Archive for January, 2015

Buy a Franchise Blog – Trends for 2015 Pt15

January 26th, 2015

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The second wave of fast-casual restaurants is rising, crowding out the originals such as Panera Bread, according to Jim Greco. He could be considered biased, since he just joined Newk’s Eatery as COO and counts Newk’s as one of those “second-wavers” gaining market share at the expense of the stalwarts. But he’s a credible source, having helmed Bruegger’s and Sbarro, and this time around betting on the up-and-coming Newk’s. He points to other examples, as well, such as Zoe’s and Chipotle and Garbanzo’s Mediterranean Grill. “The compelling nature of fast casual is going to be the driving force behind the restaurant industry, and I suspect we’ll continue to see concepts introduced that fill a unique flavor niche or lean on the transparency diners want in their food today,” he says. “Many of them will use franchising as a key to growth. I also think we’ll see acquisitions among the first wave.” Need more proof? Buffalo Wild Wings invested in Rusty Taco in late 2014, the second investment in an emerging fast-casual brand by the chicken wings king.

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Buy A Franchiise Unlimited – Trends for 2015 Pt 14

January 18th, 2015

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Aziz Hashim, the Atlanta-based franchisee, is playing in new waters, selling his restaurants and starting a private equity fund to invest in franchisors. As detailed in our August cover story, Hashim thinks he knows the formula to attract multi-unit operators like himself, and he wants to allow fellow operators to get in that game. This will be the first year to test his theory: Can he out-maneuver the private equity pros to get his share of the deals? Or will his power wane as his store counts dwindle? What’s certain is this is a “power to the franchisee” story worth watching.

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Buy a Franchise Unlimited – Trends for 2015 Pt 13

January 12th, 2015

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Here are the stats: The minimum wage went up in nine states as of the first of the year, 38 states introduced bills trying to raise it during 2014, and 23 states and D.C. have minimum wages higher than the federal mandate. Currently, Washington state is the highest at $9.47. That’s scary enough for small businesses, but it gets worse. Franchisees are being treated as the big businesses their parent companies are, rather than the small businesses the majority of franchisees represent. Small businesses are allowed to phase in wage increases over four years, big businesses aren’t. The International Franchise Association has a dog in the fight, starting with a lawsuit in Seattle, where the city wants to raise the minimum wage to $15. IFA’s Matt Haller told Franchise Times in August he believes it’s a “sophisticated, coordinated attack” backed by the Service Employees International Union in order to break the franchise model so unions can get a toehold. It’s a complicated matter and one that deserves more than a minimum amount of scrutiny.

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Buy A Franchise Unlimited – Trends for 2015 Pt 12

January 11th, 2015

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Palm Beach Vapors looks to be the first official franchisor in the marijuana business, even though the Oklahoma-based CEO denied that was his next move when Franchise Times talked to him last spring. (Turns out CEO Chip Paul was filing for a patent on his marijuana vapor system at the time, yet wasn’t officially registered under the category, hence his demurral.) He’s got a nice head start, with a well-developed vaping system for electronic cigarettes and several units open to sell e-cigs, including in Colorado where recreational use of marijuana is legal. But Sean Green is also planning a run for the national franchise business. He’s the Washington state entrepreneur who owns Kouchlock Productions, who told us last July he has a production and retail operation he intends to franchise. “This is about to be the largest industry our country has ever seen to emerge over the next several years,” Green says. And although recreational use is legal in only two states so far, Colorado and Washington, more are sure to fall in line, if only for the hard-to-resist tax revenue.

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Buy A Franchise Unlimited – Trends for 2015 Pt 11

January 7th, 2015

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Edwards Global Services is one of the preeminent international consultancies in the U.S.—which has an in-country presence of  49 associates in 36 foreign countries, all following William Edwards’ business system. In 2015 some changes should benefit its impressive stable of clients, as well as free up Edwards to do what he does best—find and service clients. Michelle McClurg, who has 40 years of corporate management experience, has been promoted to COO; and longtime consultants Jeff Kolton and Lesley Hawks have joined the U.S. staff, as well as Shanna Aldridge. Edwards also has been a mainstay on the IFA’s international committee. The cry in EGS staff meetings is now: “Delegate,” a concept Edwards admits is not his strong suit—but will become one thanks to his team’s forceful nature. As international expansion continues to be hot, having an outsourced franchise development team is one way for medium-sized franchisors to test the waters before deciding to jump in all the way. But they have to be ready, Edwards asserts. After all, as we’ve said many times: International is not for sissies.

