Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine's Franchise Feed offers a glimpse at what's new in the restaurant franchise and MUFSO environment.
Send news to Barbara Castiglia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CPK Heads North
California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) plans to bring its signature California-style pizzas, pastas, salads and more to Canada for the first time. In partnership with Alberta restaurateur, Samira Shariff, the brand’s first Canada location will open in Edmonton in the coming months, the first of five locations planned in the province over the next eight years. As part of its accelerated global growth focus, CPK intends to further expand in Canada, including to Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario.
Founded in Beverly Hills, Calif. in 1985, CPK is celebrating 35 years of colliding unexpected flavors and high-quality ingredients to create uniquely craveable dishes, like the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza, a #1 global seller, and CPK’s industry-first, vegetable-powered Cauliflower Pizza Crust. From artisan, California-style pizzas, to creative salads, better-for-you options like Power Bowls and Cedar Plank Salmon, and handcrafted beverages made with fresh, globally inspired ingredients, CPK is known for culinary innovations that lead the trends, served in a relaxed yet vibrant setting anchored by CPK’s hearth pizza oven and open kitchen, where guests can watch their meals prepared from scratch.
“At CPK, we take great pride in sharing our passion for California-style pizza, fresh and creative ingredients and best-in-class hospitality with our guests around the world,” said Jim Hyatt, CEO of CPK. “We’ve had our sights set on expanding into Canada for many years now, to bring CPK a little closer to home for all of our Canadian guests who’ve become loyal regulars at so many of our U.S. locations, whether joining us on vacation or business travel. Now, we’re confident we have the right, deeply experienced partner in Samira Shariff to spearhead our entry into the market.”
Samira Shariff brings nearly 40 years of experience building successful restaurant brands in Alberta as a multi-unit franchise owner and operator in Edmonton. In addition, her son Naheed brings more than 25 years of experience in restaurant franchising and will serve as CEO of CPK’s Alberta footprint.
“On behalf of Samira and our team, we couldn’t be more excited and proud to be partnering with California Pizza Kitchen as their first franchisee to bring the brand to Canada,” said Naheed Shariff. “Every time we’ve visited the U.S. over the years, our family has always made a point of eating at CPK. What we admire about the brand is its continuous evolution, forward thinking with modern tastes, from experimenting with new flavors and ingredients, to being leaders in better-for-you options, such as gluten-free and veggie-based Cauliflower Pizza Crust. We think CPK’s creative California vibe and innovative menu will resonate with Albertans and offer something completely new in the market.”
Giorgio Minardi, Executive Vice President of Global Development & Franchise Operations at CPK, continued, “We’re very proud to welcome Samira and Naheed to the CPK family as our first franchise partners in Canada. Their enthusiasm for our brand coupled with their deep experience developing successful polished casual and fast-casual restaurant brands in Alberta make them the perfect partners to bring CPK into Canada for the first time. We look forward to a successful partnership with the Shariffs and to welcoming our Canadian guests to dine with us in Edmonton in the coming months.”
In addition to developing the Alberta market, CPK plans to open additional markets in the country, including Vancouver and Toronto. The signing of the Canada franchise agreement kicks off CPK’s global growth efforts in 2020 and beyond, with additional plans to increase its presence in Asia, the Middle East, Australia and Europe.
CPK’s global footprint includes more than 240 locations in 10 countries and U.S. territories, which includes 40 international franchise locations as well as 16 domestic franchise locations in airports, casinos and stadiums throughout the United States.
Quiznos Adding Latin Flavor
As part of a 20-store development deal, Quiznos is on track to open five new restaurants this year in Latin American markets including Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua and El Salvador, where strong brand awareness and a pioneering franchise partner make this region ripe for brand expansion.
“As we dive into the next phase of our long-term growth strategy, our Latin American presence is one vehicle to accelerate the reinvigoration of the Quiznos brand and drive further expansion of our innovative platform,” said Tom Harper, Vice President of International Development, REGO Restaurant Group, owner of Quiznos. “Along with our trusted and dedicated partner, Master Franchisee Richard Eisenberg, we see considerable potential to benefit from this as a targeted investment approach.”
“With the positioning of the Quiznos brand as a ‘café-style’ destination concept, consumers in this region are embracing a robust breakfast platform, including compelling espresso-based beverage offerings,” said Master Franchisee Richard Eisenberg. “Our traditional sandwich lines are complemented by meal-sized salads, shareable pizzas and enticing side dishes such as waffle fries and mozzarella sticks.”
Roy Rogers' Aggressive Franchise Push
Roy Rogers® Restaurants charged into 2020 with a new strategic growth plan aimed at improving performance at existing locations, attracting more high-caliber franchisees, and opening new restaurants in both traditional and non-traditional locations. The company announced today that it plans to debut a new corporately owned and operated restaurant this year but will focus on expanding its franchise network as a primary means of system growth. Its aggressive five-year plan calls for signing three to five new multi-unit development agreements per year.
Executive Vice President Jeremy Biser said initial recruiting efforts will target development in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania but added that the company plans to look further south and west later this year. Development incentives will be offered to highly qualified candidates capable of multi-unit restaurant development and operation. Interested investors should contact the Roy Rogers franchising department email@example.com or (301) 695-1534.
“We’re very excited to be kicking off a renewed growth initiative with a revitalized concept,” said Biser. “Over the past 24 months, we’ve put every aspect of our consumer and franchise offerings under the microscope to strengthen our system and have now plotted a strategic course to extend our brand’s reach around current markets and in new ones.”
