Archive for October, 2010

Buy A Franchise – International Franchise Association Update

October 28th, 2010

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INTERNATIONAL FRANCHISE ASSOCIATION WELCOMES SIX  NEW BOARD MEMBERS

Re-elects Three Existing Members

Six leading Franchise professionals have been newly elected to the International Franchise Association Board of Directors and will assume their positions Feb. 16, 2011 at the conclusion of the IFA 51st Annual Convention in Las Vegas. 

“These six new board members bring a wealth of experience in the Franchising industry to the IFA,” said IFA Chairman Ken Walker, chairman and CEO of Driven Brands. “They join a top-level Board of Directors that works to develop and implement government relations, public relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote Franchising.”

In addition to electing these new members during its Oct. 14 meeting in Phoenix, Ariz, the International Franchise Association Board of Directors voted to re-elect three members to three-year terms, including Melanie Bergeron, CFE, chairwoman of Two Men and a Truck; Joe Bourdow, CFE, senior advisor of Valpak; and Jon Kujawa, U.S. vice president of Franchising for McDonald’s Corporation.

The new International Franchise Association directors are:  

  • James F. (Jim) Anhut, Chief Development Officer, the Americas, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) PLC, Atlanta, Ga.
  • David B. Barr, Chairman, PMTD Restaurants, Marietta, Ga.
  • Susan Black-Beth, CFE, Chief Operating Officer, Super Wash, Inc., Morrison, Ill.
  • David Liniger, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder, RE/MAX International, Inc., Denver, Colo.
  • Tabbassum Mumtaz, President and CEO, APEX Restaurants, Plano, TX.
  • Todd R. Recknagel, President, CEO and Partner, Mr. Handyman International, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Anhut—Jim Anhut is a third-generation hotelier with more than 25 years of industry experience, including more than 20 years in senior management positions with several national lodging franchise and extended-stay hotel brands. In his position, Anhut leads development for all of IHG’s brands in the Americas.  Anhut most recently served as senior vice president, Franchise Development, where he was responsible for maximizing the distribution of IHG’s Franchised hotels in North America and driving enhanced strategic market planning for Franchised development.

Previously, Anhut served as senior vice president, Brand Management, Hotel Indigo, where he was responsible for overall strategic direction of IHG’s branded boutique hotel concept. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president, Brand Development, where he was responsible for launching the Hotel Indigo brand. Hotel Indigo has been widely acclaimed as highly-innovative and segment-defining by industry experts and consumer press.

Anhut received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Emory University and a master’s degree in finance and hospitality management from Michigan State University.  He began his career in the hospitality industry in 1980 as a general manager for his family’s hotel and restaurant business in Farmington Hills, Mich.

Barr—David B. Barr is Chairman of PMTD Restaurants, LLC, an owner of 18 KFC restaurants in Alabama and Georgia. He is also Chairman of Rita Restaurants LLC. He serves as a board member of Del Frisco Restaurant Group LLC, Mrs. Fields and TCBY, Del Frisco’s and Sullivan’s Steakhouses, and the Bistro Group (the second largest Franchisee of TGIFridays).

Barr is also the Chairman of Samuels Jewelers, the eighth largest jewelry company in the United States, with 108 stores primarily in the western United States. Previously, from 1994 to 1998, he was the CEO of Great American Cookies, which includes 360 mall-based cookie stores, and on behalf of its shareholders, sold the company to Mrs. Fields in 1998.

He is a graduate the University of Virginia and currently serves on the Advisory Board at the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce.

Black-Beth—Susan Black-Beth, CFE, is the Chief Operating Officer of Super Wash, Inc., the Franchisor of Super Wash car washes. In her role, she is responsible for the relationship with franchisees of 150 locations, the day-to-day operations of 160 company-managed facilities, Franchise development and transfers, marketing, branding and social media.  Black-Beth also has experience as a Franchisee, previously co-owning three Super Wash facilities in southern Wisconsin.

In addition to being a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE), Black-Beth is the Immediate Past Chair of the International Franchise Association’s Women’s Franchise Committee, the co-founder and past Co-Chair of the Chicago Women’s Franchise Network, and the past Co-Chair for the Strategic Advisory Board of International Institute for Franchise Education based at Nova Southeastern University.  She graduated from Augustana College with a B.A. in Business and Communications.

Liniger—David Liniger is Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of RE/MAX International, Inc. Liniger became interested in real estate while stationed in Phoenix with the U.S. Air Force.  After working for both a commission company and a traditional brokerage, he co-founded RE/MAX in Denver in 1973.

