MRM Franchise Feed: Election Reaction, SUBWAY Donates 11 Million Meals and an Indoor Roller Coaster

Modern Restaurant Management magazine’s Franchise Feed offers a glimpse at what’s new in the restaurant franchise environment. Send items of interest to Content Director Barbara Castiglia at

NRF Reacts to Election

National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay  pledged to work with President-elect Donald Trump and the new Congress on a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda:

 “With the holiday season upon us, retailers are glad that this unprecedented election is over, along with the divisive rhetoric and the impact it had on consumers concerned about their future. It is time to bring all Americans together, working in a bipartisan fashion to address the pressing needs of the day.

Matthew Shay
Matthew Shay

“The next few months will offer many opportunities for us to educate lawmakers on our priorities, such as tax reform and investment in our nation’s infrastructure, as well as pro-growth policies that create jobs and reward capital investment. If this election taught us anything, it is the importance of focusing on policies and programs that not only benefit today’s economy, but the economy of the future and our next generation of workers.

“As President Trump begins staffing his administration, we are hopeful that pragmatism will prevail over ideology so that all branches of government can work together for the benefit of retailers, their associates, the consumers they serve and the communities where they live and work.”

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. 

SUBWAY Donates Largest Single-Day Donation in Feeding America History

On Thursday, Nov. 3 – National Sandwich Day – SUBWAY® encouraged people to participate in the first-ever #GoodDeedFeed event. Customers who bought one sandwich and a drink received another sandwich for free. In addition, SUBWAY® donated a meal to Feeding America with the goal of making the largest single-day donation – 11 million meals – in Feeding America history. 


“We want to thank our thousands of restaurant owners and millions of guests for enthusiastically coming together to help feed America,” said Suzanne Greco, President and CEO, SUBWAY® restaurants. “Together, our seemingly small steps have led to 11 million meals being donated to Feeding America® to help our neighbors in need.”

“We are incredibly grateful for SUBWAY® restaurants and guests for supporting the #GoodDeedFeed on National Sandwich Day,” said Diana Aviv, Chief Executive Officer of Feeding America. “The historic support of this campaign and resulting generous donation will go a long way in helping people in need in communities across the country.”

In Canada, SUBWAY®  partnered with Food Banks Canada on a similar offer to support the more than 550 food banks across the country. The final results far exceed the original goal of 303,000 meals, which is approximately the number of children that use the food banks every month.

NRAEF Partners on Hospitality Apprenticeship 

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Jobs for the Future (JFF), will create and implement a national Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) initiative for the restaurant, foodservice and hotel and lodging industries. To support the work of this collaborative, NRAEF recently received an award of $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration, with an option to renew funding for a total of five years.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded more than $20.4 million in contracts to 14 national industry intermediaries to expand apprenticeship opportunities throughout the U.S. The contracts, part of a historic investment in apprenticeship through the Department’s ApprenticeshipUSA Initiative, will support the growth of apprenticeship programs in high-growth industry sectors including hospitality, health care, energy, construction, transportation and logistics and manufacturing. A goal of this investment is to increase demographic diversity and inclusion of traditionally unrepresented audiences in apprenticeship programs nationwide. 

Through the HSRA initiative, a host of national restaurant operators and hotel and lodging employers have already committed to recruit and place individuals in paid apprenticeships focused on management-level positions. Additional employers are expected to join the initiative and will work with the NRAEF, AHLA and JFF to create new apprenticeship training regimens as well as build on existing programs already in place.

“We know that the restaurant industry – and indeed the hospitality sector at large – provides a pathway to employment and careers for tens of millions of Americans,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF. “Our nation’s one million restaurants are a place where people can rise from entry-level jobs to managers, executives and even owners. By formalizing a registered apprenticeship program focused on management-level positions, we will provide a definitive pathway with necessary instruction and training to equip people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to advance in hospitality-focused careers. We’re so pleased to be able to partner with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Jobs for the Future on this critical industry initiative.”

Burger 21 Raises Funds for National Breast Cancer Foundation


Burger 21 customers were thinking pink this October, helping the “beyond the better burger” fast casual franchise raise more than $22,000 to support the fight against breast cancer. The burger brand partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation  during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to donate $.21 from each sale of fountain drinks, signature and classic shakes, retro floats and kids fountain drinks, shakes and milks – all beverages sporting a pink straw.

Almost 128,000 pink straws were used over the course of the October fundraising, which will help support early detection, education, support services and research for those affected by breast cancer – a disease that more than 240,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with each year. 

Burger 21® has 24 locations open across the country and more than 16 in development in 12 states. 