Since celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, Roy Rogers has invested heavily in rebuilding every aspect of its business model in preparation for this new expansion initiative. Some of the enhancements the company has made include:
- appointing seasoned restaurant industry veterans including a new executive vice president, senior director of marketing, franchise business consultant, consumer care manager and senior manager of IT;
- selecting Washington, DC-based MDB Communications as its new Agency of Record to create integrated marketing campaigns and provide creative services and media planning;
- launching delivery service with DoorDash;
- introducing a new store design;
- contracting with SiteZeus to help pinpoint optimal locations for new restaurants and enhance market mapping capabilities;
- signing on with Performance Foodservice as its primary food distributor;
- naming Singer EVI to improve service, reduce costs and optimize equipment packages for company and franchised locations;
- signing a new multi-year contract renewing its 50+-year affiliation with the Coca-Cola Company as its beverage supplier; and
- reinvigorating its menu strategy with a focus on introducing new, differentiated LTOs and enhancing signature items such as the Gold Rush Chicken Sandwich, Double-R-Bar Burger, Roy Rogers’ famous USDA prime top round Roast Beef Sandwich and its fresh, never frozen fried chicken.
Earlier this month, Roy Rogers also opened an online store selling fun branded gear to its biggest fans. Other enhancements, including overhauls of the brand’s technology systems and mobile app, are on the horizon.
“Our brand has a strong foundation based on more than half a century of serving up quality comfort food in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere that is a cut above a typical QSR,” said Biser. “We have a fiercely loyal fan base of ‘Royalists’ who have dined with us since they were kids and now bring their children and grandchildren in with them. Our ‘Royalists’ literally beg us to open new restaurants near them or return to markets where we once existed. Our goal is to bring Roy Rogers back to these areas and more in the next few years.”
Nathan's New Prototype
Nathan’s Famous, Inc., launched its new store prototype featuring modern New York City loft-style elements next to classic features of historic architecture.
"The blending of old and new materials will give our restaurants a bit of historic charm while creating a modern, current experience," states James Walker, Senior Vice President, Restaurants. “We are excited to embark on this new era for Nathan’s Famous, and are currently looking for locations in the Tri-state area to build our first corporate location featuring this new prototype.”
Styled after the modern New York City Loft with high ceilings and open spaces, Nathan's is committing to an architectural style that harkens the buildings of the early 1900s.
Inside the restaurant will feature a mixture of black steel beams and industrial-style windows, cement floors, and communal tables. The decor will highlight vintage New York elements like mosaic and subway tiles and period black and white photos next to contemporary paintings of New York themes. The new design, like Nathan's Famous and New York itself, is a combination of old and new, greatness from the past combined with an excitement for now and the future.
“As customers line up to order, they will pass glassed-in display grills cooking signature items like our hot dogs, cheesesteaks, and burgers. We intend for them to see the pride and care with which their food is prepared.”
The new store prototype is flexible and adaptable for sites both large and small, including both nontraditional and traditional locations, and is available for franchising immediately. Nathan’s Famous is currently holding a search for its first corporate location featuring the new prototype. Search efforts are underway in the Tri-state area for a stand-alone site, with drive-thru.
Raw Jūce Launches Franchising Campaign
Raw Jūce launched its franchise program to expand the concept across the nation. There are nine locations currently operating throughout South Florida.
The Raw Jūce concept was inspired by Barry Rabkin after he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009. After undergoing a year of treatment, he found himself weak and depleted of energy, but once he was introduced to organic foods and juicing, he instantly felt the transformation of a healthier body and mind. As he made this a part of his daily routine, it became his mission to showcase the amazing benefits of raw juice, so he partnered with franchising veteran Jeff Levine, former CEO and founder of Salad Creations, to launch Raw Jūce in 2013.
“Raw Jūce is not just a juice bar, it’s truly an experience and a lifestyle,” said Rabkin. “Since we first opened our doors in 2013, we’ve received remarkable support from our local communities, and we could not be more excited to introduce the Raw lifestyle to guests all over the country. This is only the beginning.”
“The plant-based movement is one of the highest growing industries today, with plant-based food sales increasing 31 percent since 2017,” said CEO Jeff Levine. “With our commitment to smart growth and partnering with the right franchisees, Raw Jūce is poised for explosive growth. This is a unique investment opportunity, and our franchise partners will benefit greatly by leveraging our proven business model and resources.”
In 2019, Accelerated Franchised Concepts (AFC) closed on a minority investment into Raw Jūce, as part of a majority recapitalization of the cutting edge plant-based concept. AFC is an affiliate of AP Franchised Concepts, LLC, led by Anthony Polazzi, who has over 20 years of experience investing in emerging franchisors.
Raw Jūce is currently seeking experienced multi-unit operators to become a part of the growing brand and develop franchise territories in new markets throughout Houston, Dallas, Charlotte, North Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee, and Atlanta. Qualified franchisees should have a net worth of at least $1.5 million and liquidity of at least $500,000.
Bojangles' Culinary Innovation
Bojangles’ named Chef Marshall Scarborough as the chain’s new vice president of menu and culinary innovation.
“We are extremely fortunate to have such a passionate and experienced chef join our menu innovation team,” said Ken Koziol, Bojangles’ Chief Restaurant Support Officer. “We are now positioned to build on what we’re known for – delicious, flavorful food – and create exciting new reasons for consumers to visit Bojangles’.”
Chef Scarborough brings more than 23 years of culinary and research and development experience to Bojangles’, working for companies such as Archer Daniels Midland, Popeyes and Jack in the Box. Most recently, he served as director of culinary innovation for Wendy's, where he led a team of chefs and food scientists to design new menu items and contribute to the company’s growth.