Liniger has been inducted into the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers’ (CRB) Hall of Leaders, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (ABR) Hall of Fame, and has earned the Council of Residential Specialists’ (CRS) Special Achievement Award. In 2010 he was included in Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s profiles of the “50 Most Powerful People in Real Estate.”

Liniger is nationally recognized as an expert in time management, sales training, recruiting and motivation. He has been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fortune, Inc., Success and other leading publications and media outlets across the globe. He received the Warren Bennis Award for Leadership Excellence from the Global Institute for Leadership Development and has been inducted into the International Franchise Hall of Fame.

Mumtaz—Tabbassum Mumtaz is Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Apex Restaurant Management, Inc.  Apex is the largest Long John Silver’s Franchisee in the country with 92 restaurants operating in six states.  Mumtaz directs the company’s regional and local marketing programs, as well as its financial activities.

Mumtaz has more than 15 years of operations management experience in the quick service restaurant industry. Prior to joining Apex, he owned and operated several Wendy’s Restaurant locations and currently serves on the Long John Silver’s Franchise Board. as well as other operating and technical committees.

Recknagel—Todd R. Recknagel is President, CEO and partner in Mr. Handyman International. Since 2003, he has been responsible for the growth of Mr. Handyman Franchise to more than 300 locations in the United States and achieving system sales in excess of $70 million this year. Mr. Handyman is now the largest employer of handymen in the world.

Prior to Mr. Handyman, Recknagel founded, owned and operated Lakeshore Blimpie, the largest traditional/multi-unit Franchisee of Blimpie International, Inc. from 1994-2003. Recknagel earned his MBA in finance at Michigan State University and a BA in business administration and economics from Hope College.

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Popularity: 5% [?]

Denny’s Franchise – From Waiter to Owner

October 25th, 2010

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photo

Fifth restaurant opens: Business partners Rusty Darin (left) and Joe Lopez are shown recently at their new Denny’s Franchise restaurants in Grand Ledge as workers are trained in the background. The men own five Denny’s Franchises in Michigan.

As far as choosing a college major goes, Joe Lopez’s method probably isn’t what most guidance counselors would suggest.

I basically put on a blindfold and picked up a brochure. It turned out to be for hospitality and restaurant management.”That one bit of whimsy seems to have worked out well for Lopez, because he and his business partner just opened their fifth Denny’s Franchise since 2007. The latest location is at 7800 Grand River Ave. in Grand Ledge, just off Interstate 96 in what used to be a Flying J truck stop.  It opened Oct. 3 with 109 employees. That brings the total number of workers Lopez and his business partner, Rusty Darin, have at their restaurants to about 340. Workers are paid anywhere from $2.65 an hour plus tips for servers to as much as $13 an hour for cooks to $30,000 to $42,000 a year for shift managers.The right moves

The Grand Ledge Denny’s Franchise caps a three-year dream-come-true for Lopez, a man whose first Denny’s job was serving up Grand Slam breakfasts. “Great service by great people,” Lopez said, quoting the company philosophy. “I love what I do.” His journey from waiter to owner – at least as he describes it – is one part loyalty and one part “being in the right place at the right time.” After rising through the ranks and spending several years as a regional manager, Lopez had a chance to meet with the CEO of Denny’s Corp. “I told him I had always wanted to open my own Denny’s Franchise,” Lopez said. “So, he told me, ‘Why don’t you come meet with me tomorrow morning?’ ”

Becoming partners

Lopez brought along the man who gave him his start – Rusty Darin, Lopez’s boss during his server days. Their shared commitment to the company had made them friends. The meeting that morning would make them partners. The CEO told them the company was going to launch a new program called the Franchise Growth Initiative, a push to transfer many of its restaurants to a Franchise model. He asked if they would be interested. “We were the first people through the FGI,” Lopez said. “We jumped on board just in time.” Because they were already working for the company, Denny’s gave them a break to get started by waiving the $40,000 franchise fees and by paving the way for them to be approved for loans from a bank for the initial investments. “We are just modest family people who work hard,” said Darin, 53. “We’ve been given opportunities from Denny’s that we wouldn’t have otherwise, not in this economic climate.” New Franchisees usually have to show a net worth of $1 million to be considered. Three years later, Lopez and Darin own three Denny’s in the Lansing region – in East Lansing, Delta Township and Grand Ledge – and two in the Grand Rapids area.

