Hot Fourth on Schedule and Modernizing Mimi’s

This edition of MRM’s News Bites features HotSchedules and Fourth, Olo,  Sense360, Yext, Buyers Edge Platform,  El Torito, Lightspeed Retail, Antunes,  Mimi's, Jersey Mikes, Shipt, Plave Koch and Diamond Crystal Brands.

HotSchedules and Fourth Merge

HotSchedules, provider of the leading workforce and inventory management solutions for the restaurant industry, and Fourth merged business operations in an agreement backed by Marlin Equity Partners and Insight Partners. Together, the merged company now represents the world’s largest and only provider of end-to-end restaurant and hospitality management solutions for customers across the globe and of all sizes—from a single location or franchisee restaurant to a global restaurant or hotel chain. The combined company’s complete software-as-service (SaaS) solution suite including: scheduling, time & attendance, applicant tracking, training, inventory management / procurement, HR / benefits and payroll services now serves customers in 120,000 locations worldwide and is supported by a dedicated, unified team across offices in the US, UK, Bulgaria, China, Australia and UAE.

“The merger of Fourth and HotSchedules presents a huge opportunity for growth and innovation,” said Ben Hood, co-founder and CEO of Fourth and CEO of the newly merged company. “We are excited to join forces with a company that aligns so closely to our mission, values, history, culture and overall commitment to customer success. After overseeing Fourth’s journey to date, it is a dream partnership.”

“Merging with Fourth will enable us to accelerate innovation,” said David Cantu, co-founder and chief customer officer at HotSchedules. “As the two largest players in the restaurant and hospitality vertical, our combined strengths and industry expertise will ensure our customers have the solutions they need to solve complex business problems and remain competitive. We look forward to what the future holds and serving the industry together."

“We are excited to team up with Insight Partners in order to bring together two industry leaders,” said Doug Bayerd, a principal at Marlin Equity Partners. “Our combined investment underscores our commitment to the hospitality management solutions market and the value these companies provide for their customers."

HotSchedules’ core workforce management, employee engagement and back-of-house solutions combined with Fourth’s workforce management and cost-control operations platform offers customers the industry’s only complete back-of-house hospitality management solution. As a result of the merger, customers around the world now have access to:

  • An operations platform that seamlessly integrates with nearly every major POS system, finance platform and many industry-specific third-party applications 
  • Single sign-on, integrated workforce management and inventory management/ procurement software 
  • Robust compliance functionality to ensure enforcement of directives for labor management, safety, food and cash handling
  • Full-service, hospitality-specific payroll, benefits and HR services
  • Real-time operational insights, cost-control management and analytics dashboards 
  • Dynamic, advanced demand forecasting via the Company’s robust, predictive algorithms

“Our staff and managers enjoy using HotSchedules' powerful and intuitive scheduling app on a daily basis," said Anne Ansley, CFO of award-winning PDQ restaurants. "From an operational perspective, HotSchedules has really helped us drive greater efficiency across our entire brand. Combined with the great human resources, payroll and benefits services that Fourth continues to provide us, along with the addition of their advanced analytics and demand forecasting capabilities, this is a game-changer. The combined solutions will significantly benefit the industry, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of this technology.”

HotSchedules and Fourth will unite under the leadership of Ben Hood, CEO of Fourth, and an executive team comprised of HotSchedules and Fourth team members. The combined entity will continue to support solutions across their respective platforms. The business will be headquartered in Austin, Texas and London. 

Olo Coupon Manager Upgrade

Olo announced new functionality for customers with an overhaul to its Coupon Manager, which allows restaurant brands to deploy offers to digital ordering customers through the Olo Dashboard. 

Olo has simplified offer creation and introduced a wider array of coupon choices to empower restaurant operators in their campaigns to drive sales through direct digital channels, such as white-label brand websites and apps. It is a way for Olo customers to introduce various offers prior to integrating a loyalty program.

