitt franchise locations successful and she was rewarded for her effort at the brand's recent convention. She was recognized as Franchisee of the Year.
Birt, who owns JTB Tax Pros, Inc. and operates nine Jackson Hewitt locations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, was commended for delivering on the brand promise of 'Working Hard for the Hardest Working.' The numbers speak for themselves. She achieved preparer satisfaction scores more than 90 percent, value scores of 86 percent, and new customer growth of 14 percent, topping many 2015 brand goals.
"My goal was to execute the national brand promotion, and to focus my staff on delivering excellent customer service. I'm thrilled to share this recognition with my tax pros and managers," said Birt...

Feature Story:

David Barr Elected Secretary Of IFA »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

David Barr, chairman of PMTD Restaurants and its affiliates, a multi-unit franchise business operating 23 KFC and Taco Bell restaurants, has been elected secretary of the International Franchise Association.
"I am honored to have been elected secretary of the IFA, and look forward to working with the IFA leadership team and its members, both franchisors and franchisees, to ensure that franchising remains as a robust business model that creates opportunities for entrepreneurs, small business owners and employees," said Barr.
Barr was elected to his IFA leadership position by the IFA board of directors, along with the full slate of 2016 officers, including: Aziz Hashim, a multi-unit, multi-brand franchisee and president & CEO of National Restaurant Development, who will serve as IFA chairman; Shelly Sun, CEO & co-founder of BrightStar Care, who becomes vice chair; and Liam Brown, president of North America Select & Extended Stay Lodging & Owner Franchise Services at Marriott International, will become IFA treasurer...

Feature Story:

Winning Couple: Restaurant Work Just Gets In Your Blood »

By Debbie Selinsky

After working her way through college waiting tables, Tracy Balen told her mother at her graduation from Ohio State University, "I'll never work in another restaurant!"
Sometimes it's nice to be wrong. Balen and her husband, Alan, were named the 2015 winners of the MVP Award for Multi-Brand Leadership. The couple, who live in Michigan with their three sons, own 16 Checkers/Rally's in Michigan and Florida and four Qdobas in Montana and rack up revenues in the millions--all restaurants.
"Restaurant work just gets in your blood," says Alan, a former defensive lineman on the Ohio State Buckeyes football team under famed Coach Woody Hayes. While still in college, he hired Tracy and her friends to work in his campus bar. Today he enjoys retelling the story of how he and his young wife sold their house to help buy their first Checkers/Rally's 24 years ago...

Feature Story:

Ted Kergan Receives Sonic's Most Prestigious Award »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Lafayette, Louisiana-based Sonic operator Ted Kergan is the winner of the brand's annual Troy Smith Hall of Fame Award for 2015. He was recognized at Sonic's recent convention in Kansas City, Missouri. The award is given to a franchisee who has worked with Sonic for a noteworthy duration and has made a significant contribution in terms of leadership, growth, positive influence, and brand image.
"To be recognized for this prestigious award is very humbling and emotional for me because I am now placed in the same category with fellow franchisees who have taught me a lot about the business," said Ted Kergan, chief executive officer of Kergan Brothers, Inc. "Troy Smith was among my Sonic mentors and I am delighted to receive the award named for a man I both respected and admired...

Feature Story:

Multi-Brand Operator Expanding Dickey's In Pacific Northwest »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Mark Engberson has partnered with Palouse Restaurant Group to open five new Dickey's Barbecue stores throughout eastern Washington in the Spokane region. Together the group owns a variety of fast casual and QSR concepts including Carl's Jr., Subway, Wingstop, and others. With over 80 years of combined experience in franchise foodservice, they have the skill and expertise backed by a national brand to deliver Dickey's barbecue to their customers.
"We were ready to diversify our portfolio and after speaking to other Dickey's operators, we knew it was the right choice," says Engberson. "With hard work, delicious, quality food and community spirit, we plan to earn our guest's loyalty and we look forward to bringing Texas barbecue with a side of southern hospitality to our community...

Feature Story:

Life In The Fast (Casual) Lane »

By Helen Bond


At 30, steering the family business to the next level

Harsh Ghai's northern California-based multi-brand business may be rooted in food and family, but aggressive growth and smart development are the cornerstones of the company's success. Ghai is spearheading the entry of Ghai Management Services, operators of 64 Burger King and Taco Bell restaurants in 4 states, into the fast casual lane. The family-owned company recently opened its first Corner Bakery Cafe in Sacramento as part of an 8-store agreement.
When it comes to the food industry, fast casual is the future, says Ghai, who runs the business with his father Sunny Ghai, who founded the company. "It is the middle ground," he says. "There are amazing brands out there...