Service is key

Last year, the East Lansing, Delta and Grand Rapids- area Franchise locations had a combined $5.5 million in sales. They averaged 2 percent to 3 percent higher sales than corporate-owned Denny’s throughout Michigan, Lopez said. He expects the Grand Ledge restaurant to boost annual sales by $1.6 million. Lopez and Darin said their success is all about customer service, and every store is a family operation. Darin’s two sons have worked for him – one as a server and the other as a manager. Lopez’s kids mow the lawns, and his wife often comes in to help clear tables and wash dishes. His retired father has even worked on the weekends as a host. Whether treating local swim teams to breakfast or donating to school fundraisers, Lopez said he wants their Denny’s Franchise restaurants to be known first and foremost as local businesses. “It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of fun,” Lopez said. Denny’s Corp., based in Spartanburg, S.C., has about 1,600 restaurants. It earned $41.6 million in 2009 on $608.1 million in revenue.

photo Family business: Joe Lopez and his daughter, Rachel Lopez, are shown at the new Denny’s restaurant in Grand Ledge. Rachel also will be working and training workers at the restaurant

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Popularity: 9% [?]

Buy A Franchise – Golden Arches Turning Green?

October 22nd, 2010

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  • California McDonald’s turns its Golden Arches green

  • McDonald’s Franchises have shifted focus in the past couple of years to step up its environmentally-friendly efforts.

    For example, sustainable initiatives have been put into place at international and domestic units, and McDonald’s global headquarters in Illinois earned LEED platinum certification in 2009.

    The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum seal is one of the most prestigious green building awards, and exists in less than 250 buildings in the country.

    Not a company to rest on its laurels, McDonald’s Franchises continue to adapt green friendly practices, most recently opening its fourth LEED gold certified restaurant in Riverside, Calif. — its first green restaurant in the west.

    To recognize the efforts, the restaurant’s iconic Golden Arches have been turned green.

    Other LEED certified McDonald’s units are located in Cary, N.C., Savannah, Ga. and Chicago.

    The Riverside McDonald’s Franchise, which has been in existence for 44 years, is owned and operated by Tom and Candace Spiel, and reopened Thursday after an extensive remodel featuring a list of green features.

    They include:

    • A light colored hardscape to reduce heat emissions
    • Native drought tolerant plants to reduce water consumption
    • Low flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water usage
    • Almost 300 photovoltaic panels to generate a percentage of solar energy power
    • Recycled denim insulation inside the building

    “We were inspired to build a McDonald’s Franchise restaurant that highlights the green focus of Riverside: California’s first Emerald City,” said Candace Spiel, McDonald’s owner/operator. “We are so proud of this restaurant and its possibilities to encourage and educate our customers and community on the importance of environmental sustainability.”

    Education will be promoted through the restaurant’s new touch screen display that includes information about the building’s green features and sustainable practices that can be done at home.

    McDonald’s global headquarters, built in 1988, includes an open office environment, space-saving underground parking, native landscaping, rainwater collection, low mercury interior lighting, bike racks, recycling and waste programs, and more.

    The company’s recycling program has yielded 130 tons of recycled materials annually, including 31 tons of scrap metal, 128 tons of paper, and 80 percent of used cooking oil has been converted into biodiesel fuel.

    McDonald’s Corp. released its latest corporate responsibility report in January, outlining its latest global practices in the areas of sustainability and environmental responsibility.

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    Popularity: 9% [?]

    Buy A Franchise – ShowHomes Franchise

    October 19th, 2010

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    If you are neat, looking for a house to rent and have good furniture, a local home staging company might have a deal for you.

    Franchise Showhomes of Nashville offers discounted rent prices to those who qualify, provided they are willing to act as live-in “home managers” who furnish the rooms, keep the place perpetually clean for showings and are willing to move out when the house sells.

    Terease Baker-Belle had never heard of such a thing until she stumbled on the company’s advertisements while searching the Internet for a house to rent in the Nashville area.

    A mother of two, she was transferred to Franklin from St. Louis, Mo. Before actually buying a house, she wanted to rent for a bit while she got more familiar with Nashville’s communities.

    “I had no idea this kind of thing existed,” she said.

    After she and her furniture passed muster, she ended up moving into a six-bedroom house in McLemore Farms, off Goose Creek Bypass in Franklin.

    Coming from a 7,000-square-foot home in St. Louis, she had plenty of furniture to fill this 5,406-square-foot house, which is for sale for $565,000.

    Built in 2007, it’s a luxury property that has three stories, including a nanny suite, a home theater and a big, fenced yard; Baker-Belle pays $2,000 a month to live in it.

