MRM Franchise Feed: Macy’s Soft Serve and E-Bikes for Domino’s

Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine's Franchise Feed offers a glimpse at what's new in the restaurant franchise environment. 

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Carvel Opens Location in Macy’s Herald Square

Guests can now enjoy Carvel’s classic soft ice cream while shopping the floors of Macy’s iconic Herald Square location. The iconic brands will celebrate the grand opening on National Soft Ice Cream Day this August 19. From 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., guests will receive a small soft ice cream cup or cone with a $2 minimum donation to the American Red Cross, limit one per person.


“We’re thrilled to open this new Carvel shoppe! Pairing our classic New York brand with another New York institution, Macy’s Herald Square, is an incredible opportunity that allows us to introduce our new and signature products to even more guests,” said Carvel President Kristen Hartman. “We also have the unique opportunity to give back to our community by supporting the Red Cross with this opening celebration. They’ve been wonderful partners throughout the years.”

“We’re excited to expand Carvel’s presence in Manhattan, especially within the New York landmark of Macy’s Herald Square,” said Fresh Dining Concepts Director of Operations, Joe Hubert. “Whether you’re new to Carvel’s iconic soft ice cream or you grew up enjoying the brand, we look forward to elevating the shopping experience.”

This grand opening is just one of the many celebrations happening for Carvel which also celebrates its 85th birthday this year.

Newk's Cares Campaign for September

Newk's Cares, the ovarian cancer awareness movement founded by fast-casual restaurant Newk's Eatery, begins its sixth year raising critical awareness for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September, honoring co-founder Lori Newcomb.

Newk's Cares was established in 2014 by Newk's Eatery CEO Chris Newcomb and his wife Lori Newcomb, after Lori was diagnosed with stage IIIC ovarian cancer in 2013. Lori's story is all too familiar, as ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in women. After six years of fighting and spearheading awareness for the disease, Lori lost her battle to ovarian cancer in February, leaving behind significant strides for the ovarian cancer community.

"This year, we honor my wife Lori by carrying on her passion and personal mission to help all women and all future women affected by this disease," said Chris Newcomb, Newk's Eatery CEO and Newk's Cares co-founder. "Lori's commitment to this cause lives on through our Newk's family, and we hope to continue encouraging women to listen to their bodies and take action right away to improve the success rate of early diagnosis." 

Since 2014, Newk's Cares has raised more than $1,000,000 for ovarian cancer research through the organization's partnership with Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA), the largest global organization dedicated to advancing ovarian cancer research while supporting women and their families. Because the symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague including bloating, lower back pain and a feeling of fullness, many cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage. In addition to raising money for critical research, Newk's Eatery restaurants display in-store educational materials and create events to help generate awareness for this disease. Some of these efforts include the annual Lunch & Learn and Ovarian Cycle events in Jackson, as well as in-store initiatives, below.

To support Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September, Newk's Cares will host the following events in the Jackson community, Newk's home market: 

Newk's Cares and St. Dominic Hospital will again host a Lunch & Learn on Thursday, August 22, at noon at Sparkman Auditorium on the campus of the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum. Panelists will share statistics and symptoms along with critical research developments relative to ovarian cancer, and guests will hear from several medical experts including Dr. Christy Haygood, St. Dominic's Gynecologic Oncologist, and Dr. Katherine Fuh, Assistant Professor in the division of Gynecologic Oncology at Washington University, St. Louis. Jennifer Boone, St. Dominic's Oncology Survivorship Navigator and co-coordinator of the St. Dominic's Woman to Woman program, and Carol Barnes, PhD, Mississippi College Kinesiology Professor, will also speak. While this event is free and open to the public, limited seating is available. 

Cancer Fighting Thai Chicken Soup

The Jackson community is once again invited to the annual outdoor spin event, OCRA's Ovarian Cycle® Jackson. The event will be held at The Club at The Township in Ridgeland on Thursday, September 19. Riders can participate in one of five 45-minute time slots every hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is a $50 registration fee to ride and ovarian cancer survivors ride for free. Attendees can register online and registrants will receive an OCRA gift bag with complimentary items for the event, including a shirt and box lunch from Newk's Eatery.

The following initiatives will also take place across all of Newk's Eatery's more than 120 U.S. locations to raise awareness of the cause: 

Beginning August 26 through the month of September, guests will have the opportunity to make a donation in support of ovarian cancer research and education both in-store and through online ordering. All funds collected between August 26 and September 30 will be donated to OCRA. Guests who make a donation in-store will be given a paper teal ribbon certificate featuring their name to be displayed within the restaurant.

