As savvy franchise companies continue to flourish in this challenging economy, FUSR will continue to bring you good news each month, highlighting brands that are adding units, increasing comp store sales, striking deals with investors, and continuing to grow despite the economy - maybe even because of it. And, as the U.S. struggles through its "jobless recovery," growth-oriented franchisors continue to look overseas for expansion opportunities. To be considered for next month's Winner's Column, please send your good news to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah and Jared Greer, winners of the "This Could Be Yours, The Great TCBY Store Giveaway" nationwide contest, have signed a real estate deal to open their TCBY in Rogers, Ark. The Greers, of Fayetteville, Ark., have signed with the Promenade Pointe Shopping Center, a new development by the Hunt Group, which will open its first phase in spring 2011, complete with an 1,800-s.f. TCBY that will feature TCBY'S new brand identity and a self-serve experience. TCBY, The Country's Best Yogurt, which opened its first shop in 1981 in Little Rock, has more than 600 locations worldwide.
The Egg & I Restaurants has opened its 41st restaurant, in Lakewood, Colo., part of the Denver metro area. The company now has 24 restaurants in Colorado, and locations in 6 states. The restaurant donated 100 percent of all proceeds from its private, pre-opening training day to the Lakewood Legacy Foundation, a local charity that supports several nonprofit groups and organizations in the community. An opening-day promotional giveaway to its first 36 customers included a $10 gift certificate, a commemorative "Cool Beans" t-shirt, and a ceramic coffee mug good for 5 free bottomless cups of coffee. The Egg & I Restaurants, headquartered in Lone Tree, Colo., opened its first restaurant in Ft. Collins, Colo., in 1987.
Seattle's Best Coffee has opened its first franchise location in Chicago, at 50 East Adams Street, the brand's eighth cafe in the Windy City. The franchisee is Amit Patel. Seattle's Best, acquired by Starbucks in July 2003, has been expanding its brand presence through partnership deals and a rebranding campaign. The new cafe will occupy 1,931 s.f. and is the first Seattle's Best location to enter Chicago since the company's brand transformation in May. Partners include Subway (late 2008, to sell the coffee in 9,000 units), and Burger King (February 2010 to serve the brand in all of its U.S. locations). Seattle's Best has been roasting premium coffee since 1970 and is available in more than 550 cafes and kiosks, as well as on college campuses, restaurants, hotels, airlines, cruise ships, bookstores, grocery stores, and movie theatres.
Jamba Juice has signed a purchase agreement to sell 15 stores in Denver to existing franchisees Scott Maltz, David Wagonfeld, and Larry Kaufman, who currently operate 15 other Jamba Juice units in the Central California region. The transaction is expected to close by year-end. The trio became Jamba franchisees in February 2010 with the purchase of eight stores, then invested in seven more. They also have committed to developing four additional stores in Colorado. "It is a testament to our belief in the Jamba Brand that we have chosen to invest in our third market with Jamba Juice," said Maltz. This transaction is the latest step in Jamba's program sell more than 150 corporate stores. "Our refranchising initiative is nearing completion, and I am pleased with the success we have had with this program," said James D. White, chair, president, and CEO of Jamba Juice Company. Founded in 1990, Jamba Juice had 743 locations, 432 company-owned and operated and 311 franchised, as of July 13, 2010.
Bennigan's has opened the first company-owned restaurant under its new ownership, in Appleton, Wisc., marking a new era for the brand. Since purchasing the brand in late 2008, Bennigan's Franchising Co. has been working with franchisees to revitalize every element of the concept. According to David Goronkin, president and CEO of Bennigan's Franchising Co., the new restaurant reflects a significant shift in positioning. The new 4,200-s.f. prototype seats 180, offers 18 beers on tap, dart boards, Wii bowling, and tabletop kiosks featuring games; and a menu that includes half-pound, build-your-own burgers, sandwiches and salads, and classic Bennigan's favorites. Bennigan's also announced it has signed several development agreements for new restaurants both in the U.S. and overseas, and has signed a global licensing agreement to bring its restaurant items into retail channels. Bennigan's now has about 100 restaurants worldwide.
Premium burger concept The Counter Custom Built Burgers opened its sixth Northern California location in San Mateo. In addition to its Signature Burger and sandwiches, the San Mateo location offers a full bar including the option to BYOC (Build Your Own Cocktail) and local beers from Devil's Canyon Brewery and Scotch Ale IPA. "I am thrilled to be opening in my own backyard, at Hillsdale Shopping Center," said Peter Katz, longtime Redwood Shores resident and The Counter Northern California franchisee. The 3,400-s.f. San Mateo location seats up to 70 indoors, has a patio for up to 50, and a mezzanine for an additional 25 guests. The brand currently has 24 locations in the U.S. and 2 international locations.
Tiremax of North America has awarded five new franchisees in Texas: 1 in Katy, 1 in Spring, and 3 in Northwest Houston/U.S. 290. "If we stay on our current track, we'll have awarded 10 additional franchisees in the southern U.S. by the end of the year," said Christopher T. Wilkerson, president of The Tiremax Corp. The privately held company, based in The Woodlands, Tex., opened its first Tiremax store in 2000.
In the quarter ending September 30th, Subway opened more than 500 locations worldwide, reaching a total of 33,500 locations, 9,900 of which are in international markets. The brand's largest franchisee (by single development territory), Larry Feldman, chair of McLean, Va.-based Subway Development Corp. of Washington, passed the 1,100-unit mark during the quarter. Feldman opened the first Washington, D.C.-area Subway in 1977. In the non-traditional development category, Subway now has more than 7,700 locations in places such as airports, department stores, hospitals, and park and recreational facilities.
