MRM Franchise Feed features news about the restaurant franchise (MUFSO) landscape.
KFC Foundation Launches MyChange
The KFC Foundation, an independent 501c3 non-profit organization primarily funded by KFC franchisees, in partnership with SaverLife, a national non-profit fintech company that helps working families achieve prosperity through savings, announced the launch of MyChange with SaverLife. This program, piloted last year, is designed to help KFC team members build short-term savings and create lasting savings behaviors.
When life presents unexpected expenses, such as urgent car or home repairs, an emergency fund can help keep families afloat, and prevent them from taking on debt or missing payments. However, according to a 2019 report from the Federal Reserve Bank, 37 percent of all Americans could not cover an unexpected $400 expense without going into debt. Furthermore, a recent study by SaverLife sponsored by the FINRA Foundation found that savings balances above just $250 are correlated with increased housing security, ability to pay utility bills, and avoiding high-cost borrowing.
“We are very excited about our partnership with SaverLife. To be able to offer these types of resources means a lot. It’s one more way we can show how much we care about our employees. Programs like MyChange with SaverLife help us develop the financial acumen of our team members, setting them up for success in their future, while also strengthening our organization from the ground up,” said Justin Stewart, KFC franchisee and Board Chair of the KFC Foundation.
Participants in MyChange with SaverLife receive access to the national SaverLife platform and the opportunity to participate in national savings challenges, access financial education articles, engage in forums and accumulate redeemable points for a chance to win prizes.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the KFC Foundation to provide KFC restaurant employees with the tools they need to quickly build emergency savings funds and establish long-term saving habits,” said Leigh Phillips, President and CEO, SaverLife. “We consistently see the difference it makes to have $500 in savings, and the KFC Foundation is helping frontline workers build that emergency fund in just a few months.”
Eligible employees of KFC corporately-owned and franchisee-owned restaurants can also participate in Savings Match Challenges funded by the KFC Foundation. Enrolled employees in the Savings Match Challenge can get a $20 sign-up bonus, and by saving at least $10 a month, they will receive a $1 for $1 match of up to $40 per month over a six-month period, empowering them to create a $500 short-term emergency savings fund—or boost their current savings by $500 (terms and conditions apply).
“By helping KFC team members build up an emergency savings fund, we’re helping them improve their overall well-being and build resilience to face future financial challenges,” said Emma Horn, Managing Director of the KFC Foundation. “This program is a way to empower and equip restaurant employees with tools and resources to help them succeed and achieve their goals. We’re grateful to be working with SaverLife to bring these unique and exciting opportunities to KFC team members across the country.”
The KFC Foundation provides the funding and outreach, and SaverLife manages the savings platform and financial rewards for KFC participants. For more on SaverLife, visit saverlife.org/.
Church's Moves to Hybrid Model
Church’s Chicken continues its Transformation Journey that was prompted by the global pandemic. The company is activating a new balanced Hybrid Model for the company’s Atlanta-based Restaurant Support Center teams. The model recognizes the importance of in-person interactions, while continuing to practice social distancing guidelines.
“As many companies look to create a new normal for employees, Church’s has chartered a course that focuses on sustaining our team members and securing the continuity of our business,” said Karen Viera, Chief People Officer for Church’s Chicken. “The pandemic has reinforced that our organization has to remain nimble, but we’re also taking a forward-thinking approach combined with our related learnings to stay ahead of pace. We are also leaning heavily into our People First Safety Always Plan to guide us through how we’re doing business, as we seek what’s best for all our teams, franchisees, and enterprise.”
Over the past year, Church’s has activated modified schedules for the Restaurant Support Center, which assists team members across the globe. Team members were placed on remote workforce schedules and split schedules depending on current COVID-19 trends and data. The Hybrid Model features three days in-office and two days remote for all teams. The new model will launch in 2022 and enables the company to advance work-life-balance for employees, while enhancing the workability and connectivity of the Restaurant Support Center teams.