Newk's will also feature a seasonal Thai Chicken soup, which was introduced last year. The soup features numerous cancer-fighting ingredients including mushrooms, carrots, turmeric, garlic, and green and red bell peppers, which contain antioxidants that can help reduce the risks of cancer. This soup will remain in all Newk's Eatery locations through March 2020.

The Shrimp & Avocado Salad will also be featured, as it was inspired by Lori Newcomb. The salad features fresh ingredients including broiled shrimp, avocado, arugula, tangy feta crumbles, sweet grape tomatoes, green onions and house-made lemon basil vinaigrette. 

Ten cents from every Newk's Cares water bottle sold is donated year-round to OCRA.

Domino's Gets Rad

Domino’s Pizza stores across the nation will soon have the option to use custom e-bikes for pizza delivery through a partnership with Rad Power® Bikes – North America’s largest e-bike brand.


“Domino’s tested e-bikes in a number of corporate-owned stores across Houston, Miami and New York earlier this year, and those stores saw improvements in overall delivery and service,” said Tom Curtis, Domino’s executive vice president of corporate operations. “They also experienced labor benefits, as the stores were able to hire from a wider pool of candidates, including those who might not have a car or driver’s license. Plus, stores that were already delivering with traditional bikes saw improved team member satisfaction with e-bikes.”

The e-bikes proved so popular in testing that Domino’s will utilize hundreds of them across corporate-owned stores throughout Miami, Salt Lake City, Baltimore and Houston later this year.

The e-bikes, which have small integrated motors to assist with pedaling, can run for 25 to 40 miles depending on the user, before needing a recharge. Domino’s custom e-bikes include front and rear insulated soft-sided cargo areas, which can hold Domino’s Heatwave bags, drinks, sides, and dipping cups. One e-bike can hold up to 12 large pizzas. The bikes are equipped with lights in the front and back, reflective materials for driver safety, and have a top assisted speed of 20 mph.

Pizza delivery by bicycle, including e-bikes, is not uncommon in Domino’s markets around the world. The United States is one of the few global markets where delivery by car dominates. However, in many large cities in the U.S., bike deliveries lead the way, including in New York and Seattle.

“E-bikes make a huge difference in my stores,” said Greg Keller, Seattle Domino’s franchisee. “While delivery on a traditional bike solved many of our traffic and parking issues, the hills in Seattle were tough on even our best cyclists. E-bikes were a game-changer for us, and we’ve been delivering with them for three years now. We have been able to save money, provide better service, increase hiring and maintain a happy workforce.”

ZorAbility Acquires GetFried

ZorAbility, an advisory and investment strategy firm for emerging franchise brands,  acquired GetFried, a 12–unit, French fry-focused, quick service restaurant concept. Terms of the deal were finalized June 25, 2019.


Under ZorAbility’s guidance, the franchise will be named GetFried Franchise USA, LLC, and franchise-industry veteran Mark Lyso will serve as president. ZorAbility and Lyso will tap into GetFried’s immense potential and appeal to a broader audience through enhancements to its menu and branding.

ZorAbility was launched in 2016 by Sam Ballas, president and CEO of East Coast Wings + Grill. Ballas took “zor” from franchisor, and ability from, “the ability in structuring a formula for launching and scaling an emerging brand.” After spending years studying the changing restaurant landscape and establishing best practices for growing EBITDA at East Coast Wings + Grill, Ballas developed a unique skillset for and found success with investing and advising emerging brands.

GetFried is an attractive first acquisition for Ballas and ZorAbility due to its compact real estate footprint per location, lower labor costs, high-gross margins and quick scalability. “GetFried is an ideal brand for non-traditional locations, international and highly-populated markets,” said Ballas. “Through franchising, we anticipate scaling GetFried anywhere between 200 to 250 locations over the next five years.”

Founded by friends and business partners Chris Covelli and Garrett Green, GetFried was launched in February 2015 with the opening of a concept store in Buffalo’s Walden Galleria Mall. After early success, Covelli and Green opened a second corporate store in December 2015 in the Fashion Outlet Mall in Niagara Falls. In 2016, the friends franchised GetFried and grew across the country. The founders will still be involved in GetFried.

Chill-N Nitrogen Goes National

 Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream, top photo, launched a national franchise program to expand the concept across the country. With eight locations currently operating throughout South Florida, the family-run brand uses locally sourced products and has become infamous for its unique ice cream flavors and combinations, all of which are produced through the brand’s proprietary software and hardware which allows for consistency and higher production to better serve its customers.