Feature Story:

2015 MVP Winners: Recognizing Exceptional Multi-Unit Franchisees »

By Kerry Pipes & Eddy Goldberg

Every spring, Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine recognizes the winners of its prestigious Most Valuable Performer (MVP) Awards, which honor franchisee excellence and highlight outstanding performance in growing both their organization and their brand(s). This year more than 80 franchisees were nominated, and each was systematically evaluated before the final selection were made. The official announcement came at a general session during this year's Multi-Unit Franchising Conference, where the MVPs took the stage and were presented with a plaque commemorating their achievements. The presentation was sponsored by Church's Chicken. Here's a preview of the 2015 MVP Award winners, whose stories follow.

Multi-Brand Leadership Award
Alan and Tracy Balen were selected for their significant multi-brand expansion with the Checkers/Rally's and Qdoba brands...

Feature Story:

Lisa Riley Is Franchisee Of The Year »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

When the IFA gathered members in Washington, D.C. late last month for the Franchise Action Network Annual Meeting, there was plenty of recognition to go around. Franchise owner-operators representing 53 franchise systems were acknowledged for their outstanding performance and the contributions to enhancing the growth and development of franchising. Lisa Riley, a Pinot's Palette franchisee from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was honored with the group's Franchisee of the Year Award.
"The strength of the U.S. economy significantly relies on the hard work of franchisees," said new IFA President and CEO Robert Cresanti. "IFA is proud to recognize the outstanding efforts of Lisa with the Franchisee of the Year Award and thank her for her work in the promotion of franchising as well as for her daily contributions that not only showcase how local business owners propel the economy, but also foster community ties throughout the U...

Feature Story:

IFA Names Robert Cresanti President & CEO »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Following the departure of Steve Caldeira, the IFA has named Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Interim COO Robert Cresanti to lead the organization. Cresanti has been with the IFA since 2014 and has a long tenure of public service.
"I am humbled and honored by the board's trust in me and look forward to continuing the great work the IFA team has done in protecting, promoting, and enhancing franchising," said Cresanti. "IFA is a strong and vibrant organization and I have the privilege to serve in this new capacity to ensure that it remain strong well into the future."
Cresanti came to the IFA from SAP America, Inc., where he served as vice president of corporate affairs & government relations. In his public service, he was confirmed by the U...

Feature Story:

Top Domino: To Be The Best, You've Gotta Beat The Best »

By Helen Bond

When Domino's veteran Michael "Mike" Orcutt made the switch from corporate executive to franchisee he was, he admits, a "little nervous" about how the managers of the nine Atlanta pizza stores he purchased in 1990 would welcome their new boss. Orcutt gathered the group in a small hotel meeting room and gave them their first assignment: name his new company.
"I said, 'You are the ones who are going to have to make it work. So let's come up with something that we can be proud of and have fun with,'" recalls Orcutt, a self-described quick decision-maker. The managers brainstormed some 200 monikers before selecting Cowabunga, Inc.
Orcutt, who previously led U.S. store operations for the country's second-largest pizza chain, tacked on "Team" to the front of the name and never looked back...

Feature Story:

Multi-Brand Franchisee Adds Del Taco »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Mike Sater is one of BP/Tesoro ARCO and AM/PM's largest West Coast franchisees. He's now adding Del Taco to his portfolio in central California. He's set to open two restaurants in the next six months as part of a new 20-store development agreement.
"As a Sater family favorite, Del Taco's delicious food is what initially drew me to the brand," says Sater. "Combined with the company's longstanding commitment to quality and freshness, the economic opportunity involved, and the enormous potential for growth, the decision to go with Del Taco to diversify my portfolio was a natural fit."
Sater's 20-store development agreement includes six counties in the central valley. His first two Del Taco stores will open in Fresno, and Clovis, and a third is planned for Merced, California...