    But each morning before she goes off to work, she has to make sure that the house is “show ready.”

    This would be a deal-breaker for some people, but it hasn’t been a problem for Baker-Belle.

    “It’s not that bad; I usually know 24 hours prior to a showing,” she said.

    “We have people go through a training session on this,” said Lee Dyer, the operations and placements manager for the company.

    “They need to have the house ready at all times. No dishes in the sink or towels on the floor.”

    It might seem simpler for a company to stage a vacant house and leave it at that, but those with the company say unoccupied homes pose security and insurance issues for sellers.

    And while the concept of using renters as stagers may be unfamiliar to many, Showhomes Franchise CEO Bert Lyles said the company has been using home managers since the recession of the 1980s

    “The idea started in Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado, places that were affected by the oil price crash,” he said. “It spread through the broader real estate market during the recession in the late 1980s and ’90s.”

    Franchises have weathered change

    Showhomes is a company with Franchises all around the U.S., and Lyles said Franchisees “have succeeded with this business model through all economies.”

    The company has staged more than 50 homes in the Nashville area, many of them with home managers, but at this time, Baker-Belle is the only one in a Williamson County house.

    “We want to do a whole lot more,” Lyles said.

    Home managers have to pass a background check and a credit check before the company will sign them up, but the first order of business is whether the person has nice furniture, and enough of it to stage the whole house.

    “That’s the first thing we look at,” Dyer said. “It’s not so much the style it’s in; it has to be nice, fairly new, and current. Our stagers take a look at it.”

    Home managers also have to be willing to furnish the bathrooms with nice, new towels and shower curtains.

    Looking for a great home to rent at a discounted rate, ShowHomes might be for you.

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    Popularity: 5% [?]

    Buy A Franchise – Subway expansion in Saudia Arabia, Kuwait

    October 18th, 2010

     

     

     

    Three More Outlets Slated for Opening in Kuwait and Two in Saudi Arabia by End-2010Dubai-UAE: 17 October, 2010 – SUBWAY restaurant chain, the world’s largest submarine sandwich Franchise, today announced the opening of its landmark 100th store in the UAE, 44th in Kuwait and 41st in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). SUBWAY has also unveiled plans to add three new Franchises in Kuwait and two in Saudi Arabia by the end of 2010. The new milestone will further complement SUBWAY’s diverse regional network, which makes a total of 230 outlets in the region including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are the second and third largest markets for SUBWAY in the MENA region after the UAE.

    Hisham Ghazal, Brand Manager, SUBWAY® Middle East and Africa, said: “We are proud to announce our network is further expanding, and will continue to grow to reach our customers. I would like to congratulate SUBWAY® UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for the remarkable efforts as we gear up to opening additional outlets in most of the Arab countries in the near future.

    “Our continuous expansion comes as a key step to meet the increasing demand for the healthier options that we offer with optimum value.”

    Christopher Reyes, Operational Director, SUBWAY® – Saudi Arabia, said: “The year 2010 is special for us by all measures. With the opening of nine new Franchises, the year has witnessed the biggest expansion of SUBWAY® in Saudi Arabia, followed by six new Franchises in 2005 and five in 2009.”

    The company has also rolled out a two-month long campaign titled ‘Make it Your Way’ across television, radio, print and digital, as well as online and outdoor platforms.

    Taking forward the SUBWAY principle that customers have the liberty to build their own subs the way they like, the region-wide campaign spans the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon. Each market is mandated to communicate the message at a local market level, utilising all possible advertising resources.

    Marwan Al Hamar, Development Agent, SUBWAY® – UAE, said: “The expansion of our network aims to ensure we reach our customers across the UAE, in addition to our home delivery service that offers utmost convenience. We will continue to serve our customers healthier top quality options that come with fresh ingredients and customised to suit individual tastes.”

    Abdulrahman Al Mutairi, Chairman and Development Agent, SUBWAY-Kuwait, said: “Our future expansion plans include the opening of three new SUBWAY Franchises by the end of the year and extending to an additional 40 Franchise locations within the next five years.”

    Subway® recently became the largest submarine Franchise in the Arab world with about 230 Franchise outlets at convenient venues. In addition to the UAE, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, the brand has 15 outlets in Qatar, 10 each in Jordan and Bahrain, seven in Oman, four in Egypt and three in Lebanon.