“I grew up loving Bojangles’ just as any Southerner should, so I couldn’t be more excited to bring my passion, creativity and experience to this Southern gem,” said Scarborough, who is originally from Clemmons, North Carolina. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and start creating Bojangles’ food that will take us to the next level.”
He is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, and since 2007, has volunteered with the Research Chefs Association and Pro Start to bring students and restaurant industry professionals together to inspire each other and the food they create.
Real Famous BBQ Debuts
Ascend Hospitality Group held the grand opening of Real Famous BBQ, a fast casual prototype and brand evolution of Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que, part of the BBQ Holdings family. The focused menu allows Real Famous BBQ to execute tasty, handcrafted BBQ highlighted by real ingredients to guests in a fraction of the time. The company has optimized its kitchen design and guest-facing counter space for delivery and to-go business.
Real Famous BBQ is committed to innovation through its clean approach to smoked meats and dedication to providing guests with sides, sauces, and spices made with as few ingredients as possible. Real Famous BBQ was developed by the Ascend Hospitality Group team, who have combined experience in the BBQ world of more than 50 years.
The menu at Real Famous BBQ includes slow smoked meats, carefully sliced and weighed to order, as well as BBQ sandwiches, mac & cheese bowls, drinks without artificial sweeteners, and nostalgic dessert options such as mini pecan pies, birthday cake cookie dough, and house made chocolate chip bread pudding. To enhance its rich and savory meats, Real Famous BBQ offers spicy, sweet, and its "Famous" house BBQ sauce, made with real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. Additionally, Real Famous features Natural Sweet BBQ sauce, free of gluten, artificial flavors, artificial colors, and preservatives.
"Real Famous is what we believe to be the future of BBQ. Craveable smoked meats and classic BBQ fixings that you can feel good about eating. I'm proud to feed my kids our BBQ and I know that we made decisions with this brand that will have an impact on the BBQ Holding's family of brands, the Provo community, and beyond. We are appreciative of all the support from Famous Dave's of America and look forward to delivering on the promise of this brand in the hopes of opening many more“ said Elaina Herber, President of Ascend Hospitality Group.
"It's been a pleasure to launch this new BBQ concept with the Ascend Hospitality Group," said Jeff Crivello, CEO of BBQ Holdings, Inc. "The consumer is demanding a faster, more convenient service model, with real ingredients. We believe this has been achieved and Ascend played an integral part in its creation."
Blaze Heats Up Midwest
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is heating up the Midwest with a 16-unit development deal. In partnership with multi-brand operators Elie Damouni, George Damouni, Nadim Burbar and Daniel Burbar, the recognized world leader in fast artisanal pizza will dramatically grow its footprint across the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana regions. Within the large territory, the Damounis’ and Burbars’ team will focus on adding locations throughout Illinois counties including DuPage, Will, Kankakee, Kane, McHenry and Lake, as well as Indiana’s Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.
“When we were seriously considering our investment in Blaze Pizza, the two most important selling factors were the business model and the brand’s size,” said Damouni, who will be working closely alongside his brother George and two nephews. “For a concept with tremendous growth potential, I also feel the corporate team is an extension of my family. To have people who truly care about your operations and development goals is so important in today’s restaurant industry. I’m looking forward to the hands-on support we’ll be receiving as we grow Blaze Pizza’s Midwest presence.”
As a multi-brand operator with business ownership experience, Damouni joins Blaze Pizza with 15-plus years of QSR industry knowledge. His family, who will be heavily involved in business development and daily operations, comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. The team’s complementary management and marketing skillset will help facilitate their growth plans in the months and years to come.
“Elie and his family have a strong determination and spirited attitude, which is exactly what we look for in our partners,” said Laura Crews, franchise development for Blaze Pizza. “Their combined experience in business ownership and the restaurant industry makes them a powerhouse team, and we’re anticipating they’ll have a prosperous journey.”
From its inception in 2012, Blaze Pizza has expanded from its California base to bringing over 340 restaurants into 41 states and six 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.
Blimpie Grows in Asia
The international development of Blimpie® is set to grow within the Southeast Asian region. Kahala Brands™, the parent company of Blimpie, has collaborated with Deelish Brands Pte Ltd to open the Blimpie brand in Singapore. Deelish Brands (www.deelishbrands.com) is a Singapore-based restaurant management company. The company operates in the fast casual restaurant sector, focusing on brands that believe in using only the freshest ingredients and preparing cooked to order meals.
"For more than 50 years, Blimpie has been America's beloved neighborhood deli, and that's why it's known as America's Sub Shop®. The brand has perfected the art of a bigger, better sandwich, using the freshest ingredients and doing it at an affordable price," said Moe Ibrahim, CEO of Deelish Brands. "We believe that the Blimpie Way fits nicely with Deelish Brands' strategy of bringing the worlds most beloved and fastest growing restaurant brands to Southeast Asia. We are excited to bring Blimpie to the region as we are confident it will soon become Asia's sub shop as well."
Blimpie will work with Deelish Brands to introduce and expand the brand in Singapore with plans to open 5 stores within the next five years.
"Continuing to build the brand's international expansion with highly esteemed companies such as Deelish Brands has been a pleasure for us at Blimpie," said Eddy Jimenez, senior vice president of international operations and development at Kahala Brands™. "Their passion and commitment to developing such a great and successful F&B business in the market is very impressive, and we are thrilled to introduce America's Sub Shop® and our hearty portions of fresh-sliced meats, fresh-baked breads and robust offerings to all consumers in the Singapore market."