“We optimized how we work with the strategies developed in response to the pandemic. We will continue to use this methodology to ensure a win-win environment,” added Viera.
Tebow Joins Clean Juice as Brand Ambassador
Clean Juice® announced its official partnership with professional football player and philanthropist Tim Tebow. The partnership aligns Clean Juice’s core values of healthy, clean living with a focus on raising the nutritional and educational value of organic food and beverage choices available to consumers across the nation.
The partnership with Clean Juice is highlighted by the creation of the brand’s first-ever national TV spot featuring Tebow and his experience with the brand. The spot and subsequent videos featuring Tebow will be utilized across multiple strategies and platforms to build awareness of the award-winning brand as it expands across the U.S. Clean Juice will also feature Tebow in social media, web, point-of-purchase materials product development, and more.
“Tim Tebow’s natural authenticity, inspiring reputation, commitment to healthy living, and unwavering faith is the perfect embodiment of the personal and professional values we hold dear at Clean Juice,” said Landon Eckles, CEO, Clean Juice. “We are truly blessed that Tebow has chosen to stand side-by-side with Clean Juice in becoming the face of the brand’s continued mission and vision of being healthy in body and strong in spirit. The entire Clean Juice family is blessed to work with Tebow.”
“I'm very excited to be partnering with Clean Juice and to offer something that is truly clean and healthy,” said Tebow. “The biggest thing about Clean Juice over everything else is that you can trust the product and brand. There aren’t a lot of products that are transparent about what is in your food.”
Tim Tebow is a two-time national champion, first-round NFL draft pick, and Heisman Trophy winner. After his first stint in the NFL, Tebow joined ESPN and the SEC Network. In addition to his role on SEC Nation, the network's traveling roadshow, Tebow contributes to a variety of other ESPN platforms. In fall 2016 he signed a baseball contract with the New York Mets before returning to the NFL in 2021. Through it all, Tim's true passion remains the work of the Tim TebowFoundation, which he began in 2010. The foundation's mission is to bring Faith, Hope, and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. The foundation is fulfilling that mission every day by fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves all around the world.
In addition to the brand ambassadorship, Clean Juice is partnering with the Tim Tebow Foundation, as they collectively pursue a strong commitment to enhancing local communities through the company’s Quarters 4 Kids initiative. Launched at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Quarters 4 Kid serves underprivileged children to become “healthy in body and strong in spirit” by providing access and education to underprivileged children about proper nutrition, the benefits of organic eating, exercise, and improving overall wellness.
“We are honored and blessed to align our philanthropic vision and dream of making meaningful and impactful contributions toward underprivileged children and communities with Tebow and his foundation,” added Eckles. “His unwavering faith, indomitable spirit, and passion for health and wellness is the embodiment of authenticity, altruism, and genuine compassion for all people. We couldn’t think of anyone better than Tebow and his foundation to fulfill our dream of faithful community service.”
Just Salad Completes Financing Round
Just Salad completed its largest ever capital raise, with participation by the circular economy-focused investment firm Closed Loop Partners, as well as returning investor Panda Restaurant Group, the parent company of Panda Express®.
Just Salad will use the capital to expand its geographic footprint and implement new environmental sustainability and technology initiatives. Currently the brand has 47 locations in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Florida, and Dubai, and plans to double its footprint over the next two years.
Founded in 2006, Just Salad is the fast-casual restaurant industry’s leading proponent of zero-waste practices. In 2022, Just Salad will expand its award-winning Reusable Bowl Program to digital orders and offer participating customers loyalty rewards in its mobile app, further encouraging sustainable eating on the go.
Just Salad is the first restaurant investment for Closed Loop Partners, a New York-based investment firm and innovation center focused on scaling the circular economy in North America and beyond. Their investments align capitalism with positive social and environmental impact, driving toward zero-waste “closed loop” systems that benefit people, the planet and business. The partnership with Just Salad builds on and complements Closed Loop Partners’ existing work to advance sustainable food packaging, including investments in companies who focus on alternative materials and reuse systems, and their leadership in the NextGen Consortium, an industry partnership that advances the design, commercialization and recovery of sustainable food packaging alternatives.