Miami-based Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream was founded in 2012 by millennial entrepreneur Daniel Golik in his garage after several months of perfecting the ideal ice cream equation using liquid nitrogen. Traditional ice cream manufacturers produce ice cream in batches of thousands of gallons and dump multiple 5-gallon pails of “base flavoring”, an artificially engineered flavoring substance, into each batch.  A Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream batch is only 6 or 8 ounces and uses raw inputs as flavoring, on demand. Chill-N freezes and flavors every serving as it’s ordered, right in front of each and every customer. The brand uses real Nutella, real peanut butter, real Dulce de Leche and offers dairy free and vegan options with its coconut milk base.

“Ice cream is a universal and timeless dessert and the idea of making ice cream with liquid nitrogen has always fascinated me, and when we realized we could perfect this concept to share with the larger community, it was a no-brainer” said Daniel Golik, COO and Co-Founder of Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream. “Since our first store opened in 2012, we’ve received tremendous support and love from our die-hard fans and I’m excited to expand the Chill-N experience to customers across the country.”

Chill-N promoted veteran franchise executive David Leonardo to CEO in May after joining the company at the beginning of the year. Leonardo has served in various high level roles with multi-national brands including Burger King, Wendy’s, Arby’s, and Pet Supplies Plus. “After speaking with Daniel and doing my due diligence, I was most impressed with the unit economics of the brand and the strength of the ice cream industry in good times and bad,” said David Leonardo, CEO of Chill-N. “Chill-N appeals to a wide audience and we are eager to onboard the right franchisees who will help us build a strong business with our support and resources.”

Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream is currently seeking experienced single- and multi-unit operators to become a part of the growing brand and develop franchise territories in new markets. The popular ice cream concept offers a proven business model with technology and automation driving low labor costs allowing the franchisor to focus on providing great customer support for its franchisees and a high quality product for its customers. Qualified franchisees should have a net worth of at least $500,000, for a single unit and liquidity of at least $100,000. 

Del Taco Grows in Georgia

Del Taco just announced its 16th Georgia-based restaurant with seasoned operating team Mac Kamara and Jeff Fisher.

Located at 6791 Highway 85 in Riverdale, this is the franchise group’s first Del Taco restaurant to open under their agreement to bring seven locations across the south central area of Atlanta.

“When we first joined Del Taco, we knew we were partnering with an innovative company that would inspire regional growth,” said Kamara. “As Del Taco’s reputation grows stronger throughout the area, we’re inspired to bring the legacy brand to even more communities. Del Taco ahead of the pack when it comes to menu innovation, quality food and affordable pricing… the brand is not slowing down any time soon.” 

Outside of his Del Taco development plans, Kamara is growing with  brands such as BP, Circle K and Subway. As a business professional with more than 16 years of experience in convenience store operations, he is now actively investing in real estate of major commercial and residential properties.

Fisher, Kamara’s seasoned Operating Partner, has been devoted to the restaurant industry for 25-plus years. His management experience includes providing operational direction to teams at Luby’s Cafeterias, Sam Seltzer and Golden Corral. Plus, before joining Del Taco, Fisher helped successfully open the first two Chuy’s Tex Mex restaurants in the state of Georgia. 

Del Taco now has more than 580 locations across 14 states. Its franchising business model, made up of strong operations consulting, management training programs and marketing support is based on mutual partnership and is designed to attract individuals or groups with a strong business acumen, experience in the restaurant industry and an interest in multi-unit franchising. 

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza Grows in Central Texas 

 Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza inked a multi-unit development deal that will grow the brand’s footprint in the Lone Star state.Seasoned restaurant owner-operators, brothers Barrett and JC Fleming, signed an agreement to open seven new Blaze Pizza locations, starting with restaurants in Dallas County and Bell County, Texas, and further expanding east across Louisiana. 

“After growing up in the restaurant industry, we know an innovative concept when we see one,” said Barrett, whose family also owns and operates 34 Subway locations across Louisiana. “The first time we stepped into a Blaze Pizza, we were blown away by the guest experience—from product customization to the price point. This investment is an ideal addition to our portfolio, and we’re thrilled to grow with such a forward-thinking brand.” 

The Fleming family and company president, Mike Toland, join the brand with decades of franchise industry knowledge. JC and Barrett’s father, John Fleming, is recognized for establishing the family’s involvement in franchising beginning with Subway in the mid-80s. Now, in addition to the 30-plus Subway locations, the Flemings are also area developers of The UPS Store and multi-unit owners of Zaxby’s. 