Taco Bell Plans to Create 100,000 New Jobs

Taco Bell recently plans to grow as a system to 8,000 U.S. locations (9,000 globally) by the end of 2022, opening the door of opportunity for 100,000 new jobs in the U.S. alone. feedliveswithmas

“Our planned growth over the next six years is going to help us reach $15 billion in global system sales by 2022,” said Brian Niccol, Chief Executive Officer at Taco Bell. “With that comes the need to attract and retain top talent so that we’re continuing to deliver the best customer experience possible.”

Earlier this month, Taco Bell officially launched “Start with Us, Stay with Us,” a platform and mentality to set Taco Bell apart as a category of one, and one that encourages employees to leverage the career-building and education programs Taco Bell offers no matter how long you’ve been with, or plan to stay with, the company.

“We understand that Taco Bell is a first job for a lot of people,” said Frank Tucker, Chief People Officer at Taco Bell. “Whether they want to start with us for a year or stay with us for life, we feel it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re offering benefits and programs that create innovators and leaders for our communities inside and out of our restaurants.”

Also launched earlier this month, Taco Bell has partnered with Roadtrip Nation to capture the stories and career paths of current employees and alumni of Taco Bell.

Employees, current and prospective, can see real steps of how to get to their goal position, whether that’s managing an entire Taco Bell restaurant, working in the award-winning marketing department at headquarters, or taking skills to another industry altogether.

“As a business that’s fueled by the energy and passion of people serving people, our team members are our front line and biggest brand ambassadors,” said Tucker. “It’s often a job that kickstarts someone’s career and future success, so we’re excited to team up with Roadtrip Nation to inspire and show our team members how these invaluable skills can get them to their highest aspirations in life.”

In the last year alone, Taco Bell has promoted more than 2,000 company store employees into management roles.

FoodLogiQ, LLC, and WQS Food Verification Partner

FoodLogiQ, LLC, and WQS Food Verification, LLC, partnered to pair industry-leading auditing services with a fully mobile, Cloud-based supplier management and traceability platform. The new partnership will help food companies respond to the onslaught of auditing and certifications being driven by increased regulatory and industry standards.gi_61988_desktop-with-connect-mockup

WQS will leverage FoodLogiQ’s Cloud-based platform FoodLogiQ Connect to schedule, track, perform and review the more than 20,000 inspections they conduct annually around the world. Within FoodLogiQ’s Manage+Monitor module food companies, working with WQS to conduct their auditing services, will be able to track the progress of their facility audits and certifications online in real time and review the certification process of their suppliers – as well as their supplier’s suppliers.

“It really is an amazing tool that will allow us to capture audits on a mobile device in the field, sync them with our customer’s FoodLogiQ Connect community and give our customers complete visibility into the status of the audits, and certification process we are conducting for them,” said Matt Regusci, WQS COO and Director of Business Development. “We’re excited to be working with FoodLogiQ to make the chaotic global supply chain more organized and transparent.”

WQS offers auditing services to cover all of the major government and industry accreditation’s including GLOBALG.A.P., BRC, IFS, SQF and PrimusGFS, among others as well as corporate food safety standards managed by major retailers and restaurants.

FoodLogiQ customers will now be able to seamlessly partner with a leading food compliance firm with a global reach. “This partnership rounds out the value-added services we can offer our customers,” said Dean Wiltse, CEO of FoodLogiQ. “We are thrilled to work with WQS as an industry leader in global food quality and safety certifications.”

Sani Awards Nomination Call

Sani Professional, the food safety division of Professional Disposables International (PDI®), and the Sani Professional Food Safety Advisory Council (SPFSAC) is calling for nominations in support of The Sani Awards™.    Now in its third year, The Sani Awards™ award program celebrates innovation and excellence in food safety within the foodservice industry.  These awards recognize and promote best practices spotlighting food safety.    These areas of focus are: 

  • Education/Training
  • Employee/Customer Programs
  • Guest Experience


The Sani Awards™ award program welcomes nominations of foodservice establishments (5 unit minimum) as well as the individuals responsible for program implementation. 

The nomination timeframe is November 1 through February 28, 2017.  Winners will be announced in April, 2017 and trophies will be awarded at the Food Safety Summit Gives Back Networking Reception in Chicago, Illinois in May, 2017.

The Sani Awards™ award program includes three categories:

  • Category A:  Outstanding food safety program innovation
  • Category B: Exceptional food safety education and/or training program implementation
  • Category C:  Best food safety focused guest experience

Overall award criteria for nominations include:

  • Five-unit chain (or larger)
  • programs that are six months post implementation
  • measurable results/improvements


For additional award criteria and nomination forms, click here.

Coasting Along

America’s Incredible Pizza Company  unveiled a million-dollar renovation to its St. Louis store, bringing with it the area’s first indoor roller coaster.