When Pollo Campero got the opportunity to open a store at Disney World in Orlando, the brand teamed up with its Orlando, Fla., franchisee to also develop and launch the Fresh-A-Peel concept, which targets consumer demand for healthier QSR offerings. "By pairing these two concepts together... we're changing the way people think about quick dining," said Adam Cummis, president of the joint venture. Operating in the same location as Pollo Campero, Fresh-A-Peel will offer hot-off-the-grill items, chef-prepared salads and wraps, gluten-free cupcakes and bakery treats, and smoothies. Pollo Campero teamed up with award-winning restaurateur Larry Levy to create Fresh A-Peel. Pollo Campero has more than 300 restaurants in 12 countries worldwide, including more than 50 in the U.S.
Gulf Shores, Ala., real estate broker Meyer Real Estate, owned by Sheila Hodges, has joined Century 21 Real Estate. The brokerage, now known as Century 21 Meyer Real Estate, has more than 50 agents on staff at three office locations: Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan, Ala., and Perdido Key, Fla. The brokerage has served the Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast since 1967.
Wingstop has signed on as the Official Wings of the Los Angeles Lakers. The three-year deal gives the company the name and logo rights for use in advertising materials, placement on the Lakers' website, and promotional display mentions on the Staples Center LED signage during all Lakers regular season home games. A specially designed Wingstop-Lakers logo will be featured on bags, cups, and in-store materials in more than 50 Wingstop locations throughout Southern California. The sponsorship will be supported with live and produced spots in English and Spanish on local radio stations, along with a new television spot to air on Fox Sports and local television stations. Wingstop also will introduce a season-long promotion for fans to sign up to receive mobile coupons; and with every Lakers road win, subscribers will receive a special offer at participating locations. Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Richardson, Tex., Wingstop opened its first Los Angeles location in 2002 and has grown to more than 50 stores in Southern California, 100 stores in the state, and more than 460 restaurants across the U.S. and Mexico. The company has reported more than seven consecutive years of positive sales increases.
Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen has opened two new QSR restaurants: one in Chicago and one in Edison, N.J. The concept now has three units in Illinois and nine in New Jersey. Founded in 1964 by Naples, Italy native Michele Scotto as a small pizzeria in New York City, today Villa Enterprises Management Ltd., Inc. (and its affiliate, Villa Enterprises) is a global multi-concept restaurant franchisor with 322 QSR locations across 38 U.S. states along with five additional countries.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas has opened its third San Antonio location, in the Villages at Stone Oak Shopping Center. The new cinema-eatery unit is the third Alamo Drafthouse in San Antonio for franchisee Reel Dinner Partners LLC, whose founders, Brandon Arceneaux and Chris Hoegemeyer, plan to open two more locations in Texas. Alamo Drafthouse, which now has 10 locations, posted more than $40 million in system-wide sales in 2009.
Atlanta-based Kilpatrick Stockton and San Francisco-based Townsend and Townsend and Crew announced the merger of their law firms. Following the merger's effective date of January 1, 2011, the combined firm will be known as Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. The new firm will have nearly 650 lawyers in 17 offices worldwide, ranking it among the 70 largest law firms by number of attorneys and revenue.
Kilpatrick Stockton partner Rupert Barkoff received the Lew Rudnick Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Bar Association's Forum on Franchising at the Association's Annual Conference. The conference was attended by more than 750 franchise lawyers, including the co-editor of Barkoff's book, Fundamentals of Franchising, Andrew Selden, who also received the award. The award, which has been presented only once before and is not an annual recognition, is given for lifetime contribution to the field of franchise law and to the Forum. Barkoff has been practicing franchise, distribution and corporate law for 37 years.
The 285-suite Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk, Downtown has opened. The new hotel is operated by Dimension Development of Natchitoches, La., winner of numerous development awards from Hilton Worldwide, including "2010 Conversion of the Year" for The Roosevelt New Orleans, part of the Waldorf Astoria Collection. The new hotel is owned by Blanco Rio Ltd., a collaboration by IBC BancShares, Sam Friedman, president and CEO of Dimension Development, and Jack Guenther, a San Antonio native. The 11,589-s.f. hotel has meeting space to accommodate 900 guests and includes award-winning chef John Besh's Franco German-inspired brasserie, Lüke, the chef's first venture outside of the New Orleans area. Founded in 1984, Embassy Suites Hotels has 208 hotels, with an additional 34 in the pipeline. Hilton Worldwide brands include more than 3,600 hotels and 600,000 rooms in 82 countries.
Carlson has signed a deal to build a $23 million, 118-room upscale hotel, the Radisson Blu Resort Hua Hin, its third hotel in Thailand. Owned by Retreat Hua Hin Company Limited, the hotel is expected to open by the third quarter of 2012, with construction set to begin immediately. "Hua Hin is Thailand's oldest and most prestigious resort destination," said Hubert Joly, Carlson president and CEO. The company, which opened the Radisson Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach in 2009 and will open the Radisson Resort & Spa Pattaya Bay in 2011, plans to increase the number of Radisson-branded hotels in the Asia Pacific region to more than 100 by 2015. Carlson, a privately held global hospitality and travel company based in Minneapolis, has 1,075 hotels in more than 150 countries, and its brands employ about 150,000 people.
Moving and storage franchisor PODS has opened its first franchise location in England, in Leeds. The franchisee, Jeremy Bradburn, will serve residents and businesses throughout the West Yorkshire region. PODS Enterprises, founded in 1998, now operates in 48 U.S. states, Australia, Canada, and the U.K. and has more than 140,000 PODS containers in service.
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