Restaurant brands can choose from nine different coupon types and apply item-specific or full order deals from BOGOs to discounts on qualifying items. Coupons can be set up with dollar or percent-based discounts. Restaurants can specify redemption options, coupon duration, and supported handoff modes such as pickup and delivery. The design has been overhauled to prioritize fast coupon creation and make it easy to monitor active coupon redemptions. It also gives restaurant marketers a new vehicle to promote trial and awareness of new or underperforming menu items.

Marketers can run campaigns using nine different promotional strategies using Coupons. Olo’s Coupon tool has undergone extensive user interface improvements, making it easier to build campaigns and adjust certain properties of existing coupons. Brands also benefit from having access to more coupon varieties and a simplified redemption process. Restaurant brands now have the power to create compelling promotional offers, build brand loyalty, and encourage repeat business

Brands can now create up to one million unique coupon codes for each offer to help control usage. Unique codes can be exported for use in personalized marketing campaigns.

“This relaunch allows our customers to take advantage of several highly anticipated platform features,” said Theresa Schaefer, VP of Product Management at Olo. “Our Coupon tool serves as a great option for brands before embarking on more complex loyalty and offer management systems available through Olo’s partner network.”

The new tool is live in the Olo Dashboard and is available to all customers at no additional cost.

“We continue to invest in all aspects of our platform on behalf of our customers, and are especially proud to provide enhancements like the new Coupon tool that can help drive revenue and increase consumer frequency,” said Marty Hahnfeld, Chief Customer Officer at Olo. 

Delivery 1Q Debuts

Sense360 launched Delivery IQ, a comprehensive measurement and analytics solution helping restaurants understand the impact that third party delivery services have on their businesses.  

Third party delivery has quickly become a staple of consumer behavior and consumers’ relationships with restaurants are shifting towards delivery. Referring to the restaurants that third party delivery customers order delivery from, Sense360 reports that 36 percent more frequently buy from these restaurants through third party delivery than visiting in person. 

For restaurants, this is simultaneously an opportunity and a challenge. Third party delivery is a new revenue opportunity but there isn’t clarity around whether this revenue is incremental or cannibalistic. In fact, Sense360 uncovered that 52 percent of third party delivery occasions are replacing an in-person restaurant visit. 

Historically, restaurants have had little visibility into the dynamics of each third party and the consumers using each platform, making it difficult for restaurants to choose the best partners, size the opportunity, and optimize their strategy. Delivery IQ delivers a smarter solution, providing restaurants with the visibility they’ve been missing.

Specifically, Delivery IQ combines behavioral purchase and foot traffic data with proprietary survey data into a comprehensive report and always-on dashboards, creating a comprehensive and real-time perspective into a growing segment of off-premise diners and the impact of third party delivery services.

“Leveraged correctly, third party delivery services can drive incremental revenue lift. Restaurants need — and deserve — clearer insight into the performance of these services and the impact on their businesses,” stated Eli Portnoy, CEO and Co-Founder at Sense360. “That’s why we developed Delivery IQ and are so thrilled to share its powerful, real-time monitoring and analysis capabilities with the market.”

To date, several major quick service and fast casual chains have enrolled in early access to the service, receiving an always-on view into third party delivery trends, consumer behavior, and consumer sentiment.

"Our guests crave delicious food delivered conveniently, and our team has been craving a more comprehensive view of third party delivery. We had been working with all available data but lacked the full market and competitive context. Delivery IQ has answered previously unanswerable questions — from understanding who our third party delivery customer is to quantifying the value of our delivery customers over time,” noted Keith Wagner, Senior Manager of Business Intelligence and Analytics at White Castle.   

Industry leaders are also taking notice and using the data to sharpen their understanding of the space and better enable their partners. 

"At Olo, we aim to help brands take better advantage of the digital shift that's happening in the industry but we see first hand the lack of information that's available to our partner restaurants to fully understand and capitalize on third party delivery. With Delivery IQ, Sense360 provides immediate answers to crucial third party delivery questions and tools for ongoing measurement so that restaurants can be empowered and make the most of this opportunity,” said Noah Glass, CEO and Founder at Olo.