    With more than 33,500 locations in 92 countries including the Middle East, the SUBWAY restaurant chain is the world’s largest submarine sandwich Franchise. Headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, the SUBWAY chain was co-founded by Fred DeLuca and Dr. Peter Buck in 1965. The partnership, which continues today, marked the beginning of a remarkable journey — one that made it possible for thousands of individuals to build and succeed in their own business.

    The SUBWAY brand has been honoured as the number one Franchise Opportunity in the Entrepreneur magazine’s ‘Annual Franchise 500′ listing for 17 of the past 23 years.

     

    Popularity: 9% [?]

    Buy A Franchise – Hotel Franchises Spruce Up

    October 17th, 2010

    (Buy A Franchise, Seattle Franchise, Bellevue Franchise)

    Hotels Use Downturn to Spruce Up

     

    Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide is planning guest room redesigns for its Sheraton and Westin Franchise brands. An announcement is expected on Tuesday.

    And some top business travel hotels are undergoing total or major refurbishments in cities like New York and Los Angeles, as well as London and Shanghai. Holiday Inn, a Franchise brand of the InterContinental Hotels Group, meanwhile, says it will complete its systemwide, top-to-bottom upgrading of all its hotels by December.

    Starwood’s redesign plans will affect just 30 Sheratons and 11 Westins out of a total of 576 hotels worldwide next year, at an estimated cost of over $100 million.

    Industry experts predicted that these and other refurbishments would continue to be unusual, perhaps for years.

    Hotels mostly are Franchised or managed, not owned, by companies like Starwood and Marriott, though the companies set standards for décor and service that hotel owners must maintain. The owners, not management companies, must pay for upkeep.

    Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University, estimated that capital spending at existing hotels in the United States climbed to a record high of $5.5 billion in 2008. But he estimated that spending fell to $3.3 billion last year and would drop further, to $2.7 billion, in 2010.

    The decline in hotels’ overall upkeep “is starting to become evident to guests,” he said, “from scuffed wall coverings in hallways to torn drapes and faded, worn and stained carpeting and upholstery.”

    Many hotel owners cannot afford to improve guest rooms or public spaces because of declining room revenue and other income, which may be enough only to pay debt service, said Rick Swig, president of RSBA & Associates, a consulting firm in San Francisco that advises hotel owners.

    The biggest exception is the Holiday Inn Franchise brand, including the midscale, full-service Holiday Inn and limited-service Holiday Inn Express hotels. IHG announced a plan for widespread improvements in 2007, before the worst of the economic downturn hit. But it went ahead with the plan.

    “Research from every recession since the Great Depression demonstrates brands that increased investment on their customer experience and marketing activity during the recession gained market share both during the downturn and during the recovery,” said Kevin Kowalski, senior vice president for global brand management at IHG.

    The plan, which is costing an average of $150,000 to $250,000 for each hotel, entails upgraded lobbies, guest rooms and bathrooms, plus a new employee training program.

    Mr. Kowalski said the Holiday Inn upgrades had increased revenue per available room by 3 to 7 percent, on average, compared with hotels that had not been upgraded.

    Sheraton — with 406 hotels worldwide, it has more than half of Starwood’s hotels — is introducing two new guest room designs, one inspired by the early 20th-century Regency revival, the other by early 19th-century Regency décor. Both will feature oversize armchairs with ottomans, bedside tables with built-in outlets for electronic equipment and water-conserving plumbing.

    “When business travelers come back, it will be good to see a revitalization of the Sheraton Franchised brand, in particular,” said Steven Kent, lodging analyst for Goldman Sachs, who said the Sheraton upgrades would “bring them up to par with other names.”

    Westin — the second-largest Starwood Franchised brand, with 170 hotels worldwide — is introducing two guest room designs, inspired by elements of nature and an Asian aesthetic

    Henry H. Harteveldt, travel analyst for Forrester Research, called the new Sheraton and Westin guest room designs “attractive, but not cutting-edge.” He said the designs were “not distinctive enough to justify a rate increase, but they will help preserve rates, which is a victory when demand is uneven and consumers are price-focused.”

    A few other hotels frequented by business travelers are undergoing major refurbishments in the United States, including a new Conrad in New York’s financial district, occupying a former Embassy Suites and opening in late 2011, and the Bel-Air in Los Angeles, set to reopen next July.

     

    Savoy, the luxury hotel in London, reopened on Sunday after a complete refurbishment

    Two luxury hotels in London are reopening after a complete refurbishment, the Savoy, which reopened Sunday, and the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, scheduled to reopen in December.