The 3,500-square foot steel coaster officially opened to the public November 4. At 72 feet long, 35 feet wide and 14 feet tall, the figure-eight shaped track has four compartments, each holding up to four people for an overall capacity of 16 people per ride. The entire family can ride the coaster, including children as young as four years old. Each compartment on the spinning coaster gyrates as they zip across the winding track eight times. This marks the third Incredible Pizza location with a roller coaster.

In addition to the spinning roller coaster, the store has received all new go karts, a tilt-a-whirl ride called Lost in Space, and $200,000 in state-of-the-art video and prize games.


Rick Barsness, CEO and Founder of Incredible Pizza Company, said, “We are proud to be able to keep presenting this unique array of entertainment for families to relax together all year, regardless of the weather – and there’s more fun to come.”

Home to six fully-owned Family Entertainment Centers and four franchisees, America’s Incredible Pizza Company unveiled the newest Family Entertainment  in the Oklahoma city area.

In addition to the indoor roller coaster and two-story laser tag, the newest store in the Incredible Pizza family will feature a 100+ item buffet, all new go-karts and track; eight lanes of mini-bowling; an expanded bumper car area; a tilt-a-whirl ride called Lost in Space; a toddler area called Tiny Town; and state-of-the-art video and prize games.

There are four themed rooms to choose from when dining: a 50s-era family room with nostalgic TV shows playing, 50s-era diner with music, a drive-in themed room that plays family-friendly movies, and a gymnasium that plays modern family-friendly shows or the latest game.

The company plans to begin work on phase two construction, which will include: an 8,081 square foot Bounce Town with seven inflatables; the Scrambler, a rotating thrill ride; a dogleg to the go kart track; a 3,500 square foot, 9-hole glow-in-the-dark mini golf; and XD Theater, an immersive movie-ride that goes beyond 3D. The additional 28,000 square feet is slated to open by the end of January 2017.

Arby’s Inks Development Agreement

Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc., parent company of the franchisor of the Arby’s brand, has announced a new development agreement with Parikh Network, LLC, a new franchisee to the Arby’s brand, to open 50 new restaurants over the next eight years.

As part of the transaction, Parikh Network also purchased 18 ARG-owned Arby’s restaurants in the Baltimore, MD and Harrisburg, PA markets from which to grow their Arby’s business.

Parikh Network is led by brothers, Ashish Parikh, CEO, and Amish Parikh, President, who began in the franchise business in 2006 and grew their portfolio to include more than 100 restaurants operating under another quick service restaurant brand name. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Parikh Network into the Arby’s family,” said Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. “Their track record of operational excellence, including a focus on guest service, and their proven ability to grow their business through new restaurant development year after year has been incredibly impressive.”

“There has never been a better time to join the Arby’s brand,” said Ashish Parikh, CEO, Parikh Network, LLC. “With the significant business momentum and continued industry outperformance, the future is very bright for Arby’s. Our family business is eager to grow by building new restaurants in the Arby’s system.”

Arby’s remains on track with its goal to surpass $4 billion in total system-wide same-store sales (SSS) by the end of 2018. The Brand has achieved 24 consecutive quarters of SSS growth and 15 consecutive quarters of industry outperformance. Founded in 1964, is the first nationally franchised sandwich restaurant brand, with more than 3,300 restaurants worldwide.

Fishbowlinc Selects @MapR for restaurant Customer Engagement Platform

SMapR Technologies, Inc., said Fishbowl, a customer engagement platform provider for the restaurant industry, is using the MapR Converged Data Platform with Apache Drill as the foundation of its multi-tenant software as a service (SaaS) solution, for analytic data storage, transformation and interactive end-user analytics interfaces.

Fishbowl is designed to empower restaurants to engage in a more intelligent, relevant and effective manner by enabling them to understand their guests’ desires, preferences and needs. More than 70,000 restaurant locations use Fishbowl.

“Fishbowl enables restaurant brands to grow through superior understanding of and deeper engagement with guests. The platform empowers restaurant operators with rich data insights to engage guests with greater efficacy and understand the impact of their marketing efforts,” said Parijat Jauhari, vice president, analytics and product management, Fishbowl. “With MapR, Fishbowl offers the performance, scalability and near real-time capabilities required to provide a comprehensive view of the guest, which is critical to intelligent marketing in today’s competitive landscape.”

“MapR is helping companies around the globe rapidly transform how they do business through application of the world’s only Converged Data Platform. Our customers realize tremendous value and competitive advantage by utilizing analytics in real-time to have an immediate impact on business outcomes,” said David Cross, chief marketing officer, MapR Technologies. “Trailblazers like Fishbowl are putting technology and data to work, enabling restaurants to maximize performance from their operations. We’re excited to play a role in this kind of industry transformation.”