Sense360 is hosting a webinar to share exclusive insights from Delivery IQ on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 1 p.m. Businesses interested in learning more about Delivery IQ and its ability to help businesses make sense of the impact of third party delivery services are encouraged to sign up for the webinar here or contact

Yext Managing the Hard Rock Experience

Yext, Inc. (NYSE: YEXT), the platform for Brand Verified Answers in search, announced its work with Hard Rock International to power answers-ready online listings and restaurant pages for Hard Rock Cafe locations globally. By managing restaurant information like locations, hours of operation, and holiday-specific details, the Yext platform allows Hard Rock to deliver facts verified by the brand directly to their searching customers’ fingertips.

“At Hard Rock Cafe, we are always looking for new ways to improve the experience for our guests,” said Stephanie Esposito, Director of Brand Marketing at Hard Rock International. “We’re excited for our partnership with Yext that allows us to improve all aspects of our guests’ experience before choosing to dine with us. The platform gives us the opportunity to provide up-to-date information through various search engines, voice assistants and maps about our innovative new menu that features award-winning Steak Burgers, Instagram-worthy Boozy Milkshakes, Sliders and Shareable offerings, as well as exciting entertainment experiences taking place at Hard Rock Cafe locations around the world.”

“Hard Rock International has been on the cutting edge for decades, and as technology changes the way we interact with businesses every day, restaurants everywhere need to take control over the facts about them online,” said Wendi Sturgis, Yext’s Chief Client Officer and CEO of Yext Europe. “We’re proud to work with Hard Rock so that when a diner is looking for the great food and classic entertainment experiences that Hard Rock Cafe is known for, they can be confident they are getting accurate, brand-verified answers.”

With Yext, Hard Rock has gained more control over the information guests find online. From search engines like Google, to voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, to Hard Rock Cafe’s own local restaurant pages, guests can find accurate answers about Hard Rock wherever they search. 

Investing in Buyers Edge

Buyers Edge Platform announced a significant investment from Bregal Sagemount, a New York-based growth capital fund. Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending Group and AB Private Credit Investors provided debt financing. The transaction will enable the company to pursue accretive mergers and acquisitions, invest in strategic growth initiatives, and make further platform innovations. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Buyers Edge Platform represents a network of companies and 50,000 operator locations. The Company extends its software and data solutions, partnerships and contracts to its members, empowering them to improve their client service offerings by leveraging the Platform’s over $7.5 Billion in annual spend. As a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO), Buyers Edge Platform provides its members discounted prices and rebates through its procurement network and price-driven contracts that are delivered via its growing portfolio of companies, including Dining Alliance, Consolidated Concepts, Buyers Edge Purchasing, Axis Purchasing, Sundell and Associates, RP Procurement, FoodBAM, Source1 Purchasing, Fresh Concepts and other member GPOs and consulting companies.

Buyers Edge Platform Chief Executive Officer, John Davie commented, “When I founded Dining Alliance in 1998, I knew that growth was paramount for success.  We started by targeting the independent restaurant market and have now created and acquired brands that reach thousands of multi-unit concepts, casinos, hotels and lodging properties, entertainment venues, higher education institutions, and other foodservice operators. This new partnership with Bregal Sagemount affords us the capital and guidance to bring new partners and companies onto the Buyers Edge Platform and continue our exponential growth trajectory.”

“We are thrilled to partner with John, and the rest of the team at Buyers Edge to support the Company’s next phase of growth,” said Bregal Sagemount Partner, Phil Yates. “We believe procurement networks in the foodservices space will follow a similar adoption curve to the healthcare sector. Given the restaurant market is largely unpenetrated, we see an exciting opportunity to continue to deliver savings to new members while providing our manufacturer and distributor partners."