“We are impressed with Just Salad’s innovative approach to embedding zero-waste principles across their business. They are a pioneer of reuse models at scale, creating the world’s largest restaurant reusable program and illustrating their commitment to extending the life of valuable packaging materials,” said Ron Gonen, Founder and CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “Their continued growth demonstrates the viability, feasibility and desirability of circular business models.”
“It has been rewarding to be part of Just Salad’s journey since the start of our partnership in 2014. Their growth in urban and suburban markets is impressive and is the result of great operations and focus on people development,” said Andrew Cherng, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Panda Restaurant Group, the largest Asian dining concept in the U.S. with restaurant concepts in more than ten countries. “We are looking forward to supporting this next phase of Just Salad’s expansion and the impact they will make through their upcoming initiatives.”
Nick Kenner, Founder and CEO of Just Salad, said of the company’s future, “The white space for Just Salad is truly incredible. Just Salad is on its way to becoming a larger part of the national landscape and that means unrivaled, craveable food and more sustainable eating for America in general. The tail winds are strong, and it's about executing at a high level while still focusing on each and every customer.”
Curry Up Now Adds Incentives LTO
Curry Up Now offering a limited-time franchise development incentivethat allows experienced, multi-unit operators to sign a deal for a minimum of three Curry Up Now franchise restaurants rather than the typical five unit commitment.
Keeping the pandemic in mind and with an eye on the future, Curry Up Now is temporarily reducing the typical development fee for eligible entrepreneurs that enter a new multi-unit operator agreement. This limited-time offer is only applicable on new deals to develop a minimum of three restaurants, signed before September 30, 2021. In addition to a bold brand and innovative menu with unique takes on Indian Street Food, Curry Up Now offers franchisees industry-leading unit economics. The restaurant design can operate in a flexible footprint ranging from 1,300 to 3,500 square feet, and several franchisees have identified opportunities to convert existing spaces to drastically reduce initial build out costs.
“With an increase in Class A property availability and attractive lease deals being negotiated now, we designed this incentive to encourage savvy entrepreneurs to get off the sidelines, take action and join the Curry Up Now family,” said Akash Kapoor, CEO and founder of Curry Up Now. “We’ve successfully worked hand-in-hand with our franchisees to build creative strategies to maintain momentum, sign deals and open new locations during the pandemic. They recognize the opportunity to invite additional franchise partners to the table as Curry Up Now’s brand presence grows across the country.”
Kapoor expanded, “We’ve also worked very hard on our supply chain to make our food available all over the country so we can basically open anywhere. With our industry leading technology partners like OIo, Thanx, Dolce Software, Ctuit, COGS-Well, MomentFeed, Tattle, Plate IQ, Givex and Revel Systems, we feel very confident about our tech stack to help support our growth.”
Working with industry-leading franchise development company Fransmart, Curry Up Now is seeking experienced, multi-unit foodservice operators to take advantage of this offer and develop additional franchise locations in major markets across the country.
“This incentive is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that’s nearly unheard of in the franchise industry for a brand this popular,” said Dan Rowe, CEO of Fransmart. “Entrepreneurs won’t want to miss out on this deal – it’s now or never, and any business-minded individual will see the great potential in this opportunity and understand the value of securing access to two exceptional brands.”
In 2020, seed-stage venture capital firm Liquid 2 Ventures (L2V) added Curry Up Now as the first restaurant in its portfolio with an investment that supports the expansion of corporate and franchise locations nationwide. In the last 18 months alone, Curry Up Now opened seven new locations and signed multiple, multi-unit franchise deals to expand in the Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth, Texas, areas. Curry Up Now plans to open seven additional new locations in 2021 with lease signings confirmed in California, Georgia, Indiana and Texas, and more than 50 restaurants in varying stages of development.