3M Releases New Digital Basestation

Speed, accuracy and clarity are three main ingredients to ensure a great drive-thru experience. Skimp on one, and it’s a recipe for disaster. 3M science is helping quick service restaurants tap the drive-thru’s full potential with the all-new digital network-ready 3M™ Drive-Thru Basestation G5. The new basestation features a smaller footprint, dual lane capabilities in a single base, and a built-in greeter.

g5_drive-thru_instore_optr_afnamf_1_business_wireAccording to the NPD Group, 50 to 70 percent of fast food sales occur at the drive-thru. Due to their popularity, more restaurants are considering a double or dual drive-thru to reduce lane length and wait times for customers. The 3M Drive-Thru Basestation G5 frees up premium wall space, works with both the 3M G5 and XT-1 headset systems, and can easily be upgraded from a single- to a dual-lane system within minutes, right in the store.

Restaurants was designed to boost worker productivity with the 3M Drive-Thru Basestation G5’s new built-in greeter, which can be used to promote key menu items with customers. Managers benefit from the ability to create alerts and reminders to increase compliance and keep team members on task. 3M’s built-in greeter can record up to 16 messages—each up to 10 seconds in length—and messages can be scheduled by daypart and easily upload to the basestation.

“The upgrades and enhancements we’ve made with the 3M Drive-Thru Basestation G5 are in direct response to the QSR industry’s need to maximize speed and accuracy in the drive-thru,” said Barb LaRock, Business Development Manager, 3M Commercial Solutions Division. “Drive-thrus are not only a huge source of revenue, but they are a point of interaction with the customer. With the upgraded system, we have created a positive experience on both ends of the line.”

Franchisee of the Year

Fazoli’s announced this year’s Franchisee of the Year during its annual conference held in Cancun, Mexico. In addition, the company named its General Managers of the Year from two of its top-performing corporate and franchised restaurants.

This year’s Franchisee of the Year recipient, Bob Sirkis, who owns the Fazoli’s of Valdosta, Georgia, was honored for achieving sales growth of 7.8 percent, including an annual guest increase of 8.4 percent. For the last 15 years, he and his wife Kendall have been franchise partners of Fazoli’s. Prior to becoming a franchisee, Sirkis was vice president of new concept development at Fazoli’s founding parent company in the late 1980s. Over the last five years, Sirkis has increased his restaurant’s sales by 52 percent and will open an additional location in Dothan, Alabama in 2017. 

“We are proud to honor Bob Sirkis for his strong restaurant performance and commitment to the Fazoli’s brand,” said Carl Howard, president and chief executive officer of Fazoli’s. “Bob and his team’s passion for operational excellence is a shining example of the strength of the Fazoli’s business model. As our network continues to expand, we are focused on partnering with likeminded entrepreneurs who want to be successful in carrying out our company mission and reaching their fullest potential.”

At the conference, Fazoli’s also named its corporate and franchise General Managers of the Year. Kim Fraser, senior general manager and longtime employee of the corporate owned Fazoli’s in Edwardsville, Illinois, was honored for her consistency in delivering strong sales results. At the franchise level, Jonathan Earl of FazWest, LLC, in Springfield, Missouri, was recognized for his contributions to one of the company’s top-performing franchised locations and building lucrative revenue streams through drive-thru and off-premise catering sales. Furthermore, Fazoli’s named Tyson Foods its Supplier of the Year for its significant impact on enhancing the brand’s operations and providing excellent customer service for more than 20 years.

Dickey’s Looks for Art

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has been passionate about the art of great barbecue since 1941, and is now looking for passionate artists to portray their great art as a mural at Dickey’s original location. To celebrate the barbecue brand’s 75th anniversary, Dickey’s is calling for artists to submit artwork for consideration to become a permanent feature on the store’s external walls as large-scale murals. Two murals will be chosen. Selected artists will win $500 and free barbecue for a year. Located at Knox-Henderson and North Central Expressway, Dickey’s first location is one of the oldest, continuously-running restaurants in Dallas.DICKEY'S BARBECUE RESTAURANTS, INC. LOGO

Submissions will be accepted until November 24, and can be uploaded online via this submission form or mailed as a hard copy to:

Attn: Mural Contest

8150 North Central Expressway, Suite 200

Dallas, TX 75206

Submissions will not be returned.

“Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is an artisan brand, and we are proud to commission new works of art to feature prominently at our first and original location,” says Roland Dickey Jr., CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. “The mural project will be a lasting symbol of Dickey’s 75 years of serving authentic, Texas-style barbecue, and we look forward to many more years of serving communities around the nation and the world.”