El Torito Turns 65

El Torito will be celebrating their 65th anniversary on Thursday, July 18, top photo, with parties at all 31 El Torito locations. The local hot-spot invites the public to join in on the celebration which will feature Free Tacos (Steak, Chicken and Carnitas), fresh handmade tortillas and salsa bar from 3 p.m. to close. Guests will also enjoy Happy Hour drink specials which will include $6 Margaritas and $4 Draft Beers. The Entertainment will be Mariachi’s from 4 to 7p.m. and a DJ from 7p.m. to Close.  

“We are so excited to be celebrating El Torito’s 65th anniversary with our biggest party of the year,” said Randy Sharpe, CEO for Xperience Restaurant Group.  “This celebration marks a milestone in El Torito’s history, which is why we’re inviting our local communities to help us celebrate with free tacos and drink specials at all of our locations on July 18th starting at 3 p.m."


Lightspeed Adds Functionality

Lightspeed announced the addition of new inventory-focused features to Lightspeed Retail’s extensive suite of tools. As a leader in the industry, these features will help Lightspeed deliver unparalleled inventory management control, offering retailers added insight into how their business is truly performing. 

“There has been an increasing demand for a measurement tool to help retailers in complex verticals better manage the surplus or shortage that frequently arises as a result of product shifts,” said Dax Dasilva, Founder and CEO of Lightspeed. “These features help our customers fully understand what factors are affecting their stock, from overselling items to purchase orders, so that they can plan their product operations accordingly.”

  • Negative Inventory Report: Retailers can determine the source of common issues resulting in stock deficits through comprehensive inventory reports, accounting for product both through Lightspeed Retail and Lightspeed eCommerce to maintain updated, accurate inventory information 
  • Omnichannel Impact: Smart and seamless management of pre-orders and back orders, whether in-store or online, which can be accessed through the negative inventory report
  • Home-Data Driven Dashboard: Focuses on the shop's overall goals, including revenue, margin, profit, sales, discounts and refunds
  • Vendor Returns: Redesigned to make it easier for merchants to manage inventory, including quantities on return orders
  • Newly Supported Images Dimensions and Formats: Enables merchants to showcase their products online in more detail, thus helping the luxury verticals to deliver compelling experiences and increased sales.

“The negative inventory feature in Lightspeed has made my stock control absolute heaven,” said Theresa Pederson from lingerie retailer, Bodacious Bustlines.

“With the improvements that Lightspeed has made to their inventory controls we are able to maintain a more accurate picture of what we truly own,” said Tim Black from outdoor guide service and retail store, NOC Adventure Center.

“I live by my numbers; the inventory and the margins must be correct,” said Lori Ashcroft from baseball organization, West Michigan Whitecaps. “Using the negative inventory report, I can see at a glance where my negative inventory is. Using negative inventory has also worked really well with our eCom backorders. Ever since we started using it, I haven’t had a single problem; it’s worked perfectly.”

Mimi's Modernization

Mimi's, the  French-inspired concept, will change its name to Mimi's Bistro & Bakery. After 41 years in business, the brand is modernizing its restaurants, menus and approach to create an even better experience for loyal patrons and welcome a new era of guests to the table at Mimi's. 


"Creating a new name and face for Mimi's has been a long overdue and exciting experience for our team," said Philippe Jean, chief operating officer for Le Duff America, Inc. "We are ready for a fresh phase that strengthens our connection with France, while maintaining Mimi's heritage that made our guests fall in love with our brand in the first place."

Along with the new name, Mimi's is launching a Bites + Beverages menu with new Mimi's House Wine, made specifically for the brand from Bordeaux, France, cocktails and appetizers. The new House Red and House White Wine will be available for $6 per glass and $22 per bottle, accompanied by classic cocktails like the French 75, a fun twist on the classic, the French Mule and a martini selection. Appetizers on the menu include: Hummus & Crudités, Brochette Trio and Flatbreads. As always, Mimi's renowned mimosas remain on the menu along with refreshing flavored iced teas and coffees. 

"Our new Bites + Beverages menu is a delightful addition for our guests," said Tiffany McClain, head of marketing for Mimi's Bistro & Bakery. "Our restaurants are a destination where we celebrate life around food, friends and family. We are looking forward to welcoming new and loyal guests to explore our menu, try a tasty libation and enjoy the new look and warmth of Mimi's."