Smashburger's Integrated Branding
Smashburger selected integrated creative company Partners + Napier as creative and media agency of record following a competitive review. The announcement comes in advance of Smashburger’s new integrated brand campaign, slated to launch in March 2020.
Partners + Napier was selected for its food experience and integrated approach to uniting creative and media. Clients span restaurant, cooking/lifestyle, food service, beverage alcohol and more, including fast-growing established brands like CoreLife Eatery, Marlow’s Tavern, Instant Pot, Robert Mondavi Winery, Pyrex and Saputo Dairy Foods.
“The Partners team showed great passion for our brand throughout the process,” said Scott Johnson, Vice President and Head of Marketing, who led the review after joining Smashburger in August 2019. “They clearly understand our category and our customers, and their creative ideas are already driving new growth for our business.”
In its first 30 days, Partners + Napier launched the “Comfort for All” campaign for Smashburger’s new Crispy Chicken Smash, a 70 percent bigger golden fried, cracker-crusted chicken breast. The campaign positioned the Crispy Chicken Smash as the ultimate comfort food — a perfect remedy for life’s uncomfortable moments, like running into a family member on Tinder or attempting to parallel park in front of a crowd.
“With this campaign, we’re not just owning crispy — we’re owning comfort,” said Rob Kottkamp, Chief Creative Officer at Partners + Napier. “We’re leaning into all the humorous and uncomfortable moments that our target audience experiences on a given day, offering some relief amid the chaos.”
The campaign was activated through online video, display, social media, radio and out-of-home, aiming to reach consumers during moments when they could use a boost of comfort. It also included a buy-one-get-one promotion on the heels of the nation’s fried chicken sandwich craze, affirming that Smashburger is a welcoming place for everyone, regardless of where you’re from, who you love, or how you identify. Overall, the effort drove one of the biggest sales weeks in the chain’s history, with double-digit growth on the day of the promotion.
Added Courtney Cotrupe, Chief Executive Officer at Partners + Napier, “In today’s oversaturated fast casual market, building human connections is more critical than ever. We’re so proud to be partnering with Scott and the Smashburger team to strengthen the bonds they have with customers and create a place where people want to return again and again.”
Golden Corral's New Campaign
Golden Corral's latest television spot, which plays on the classic adage “You Are What You Eat,” builds a colorful depiction of exactly what Golden Corral does as The Only One For Everyone – attracts appetites of all styles and preferences, top photo and video.. The campaign will hit the airwaves nationwide on Wednesday, Feb. 5.
“Individuality is at the core of Golden Corral,” said Senior Vice President of Marketing Tim Schroder. “With so many delicious items on our buffet, we truly appeal to just about any personality, any individual and any craving. This campaign was created with our one-of-a-kind brand experience at its core and to help us break away from the ‘sea of sameness’ among competitive restaurant advertising.”
Created by The VIA Agency, the ad is a funky, tasty, vibrant celebration of the unique personalities and plates people pick at the only restaurant that can truly boast having something for everyone. Claire Cottrell directed the commercials. Cottrell, an award-winning, Los Angeles-based director and photographer, is interested in the simplicity of humanity's imperfect beauty – be it in film, food, fashion or design.
“The opportunity to interpret a strong strategy in a new way with a new look and feel, was truly exciting for us,” said Group Creative Director Teddy Stoecklein. “It freed us up a bit and allowed the insight that people can look like food as another way to express that Golden Corral is the Only One for Everyone.”
Friendly's Launches Kids Program
Friendly’s® Restaurants debuted a new kids program featruing a slate of intergenerational menu offerings perfect for the winter months.
The program includes an updated interactive menu which mimics a child’s school folder, perfect for holding a range of coloring cards and kid-friendly activities that the folder will contain for various occasions throughout the year. Friendly’s restaurants will now also feature new kid-inspired servingware, sure to add an extra dimension of excitement to any meal.
Additionally, the menu items themselves have been updated, with new offerings including: Silver Dollar Pancakes and Bacon & Egg Sliders at breakfast; and for lunch and dinner Fried Dough Pizza, Fish ‘N Chips, and 2 Double Sliders. To cap it all off, kids are now able to enjoy Friendly’s classic ice cream creations in two new ways: a Banana Split Sundae and Worms & Dirt Friend-z, soft vanilla ice cream blended with Oreo cookie pieces and sour gummy worms.
“As a family-friendly destination for over eighty years, we are proud to cement our status as a primary destination for kids, with this exciting new program,” said Dennis Pfaff, Chief Operating Officer, FIC Restaurants Inc. “Between our own heritage and a panel of children we enlisted to test the new menu additions, this kids program is truly kid-tested and kid-approved.”
Hungry Howie's Grows in Michigan
Hungry Howie’s Pizza announced development plans in its home state of Michigan. For the first time in 10 years, there are franchising opportunities available statewide for new-store development, as well as the resale of established locations. Reopening this market to expansion has been long-awaited by many savvy entrepreneurs in the Mitten State looking to deliver a high-demand product with brand recognition by way of a franchise model.
Since its humble beginnings in 1973 as a hamburger stand turned takeout and delivery pizzeria in the Detroit suburb of Taylor, Hungry Howie’s has become a top pizza franchise, with almost 550 locations in 21 states.