Feature Story:

What's Your Service Aptitude? »

By John DiJulius

It's your job to teach employees how to treat customers

Companies don't engage emotionally with their customers--their employees do. If you want to create a memorable company, you must fill your company with memorable people. The level and quality of your organization's customer service comes down to one thing and one thing only: the Service Aptitude of every employee. From the CEO to the account executive, sales clerk, call center, receptionist, corporate office support team, to every front-line employee--the most critical component in building a world-class customer experience culture is the Service Aptitude of every individual in your company.

What is Service Aptitude?
Service Aptitude is a person's ability to recognize opportunities to exceed customers' expectations, regardless of the circumstances...

Feature Story:

Texas-based Franchisee Reaches 10-Unit Milestone »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Ron Ram already had 7 Pizza Patrón locations in Houston and 2 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But in September he opened his third DFW area location. That makes 10 units and growing for the franchisee's Bravo Pizzas Houston, LLC, company.
The Pizza Patrón brand is known for its "Pizza Por Pesos" program (where it accepts Mexican Pesos as payment), "fresh-dough" pizza, low prices, and its trademark "friendly, bicultural service." The brand is doing well in the Texas market thanks to a dedicated fan base and franchisees like Ram.
He says his newest location has great demographics. "We love this location. It is a densely populated Hispanic neighborhood, and we are excited to serve and become an integral part of this vibrant community," said Ram...

Feature Story:

Franchisees Rally For Their Cause On Capitol Hill »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Franchisees from across the country gathered this week in Washington D.C. to rally around the franchise business model and meet with members of Congress to emphasize the industry's importance. It's the 2015 International Franchise Association's (IFA) Franchise Action Network Annual Meeting, an event that helps get attendees excited and ready for meeting with elected officials on Capitol Hill.
"Not everyone understands the franchise business model and how legislative and regulatory decisions can greatly impact small franchised businesses," said Catherine Monson, CEO of Fastsings and a speaker during the event. "It is critical for all of us in the franchising industry to proactively develop relationships with our Congressional Representatives and Senators in order to preserve and protect the future of our businesses...

Feature Story:

Staying The Course: The Future Looks Bright For Ken Leese »

By Kerry Pipes

The past five years have been tough for those in the tax business, but things are looking up and Ken Leese's positive attitude has never waned.
"With the state of the economy, you look at how fewer people working translates into fewer tax returns that need preparing," says the 47-year-old Jackson Hewitt franchisee. "Our business has struggled somewhat to remain status quo, and one of the realities we discovered is that the tax business is not so recession-proof." Regardless, Leese has remained steadfast and has made calculated and strategic moves since we profiled him in 2010.
He's divested all of his Delaware territories and replaced them with Jackson Hewitt units in Southern New Jersey, his home base. He still has a few locations in Pennsylvania but the core of his operation is now in New Jersey...

Feature Story:

Area Developer Brings Smoke's Poutinerie To Golden State »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Alan Goldstein opened his first Smoke's Poutinerie with a bang in Hollywood, California earlier this year. He has a deal to open 20 locations over the next five years and the next one is weeks away from launching in San Diego.
The 45-year-old Goldstein is relatively new to franchising but has jumped in headfirst. He says he loves the concept of Smoke's Poutinerie, the wildly entertaining poutine concept from Canada, and is excited to be a part of its rapid expansion in the United States. His Hollywood location is just the second store in the U.S.
Goldstein says he's currently smack in the middle of operations and working "about 100 hours a week" alongside his crew. But his goal is to get to the point where he can focus more on strategic growth, development, and openings...

Feature Story:

Franchisees Serve Travelers At North Carolina Airport »

franchise, franchising, multi unit franchising, franchise update, mult-unit franchisee

Judy Ewing-Lonetti and Sandy Dunn have known each other for three decades. They went from being friends to being franchising partners and, they say, they couldn't have done it without each other.
"We both know, that the other one does, what they do, better," says Ewing-Lonetti, chief executive officer of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Ewing-Dunn.
Franchisees seeking insight to business success with a partner would be wise to look at Ewing-Lonetti and Dunn. Mutual respect is the cornerstone of their 30-year relationship.
Ewing-Dunn is a mainstay at North Carolina's bustling Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where the company operates coveted food franchise locations under three different brands--Brioche Dorée, Cinnabon, and TCBY...


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Multi-Brand 50    

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Issue II, 2016

Multi-Unit Buyers Guide    

2015 Multi-Unit Buyers Guide

Special Edition

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