“The market is still ripe for continued expansion and growth,” said Kapoor. “With our franchisees, development team, investment partners and new locations rapidly opening, we have successfully grown our brand to all four corners of the continental U.S., and the sky’s the limit.”
Coolgreens’ Sales Surge
Coolgreens, top photo, achieved record-breaking sales and rapid growth in Q2.Through Q2, the healthy lifestyle eatery has generated sales approaching its total 2019 sales. Compared to Q2 in 2019, Coolgreens increased sales by 79 percent. Within its 2021 second quarter sales, Coolgreens broke five corporate weekly sales records and had 22 total individual record weeks.
After expanding its presence in Dallas-Fort Worth and introducing the brand to Omaha in 2020, Coolgreens experienced success in both new markets, as well as in its established Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets. While dine-in sales grew 45 percent compared to the first quarter, Coolgreens’ off-premise sales continue to be the preferred channel for consumers, remaining steadfast over several quarters.
In addition, the brand expanded its DFW footprint by launching Coolgreens Market – smart fridges that offer a quick, affordable and delicious way to grab healthy food on-the-go – in DFW International Airport. The cutting-edge business model that optimizes technology has contributed to Coolgreens’ Q2 success by targeting travel-bound consumers with fresh, nutritious, convenient options.
“I would like to congratulate our franchisees, operators and team members on a tremendous quarter,” said Coolgreens CEO Robert Lee. “We achieved record sales this summer, due in large part to our innovative initiatives that capitalized on the fast-changing consumer environment, our commitment to providing fresh, flavorful foods like our new Brilliant Berry Salad and continued strong off-premise sales. Catering has become a major aspect of our business, which we believe has significant upside. I am extremely proud of the strides that our team has made over the years that positioned Coolgreens as the best-in-class brand that it is today. We have big plans for the future, and I can’t wait for what’s to come.”
Nathan's Gets the Ghost
Nathan’s Famous, Inc. doubled the number of ghost kitchens worldwide since June 2020. The brand opened its 223th ghost kitchen, bringing the brand’s presence to over 18 countries across the globe. This rapid growth of ghost kitchens comes from the development of a new brand, Wings of New York, as well the revival of the Arthur Treacher’s brand.
"We are proud to announce that we have doubled our ghost kitchens across the globe,” states James Walker, Senior Vice President, Restaurants. “We could not have done this without collaboration with outside brands who have helped to bring the Flavor of New York to more guests through Nathan’s Famous, Wings of New York and Arthur Treacher’s. While they are different in their offerings and menus, they share the focus on ensuring all menu items are ‘Memorable, Craveable and Instagrammable.’. Our goal with these ghost kitchens is not just to grow our brand around the world, but also help other restaurants by providing them additional business during these turbulent times for the industry.”
Nathan’s Famous began incorporating ghost kitchens in the business model in 2019 working with Franklin Junction. The following year, the brand teamed with REEF Kitchens, which brought the brand to new markets in the Midwest, as well as Kitopi, to help the brand’s growth in the UAE.
In 2020, Nathan’s Famous introduced its new brand Wings of New York, which is a delivery only concept offering New York style wings as well as Harlem-style chicken and waffles. Earlier this year, Nathan’s Famous also reintroduced Arthur Treacher’s, a brand that’s been in the Nathan’s brand’s portfolio for years, which features hand-dipped fish, chicken and shrimp.
Pancheros in Peoria
Pancheros Mexican Grill will open a new Peoria location on July 27 in The Shoppes at Grand Prairie. The restaurant will be locally owned by franchisees Chase and Dana Brower along with Peoria native Thaddeus Chamberlain and wife Karla.
“We know that many locals are already fans of Pancheros, so opening a restaurant in Peoria seemed like the perfect business opportunity,” said Chase Brower. “This store has been a long time in the making, and we couldn’t be more excited to open on July 27. Our team can’t wait to serve the best burritos in town!”
The brand’s pursuit to build the perfect burrito dates back to 1992 when Pancheros founder Rodney Anderson opened the doors to his first restaurant in downtown Iowa City, Iowa.