“Pizza is always in style, and Hungry Howie’s is one of the most recognizable pizza chains in the state,” said Jennifer Jackson, Vice President of Development at Hungry Howie’s. “As a result, Michigan has always been in high demand among potential franchisees, so it is exciting to announce that the state is officially re-open for development! We are searching for the most qualified local business leaders to continue our legacy in our home state.”
Applicants must possess a passion for the brand, have strong business acumen and proven restaurant industry success. Qualified franchisees receive unparalleled support from the Hungry Howie’s corporate office in all areas of real estate, site selection, construction, design, marketing and training.
Baja Fresh Growing in Europe
The international development of Baja Fresh® is set to grow within the Southern European market. Kahala Brands™, an affiliate of the parent company of Baja Fresh, has collaborated with Brandplus Portugal to open the Baja Fresh brand in the southern Touristic region of Algarve Portugal, with the first restaurant set to open in the Atlantic city of Loule.
Brandplus Portugal is affiliated with the multi-brand Portuguese restaurant company, Brandplus Grupo, with over 25 years' experience in the Portuguese food industry. Their mission is to provide customers with an exceptional experience of fresh food and each of the group's restaurants are recognized primarily for the quality of their food and the efficiency of their service. Brandplus Portugal organization is certified by the International Standard ISO 9001, in the area of Food Safety Management.
"The Portuguese people love fresh food and the 'Eat Well. Live Fresh' focus at Baja Fresh is just what is needed in this market," said Luis Caetano, CEO/President of Brandplus . "We are thrilled to introduce the Baja Fresh brand to our consumers and bring all-fresh, traditional fire-grilled Mexican food favorites to the people of Portugal."
"We are elated at the opportunity to bring the Baja Fresh brand to the market of Portugal. Brandplus' impressive F&B experience, combined with their knowledge of the market, make them the perfect fit to develop the brand across the country," said Eddy Jimenez, senior vice president of international operations and development at Kahala Brands™, an affiliate of the parent company of Baja Fresh. "They share our passion of serving the freshest, highest-quality products and incorporating fresh ingredients and authentic flavors to create handmade Mexican cuisines. We look forward to the official introduction of the Baja Fresh brand and the opening of the first restaurant in Loule Algarve, and to seeing the brand grow throughout the exciting market of Portugal."
The Baja Fresh Algarve location is set to open in the first quarter of this year.
Coachman Joins Goliath
Reginald Coachman, president of RCD Business Consultants, LLC, joined the Atlanta-based Goliath Consulting Group. a full-service restaurant consultancy. The move marks an expansion of the firm’s range of client services and meets the growing demand for franchise business support. As a Partner and Chief Consulting Officer, Reggie brings over 30 years in multi-unit restaurants, business consulting, business development and sales experience. Reggie has developed a broad knowledge base which he uses to support restaurant owner/operators improve their operations and profitability. Reggie will leverage his extensive franchising experience and expansive knowledge of restaurant business dynamics on behalf of Goliath’s clients.
Coachman's previous experience includes several executive roles at FOCUS Brands with Cinnabon as Vice President, Brand Operations and Schlotzsky’s as Vice President, Franchise Operations. Prior to joining FOCUS, Reggie held prominent operations roles as EVP and COO of major fast casual concepts and a hospitality management company specializing in airport concessions. Reggie will leverage his extensive franchising experience and expansive knowledge of restaurant business dynamics on behalf of Goliath’s clients.
As a Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) Partner, Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains. Company President Jay Bandy and Reggie Coachman both sit on the board of the GRA. “Reggie offers a solid grasp of business systems, industry trends, employee behavior science and guest experience insights. This data, and the know-how to apply it, is exactly what many of our clients need,” Jay explained. “Reggie’s successful record of developing and executing business strategy is an important asset to our team at Goliath Consulting, and we are very excited to add new specialized services to our lineup.”
Slim Chickens Grows Footprint in Oklahoma and Texas
Slim Chickens inked a franchise agreement to develop five-units agreement in Southeast Oklahoma and Northern Texas.
Colt Harmon is the entrepreneur bringing Slim Chickens to the region. As a talented multi-concept franchisee, Harmon has extensive experience in the restaurant industry and in real estate development.
“As a true Arkansan, I’ve followed Slim Chickens since it opened its very first restaurant and always knew it was a concept I wanted to be attached to,” said Harmon of his franchise agreement with Arkansas-based Slim Chickens. “The current momentum behind the brand made now the right time to franchise. I’m excited for the months ahead.”
Harmon plans to open in towns and cities across Southeast Oklahoma, such as Muskogee, and into Northern Texas towns like Wichita Falls.
“Colt has exactly the experience and passion that we seek in a franchise partner,” said Jackie Lobdell, executive director of franchise development at Slim Chickens. “His strong connection to the concept and proven restaurant operations experience make him an essential player as we continue to grow Slim Chickens in new markets across the country.”
The better-chicken brand has opened 100 locations across the United States, the United Kingdom and Kuwait, and with more than 350 units in development, the brand is on its way to reaching its goal of 600 restaurants. In July, Slim Chickens attracted an equity investment from 10 Point Capital, the private equity firm behind segment leader Tropical Smoothie Café.
Twin Peaks in Lubbock
The Lubbock community can now enjoy Twin Peaks. Located at 6012 Marsha Sharpe Freeway, in the Canyon West Shopping Center, this opening marks the first Twin Peaks in Lubbock, 27th in Texas and 85th system-wide.
The new 6,800-square-foot restaurant houses 32 taps at the central interior and at the patio bar, 74 total TVs, an outdoor firepit and two patios – one being a serviceable smoking patio. It also features rollup patio garage doors to be open during service hours.