“With enthusiasm for the restaurant industry and proven franchise success, the Flemings are a perfect fit for Blaze Pizza,” said Carolyne Canady, President International, Chief Development Officer for Blaze Pizza. “Barrett and JC are clearly hungry for growth, and we’re thrilled to support their development plans for Dallas and Bell County. We’re confident they’ll be top performers for years to come.” 

From its inception in 2012, Blaze Pizza has built momentum and developed a cult-like following as it expanded from its California base to bringing over 330 restaurants into 41 states and five countries. The brand’s business model, made up of extensive site selection procedures, training programs and marketing support, is designed to attract individuals and operator teams with a strong business acumen, proven restaurant industry success and an interest in multi-unit franchising. 

Lazy Dog Expands

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar opened its doors to the Allen community on July 24 at 11am. The new Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar will be the first business to open in the new Stacy Green mixed-use development at 1851 Central Expressway North in Allen.  On July 31, it opened to the Houston community in the Cypress Crossing mixed use development at 20030 Northwest Freeway. On August 7,  it opened in Peachtree Corners The new Lazy DogRestaurant & Bar is located in the Peachtree Corners Town Center at 5224 Peachtree Parkway.


Lazy Dog’s menu focuses on elevated dishes that highlight seasonal ingredients, as well as handcrafted cocktails and select beers from local breweries. Each restaurant welcomes guests into a warm ambiance that celebrates the majestic scenery and artisan authenticity of the Rocky Mountains. With a large fireplace, wood accents and cozy seating options, the décor is the perfect backdrop for Lazy Dog’s made from scratch meals and spending time with family and friends. Lazy Dog also offers brunch on the weekends, daily happy hour and late-night offerings.

CPK Adds to Hargrove's Role

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) today announced the appointment of Scott Hargrove as Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer. Since joining CPK earlier this year, Hargrove is leading marketing and growth efforts of the 240+ unit worldwide restaurant brand including brand and performance marketing, culinary innovation, social media, loyalty, communications and community engagement. Along with recent strategic team additions in data insights and digital, Hargrove’s role will be instrumental in delivering a new era of guest experience at CPK, driving growth through amplified brand building and digital-based marketing that brings to life CPK’s heritage of innovation, California creativity and guest-first approach.

Scott Hargrove

“We are pleased and proud to welcome Scott Hargrove to the executive leadership team at California Pizza Kitchen,” said Jim Hyatt, CEO and President at CPK. “Scott brings to our table an impressive record driving impact at some of the world’s most beloved consumer and tech brands, with a unique blend of digital savvy, creative storytelling and global brand building expertise. This is an incredibly exciting time for CPK as we prioritize continual innovation and evolution in menu, experience and the ways in which we communicate with our guests, and our heightened marketing efforts under Scott’s leadership will play a key role in achieving our vision for growth.”

With 20 years of experience across tech, consumer packaged goods, sports, and lifestyle brands, Hargrove most recently served as Head of Brand and Consumer Marketing for Snap Inc.®, where he led consumer and product marketing for both Snapchat® and Spectacles, the company’s wearable camera hardware division. In this role, Hargrove and his team led the successful launches of Spectacles 2.0, Lens Studio – Snap’s community based AR platform – and Snap Originals – the company’s premium content platform that is pioneering vertical format viewing on mobile phones. Prior, the foundation for Hargrove’s marketing career was built at The Coca-Cola Company®, where he spent 15 years leading billion-dollar brands such as Sprite®, Diet Coke®, Powerade®, and vitaminwater™. Hargrove left Coca-Cola to serve as Global Chief Marketing Officer for the World Surf League (WSL), where he built one of the fastest growing and most digitally engaged audiences in professional sports.

“Joining CPK has been an honor and I look forward to working with the leadership team in unlocking the full potential of this incredible brand,” said Hargrove. “It’s a brand rooted in innovation, community and the very best of California and I’m excited to help bring to life what’s next for CPK across menu innovation, guest experience, technology and brand storytelling.”

Black Bear Adds Chief People Officer 

Black Bear Diner announced that Human Resources (HR) executive Tammy Johns has joined the company as its first Chief People Officer (CPO). Johns will report directly to Black Bear Diner President and Chief Financial Officer Anita Adams.

“We’re excited for the depth of experience and leadership that Tammy brings to Black Bear Diner as we execute against our accelerated growth plans,” said Adams. “I look forward to the impact she will have on our organization as we continue to build out a best in class leadership team.”

As part of an ongoing commitment to attracting the best talent possible, Johns will ensure Black Bear Diner’s people-first culture remains top of mind as the company continues a period of high growth and expansion to new markets.