    Shanghai also has two newly renovated luxury hotels on the Bund, the Fairmont Peace Hotel, which reopened last July, and the Waldorf Astoria, opening in phases in a former British men’s club.

    The owners of these hotels “probably have deep pockets, large balance sheets or prearranged financing, and can afford to make improvements,” Mr. Swig said.

    Longer term, his outlook for hotel owners’ capital spending is not particularly rosy. He predicted that hotel revenue could remain depressed until 2013, and would not fully rebound until 2016.

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    Popularity: 7% [?]

    Buy A Franchise – Franchises Using Social Media

    October 16th, 2010

     

    (Buy a Franchise, Seattle Franchise, Bellevue Franchise)

    CHICAGO – The Dallas-based Genghis Grill restaurant chain leaped from 1,300 Twitter followers in May to more than 10,000 today.

    Freebirds World Burrito, known for its fervent fans, went from 5,000 to 50,000 Facebook fans in a year’s span.

    But as more consumers communicate via Facebook, Twitter and other similar channels, they said restaurants hoping to build their brand presence will have to jump online, and craft strategies that nurture and protect their cyber reputations.

    “It’s a reflection of what the dialogue is in the real world, which we would never hear if we didn’t have Facebook,” said Jeff Carl, chief marketing officer for California-based Tavistock Restaurants, which owns Freebirds. Thirty-nine of the chain’s 42 restaurants are in Texas and are run from an operations headquarters in Austin.

    “It strengthens our relationship with our most loyal fanatics,” he said. “It identifies not only problems but opportunities.”

    The restaurant industry, which has been notoriously slow to adopt new technology, is only just beginning to develop social media strategies for marketing and policies for workers, said Paul Barron, chief digital officer for Genghis Grill and founder of Fast Casual Executive Summit, which held its annual meeting Monday and today.

    Among fast casual Franchise restaurants, a segment that includes brands such as Genghis Grill, Panera Bread and Frisco-based Mooyah Burgers & Fries, about 70 percent of chains have some presence on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, Barron said.

    That compares with less than 15 percent of casual dining restaurants, a much larger segment that includes brands such as Dallas-based Chili’s, which also has 10,000 Twitter followers.

    Genghis Grill was able to expand its online fan club through technology that marries demographic and geo-positioning studies with online postings to find, say, a 30-year-old woman whose past Tweets or Facebook postings hint that she might be a good candidate for marketing from the company. The company “follows” her, and she eventually becomes a follower of the brand.

    “We know it’s working,” said Genghis Grill chief executive Al Bhakta of the company’s overall online strategy. “People are talking about our brand. Our average systemwide [sales] volumes have grown. Store openings are better now.”

    Still, restaurant executives cautioned that too few chains have formal social media policies for staffers detailing what is and isn’t appropriate behavior online.

    Domino’s pizza Franchise found out the hard way what can happen when workers think a brand-damaging prank can be funny. A YouTube video of former employees allegedly tampering with food went viral, pushing Domino’s into a frenzy of damage control.

    Bhakta said his chain instituted a social media policy six months ago in which employees sign documents agreeing not to disparage the company online. The policy also blocks franchisees from creating Web sites or other online material without corporate approval.

    But Tavistock’s Carl cautioned that it will be impossible for chains to keep non-employees from making non-complimentary postings online.

    “You cannot control for that,” he said. “What you can do is invite those guests to be part of your social experience. Hopefully, the preponderance of phenomenal experiences out there … will virtually overwhelm the occasional missed experience.”

    (Buy a Franchise, Seattle Franchise, Bellevue Franchise)

    Popularity: 5% [?]

    Buy A Franchise – Checkers Franchise

    October 15th, 2010

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    Checkers Drive-In Restaurant Franchises have been around since 1986, wooing customers with its convenient double drive-in units and extensive burger and shakes menu.
     
    In 1985, the company merged with Rally’s and the co-branded restaurants spread from the south to the Midwest and west.
     
    Solo Checkers Franchises continue to exist, however, and the company is currently in the middle of its most rapid Franchising expansion since 2000. Checkers hired Lynette McKee, former vice president of Dunkin’ Brands, to head up the Franchise development plans.
     
    McKee is adamant about the company’s strategy, which she calls “conservative, but focused, and constantly in motion.”

    The approach entails a Franchise-centered growth in familiar markets, as well as expansion in nontraditional markets; a touch of reimaging; and marketing on both personal and mass levels.

    The goal certainly isn’t exorbitant – the team simply wants to bring Checkers from about 800 Franchise units to 1,200 Franchise units, and there are no international markets in the picture right now.