“We are thrilled to finally be open in Lubbock,” said Permian Entertainment’s General Manager Heath Herrington. “This is such a vibrant sports city, and we fit in perfectly with so many high-definition TVs and beautiful Twin Peaks Girls serving our signature scratch-made menu and ice-cold beer to fans as they watch games. We can’t wait to quickly become the best place to cheer on The Red Raiders.”
Lubbock’s new Twin Peaks restaurant is part of Permian Entertainment, LLC’s development agreement to bring multiple locations to West Texas, starting with Lubbock. Permian Entertainment, LLC consists of three partners – Founder and Owner Herb Graham, President Roger Gearhart and longtime investor Jim Milson. Their parent company, Graham Brothers Entertainment, was founded in the 1960s and opened its first nightclub in 1968. Since then, the group has owned and operated more than 40 bars and nightclubs throughout the southwest and currently owns and operates a multi-day multi-venue country music festival as well as a country music artists management firm based in Nashville, Tennessee. The group also recently executed a second area development agreement to bring three Twin Peaks locations to the Nashville area.
Twin Peaks currently has 85 locations in 26 states.
Pizza Inn in Stillwater
Pizza fanatics in Stillwater, prepare to fall in love. Pizza Inn has opened its doors and is now serving its All Day Buffet at 721 N. Main St.The Stillwater restaurant is the first of six Pizza Inn locations that Franchisees Tony Nemer and Sissi Nemer are set to open throughout Oklahoma and Kansas.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring America’s Hometown Pizza Place to Stillwater,” Tony Nemer said. “It is my goal to bring Pizza Inn to smaller towns where we can truly be an integral part of the community. The high quality, made-from-scratch pizza and All Day Buffet is unlike anything else, so I’m confident that everyone in the area will love dining at Pizza Inn.”
Nemer was previously an operating partner at the Pizza Inn located in Ponca City, Oklahoma. He currently owns Golden Chick restaurants in Ponca City and Stillwater, Oklahoma.
“We are excited to continue our expansion throughout Oklahoma and Kansas and couldn’t ask for a better franchisee to lead the way,” said RAVE Vice President of Franchise Development Brett Heinen. “Stillwater’s new Pizza Inn is in a great location, close to Oklahoma State University. We are confident that Pizza Inn will be a huge hit in the area.”
This location is the first Pizza Inn restaurant in Stillwater and fifth in Oklahoma.
Famer Boys Grows in California
Farmer Boys®, opened doors at 1057 Academy Drive in the Newbury Park area of Thousand Oaks, Calif. The new location is operated by long-time Farmer Boys franchisee, Omar Mawas, and a Grand Opening celebration is planned in March 2020.
“I am thrilled to plant the first Farmer Boys seed in Ventura County,” said Mawas. “The restaurant is located just off the 101 freeway, ready to serve farm fresh fare to residents and visitors alike. We look forward to becoming an integral part of the vibrant Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park communities.”
Fazoli's Looks to 2020 Expansion
Fazoli’s is poised to make 2020 the brand’s best year yet.
“2019 was another triumphant year for Fazoli’s,” said Fazoli’s President and CEO Carl Howard. “We made huge development strides to expand our brand’s footprint into new markets throughout the country. For 2020, we are gearing up for major enhancements in technology and menu innovation – plus, we will continue our aggressive development plans. 2020 is going to be a breakout year for Fazoli’s.”
The Italian brand is committed to enhancing all off-premise business and digital technology. Fazoli’s established a new partnership with Olo that expands its capabilities to streamline mobile ordering. Following the transition to Olo in late 2019, Fazoli’s online ordering channel was up 79.7 percent. Upgrades to the mobile app resulted in creating a frictionless user experience for guests – highlighted by enhancements to mobile ordering and a new points-based rewards system. With the new and improved Fazoli’s app experience, guests order, earn and redeem faster and easier. Just one month following the launch, loyalty sales increased 42 percent.
Maintaining this momentum in 2020, Fazoli’s will set its sights on opportunities to further utilize technology to create a quick and seamless ordering experience for busy, on-the-go consumers. New initiatives like AI voice ordering and self-serve kiosks provide opportunities for Fazoli’s to be easily accessible for consumers – the brand is focused on staying top of mind by integrating technology that allows guests to access their favorite menu item when they want it, where they want it.
A key to the brand’s expansion success in 2019 was the execution of five area development agreements in Missouri, Florida, Eastern Kentucky, and North Carolina. In 2020, the brand plans to open nearly a dozen new locations and sign an additional 15 new franchisees who will open a total of nearly 30 new locations by the end of 2021. Fazoli’s accelerated growth plan doesn’t stop there. With remodeled locations up nearly eight percent, Fazoli’s will continue to drive its remodel initiative, with several locations currently underway. The brand has a goal of completing a total system remodel by the end of 2021.
“We look forward to another year of dominating the industry,” Howard said. “With all of these initiatives in place, we certainly have our foot on the gas for 2020.”
The Melt 2019 Results
The Melt announced encouraging 2019 results after an extensive revamp of the brand’s menu offerings and real estate strategy. 2019 sales comparisons were up 17 percent.
After launching in 2011 in downtown San Francisco, The Melt rapidly expanded locations throughout California, Texas and Colorado. After 5 years and 17 store openings, the company saw sliding sales and stagnation. After a two-year turnaround led by new CEO Ralph Bower, The Melt has seen steady growth and a return to stability.