“Since 2004, we’ve been able to share our business model with franchisees like Chase and Dana Brower, who have a passion for bringing Burritos Better Built to their local communities,” said Rodney Anderson, president and founder of Pancheros. “I know that the people of Peoria will appreciate their commitment to serving the community.”
The brand's franchising program has led to 69 locations across 12 states.
WOWed by the Growth
WOWorks family of restaurant brands Saladworks, Frutta Bowls, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and The Simple Greek, have achieved steady growth for the second quarter of 2021 and the brands are on track to open more than 70 new restaurants before the end of the year. In the past three months, the brands have signed 13 new franchise agreements and opened 18 new locations, including debuts in Utah, California, Texas, Massachusetts and Tennessee – proving the consistent demand for fresh, flavorful and healthy fast-casual dining options.
Some notable WOWorks growth milestones and key accomplishments in the past three months include:
- WOWorks restaurants as a whole have seen strong growth with its brands in non-traditional restaurant venues such as Ghost Kitchens, Combo Kitchens, grocery stores, airports, colleges and universities.
- Among the 18 locations that have opened in Q2, 83 percent have been non-traditional restaurants.
- WOWorks is projecting 61 new openings in non-traditional verticals before the end of the year and is pursuing more grocery opportunities in Ohio, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
- In June, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh opened its first restaurant in Salt Lake City Airport. This is the brand’s first location in Utah.
- In June, Frutta Bowls’ signed a franchise agreement with SteelCraft, a trendy outdoor eatery concept that uses shipping containers as a restaurant space. This marks the brand’s debut in California.
WOWorks is also fielding inquiries from potential investors around the country for co-branded concepts where one location will house two WOWorks brands. For example, this month WOWorks opened its first Saladworks and Frutta Bowls co-branded location in East Norriton, Pennsylvania as well as their first ever grocery location. They also have stores opening in Pennsylvania, Norfolk, Virginia, West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Reno, Nevada.
“In addition to continuing to build our traditional restaurant growth, we are looking to redefine the non-traditional restaurant category in unique and relevant platforms. From exploring non-traditional channels such as grocery stores, airports, universities, colleges and ghost kitchens, we are paving the way for growth with all of the brands under the WOWorks umbrella,” said Eric Lavinder, Chief Development Officer for WOWorks. “We are especially excited about the possibilities with co-branded WOWorks restaurants that can help franchisees expand revenue hours to include breakfast.”
Saladworks is part of WOWorks brands, which also includes Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, a leading fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant brand, The Simple Greek, a franchise of fast-casual Greek restaurants, and Frutta Bowls, a unique fast-casual concept serving a variety of superfood bowls, fresh fruit smoothies and more. The newly formed family of brands share a core DNA designed to meet a growing demand among Millennial families and GenZ guests who crave healthy, nutritious and flavorful dining options with a high level of customization and convenience. WOWorks franchise owners come from different backgrounds, including existing franchise owners from different brands; varied business ownership backgrounds, such as construction, hotels, and fitness; former professional athletes; and military veterans.
Twin Peaks in Florida
Twin Peaks is expanding its footprint throughout the Sunshine State with the recent execution of a new franchise deal. Twin Peaks CEO Joe Hummel said the company has executed an area development agreement with Ricky Warman, along with his business partner Mike Cothern, to bring the brand’s acclaimed sports viewing experience to Daytona Beach. Warman expects to open three new lodges in the area, with the first of the new restaurants slated to open in fall of 2022.
Initially drawn to Twin Peaks due to its impressive sales and energetic, quality-driven environment, Warman invested in the brand’s Fort Myers lodge in 2015 before deciding to franchise locations throughout Daytona Beach.
“We are thrilled to officially welcome Ricky to the Twin Peaks family as a franchisee,” Hummel said. “It’s been an incredible experience to watch him grow with our brand over the years and learn the ropes of being involved with his first location. Twin Peaks has already proven to be a popular spot throughout central and south Florida, and we can’t wait to continue rapidly growing within this great state and open our first Daytona Beach lodge.”