Mimi's has exciting plans for the remainder of 2019 and leading into 2020. 10 locations will complete renovations by the fall with new interiors, furniture, bar areas and innovations in technology.

Coaching and Culture

Great companies know that attracting and retaining quality employees requires having a well-established business culture in place. With over 40 years of leadership and coaching experience, author Keith Hertling, the Senior Vice President of Leadership, Coaching and Culture for Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, knows how to create and maintain a great work culture. In his new book “Life Lessons on Leadership, Coaching and Culture,” Hertling shares his inspiring stories which also double as a resourceful guide for both business owners, managers, and employees. 


Detailing how Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems has built a stellar worldwide brand, Hertling provides important insights on creating a leadership and culture plan that encourages teams to rethink how they approach work, conduct interviews, hire the right staff and adapt tactics to different learning styles.

“Keith’s insights and stories from his vast career of coaching and teaching others are invaluable to anyone who is serious about shaping their company’s corporate culture. Creating a culture built on integrity and exciting goals that team members can engage in is certainly a recipe for success no matter what kind of business you are leading.” – Tom Monaghan, Founder, Domino’s Pizza

“Keith Hertling teaches from the heart. He is part coach. Part spiritual advisor. Part mentor. And most incredible human being. We can all learn from his life and leadership lessons.” – Tommy Spaulding, New York Times bestselling author of ‘The Heart-Led Leader’

Thought-provoking and motivating, “Life Lessons on Leadership, Coaching and Culture” is a must-read for businesses large and small, franchise owners, spiritual and faith-based organizations, nonprofits and anyone in a leadership or crewmember position seeking inspiration to improve their work culture and personal development. To learn more, click here.

Antunes Acquires StoreLynk

Antunes, a family owned and operated company specializing in the manufacturing of foodservice equipment, recently acquired StoreLynk, a Cincinnati-based technology companyAntunes finalized the purchase of StoreLynk on June 21 following growing demand for the company’s “connected kitchen” platform in the foodservice industry. Designed specifically for restaurants and food vendors, the StoreLynk cloud-based analytics platform simplifies the integration of sensors and Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled equipment that transforms the data into a dashboard for reporting purposes. The technology supports an operation’s standardized actions and procedures. 

“We are excited to welcome StoreLynk and its groundbreaking connected kitchen capabilities to the Antunes family,” said Glenn Bullock, Antunes CEO. “This expansion represents a new chapter for our commitment to customer success in the rapidly modernizing foodservice industry.”

Antunes formed an initial alliance with StoreLynk in 2017 as the two organizations began development of IoT-enabled equipment connected through a central analytics hub.


“The StoreLynk platform has proven to help foodservice operators improve food safety, food quality and store operations,” said Daniel Schmidt, Antunes Director of Strategic Operations. “By harnessing data with StoreLynk’s platform at the equipment, store and regional levels, we can help gain more accurate and timely information to help grow their businesses more profitably.”


Shipt Goes Smart

Shipt will begin same-day delivery with Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores across 15 markets in the Western and Northwestern regions of the U.S. Beginning Jul. 11, ingredients and restaurant supplies will be available in as soon as one hour to households and foodservice providers such as caterers, restaurateurs, and other small businesses. 

The announcement expands Shipt’s same-day delivery offering to the $731 billion foodservice industry, to make it easier for restaurants, coffee shops, and catering companies alike to access the products they trust from Smart Foodservice. Delivery will begin in Seattle, Portland and the Bay Area, CA, as well as select cities in the Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah. To celebrate the announcement, new area Shipt members who sign up will receive a twp-week free trial. 

“Many small business owners across the Western United States trust Smart Foodservice for high-quality wholesale goods at a low price,” said Kelly Caruso, chief executive officer, Shipt. “By partnering with Smart Foodservice, we are able to provide convenience and ease to an important sector of restaurateurs, caterers, event planners and more who often order in bulk.”

