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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:

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:

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...

Feature Story:

Idea Man: Steve Sager Continues His Innovative Ways »

By Helen Bond

Steve Sager knows a good idea when he sees one. The franchise veteran championed Subway's innovative $5 footlong sandwich as a nationwide promotion and pioneered the brand's use of speedy ovens to offer customers toasted subs in a flash. So when Sager says he sees financial promise in a new fast casual pizza franchise, you might want to listen. Sager, who owns 16 Subways in South Florida and 7 Auntie Anne's in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, is in on the ground floor of a development plan for Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria, a create-your-own, handcrafted pizza concept out of Santa Barbara.
At Subway, Sager opened 265 stores over the years as a development agent and has grown accustomed to fielding queries from franchising candidates seeking his funding and expertise...

Feature Story:

Washington State Gets First Taste Of Capriotti's »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Ron Mehiel brought the first Capriotti's Sandwich Shop to the state of Washington this week as he opened the doors of his new location in Tukwila. There were free "Bobbie" sandwiches for the first 100 guests and at an official grand opening early next month all proceeds for the day will be donated to the Tukwila Pantry Food Bank to provide produce and dry goods to local families in need.
Mehial says he was first introduced to the sandwich brand by his brother and says he quickly noticed the difference in the high quality meats and fresh ingredients. "When I first stepped foot in Capriotti's I was blown away by the sandwich shop's commitment to serving its guests only the best quality products," he says. "It was at that moment that I realized I had to open up a location in our area...

Feature Story:

Clearly Transparent: Communicating And Sharing Success »

By Helen Bond

When it comes to creating a successful corporate culture, veteran Jiffy Lube franchisee Richard Paek has found that seeing does lead to believing. Paek, who opened his first Jiffy Lube in 1992, has built a multi-unit system that emphasizes transparency inside and out. If there is a sales, customer service, or employee performance stat to be had, Paek will use it to rank, reward, and motivate his team.
"'No sugarcoating' is one of our favorite quotes," says Paek, CEO of Newport, Calif.-based Allied Lube Inc., which operates 75 Jiffy Lube service centers in California and Texas.
This focus on sharing the facts with his 800 employees is paying off. With estimated annual revenue of more than $60 million, Allied Lube's growth outpaced the 2,000-unit Jiffy Lube chain by 9 percent in 2012, 7 percent in 2013, and is on track to three-peat growth in 2014...

Feature Story:

Partners Bring Sports Image To North Carolina »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Tim Clougherty and Keith Fogleman have both officiated NCAA Division I basketball for more than 15 years. They both love sports and as the new Raleigh, North Carolina-based franchisees for Sports Image, they will help schools and organizations increase their revenue streams and get new equipment as the struggle for funding their athletic departments continues.
"Having played and officiated high school sports in North Carolina and having three children that are also involved in youth sports I realize how much sports builds character and how important it is for these organizations to not only exist but thrive," says Clougherty. "Both Keith and I have officiated NCAA division 1 basketball for over 15 years and you see some of the inventive ways that college institutions raise money through corporate and individual sponsorships...

Feature Story:

The Power Of More: Multi-unit Operators Branch Out, Brand Up »

By Kerry Pipes and Eddy Goldberg

Franchising is easy: all it takes is a lot of blood, sweat, and overcoming fears to open and successfully operate a franchise unit--not to mention multiple units of a single brand. But for a certain breed of entrepreneurs, one brand is not enough. Usually, they're seeking to minimize risk. But sometimes it's the challenge of managing several brands, providing a variety of products and services, and learning best practices from different systems. Or maybe they're just gluttons for punishment (ask any multi-brand operator).
Multi-brand franchising offers not only a diversified portfolio that reduces organizational risks, but also the economies of scale that make a big difference to the bottom line. But as with any successful business, it takes talent, hard work, capital, and a healthy, functioning infrastructure...

Feature Story:

Massage, Tan, Joints, And Lashes »

By Kerry Pipes

"Significant growth is imminent"

Randy Merrill feels good about the health, wellness, and fitness space he operates in. He says the business models work for him, the client base works for him, and the ROI works for him. It's tough to beat that combination.
When we last visited with Merrill (Q2 2011), he was busy operating a single Massage Heights spa and 14 Solar Dimensions Tanning salons (non-franchised) with his partner, Alex Royter. He also had one Cartridge World store, which he sold because, he says, "It was a lot of work and the margins were just too small." Meanwhile, he's opened a second Massage Heights and has added four The Joint chiropractic clinics--all since 2014. An Atlanta native, he has kept his operations close to home, all in the Greater Atlanta area...

Feature Story:

Making A Sub For A Good Cause »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

It was a $100,000 sub sandwich for a good cause.
Last week, Jersey Mike's Subs Founder and CEO Peter Cancro fresh sliced a $100,000 sub for No Kid Hungry, an organization committed to ending childhood hunger. It was just another chapter in a brand that believes that making a sub sandwich and making a difference can be one and the same.
Cancro was fulfilling a pledge he made in March while speaking at an industry conference. There, Cancro unexpectedly announced on stage in front of thousands of attendees that he would donate $100,000 to the charity if Tom Nelson, president of No Kid Hungry/Share Our Strength and David Jobe, president of Winsight Events, joined him at the company's Jersey Shore home to make subs.
Following the sub-making lesson, Cancro presented the check...

Feature Story:

Franchisee Becomes "Part Of The Solution" »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Patrick Risko knew his aging parents were going to need help. But like thousands of families encounter every year, he discovered that help can be hard to find.
"I soon realized that senior care was a common challenge that many families faced," says Risko. "As part of researching the best way to help, I realized that I wanted to be part of the solution not just for my parents but for New Haven families faced with similar challenges."
So after nearly two decades working in the banking industry, he left that life behind to pursue his new passion of helping other seniors and their families.  His research led him to FirstLight HomeCare, which has more than 130 locations in 30 states. The brand provides quality, affordable, non-medical in-home care for adults...

Feature Story:

It's A Tax Turnaround For Ken Leese »

By Kerry Pipes

Any tax accountant will tell you that the past five years have been tough times for their business. That was certainly true for Jackson Hewitt multi-unit franchisee Ken Leese.
"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...

Feature Story:

'Sweet' Franchising Opportunities In Los Angeles And San Diego »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Baskin-Robbins, the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, is seeking entrepreneurs to develop new and existing ice cream shops in Southern California. Specifically, the brand is seeking candidates who are looking for opportunities in Glendora, Long Beach, Oceanside, and Pico Rivera. Sites in the San Diego market are also up for grabs. The brand has more than 7,500 retail shops in nearly 50 countries.
"We're looking for motivated entrepreneurs who have a passion for their local communities to join our team and take advantage of the many perks that Baskin-Robbins offers," said Grant Benson, CFE, vice president of global franchising and business development, Dunkin' Brands. "This is a great opportunity for anyone who has ever thought about owning his or her own ice cream shop...


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Multi-Brand 50    

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Issue II, 2016

Multi-Unit Buyers Guide    

2016 Multi-Unit Buyers Guide

Special Edition

Top Opportunities »

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