“We learned from past mistakes. We didn’t have a clearly focused concept,” said Bower. “We took a step back, listened to our customers, and shifted focus to a slower, more deliberate growth plan, being selective about prime real estate locations. We closed a number of locations and decided to exit Colorado and Texas to focus on our home state of California. Since then we’ve invested in new locations and remodeled several others. It was tough work, but we’ve now seen 88 weeks of positive comp sales, which tells us our strategy is working.”
In an internal announcement to staff last week labeled “State of The Melt: the Good News,” results showed year-to-date comparative sales up almost 17 percent. and two year comp sales +30.4 percent. Additional results:
- 88 consecutive weeks of positive comps, with 40 of those weeks being over 20 percent
- 2019 Two Year Comp = +30.4 percent
- For the seven stores, total sales were 10.9mm
- 2019 Average weekly unit sales = $30K, more than double from two years prior
Industry veteran, Ralph Bower joined as CEO in 2016. Upon Bower’s appointment, he immediately undertook an extensive listening tour to gather customer insights, which resulted in a comprehensive review and overhaul of The Melt’s menu. The Melt’s new menu features their signature Meltburger (now their #1 best seller) as well as major recipe changes to every other item in the restaurant. The changes are a reflection of passionate customers’ feedback and The Melt’s dedication to serving all-natural, nostalgic American classics in a warm, welcoming environment.
“This hasn’t been easy. We had to make some tough calls over the last two years, but it’s nice to see all that hard work begin to pay off. In my 30 year restaurant career, I’ve never seen a turnaround like this. I’m deeply proud of our team” said Bower.
Angry Crab Shack Looks Back and Ahead
Mesa, Ariz. – Angry Crab Shack, a leading full-service Asian-Cajun seafood restaurant closed out an impressive year and recently unveiled its plans for 2020. Angry Crab Shack reports year-over-year sales to have jumped more than 16.5 percent, all while prioritizing the communities it serves by donating more than $145,000 to Arizona charities. Looking ahead, the popular seafood brand plans to expand its national footprint through franchising and anticipates opening 15-20 new restaurants in 2020.
Kickstarting 2020’s expansion plans, Angry Crab Shack recently signed agreements to bring restaurants to Atlanta, Georgia; Orange Beach, Alabama; Parkland, Florida; and Arlington, Texas. The brand plans to rev up franchise growth outside its home state of Arizona this year, which is currently home to six corporate and four franchise locations, each dedicated to enhancing the community and providing delicious, fuss-free seafood in an upbeat environment.
“This past year was a successful one for our team, and we don’t plan on slowing down,” said Andrew Diamond, President of Angry Crab Shack. “Our national brand recognition skyrocketed and aspiring business owners want to bring our concept and culture to their hometowns, which is incredible. Having worked hard to build a strong infrastructure, we’re now able to place an emphasis on franchise growth in 2020. And, we’re ready to break into new markets, like Nevada, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Utah.”
In 2019, Angry Crab Shack strengthened its charitable partnerships by donating more than $145,000 to three Arizona-based charities: The Arizona Housing Coalition, The 100 club and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The impressive amount of funds raised helped further shape Angry Crab Shack’s corporate culture, which now includes regular philanthropic giveback built into operations, signaling to local guests that Angry Crab Shack is the brand that cares.
Home meal kits, seamless delivery and adding menu options to satisfy guests with dietary restrictions are some of the operational goals Angry Crab Shack plans to tackle this upcoming year. The brand will also place a focus on perfecting training and support for both franchise owners and employees to continue to provide an unmatched experience and corporate culture.
“Our number one priority is and always will be our guests and their experience,” added Diamond. “We want to be a household name in states all across the country. Even more, we want our culture and dining experience to be memorable, and one of the ways we do that is through charitable giveback and partnerships. We’re working to provide resources to our franchise owners so they can replicate what we’ve built in Arizona – being able to donate nearly $150,000 to people that need it most in our community was one of my favorite milestones of 2019.”
Low operating costs paired with exceptional corporate support helps to position Angry Crab Shack as an attractive investment opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to enter the full-service restaurant industry. Initial investment ranges between $392,000 – $711,000.
Coolgreens Rooted in 2019
Coolgreens – the healthy lifestyle eatery that “feeds your life” – experienced an unprecedented year in 2019.
“Our year-over-year sales increased 11.4 percent in 2019, which is well above the industry average,” said CEO Robert Lee. “We opened new locations outside our home market for the first time, and we will continue that growth with new locations in Dallas-Fort Worth and Omaha in early 2020. In addition to franchise development, we’ve made strides in several other areas of our business. We introduced new tamper proof packaging, a mobile app to easily enable online ordering and, most importantly, a new training and onboarding program that both streamlines and enhances the team member experience from day one.”
Following its success in 2019, Coolgreens is continuing its implementation of operational enhancements, which are designed to increase efficiency while maintaining the highest quality foods and beverages. For example, Coolgreens is in the final stages of a new prototype design that will allow guests to move through the line easier. The prototype will also be designed with a progressive ventless cooking equipment package and several other tools that reduce labor costs while increasing speed during peak times. Additionally, the brand will test kiosk ordering in Oklahoma City locations and add a dedicated second line for online and to-go orders.
Operationally in 2020, new President Todd Madlener and Vice President of Operations Amanda Powell have set a goal of increasing off-premise sales by 100 percent over 2019 numbers.
“Amanda’s team, along with our franchisees, have been working together over the last quarter to enhance our off premise and catering offerings by providing guests with an expanded menu that is aligned with our values and nutritional standards,” Madlener said.