    “To be functional as a larger organization, we believe we need to get to 1,200Franchise units,” McKee said. “We are laying a platform for next year through 2013, but our first benchmark is getting to that 1,200 equation.”
     
    To help McKee and Checkers president and CEO Enrique “Rick” Silva execute its objective, the company brought in a team of seasoned Franchise professionals over the summer. 
     
    They include Basil Kazepis, director of real estate; Greg Michael, director of Franchising and new business development; Christine Elam, senior manager of Franchise administration; and Shakon Turner, senior manager of recruitment.
     
    Thus far, Checkers has opened about 42 new Franchise units this year. Currently, Checkers’ biggest growth concentration, according to McKee, is in New York and Florida. In September, Checkers signed a multi-unit store development agreement with Kalex Partners LLC for four new units in Brooklyn.
     
    After those markets have been evaluated, the company will set up support staff to spread to adjacent markets; markets that offer a “natural progression,” according to McKee. Such cities include Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago and Atlanta.
     
    “Strategically, we want to make sure we have support in each region for testing and training, and then look at that progress over the next three years before deciding where else and how much to grow. We’re approaching this growth slowly and very strategically,” McKee said. 
     
    The expansion will mostly be about 90-percent franchise-based. The company owns about 300 units, which McKee said is a “good presence.”
     
    And, although the plans call for a heavy Franchise base, Checkers isn’t offering extraordinary incentives to draw them in.
     
    “We are going to focus on Franchisee profitability and a strong support system. The incentives come secondary. We want them to join us because of our brand, because they’re loyal, not because we offer them incentives,” McKee said.
     
    It seems that focus has paid off so far: throughout the past few years, 70 percent of the company’s growth has been with existing Franchisees.
     
    “The Franchisees didn’t have obligations or contracts to grow, and they didn’t have incentives to get on board. So, the fact that they were still growing in a down economy says a lot about the brand,” McKee said.
     
    Another phase of the growth strategy is a reimaging effort. Although McKee believes the brand is strong, the company is still flirting with some changes, which is not out of the ordinary for quick-service companies. 
      
    Changes will include menu items, restaurant design tweaks and smaller detail changes such as employee uniforms. In June, the restaurant launched a new lineup of toasted sandwiches, and later moved into the breakfast daypart. 
     
    “If we stay in constant motion, we don’t have to worry that the brand is getting stale,” McKee said. “We are in the early stages of our reimaging strategy and hope to be fully involved with that next year. Every brand has to look at itself over time, and how it looks and feels. Our goal is a reimage more than a remodel, it’s going to be more than paint on a building.”
     
    Checkers will also step up its marketing efforts in 2011, with a boost in public relations and social media, as well as old-fashioned, in-person networking.
     
    “We will have some social media initiatives moving forward, but the strength of this team is connecting on a more personal level,” McKee said. “I am old school with this and I believe people are starting to go back to a more personal way of doing things – having lunch, picking up the phone. Social networking may get you noticed, but it will not close the deal.”

    Nontraditional locations, such as college campuses and airports, continue to be involved in Checkers’ overall scheme, as well, to better provide new and existing franchisees with a greater range of development options.
     
    “Both non-traditional and conventional restaurant development are key components for Checkers to sustain the growth we’ve recently experienced,” said McKee. “We have the capability to venture outside of the box a little bit because our menu offerings tend to be a natural fit for nontraditional locations. Plus, they’re a good fit for us and they keep everybody focused.”
     
    Keeping everyone’s focus at Checkers has been McKee’s favorite achievement since coming on board. She jokes about how she manages by routine processes, a method that stems back to her early career days as a second grade school teacher.
     
    “I am conservative by nature and it drives the team crazy sometimes. But it’s not about micromanaging or forcing people to do things. It’s about giving them the guidelines and making sure everyone is on the same page,” McKee said. “I go back to my teacher roots and keep it simple so we all know where our priorities are. We’re focused and we’re working hard, but that’s when it all clicks and it becomes plain out fun to be part of this goal; this progress.”
     
    She adds that the team’s efforts in embracing simplicity and patience have helped in following an aggressive growth plan despite a tumultuous and unpredictable economy, and it will pay off in the long run.
     
    “If you’re sharp on your game, like this team is, you take advantages of times like this. The real estate is not at its peak cost. Local banks are still looking to do business with solid operators. If you’re smart, you’re planning for this now because it will get better,” McKee said. “As long as we’re doing every single thing every single day while asking ‘Is this good for Checkers? Is this good for the brand?’ we’ll be in a good place.”