“Smart Foodservice is committed to providing our customers with a seamless shopping experience, whether that’s in-store or through convenient delivery via Shipt,” said John Mathews, Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores. “We offer more than 8,000 products to our long-standing customers, many of whom are independently owned small businesses who rely on us for convenience without sacrificing quality and consistency of food products and supplies.”

Headquartered near Portland, Oregon, Smart Foodservice has operated throughout the Northwest for more than 60 years. The division currently has 67 wholesale stores located in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah catering to the foodservice industry.

Plave Koch Partners Honored

Franchise law firm Plave Koch announced that all nine of the firm’s partners (Regina Amolsch, Leslie Curran, Marisa Faunce, David Koch, Michael Laidhold, Lee Plave, Leslie Pujo, Ben Reed and Jim Rubinger) were named by London-based Who’s Who Legal to the WWL international list for 2019. Lee Plave was named global Franchise Lawyer of the Year for the second consecutive year by WWL. WWL also recognized the firm as runner-up for global Franchise Law Firm of the Year.

Three of the firm’s partners – Leslie Curran, Dave Koch, and Lee Plave – were named to the Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Global Elite 2020. Plave Koch is the only firm in the world with three franchise partners named to the list of top lawyers.

WWL is a leading publication based in London that annually identifies the foremost legal practitioners in various fields of law. WWL publishes findings based on its independent six-month research process, which encompasses feedback from private practitioners, clients and other experts in the sector around the world. Each year, WWL identifies leading experts and firms in each of its featured practice areas, including franchise law.

“In winning this award for the second time, Mr. Plave has once again showed his outstanding skill, expertise and reputation in the field of franchising, said Rupert Wilson, WWL’s editor. “Respondents to our research recommended him more than any other practitioner in the research for our 2018 edition and noted him as being ‘a great person to work with’ and someone who ‘lives and breathes franchising.’”

“The Who’s Who Legal honor is especially appreciated because it represents the recognition and respect of peers in the profession in both the U.S. and across the globe,” said Plave. “We’re particularly pleased that our fresh and independent approach to providing legal services resonates with our clients and colleagues.”

Plave Koch is one of few firms in the world to have WWL recognize 100% of its partners for their outstanding work and scholarship.

“We are extremely proud to have our entire partnership team recognized. It validates our goal of packing one of the largest franchise law practices in the country into a small, dynamic firm,” said David Koch, co-founding partner of the firm.

The Plave Koch partners named to the 2019 list include:

Regina Amolsch, who concentrates her practice in franchising, licensing and distribution issues, as well as general corporate transactions. She has a special focus on private equity transactions and franchising in medical fields. Regina advises on Internet-related policies and guidelines for franchise systems, drafts agreements for website development and licensing arrangements and counsels clients on domain name management, and related issues. She received her J.D. from Emory University School of Law and her B.A. from University of Miami.

Leslie Curran, who focuses on advising start-up, middle-market, and mature clients on all aspects of franchise and distribution law as well as complex transactions. She also advises on structuring the relationship and regulatory compliance. Her practice emphasizes both domestic and international franchises and licensing, as well as area development, area representative and sub-franchise arrangements. Leslie earned her J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and her B.A. from Elizabethtown College.

Marisa Faunce, who counsels franchisors, licensors, and manufacturers on transactional, regulatory, and intellectual property issues involved in developing and growing franchise programs. She also counsels franchisors regarding all aspects of the franchise relationship, including operational compliance, system standards, default and termination strategies and franchise workouts. She has extensive experience in structuring and revamping franchise programs, drafting franchise, license and area development agreements and counseling franchisors with regard to regulatory (FDD) compliance issues. Marisa received her J.D. from The College of William & Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Dave Koch, who focuses on structuring franchise programs and license arrangements, supply chain issues, private equity investments in franchising, corporate and commercial transactions, regulatory compliance, antitrust counseling, advertising and marketing, social impact franchising, and international expansion. His experience includes foodservice, hotels, educational services, staffing, car rental, automotive aftermarket, insurance, homeowner services, and retail. Before entering private practice, Dave served as an attorney-advisor to the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. Additionally, he is an adjunct clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan Law School and NYU School of Law. Dave earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and his B.S from the University of Iowa.