“I am very excited to join the team of dedicated team members and franchisees at Black Bear Diner,” said Johns. “The people-first culture at Black Bear Diner is an environment that fits my philosophy of happy employees, happy guests! I am honored to work with this team of executives to foster unit growth while ensuring a best-in-class people culture. You really cannot have one without the other." 

Johns joins Black Bear Diner with more than 25 years of proven success in strategic HR management, all of which have been in the restaurant industry. She was previously Chief People Officer for quick-service burger chain Farmer Boys Foods, Inc. Prior to that, Johns led the people strategy for Lemonade Restaurant Group as the Vice President of Human Resources, as well as at two franchise holding companies, which owned a large number of Burger King restaurants and various TGI Fridays (SRAC Holdings I, Inc.) and Chili’s Grill & Bar locations (Snowstate Restaurant Corporation).  

Black Bear Diner has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country, with 12 units already opened in 2019 and an additional eight units scheduled to open by year’s end. 

Waters Edge Inks Franchise Deals

Waters Edge Wineries  signed a new franchise agreement that will introduce its concept, Waters Edge Winery & Bistro, to a retail center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. This new location joins nine others already operating throughout California, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.


The new owner franchise group, Waters Edge Winery & Bistro of E-Town LLC will be led by father-daughter team, Charlie and Tiana Watkins, and set to open in Elizabethtown, Kentucky later this year.

“We are excited to debut our concept in the Bluegrass State, introducing Kentuckians in Elizabethtown and in nearby communities to a truly unique wine tasting and cultural experience,” said Ken Lineberger, president and CEO of Waters Edge Wineries. “With the addition of Charlie and Tiana, we know they will share their passion for wine with their local community and provide a destination for friends and families to connect over a glass of wine and small bite.”

Following a military career spanning two decades, Charlie was interested in operating a franchise concept that would bring an unforgettable experience to the city and allow him to pursue his passion for winemaking. His daughter, Tiana, will manage the day-to-day operations for the micro-winery, overseeing customer service, marketing initiatives and F&B management.

Combining elements of the traditional winemaking experience with the popular wine bar concept, Waters Edge Winery & Bistro locations serve as a lively hub within its communities, offering bistro-style artisanal selections including appetizers, flatbreads, sandwiches, salads and desserts, custom bottling and labeling as personalized gifts, private tasting areas for groups, a wine club and more.  This gives guests the opportunity to engage intimately with what has, historically, been a somewhat exclusive lifestyle limited to select regions.

Franchise owners receive comprehensive training on the micro-winery tank system and are provided with pre-opening training courses, both hands-on and classroom based, to help prepare for the launch of their winery. 

“I am excited to bring the Waters Edge Wineries concept to a town looking for a central meeting place that offers the opportunity for guests to unite over their common love for wine and winemaking,” said Watkins. “Over the years I’ve developed a true love for all semi-sweet wines and knew that with the help of my daughter, we could bring something special into our community. I’m thrilled to be part of this exciting franchise concept’s expansion in Kentucky and look forward to treating guests to a relaxing atmosphere with high-quality wines that are bottled locally.”

In May, Waters Edge Wineries announced three new franchise agreements to introduce its concept in Madera, California; Toledo, Ohio; and Richmond, Texas. On August 2, a new location is planned to open in Davidson, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte, and a later this summer a new flagship location showcasing an updated design footprint is preparing to open in Long Beach, California.  Waters Edge Wineries currently operates nine locations in California, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas with expansion in North Carolina, Kentucky and Montana.

GFG Promotes Johnston

Global Franchise Group® (GFG), the strategic brand management company and franchisor of Great American Cookies®, Hot Dog on a Stick®, Pretzelmaker®, Marble Slab Creamery®/MaggieMoo's Ice Cream & Treatery® and Round Table Pizza® promoted Jenn Johnston to Chief Brand Officer and President of Franchise Operations and the addition of restaurant industry veteran Jim Parrish to Chief Operating Officer. In addition to the leadership advancements, the organization has created two new departments – the GFG Innovation Center (IC) and Brand Integration & Corporate Services to support expansion, future acquisitions and continued success. 

"This is a thrilling and defining time for Global Franchise Group and these changes position GFG to better service, support and grow our franchise and corporate operations," said Chris Dull, President and CEO of Global Franchise Group. "With strong strategic leadership, internal resources and shared services, we are ready to champion the next phase of success for our growing company as we look to acquire additional brands under our portfolio."