“When I joined the Twin Peaks team as an investor five years ago, I immediately knew it was going to be a brand I wanted to continue developing with,” Warman said. “As a franchisee, I couldn’t be more excited to take on new responsibilities that come with owning a restaurant while I expand this brand in an area that already feels like home to me. There’s no place like Twin Peaks in Daytona Beach, and after seeing the success of our Fort Myers restaurant, I feel confident that locals and visitors alike will quickly become huge fans of our scratch-made food, ice-cold beer, wall-to-wall TVs and top-notch service.”
Crazy about Coffee
Ten new independent coffee shops opened in the first half of 2021 through Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea’s 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program. At least eight more shops plan to open later this year.
“Kudos to these entrepreneurs who are now living their dream of owning independent coffee shops serving their local communities,” said Founder and President Greg Ubert. “We look forward to helping them build their businesses in the years to come.”
The new shops include:
- The Village Brew Coffee House in Piketon, Ohio
- Angie’s Sugar Buzz Bakery in Sandwich, Illinois
- Millersport Coffee in Lancaster, Ohio
- La Plaza Tapatia in Columbus, Ohio
- White Buffalo Coffee Bar in Weatherford, Oklahoma
- Sweet Aroma Coffeehouse & Bakery in Colchester, Connecticut
- Lock No. 4 Coffeehouse in Beverly, Ohio
- Calabria Coffee in New Hartford, New York
- Coffee Jerks Yukon in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- The Branch Gathering Place + Coffee House in Greensburg, Indiana
Owners and managers learned how to run their businesses through Crimson Cup’s 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program.
Based on Ubert’s Book, Seven Steps to Success: a Commonsense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee, the 7 Steps program has helped hundreds of independent coffee shops in 30 states become thriving businesses.
“Crimson Cup supports coffee shop owners at every step – from scouting a profitable location and writing a coffee shop business plan to planning a menu, choosing equipment, hiring staff and providing comprehensive training," Ubert said.
“We also provide award-winning coffee, the best coffee shop supplies in the business, and ongoing support to help coffee businesses thrive.”
In fact, two of the new coffee shops belong to owners who opened existing locations with Crimson Cup’s help:
Opened April 12, White Buffalo Weatherford joined three existing White Buffalo Coffee Bars in Lawton and Altus, Oklahoma.
With the June 7 opening of Coffee Jerks Yukon, there are now four Coffee Jerks locations in Oklahoma City and Edmond, Oklahoma.
“Owners who run multiple locations show that specialty coffee shops can remain profitable and grow even during difficult economic times,” Ubert said.
“We think now is a perfect time to open an independent coffee shop," he added. "The economy is picking up, coffee demand continues to grow, lots of prime real estate is available, and interest rates are at historic lows."
Most of the owners had little or no experience in specialty coffee. Some said they would not have been able to open without Crimson Cup’s help.
Jennifer Chandler owns The Village Brew Coffee House. After talking to other independent coffee house owners, she advises prospective owners to start with Crimson Cup.
“Begin by reading the 7 Steps book and then sign the agreements with Scott Fullerton,” she said. “I have saved so much time and money with Crimson Cup’s input.”
7 Steps Sales Leader Scott Fullerton is the initial contact for all new coffee shop owners. Reach him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1.888.800.9224.
“If you’ve ever dreamed about opening a coffee house, I’d love to help you get started,” Fullerton said. “We’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs take the leap from dreaming about a coffee shop to opening their doors. Chances are, we can help you!”
Crimson Cup coffee is available through over 350 independent coffee houses, grocers, college and universities, restaurants and food service operations across 30 states, Guam and Bangladesh.
Koibito Poké Debuts New Design
Koibito Poké recently opened its newest location in Scottsdale debuting a brand-new design that will be the model for future franchise locations across the country. The healthy fast casual restaurant is actively seeking Franchisees for nationwide expansion after elevating its design and enhancing the customer experience. The new restaurant design provides easier kitchen movement, a more open floor plan and large floor to ceiling windows which create a modern and inviting atmosphere for its customers. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available.
