IN THE NEWS
Franchise Gator Names Rooter-Man A Top 100 Franchise For 2018
Article source: Rooter-Man
Franchise Gator recently released its annual Top 100 List and named Rooter-Man a Top 100 franchise for 2018. The online franchise directory developed the rankings to help individuals interested in purchasing a franchise identify and limit potential risks when searching for the right opportunity.
The Franchise Gator Top 100, now in its 5th year, highlights franchise systems that are both currently expanding and considered to be strong buys for prospective franchisees.
“Each year we comb through hundreds of Franchise Disclosure Documents to find franchise opportunities that are a great fit for our audience,” said Eric Bell, General Manager at Franchise Gator. “Those that made the Top 100 show strong growth potential and make for a solid investment for the worthy candidate.”
“We are honored to be recognized by Franchise Gator. Our Rooter-Man franchisees deserve most of the credit for this accomplishment – as it would not be possible without their continued success and support over the years!” said founder and CEO Donald MacDonald.
Rooter-Man is a national plumbing, sewer, and drain cleaning franchise with over 580+ locations in North America. Rooter-Man provides an array of plumbing and drain cleaning services to homeowners, realtors, municipalities, and commercial/industrial complexes. The company was founded over 46 years ago by Donald MacDonald and is based in North Billerica, Massachusetts. Rooter-Man has been ranked the #1 Plumbing Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine for the 16th consecutive year.
Quaker Steak & Lube Pumps Up Rebirth
By Tom Kaiser
After being purchased by TravelCenters of America last spring, Quaker Steak & Lube is stepping back on the gas and looking to get back on a road to growth after traveling through bankruptcy in 2015.
In an interview with Franchise Times about the brand’s rebirth, John Ponczoch, senior vice president of the TA Restaurant Group, said TCA’s first interest in the brand came back in 2014 when it was building a new travel center in Columbia, South Carolina. Unfazed by its bankruptcy, and always looking for new food brands to add to its travel center portfolio, Ponczoch said it viewed the then-troubled brand as “an opportunity to grow our portfolio and leverage our experience in multi-unit franchise operations.”
Just looking at the brand from afar before the acquisition, he added, it was clear Quaker Steak & Lube should be a national brand with its product lineup, customer loyalty and automotive-Americana focus that should have no problem translating from coast to coast.
At the time of its $25 million purchase, QSL had nine company locations and 41 franchise units. With a few additions since then, it is now up to 15 company-owned units as the brand looks to expand further through franchising.
Getting deeper into his interest in the brand, which led to purchasing the casual dining concept out of bankruptcy, Ponczoch said its average unit volumes that were “well over $3 million” caught his attention, and added to the company’s interest for taking Quaker Steak & Lube under its wing.
With the biggest changes are still to come, he said the company is looking at everything from menus to operations, as well as marketing, training and branding. In the time since our conversation, the company has updated its menu to “incorporate our award winning sauces into new entrees.”
The updated menu, he added, is another part of the story for current and future franchisees to see the brand’s personality retailed, while focusing on the items that delight its customers and have built QSL a loyal following in its home turf, that’s primarily in middle America, but as far west as Denver and as far south as Florida. To that end, the company has hired a chef and beverage manager, both to roll out the latest updates, but to also enhance the guest experience on an ongoing basis.
Beyond full-service restaurants, the company is working on developing a QSL Express concept that it looks to roll out in the parent company’s travel centers. The brand’s upper-level management has been replaced since the bankruptcy, transferring those duties to Ponczoch and the rest of TA’s leadership that has ample franchisor experience through its Iron Skillet and Country Pride restaurant brands.
“We’re looking for multi-unit operators hopefully in the restaurant business,” he said about the search for new franchisees. “Because we have such a variety on the buildings, we’re open to … stadiums or colleges or airports.”
Meet DRU. He’s our newest recruit to the Domino’s family. He might look a little different to our current team of delivery experts and that’s because he is!
DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit) is an autonomous delivery vehicle and is set to take the world by storm.
With sleek, refined forms combined with a friendly persona and lighting to help customers identify and interact with it, DRU is a world first in the space of commercial autonomous delivery.
He is a four wheeled vehicle with compartments built to keep the customer’s order piping hot and drinks icy cold whilst traveling on the footpath at a safe speed from the store to the customer’s door.
DRU is able to navigate from a starting point to his destination, selecting the best path of travel. His on-board sensors enable him to perceive obstacles along the way and avoid them if necessary.
While he won’t be taking to the streets tomorrow, DRU is a big step forward in the work Domino’s is doing in the future commercialisation of this technology.
He is cheeky and endearing and we are confident that one day soon he will be joining the Domino’s family and delivering piping hot pizzas to your door.
