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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:

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:

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:

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:

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...


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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