Michael Laidhold, who has over 20 years of experience with a variety of commercial, licensing, franchise, corporate and business development matters across a diverse range of industries. Additionally, Michael has authored and co-authored several articles on branding, licensing, franchising and distribution issues, and regularly speaks on these topics at industry and association events. He received his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh Law School, his M.P.I.A from the University of Pittsburgh and his B.A. from Miami University.

Lee Plave, who has extensive experience counseling distributors and franchisors on all aspects of international and domestic transactions. Additionally, he advises clients on private equity transactions, the application of technology to franchise and distribution systems, including social media issues, e-commerce, data use and security policies, cybersquatting and domain name disputes, consumer complaint and cybersmear sites and software and hardware licensing. Lee received his J.D. from the New York Law School and his B.A. from Clark University.

Leslie Pujo, who counsels clients on franchise registration and disclosure matters, franchise relationship issues and pre-litigation dispute resolution, as well as structuring franchise and other distribution systems in a variety of industries. Additionally, Leslie has a focus in mobility services and vehicle use law where she counsels on vehicle/mobility regulatory compliance for the full range of mobility models and platforms, including traditional car rental, recreational vehicle rentals, dealer loaners, car-sharing, subscription and multi-platform. She received her J.D. from George Washington University, her D.E.S.S. from the University of Toulouse, and her B.A. from Trinity University.

Ben Reed, who has been working with franchisors for over 20 years on a variety of litigation, counseling, transactional and regulatory matters. His represents franchisors in trial and appellate courts across the country, as well as in mediation, arbitration, and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings.  His experience also includes counseling franchisors in all aspects of the franchise relationship and advising clients in trademark prosecutions and protection matters.. He earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia and his B.A.S. from the University of South Carolina.

Jim Rubinger, who specializes in franchise and trademark litigation and has litigated cases in trial and appellate courts, as well as arbitration, across the country and internationally. He has represented franchisors and manufacturers in a wide variety of contract, business torts, antitrust, and state statutory cases. Jim also counsels franchisors on the operation of multiple and competing brands, anti-trust issues, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, extraterritorial application of U.S. trademark law, and franchise termination disputes and distribution issues. He received his J.D. from George Washington University Law School and his B.A. from Brown University.

True Lemon in Foodservice

Diamond Crystal Brands® partnered with Grand Brands Inc® to distributeTrue Lemon in foodservice. And now, just in time for summer, True Lemon packets are adding flavor to the South’s favorite drink – tea! Consumers can enjoy the taste of freshly squeezed lemon year-round in iced tea or any refreshing beverage served at over 350 Krystal restaurants.


True Lemon is real crystallized lemon with an authentic taste. Its simple, clean ingredients come in a convenient portion control packet. It contains no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or colors and is non-GMO. There are zero calories or sugar in True Lemon. This form of fresh squeezed lemon taste is sanitary while eliminating waste and food safety concerns. Since the product is shelf stable and requires no refrigeration, it’s easy-to-use, serve and display at beverage counters or on tabletops.

The Krystal Company made waves when it agreed to become the first large fast-food company to offer True Lemon to flavor beverages.

“Krystal is an iconic restaurant brand fully invested in communities. The company provides top-notch service and products. We know the guests will enjoy flavoring their beverages with True Lemon. It’s convenient and authentic, just like Krystal,” said Steve Cohn, director of marketing, Diamond Crystal Brands.

Each 0.8-gram individual packet equals the juice of one lemon wedge and dissolves completely in hot or cold beverages. Available in bulk 500-count or twelve 100-count dispenser pack cases, both the lemon and lime flavors are sold through foodservice, convenience and office coffee service distribution everywhere.