For a decade, Johnston served as both Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operations Officer before being promoted to Chief Brand Officer and President of Franchise Operations. She is a key principal in the organization with a reputation for strategic EBITDA growth (organic and through acquisition), building brands and achieving strong Same Store Sales results by analyzing consumer research and trends, and garnering respect with long-standing GFG franchisees. In her new role she will focus on building the franchising side of GFG's business, as well as generating new revenue streams through licensing, merchandising and e-commerce.

Parrish has extensive experience in restaurant leadership most recently as COO of Hooters of America where he supported delivering nine consecutive quarters of positive comp sales. Prior to Hooters, he served as Senior Vice President and COO of Friendly's Ice Cream, EVP and COO of Church's Chicken and Division Vice President for Yum Brands where he provided leadership for 600 Pizza Hut restaurants. As Chief Operating Officer of GFG he will be primarily focused on company store operations and leading the organization through Round Table Pizza Development Corporation (RTDC) revitalization and future development of Hot Dog on a Stick. 

The company promoted longtime GFG veterans Allison Lauenstein (former Executive Vice President of Marble Slab Creamery and Pretzelmaker) to lead the Innovation Center as Chief Innovation Officer and David Kaiser (former Executive Vice President of Great American Cookies) to head the Brand Integration & Corporate Services team as Executive Vice President. The Innovation Center highlights GFG's commitment to new product innovation through strategic leadership. The center will assist in growing GFG's brands by leveraging research to develop new products through a consumer-centric lens and testing for sales potential. The new Brand Integration & Corporate Services team was created to ensure the shared services platform is always poised for company growth and future brand acquisitions.

GFG currently supports more than 1,500 franchised and corporate stores across all brands located in 16 countries and has system wide sales close to $1 billion.  

I Heart Mac & Cheese Opens in Tallahassee

I Heart Mac & Cheese celebrated the opening its Tallahassee location on Thursday, Aug. 15.

Located at 799 W. Gaines Street Suite 113, I Heart Mac & Cheese will serve its signature chef-driven combinations alongside two Tallahassee exclusives.  The “Garnet and Gold Bowl” will feature marinara sauce over macaroni, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, pesto and pepperoni.  The “Tomahawk Bowl” will be a healthy option featuring a broccoli and cauliflower base with mushrooms, corn, carrots, scallions, jalapenos, grilled chicken and finished with Asian sesame and mango habanero dressing. Located in the heart of College Town, I Heart Mac & Cheese is a conveniently satisfying option that students and faculty on-the-go will love, while also serving as a welcome addition for locals looking to fulfill their craving for everyone’s favorite comfort food.


“We are excited to introduce our quick, affordable and delicious menu offerings to the FSU campus community and the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Stephen Giordanella, CEO & Chairman of I Heart Mac & Cheese. “With our late-night hours, versatile menu and budget-friendly options, we’re bringing students, staff and visitors the comforting taste of childhood in a fun, laid back environment.”

I Heart Mac & Cheese is well-known for custom, build-your-own macaroni and cheese bowls and grilled cheese sandwiches. Guests select a pasta, bread, quinoa, broccoli or cauliflower base along with seven different proteins, vegetables, and cheeses. Gluten-free options are also available. Sesame ginger, mango habanero, buffalo, BBQ, and pesto are a few of the delicious dressings and sauces available to mix in or top off each creation. In addition to customized options, the menu includes specialty chef special items like Baked Chicken Parmesan, Baked Meatball Parmesan, The Cuban and Lobster & White Truffle Mac, among others.

I Heart Mac & Cheese operates six locations throughout South Florida, two in New York, and with more on the way. The South Florida-based restaurant franchise has plans to grow to 100 franchises by the end of the year and other upcoming openings in other areas of Florida, as well as Georgia, New York and Texas.  The new location in Tallahassee, the company’s first in North Florida, will feature weekly programming including “Kids Eat Free” on Monday nights.

For I Heart Mac & Cheese loyalists, the franchise is introducing a college ambassador program, where select students are given branded swag and special discount codes to share with friends and fellow students, along with the chance to earn free meals throughout the year.

Wahlburgers to Open in Texas

Mark Wahlberg attended the Dallas Cowboys training camp on Saturday as part of an announcement that Wahlburgers will open its first restaurant in Texas at The Star in Frisco – the Dallas Cowboys World Corporate Headquarters and Training Facility.  The themed campus offers a wide range of dining, shopping and retail experiences. The restaurant is scheduled to open this fall.

"We are all huge sports fans and to be able to open our first Texas location in tandem with a legendary organization like the Dallas Cowboys is icing on the cake,”  said Mark Wahlberg. 