Koibito Poké currently has four locations in Arizona and is anticipating expansion over the next 12 months into a dozen new markets by offering a lucrative package to potential Franchisees and area developers that including royalties and benefits. The team already has already secured interest for additional locations throughout Arizona and in states including Texas, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, Rhode Island, and Florida.
Leading the brand's nationwide expansion is Koibito Poké's Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO Todd Stottlemyre, former MLB Pitcher and 3-time World Champion. According to Stottlemyre, the company aims to set itself apart from others by serving healthy food that has great advantages to building the body's immune system — and by a commitment not to follow the standard but to become it.
Del Taco Partners Up
Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. announced its new franchise partnership with Consolidated Taco Holdings (CTH) – a sister company to Consolidated Burger Holdings (CBH). Continuing its expansion throughout Florida, where Del Taco has recently seen an influx of growth and development, the deal is expected to bring 12 new Del Taco locations to Florida’s Panhandle.
“We’ve been in the burger franchise business for quite some time and are more than excited to partner with Del Taco to add a Mexican restaurant to our portfolio,” said Ed Stutz, CEO of CTH. “When choosing new brands to add to our portfolio, we go through a rigorous exercise to ensure we’re very aligned with their vision. We believe Del Taco checks all the boxes to include a strong leadership team, a compelling brand identity, a highly distinctive value proposition, and strong unit level economics. We are really looking forward to partnering with the Del Taco team on the nationwide expansion by bringing the concept to Panhandle of Florida and beyond.”
Stutz, an Army veteran, has been in the restaurant industry since 2002, previously serving as North Division Vice President for Arby’s Restaurant Group where he oversaw nearly 800 locations in the U.S. and Canada. In his role as CEO of CTH and CBH, Stutz has become well-versed in strategic business planning, team alignment, change management and new unit and revenue growth. CBH is an emerging restaurant conglomerate that has proven its success in owning and operating more than 60 Burger King locations throughout Georgia and Florida.
“This new multi-unit plan to expand throughout Florida propels us forward in realizing our vision for significant brand growth led by franchisees in the Southeast region of the U.S.,” said Jeff Little, Senior Vice President of Development. “Our goal is to continue to partner with successful franchise organizations like CTH who are aligned with Del Taco’s commitment to bringing the brand to life by combining great real estate with operational excellence. The CTH team has a phenomenal track record of success in this region and is an ideal partner to continue growing Del Taco’s presence and reputation throughout Florida.”
Torchy's Grows in Kansas
Torchy’s Tacos is growing in Kansas with the announcement of its newest restaurant opening in West Wichita on Wednesday, July 28. Located at 2901 North Maize Road, the opening marks the restaurant’s second location in the Wichita area and fifth location in Kansas. Torchy’s first Wichita restaurant opened on North Rock Road in Sept. 2020.
"We’re thrilled to continue growing in the Midwest and sharing our Damn Good tacos with more Kansans, all thanks to the terrific support of our Torchy’s fans,” said G.J. Hart, CEO of Torchy’s Tacos. “Whether you prefer to relax on our patio or eat in the dining room, our West Wichita location offers the community the perfect spot to enjoy Damn Good tacos, made-to-order margaritas and some warm Texas hospitality!”
Torchy’s West Wichita is opening with safety measures in place, including frequent cleaning and sanitation, team member wellness checks, proper glove use and other steps to ensure guest and team member safety. Guests can use the all-new Torchy’s app, available via the Apple App Store and Google Play, to get their taco fix with a tap and place pickup and delivery orders with contactless payment, right from their phone.
SMG Teams with Taco John's
Service Management Group (SMG) announced a new customer experience management program with quick service restaurant franchiseTaco John’s. The Mexican QSR brand chose SMG for its differentiated software with a service (SwaS) offering, deep industry expertise and robust integration capabilities.