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Buy A Franchise Unlimited – Trends for 2015 Pt 10

January 7th, 2015

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Who doesn’t want to attract the next generation? We hate to say it, but baby boomers are so yesterday. While most of us are trying to figure out how to get the younger generations as customers or clients, the International Franchise Association is actually doing something about it. It’s contracted with Jennifer Kushell of YSN (Your Success Now) to do a project similar to the one she did with Subway. The project falls under the IFA Shaping the Future of Franchising Capital Campaign, and involves holding the first Young Entrepreneurs in Franchising Contest, where young people submit business plans to be judged. Thanks to social media, Kushell has been able to get the word out to young entrepreneurs around the world. The 50 contest winners will be flown in from around the world to the IFA convention in Las Vegas in February for their own Connect conference where they’ll meet franchise notables and learn about franchising. If each winner brings a friend, you can see how the interest in franchising can compound.

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Buy A Franchise Unlimited – Trends for 2015 Pt 9

January 6th, 2015

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Late last year JAB Holding Co. bought Einstein Noah Restaurant Group for $374 million. You don’t have to be an Einstein to understand how this will benefit the bagel chain previously owned by Freelight Capital. For one, JAB is well capitalized, and two, it also owns Caribou Coffee and Peet’s Coffee & Tea—Caribou and Peet have great coffee, Einstein has great food. And then there’s that perk of buying power in the tea and coffee world. JAB also owns unrelated brands: Jimmy Choo, upscale shoes; Belstaff, a luxury clothing company for men and women; and beauty company Coty. Things look good for the franchising model, and if all else fails, Einstein Noah execs should be better dressed than before—if they get  a clothing allowance from their parent.

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Buy A Franchise Unlimited – Trends for 2015 Pt 8

January 5th, 2015

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It takes a village to raise a child, and a whole lot of online investors to raise funds for a start-up in the 21st century. Franchising has attracted the crowdfunders’ collective attention, according to a panel at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas late last year. The top franchise crowdfunding sites have names like Dealstruck, ApplePie Capital, TopLine Exchange and LiftForward. Each group has its own version of what is also known as “marketplace funding,” and the financing mechanism has come on with a vengeance in the sector. We know it won’t put the banks out of business, but it is another tool in a franchisor’s toolkit to get those franchisees funded. Next question: Just how crowded will the crowdfunding marketplace become?

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Buy A Franchise Unlimited – Trends for 2015 Pt 7

January 4th, 2015

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Melanie Bergeron

Melanie Bergeron, chairwoman of Two Men and a Truck and the new chair of the International Franchise Association, will work to give the franchising model “the positive image it deserves.” Right, franchises are now experimenting with crowdfunding. 

According to the International Franchise Association’s new chair, Melanie Bergeron, chairwoman of Two Men and a Truck, 2014 was one of the roughest years in the association’s history, and 2015 may be the second. The reason: Pending legislation on a number of fronts. Bergeron expects to leave lobbying to the pros—she describes CEO Steve Caldeira as a pit bull when it comes to staying on top of the issues—but one related issue she will focus on, she says, is working to improve the relationship between franchisors and franchisees. After all, strained relations are what cause regulators to sit up and take notice. Facts and figures are two ways to fight back, so Bergeron’s attention will be focused on the educational foundation’s industry research and on a new program called Franchising Gives Back, which tracks the time, money and resources franchise companies donate to charity. Franchising isn’t looking for praise, she asserts, but rather to “give the (franchising) model the positive image it deserves.” “Let’s not let legislation define franchising,” she says. Now that she’s stepped down from the role of CEO of Two Men and a Truck, a company her mother started, Bergeron says as chairwoman of the Michigan-based company, she’ll have “lots of free time” to give to transport franchising’s image into the future.

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Buy A Franchise Unlimited – Trends for 2015 Pt 6

January 4th, 2015

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Golden era movie star Lana Turner was discovered sitting at a soda fountain wearing a tight sweater, and sipping a Coke. The modern-day version of the “it girl” is multi-unit franchisees, and it doesn’t matter how they fill out a sweater. Ask franchisors who they’re interested in attracting as franchisees and the answer you’re most likely to hear is experienced operators. Not that long ago, franchisors didn’t want experience outside their own concept. Most were opposed to their franchisees dabbling in other concepts, because they wanted to be the No. 1 priority, with no other suitors on the horizon. Now, thanks to the economy, smart and well-financed franchisees are spreading their risk over multiple concepts. According to our sister publication, the Restaurant Finance Monitor, out of the top 10 franchisees on the Monitor 200’s list of the largest restaurant franchisees, eight have multiple concepts. This group’s popularity is also the reason Franchise Times rebranded and retargeted its SuperBook of Franchise Opportunities to Book of Brands: Opportunities for experienced operators. Everyone wants to buy them a drink.

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