Wahlberg attended the practice as a special guest of the Cowboys to watch them take the field and also spend time speaking with players, coaches and ownership.  

“On behalf of the Jones family, we are excited to team up with the Wahlbergs and bring their successful Wahlburgers restaurant to The Star in Frisco,” said Dallas Cowboys Chief Operating Officer Stephen Jones. “Working together with family to create a solid business with strong values is something both the Joneses and Wahlbergs have in common, and we’re thrilled that our fans and visitors alike will be able to enjoy everything Wahlburgers brings to our campus.”

Created by Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg, the chef-inspired menu features an emphasis on made-to-order, high-quality, delicious food that represents a selection of his family's favorite dishes they shared together. In addition to its line-up of craveable burgers, signature sandwiches and Wahlbowls, Wahlburgers also provides a full-service bar offering a wide selection of cocktails, wine and beer, including its signature Wahlbrewski, a custom brewed unfiltered Pale Ale from Boston-based Harpoon Brewery.  

Friendly's Revamps its Coffee Program

Friendly’s® Restaurants has launched a revamped coffee program with newly sourced, high quality beans, updated brewing equipment and a range of new flavors available at participating restaurants.


“Our consumers spoke and we listened,” said Dennis Pfaff, Chief Operating Officer, FIC Restaurants Inc. “We absorbed feedback from our guests over the years on our old coffee and are beyond excited to rollout a much-improved coffee program, made with new machines from high quality beans. We look forward to continue improving and evolving with our consumers’ changing tastes.”

The new coffees have a robust flavor profile and come in regular and decaf options. Additionally, for the first time Friendly’s will be offering iced coffee – which comes in hazelnut, French vanilla, regular and decaf. The new coffees are brewed from high-quality beans with a light roast and are brewed with newly installed machines.

The new coffee program and celebratory promotion are available at participating restaurants only.

Jersey Mike's Enhances App

Listening to customer feedback, Jersey Mike’s Subs,  enhanced its app, creating a more streamlined customer experience. 

Navigation has been improved, and new features added such as the ability to schedule an order for pickup. Customers can enjoy mobile ordering, locate their closest store, connect to catering, get directions, check their Shore Points® balance, search for nutritional information, and even give instant feedback by submitting a mobile comment card. 


Graphically, the app reflects the brand look — clean and modern while still reinforcing the company’s Jersey Shore heritage through crisp beach and surfboard images. 

The app is tied to one simplified account called MyMike’s™, with everything under one login, including texting, email club, Shore Points Rewards, and payment methods. 

MyMike’s offers loads of benefits including:

  • Earn Free Subs with Shore Points
  • Birthday Rewards
  • Exclusive Offers & Promotions
  • Personalized Ordering Experience 

For a limited time, new or existing users can download the app, available for iPhones and Androids, log in to their MyMike’s account, and, after their first in-app sub purchase, receive 72 points, the equivalent of a free regular sub.  

“Today, the majority of our web traffic comes through mobile,” said Rich Hope, Chief Marketing Officer, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “We continually work to streamline the customer experience through our digital offerings so fans get a fresh, high-quality sub sandwich the way they want it, and earn rewards along the way.” 

Jersey Mike’s is launching a national app download marketing campaign across all digital channels, as well as in-store signage. 

Za Pizza Chooses Oracle

With 10 locations in Winnipeg and Toronto, Za Pizza Bistro is focused on taking its slice of the market by serving up delicious, “custom, fast, fired’ pies to customers. Whether it’s a Za Pizza storefront or its inaugural food truck, Oracle MICROS Simphony Point of Sale helps the chain deliver speedy service and seamless ordering and payments for guests.

“Oracle MICROS Simphony allows us to easily scale our business,” said Manley Cheng, Za Pizza Bistro founder and chief executive officer. “As we’ve expanded to new locations and added a food truck, the capability to quickly drop in Oracle’s software through the cloud has been a huge benefit and has helped us maintain our speed-of-service across locations while devoting resources to new restaurants.”

Za Pizza can track all locations’ operations in real-time with Oracle MICROS Simphony Cloud’s Point of Sale technology, providing critical insight into revenue, labor costs and how locations compare over time. The technology’s expedited checkout capabilities are especially helpful when managing the rush across restaurants during peak business hours, offering a comprehensive suite of tools for managing everything from inventory to loyalty perk and gift card redemption.  