Where's Wahlberg? Celebrity Cache Found on Big Screen at FFGC
BY NANCY WEINGARTNER MONROE
“Thanks for being here,” Wahlburgers’ CFO Patrick Renna told the audience during the second day of the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Vegas’ Encore hotel. “People are genuinely disappointed when I’m the one who steps up on stage.”
The reason wasn’t personal, but rather because Renna’s talk was preceded by a video depicting heartthrobs and actor/singers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg, along with their chef brother Paul, hard at work promoting the Wahlburger franchise, a 14-unit hamburger chain that opens to lines out the door.
The celebrity brothers, who have signed on for their seventh season of a reality show about the behind-the-scene antics at Wahlburgers, are the star power behind the brand that prides itself on serving chef-driven food on a bun. “It marries celebrity cache and proven chef-restaurateur credibility,” Renna said.
The chain’s Facebook page (260,000-plus fans) and Twitter (121,000 followers) account do well on their own, and even better when combined with Mark’s 3.29 million Twitter followers and Donnie’s 1.35 million. That's a lot of social media fire power.
The youngest of the three brothers, Paul, opened a fine-dining restaurant first, followed by Wahlburgers a few doors down in their home territory of Dorchester, Massachusetts. The fine-dining restaurant was a nod to the food he likes to cook; the hamburger joint to the food he likes to eat.
Although the number of units open is modest, there are 20 to 25 openings planned for 2017 and 339 units under agreement, Renna said. In addition, Wahlburgers Asia Pacific has signed an agreement to open 200 restaurants across Asia, Latin America and Oceania. Nontraditional units do well in airports and the restaurants, which include a full bar, are going into venerable locations such as Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and Times Square in New York City.
Is your house making you sick? Don’t be surprised if the answer is yes.
According to the EPA, 6 out of 10 homes and buildings in the United States suffer from Sick Home Syndrome (also known as “Sick Building Syndrome” or SBS), meaning they harbor airborne pollutants that are hazardous to your health.
Now there is a local company that has developed a new, environmentally safe technology to destroy dangerous pathogens and microbes — and not just in the home but also in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, fitness centers, salons, cruise ships and airplanes — anywhere threatening germs live.
Based and founded in Moon, Bactronix Corp. is a microbial control company that measures and kills bacteria with a new, scientific “Bactronizing Process”.
Sponsored content from Business Spotlight
Former NFL Linebacker, Mooyah ‘Zee Shares Franchise Experience
Bradie James (second from left) is following up a 10-year NFL career with success as a Mooyah franchisee.
Likening the franchise system to team sports, former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bradie James cautioned prospective franchisees against focusing too much on the people behind the concept versus the concept itself.
“Just like in football, coaches move, so you can’t pick a franchise just for the people, the leadership; you pick it for the model,” said James, speaking during Franchise Expo South in Dallas. James, a multi-unit franchisee of Mooyah Burgers, Fries and Shakes, is also the company’s director of brand engagement.
Passion in the concept, too, is important, James continued, but when considering a brand don’t get so caught up in what you like at the expense of profitability.
NEW FASTSIGNS® LOCATION OPENS IN CORAL SPRINGS
by Christina Krenek | Apr 05, 2017
Coral Springs marks FASTSIGNS® 50th Franchise Location in Florida.
(CORAL SPRINGS, Fla.) April 5, 2017 - Local business owner Salvador Gomez and his wife, Miriam Arriazola, recently opened a new FASTSIGNS® franchise business in Coral Springs, located at 7565 W. Sample Road, which marks FASTSIGNS’ 50th location in Florida. The locally owned and operated business provides comprehensive signs, graphics and visual marketing solutions to clients of all sizes and industries.
“There’s a lot of development and growth happening in Coral Springs, Parkland and the surrounding areas,” Sal Gomez said. “We’re excited to join the community and help both new and established businesses with their visual communications strategies. Whether they need to improve visibility, promote an event or new product, refresh their branding or stay compliant, we can provide effective and creative solutions to achieve their goals.”
The team at FASTSIGNS of Coral Springs brings a wealth of combined expertise in visual communications and design. Kana Ledbetter, graphic designer at FASTSIGNS of Coral Springs, earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and design from Musashino Art University in Tokyo and Federico Landaeta, visual communications specialist, earned a bachelor’s degree in illustration from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
El Pollo Loco, Firehouse Seek Multi-Unit Operators With Aggressive Incentives
It's not easy to expand a restaurant through franchising in a chosen market. Every time a new market opens up in Texas, you’ll have a prospective franchisee say, “How about Virginia?”
To add to the development department’s worries in this era of easy capital and high valuations, a pent-up stream of operators looking to exit makes it easy to acquire a block of restaurants instead of put in the work of development.