Spurred by record-breaking sales and rapid growth, Taco John’s needed an enterprise experience management solution that would allow it to capture guest feedback at nearly 400 restaurants and uncover customer insights throughout the customer journey. The brand partnered with SMG to launch a customer experience management program that provides a holistic view of the customer experience combined with capabilities that help the field focus on the most important measures to improve guest satisfaction.
“With an intuitive platform and hands-on services model, SMG’s software with a service offering is a great fit for our organization,” said Taco John’s Chief Operating Officer Greg Miller. “From ingesting multiple sources of customer feedback data to providing our operators with actionable insights across the customer journey, SMG will help us continually elevate the guest experience.”
Through a combination of solicited and unsolicited feedback collection methods, Taco John’s is measuring the on- and off-premiserestaurant experience across its growing franchise. In addition, the brand is leveraging SMG’s partnership ecosystem to bring digital feedback data from Olo into the smg360® platform, combining digital experience data with location-level feedback data for richer, more actionable insights.
Waitr Partners with Boston Market
Waitr Holdings Inc. launched a new partnership with Boston Market. Waitr and Bite Squad will begin offering delivery from Boston Market locations across the nation.
Boston Market is the latest recognizable national brand to add Waitr and Bite Squad for delivery in 2021. In addition to adding several popular established restaurants to its platform, Waitr has brought new service to a long string of underserved cities and towns this year.
“Increasing our restaurant variety and partnering with the top restaurant names in the business is a reflection of our commitment to our customers and the communities we serve,” said Carl Grimstad, CEO and Chairman of Waitr. “These moves and many others have also strengthened our market presence in the on-demand delivery sector.”
“The addition of Waitr delivery creates yet a new level of convenience for our customers looking for a quality homestyle meal – and now new desserts – without ever having to leave the comfort of their own home,” said Rosie Davenport, VP, Off-Premise & Virtual Sales for Boston Market.
Freddy's Adds to Team
Fast-casual restaurant concept Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers® added multiple new members joining the development team, which will be led by Andrew Thengvall, who was recently appointed to Chief Development Officer. For the last six years, Thengvall has served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Growth & Chief Legal Officer. In his new role, he will oversee the company’s most recent additions including Mary Coots, Director of Franchise Development, and Todd Phelps, Director of Franchise Real Estate.
“Andrew Thengvall’s dedication to advising and strengthening the Freddy’s brand has been stellar and we have the utmost trust in his ability to continue to accelerate our franchise growth in this expanded position,” said Chris Dull, CEO. “We are thrilled that he has taken on this new role and excited to see him lead this skilled and enthusiastic team of experts to capitalize on our opportunities for expansion, as one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country.”
Upon joining Freddy’s in 2015, Thengvall brought more than 10 years of legal experience, followed by the more than six years of experience he has gained at the company in the area of Strategic Franchise Growth. Mary Coots, who joined the Freddy’s team in May of 2021, most recently served as Senior Franchise Sales Manager at Global Franchise Group. Todd Phelps joined the Freddy’s team in June 2021 and his past experience includes Real Estate Director at The Wendy’s Company as well as Real Estate Manager positions at RetailCorridor.com, Great Clips, and GolfTEC.
“I’m very excited to welcome Mary and Todd to our team and look forward to the new ideas and expertise they will bring to the brand’s franchise development strategy,” said Andrew Thengvall, Chief Development Officer. “In the midst of such an exciting period of growth for Freddy’s, their combined wealth of franchise sales and real estate experience will be a valuable asset as we define our growth plans and decisions. I look forward to leading this team as we accelerate Freddy’s momentum and drive the concept’s footprint throughout markets nationwide.”
These investments in the company’s development leadership team are fueled by Freddy’s continued surge in franchise growth and ongoing success systemwide. Thengvall’s team will be responsible for establishing market prioritization, franchise sales, DMA management, identifying prospective new franchisees, and coaching prospects through the discovery process. Together, the group brings over three decades of franchise experience combined, in addition to Thengvall’s 10+ years of legal experience.