    (Buy A Franchise, Seattle Franchise, Bellevue Franchise)

    Popularity: 7% [?]

    Buy A Franchise – $ Dollar Store $

    October 14th, 2010

    (Buy A Franchise, Seattle Franchise, Bellevue Franchise)

    Have you been looking for a Dollar Store Franchise Concept, but are finding the businesses to be too expensive.  How about an existing Dollor store, for a purchase price of $149k, that has an inventory of $29k, and includes a one month training program with the owners to guarantee your success!

    This dollar store has only been in operation for a little over one year, but is gaining substantial traction and customer loyalty, and is located on a substantial State highway with a traffic count of over 27,000 cars per day.

    A large profit margin is just a few years away.  Call Thomas Wolter today at BuyAFranchiseUnlimited.com or 206-200-3325 for more Franchise information at 206-200-3325.

    (Buy A Franchise, Seattle Franchise, Bellevue Franchise)

    Popularity: 5% [?]

    Buy A Franchise – Mitt Romney to Headline Convention

    October 13th, 2010

    (Buy A Franchise, Seattle Franchise, Bellevue Franchise)

    MITT ROMNEY TO HEADLINE FRANCHISE INDUSTRY CONVENTION

    The 51st IFA Annual Convention is Slated for Feb. 13-16, 2011 in Las Vegas

    Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be the keynote speaker at the 51st International Franchise Association Annual Convention, IFA announced today.
      
    “Mitt Romney’s broad experience in business, government and politics will provide critical insight for International Franchise Association members as we continue to position our companies for growth in a challenging financial climate,” said IFA Chairman Ken Walker, chairman and CEO of Driven Brands.  “We look forward to Governor Romney’s unique insights and perspective on the state of the American economy and global affairs.”
     
    Elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney presided over a dramatic reversal of state fortunes and a period of sustained economic expansion. Without raising taxes or increasing debt, Governor Romney balanced the budget every year of his administration, closing a $3 billion budget gap inherited when he took office and created tens of thousands of jobs.

    One of Governor Romney’s top priorities was reforming the education system so that young people could compete for better paying jobs in the global economy of the future. He championed a package of education reforms, including merit pay, an emphasis on math and science instruction, important new intervention programs for failing schools and English immersion for foreign-speaking students.

    In 2006, Governor Romney proposed and signed into law a private, market-based reform that ensures every Massachusetts citizen would have health insurance, without a government takeover and without raising taxes.

    Romney first gained national recognition for his role in turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics. In his three years at the helm in Salt Lake City, Romney erased a $379 million operating deficit, organized 23,000 volunteers, galvanized community spirit and oversaw an unprecedented security mobilization just months after the September 11th terrorist attacks, leading to one of the most successful Olympics in our country’s history.

    Prior to his Olympic service, Romney enjoyed a successful career helping businesses grow and improve their operations. From 1978 to 1984, Romney was a Vice President at Bain & Company, Inc., a leading management consulting firm. In 1984, Romney founded Bain Capital, one of the nation’s most successful venture capital and investment companies. Bain Capital helped launch hundreds of companies on a successful course, including Staples, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Domino’s Pizza, Sealy, Brookstone, and The Sports Authority. He was asked to return to Bain & Company as CEO several years later in order to lead a financial restructuring of the organization. Today, Bain & Company employs more than 2,000 people in 25 offices worldwide.

    Romney has been deeply involved in community and civic affairs, serving extensively in his church and numerous charities including City Year, the Boy Scouts, and the Points of Light Foundation. He was also the Massachusetts Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 1994 and was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

    Romney received his B.A., with Highest Honors, from Brigham Young University in 1971. In 1975, he was awarded an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was named a Baker Scholar, and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

    Scheduled for Feb. 13-16, 2011, in Las Vegas, the 51st International Franchise Association Annual Convention theme,  Building the Future Together, reflects the meeting’s focus on solutions to position the industry for the future as the economy begins to improve.  Franchise industry experts and business and management professionals will share with convention attendees multiple strategies to recover from the recession and how to drive sales.   

    In addition, a highlight of the convention will be the 2011 Franchise Business Outlook report as well as the release of the first ever industry benchmarking data.

    For more information on the upcoming International Franchise Convention contact Thomas Wolter at 206-200-3325, or tom@buyafranchiseunlimited.com

    (Buy A Franchise, Seattle Franchise, Bellevue Franchise)

    Popularity: 4% [?]

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