In an attempt to focus and entice development, Firehouse Subs has created some major incentive program in the Northeast and El Pollo Loco has just announced an aggressive incentive for growing markets outside the core of California and Nevada. For each company, it’s the first foray into development incentives.
Both deals cut franchisee fees dramatically. Firehouse has reduced the fee by 50 percent for any markets in the Northeast from greater Philadelphia and the greater New York City area to Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Brent Greenwood, the director of franchise development, said the fee is just part of it.
“The development fees will be reduced to zero and we’re offering 50 percent off royalties for the first two years of operations for each restaurant opened under the incentive,” said Greenwood. “The whole idea behind that is to feed the growth of that business.”
For John Dawson, the chief development officer at El Pollo Loco, it’s a similar push. The brand is lowering initial franchise fees from $40,000 to $30,000 for the first restaurant in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arkansas. The fee drops to $20,000 for subsequent locations. That fee will be further reduced by 50 percent for any restaurants that open early. It also includes a reduced royalty rate for the first three years.
“I think across the industry, when a brand is growing beyond it’s core base it’s difficult,” said Dawson.
He said franchisees are well poised to tackle a new market.
“I think that’s where a franchisee has an advantage, they typically operate in the community where they live and have strong community connections,” said Dawson. “But so often a franchisees will say, ‘You’re trying to grow off my back,' but we’re growing alongside our 'zees.”
As demonstration of that oft-desired skin in the game, Dawson said corporate locations are being developed right alongside franchised locations, pushing for full market penetration together.
Each incentive plan aims for multi-unit operators, the well-capitalized golden children that every franchised system is clamoring over. To Greenwood, the Northeast expansion just couldn’t happen with single-unit operators.
Fresh Coat Painters
Consumer demand for quality home services is at an all-time high—the $31 billion industry is growing at a rapid rate. And for the past decade, Fresh Coat—the nation’s leading residential and commercial painting franchise—has been growing right along with it.
With more than 120 locations across the country, Fresh Coat has positioned itself as a franchise brand to beat. Backed by its bonded and insured painters, rising average unit volumes and easy-to-follow business model, Fresh Coat is capturing the attention of both consumers and business owners.
See more at: http://freshcoat.1851franchise.com
Monro buying 16 Car-X stores in Ill., Iowa
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (Feb. 1, 2017) — Monro Muffler Brake Inc. is buying 16 Car-X Tire & Auto stores in Illinois and Iowa from the stores' franchisee, NONA Inc., and plans to keep operating them under the Car-X brand.
The stores generate about $15 million in annualized sales, Monro said, with a 75/25 service/tires mix.
The acquisition is expected to close in March 2017. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Monro disclosed the deal in its third quarter earnings results.
Monro operates just six stores in Illinois and none in Iowa, prior to this deal.
Champaign, Ill.-based NONA is owned by Parham Parastaran, who started in the automotive repair/maintenance business in 1992.
He initially worked with his father, an engineer and Iranian emigree who had opened a Car-X store in Champaign in the late 1980s.
The elder Mr. Parastaran continued to work in the business until 2000.
NONA Inc. is among the 70 largest independent tire retailers in the U.S., according to Tire Business' 2016 Top 100 dealerships ranking.
Monro bought the Car-X Tire & Auto retail auto service brand in May 2015 from Tuffy Associates Corp. and continues to operate the business as a franchise.
The brand comprises 146 franchised locations in 10 states.
Arby's CEO on Record Sales, Maintaining Growth in QSR
by Tom Kaiser
Speaking with Franchise Times from a hotel lobby in New York City after a long day of talking to the press, Arby’s CEO Paul Brown announced record system-wide sales of more than $3.6 billion, a 25% increase in AUVs and 3.8% same-store sales growth—more than double the growth rate of the QSR category. Zooming out, those numbers represent 25 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth and 11 consecutive quarters of transaction growth for the Atlanta-based brand.
Diving into the numbers, Brown suggested the company’s recent growth streak is the result of the brand’s revised (and constantly shifting) menu, an ongoing, multi-year restaurant remodeling program, buzz-generating marketing and the general success of its operations team to deliver on those elements.
Asked for some insight on why some of the largest, legacy QSR brands struggle while others that are nearly as big have found success, Brown briefly donned his McKinsey & Company consulting hat and suggested that menu innovating and swelling prices have fundamentally changed the equation for some of the category’s pioneers.
“One of two things, and hopefully both things, need to be true for a restaurant brand to be successful long term,” he said. “One is you have to have products on your menu that people want that you cannot get anywhere else [and] two is, if you have a product on your menu that you can get somewhere else, then for the money it is the best product you can get and if you can’t look at your menu and have the majority of your products fit into one of those two categories, I think you have a problem.”