Kicking off in early 2020, Coolgreens is launching a unique new franchising opportunity with its Coolgreens Market® – a smart refrigerator that will serve its signature salads, wraps, grain bowls, snacks and beverages. Coolgreens is currently choosing locations in the DFW area for the first round of Coolgreens Markets, and the innovative brand is actively working with potential franchise groups in other large cities in the country to fuel the Market’s growth.
“We have set high expectations for 2020,” Lee said. “We will remain focused on providing the best environment for our team members and guests. I believe in our team, and I know we will succeed in creating those ‘more than’ experiences throughout 2020 and beyond.”
Captain D's Continues Growth Effort
Captain D’s reported significant growth and success in its 50th year, opening 15 new locations and signing eight franchise development agreements with new and existing franchisees to expand its brand footprint throughout the Southeast, Midwest and Utah. This surge in franchise development, coupled with the brand’s longstanding history and compounding success over the past several years, reinforces Captain D’s as the leader of the fast casual seafood segment, supported by the brand’s commitment to innovation and strong unit-level economics. In 2019, Captain D’s achieved another year of comp sales and AUV growth.
“2019 marked our golden anniversary, where we celebrated 50 years of serving high-quality seafood at affordable prices in a welcoming atmosphere and reached incredible heights as a company that have poised our brand for remarkable growth in the years to come,” said Phil Greifeld, president and CEO of Captain D’s. “As I reflect on the last decade that I’ve been with Captain D’s, I’m so proud of the collective team and all that we’ve been able to accomplish together with our shared commitment to providing an unparalleled experience for our guests. Launching off of the past year, Captain D’s has a bright future ahead backed by a best-in-class team and franchise network, and a prime position in the fast casual space as the number-one seafood concept out there.”
As a result of its development success in 2019, Captain D’s will open many new restaurants over the next several years in key markets like Southern Florida and Illinois, and is positioned for substantial growth in 2020. On the heels of its latest corporate opening in Union Park, Florida earlier this month, the brand is projected to open 25 additional locations throughout the year, including its first restaurants in Michigan and Utah. Looking ahead, the company is continuing to focus its efforts on corporate and franchise development in target markets throughout the South and Midwest, including Central/Southern Florida, Texas and Wisconsin.
Chill-N Hits Franchise Marks
Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream reported a successful 2019 with the launch of their franchising program in August and the signing of their first franchise agreement.
“2019 has been an exciting year for the brand. The accomplishments achieved throughout the year reflect our team’s hard work and commitment to our brand and product,” said Daniel Golik, co-founder and COO of Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream. “As we jump into 2020, we remain dedicated to pursuing new opportunities with entrepreneurs that believe in Chill-N’s mission to be the most delicious ice cream company on Earth.”
Shortly after Chill-N launched its franchising program, the brand inked their first franchise development agreement, expanding their footprint by opening a new location in the Doral/Sweetwater area. Driving Chill-N’s South Florida expansion is seasoned entrepreneur and investor, Miguel Mansur of Crazy Spoons, LLC. Mansur previously worked as an economist before transitioning into investment management. His holdings include beer manufacturers, real estate – both commercial and residential, and shared office spaces.
At the beginning of 2019, Chill-N opened their first food hall location at the Lincoln Eatery in South Beach. In addition, the brand completed the Kosher certification of their Aventura store with the South Beach location next in the pipeline. This was a direct result of listening to their customers in these markets while ensuring the brand stays true to their commitment of providing the highest quality product. The certification was approved and overseen by Kosher Miami and involved approving all vendors and ingredients that are being used in stores – including all of the Mix-N’s.
Currently, Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream has 8 locations throughout South Florida. In 2020, Chill-N plans to have 25 franchised locations in the pipeline.
“With a focused commitment on continually implementing the most state-of-the-art technology and automation, Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream is poised for significant growth in 2020,” said David Leonardo, CEO of Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream. “We’re elated to welcome Miguel into the Chill-N family and look forward to partnering with new franchisees in other parts of the United States with the goal of becoming the leading nitrogen ice cream franchise in the United States.”
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.
Subway Goes to Pay with Adyen
Subway® selected Adyen as its payments partner for North America. Adyen will support Subway and its franchise owners in creating a simpler and more customer-centric payments experience in-restaurant, online and through the Subway App.
“Our goal remains the same – to provide guests with a world-class and seamless Subway experience,” says Mike Macrie, Chief Information Officer of Subway. “As we continue our digital push to offer our guests greater convenience and more options, Adyen’s payment platform will further allow Subway to bring the latest digital payment technologies to market, while removing operational complexities for our Franchise Owners.”
Adyen’s single platform brings simplicity and scalability through one integration, so food and beverage brands can deliver a consistent customer experience everywhere they operate.
In addition to making it easier to add new restaurants, markets or regions, Adyen offers:
- Automated Franchisee on-boarding;
- A Franchisee dashboard that includes easy reconciliation of all payment methods, refunds and terminal fleet management;
- Support for preferred payment methods, including in-app, terminals, mobile wallets, local payment methods, gift cards, loyalty systems and auto detection of foreign language preferences, and;
- Single data view and shopper insights across all channels and franchisees everywhere they do business, which includes revenue by channel, Franchisee, or the restaurant-level.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Subway. Together we are streamlining operations, increasing efficiencies and creating new pathways to building customer relationships in this digital age,” says Kamran Zaki, Chief Operations Officer of Adyen. “We are excited to offer a solution that not only simplifies business for QSRs, but also makes the experience better for their Franchise Owners and consumers alike. Adyen’s platform provides the flexibility to meet shoppers needs today and tomorrow.”