Oracle’s MICROS Simphony platform has also helped Za Pizza with menu management updates across its locations. By having the ability to universally add and modify new items and prices, the chain is saving valuable employee time and resources previously spent on manually updating menus at each location. Moreover, Za Pizza can analyze sales by day, week, or even year-over-year to anticipate spikes and better prepare to serve an influx of customers. 

“Guest expectations for accelerated and personalized dining experiences are higher than ever within the restaurant industry,” said Simon de Montfort Walker, senior vice president and general manager for Oracle Food and Beverage. “With Simphony POS technology, Za Pizza has continued to satisfy guests, while expanding its channels and managing its rapid growth.” 

Wayback Celebrates Appiversary

Wayback Burgers, America’s Favorite Hometown Burger Joint and one of the nation’s fastest-growing burger franchises, is celebrating its one-year app anniversary on August 16.

It has been a successful first year for Wayback’s new app. So far, Wayback Burgers has had more than 100,000 downloads, and guests across the country are enjoying the intuitive layout and easy-to-use features of the app. 

To celebrate the one-year milestone, Wayback Burgers has something special planned for guests. On August 16, Wayback will offer guests who have downloaded the app a chance to Buy One Get One Free of the tasty Caramel Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shakes. Additionally, guests will be rewarded with a $5 credit on the anniversary of the day that they downloaded the app. 

“We are thrilled to be celebrating our app’s one-year anniversary with our guests,” says Wayback President Patrick Conlin. “We are glad the app has been so well received, and we are excited to roll out some exciting updates in the future.”

Taco John's Rolls Out Truck

As part of its anniversary celebration, Taco John’s is rolling around town in its all-new food truck.


Taco John’s 35-foot food truck holds a full mobile kitchen – with a prep-line, hot and cold table, fryer, tortilla warmers, taco tower and two point-of-sale systems – giving it the capacity to run the full Taco John’s kitchen – and make more than 600 tacos per hour!

To add to the fun, the truck has a custom horn, and it plays Taco John’s favorite Mexican songs – Mexican Hat Dance and La Cucaracha.

Currently located in its hometown of Cheyenne, Wyo., Taco John’s is looking to travel into additional markets in the future.

“We are celebrating our 50th anniversary with several exciting activations and we couldn’t be more thrilled to make this revolutionary debut,” said Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel. “We’re now looking to expand the food truck idea to other cities so Taco John’s fans across the country can have a new way to get their fix. Plus, we now have the opportunity to get even more involved with the community we’re parked in! I have no doubt that the community will love this fun and convenient way to enjoy Taco John’s.”

Habit Goes to Cambodia

 The Habit Restaurants plans to expand throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia with Amory F&B Company, LTD in a 25-store development agreement. The first Habit Burger Grill is expected to open in Phnom Penh in the spring of 2020.


“We quickly developed a passion for The Habit Burger business when we saw how much focus there is on great customer service. This is something we strongly believe in, and we are excited to bring the Habit experience and great food to the people of Cambodia,” said OKHNA Chhun On, Chief Executive Officer of Kampuchea Tela Company. 

Madam Chhun Sophearoth, CEO of Amory F&B Company, added, “The Habit’s excellent brand, best-in-class systems, and experience will help us to go the extra distance to become national leaders in the burger segment. As an organization we keep developing and investing in our people, much like The Habit Burger, and this will be an important part of our success.”

“We are thrilled to continue to expand our brand internationally and to see Amory F&B Company bring our unique style of hand-crafted-to-order food, chargrilled burgers and high-quality customer service to the people of Cambodia. Amory is comprised of a team of experienced, committed operators who share our dedication to customer satisfaction and enthusiasm for The Habit brand,” said Russ Bendel, President and CEO of The Habit Restaurants.

Capriotti's Continues Expansion

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop  is continuing its nationwide expansion. Rounding out the first half of 2019 on a high note, the brand has signed  48 franchise development deals within the first six months of the year. This number is only expected to grow as the year continues, with the Capriotti’s team anticipating even more momentum in the second half of 2019.


This announcement comes on the heels of earlier signed agreements this year which expanded the brand into new states including Rhode Island. In addition, this quarter Capriotti’s expanded opportunities for franchise partners to explore unique revenue streams with continued development in non-traditional locations such as the newest Ballpark location inside Las Vegas’ Aviator’s stadium. Capriotti’s currently has 100 operating locations, and more than 130 new shops in progress.

“We are thrilled to see our Capriotti’s fan base grow as our passionate franchise partners work to bring our award-winning food to even more communities across the country,” said Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop. “We have created a proven business model that provides franchisees with the tools they need to bring customers a high-quality dining experience and are looking forward to continuing this momentum through the rest of 2019 and beyond."