MRM Franchise Feed: IFMA Forms Chain Advisory Board and Zoup! Turns 20

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

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Chain Restaurant Advisory Board

The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) created a Chain Restaurant Advisory Board, for the purpose of informing its board of directors on chain restaurant supply chain challenges and collaboration opportunities.

IFMA and its board of directors – which consists of top executives from the foodservice manufacturing and supplier community – is in the process of building a new foodservice industry Go-To-Market Model as part of its industry best practice center of excellence. The Chain Restaurant Advisory Board will provide input on this new model and identify collaboration opportunities for new industry best practices.

The elite advisory board members include:

  • Dennis Clabby, Executive Vice President, IPC/Subway
  • Sam Khoury, President, Next Stage Partners
  • Charlie Lousignont, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Management, Brinker International
  • Steve Pattison, Chief Financial Officer & Vice President, Business Analysis and Risk Mgmnt, RSI/Burger King
  • Matthew Riddleberger, Vice President of Supply Chain Services, Firehouse of America, LLC
  • Michele Varian, Vice President Supply Chain & Purchasing, Sonic Corp

“It is critical that we include and consider the chain restaurant needs in our work as they represent approximately 50 percent of the consumer revenue of the entire industry,” said Larry Oberkfell, IFMA President & CEO. “We are proud to include in this Advisory Board individuals which the industry considers the best minds in our business.”

The new Go-to-Market Model is one of three groundbreaking initiatives being championed by IFMA, its board of directors and membership. The model joins IFMA’s Consumer Food Journey™ and new Operator Landscape Model as part of IFMA’s Food Future 2025 framework. These models will be shared with the industry at the upcoming IFMA Presidents Conference, November 4-6 in Arizona.

Partnering with IFMA on these initiatives is Kinetic12 Consulting, led by Jeff Schroeder and his partners Art Bell, LeAnne Garoutte and Tim Hand. Other best practice models already completed by IFMA include; Foodservice Category Management, Operator Collaboration Model, Joint Business Planning, and Supply Chain Optimization Model.

McDonald’s Modernization

McDonald’s and its franchisees are investing approximately $186 million in Florida throughout 2018 and 2019 on the construction and modernization of 240 McDonald’s restaurants, transforming the customer experience inside and outside the restaurant. In total, McDonald’s and franchisees are investing $6 billion to modernize most U.S. restaurants by 2020, including most restaurants in Florida.

With this significant construction investment, the transformed restaurants will feature:  

  • Modernized dining rooms with globally and locally inspired décor, new furniture and refreshed exterior designs
  • Enhanced customer experience with digital self-order kiosks that make ordering and paying for a meal easier. Kiosks empower guests to browse the menu, find options and tailor their meal just the way they want.
  • Remodeled counters allow for new table service that offers guests the opportunity to relax while their food is being made
  • Bright and easy to read digital menu boards inside and at the drive through
  • New designated parking spots for curbside pick-up through mobile order and pay
  • Expanded McCafé counters and larger display cases

“This is an exciting time for McDonald’s and we’re proud to be investing nearly $186 Million to provide a new experience, look and feel for guests at 240 McDonald’s locations across Florida,” said McDonald’s Owner/Operator Anthony Lopez. “We are also pleased that our modernization supports local architecture, engineering and construction jobs across the great state of Florida.”

“McDonald’s is an important local business and provider in the community,” said Senator Travis Huston, Chairman of Regulated Industries Committee. “McDonald’s is helping create and sustain local jobs not only in the restaurant but also through its construction and modernization, and that helps support the local families they serve.”  

In addition to the investments to modernize the restaurant, McDonald’s has also introduced McDelivery with Uber Eats at more than 5,000 US restaurants.

Papa John’s Franchisee Assistance

Papa John’s International, Inc. announced a new assistance program for its franchisees in the United States and Canada. This program has the full support of the company’s Franchise Advisory Council (FAC) and the Papa John’s Franchise Association (PJFA), and follows conversations with representatives from the FAC and PJFA to help address the sales and operating challenges following comments made by the Company’s founder.

“People are at the heart of our business, and this program is one of many actions we are taking to prioritize our team, address the recent challenges and move Papa John’s forward,” said Steve Ritchie, President and CEO of Papa John’s. “I appreciate the open conversation that we have had with our franchisees and the support they have extended, both on this agreement and on the broader operating initiatives we are pursuing to improve performance and build a better future for our company and our stakeholders.”

Bill Green, Chairman of the Papa John’s FAC, said, “We applaud the actions taken by the Company to define the future for the Papa John’s brand. The full FAC supports this collaborative agreement as well as other new marketing, technology and operational initiatives the Company is taking to move the brand forward.”

Vaughn Frey, President of PJFA, said, “We believe it is time for the founder to move on. Steve is pursuing the right initiatives to reinvigorate growth and recognizes the importance of working together to move forward successfully. We appreciate the assistance being extended to our franchisees and believe the assistance program will help mitigate the impact that the founder’s inexcusable words and actions have had on franchisees.”

The assistance program for domestic franchisees includes certain reductions in royalties, food-service pricing and online fees through 2018. In addition, funds will be provided to support new marketing and re-imaging initiatives consistent with the Company’s new brand direction. Total costs for the assistance program are consistent with the Company’s previously provided outlook as announced on August 7.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Expands in Mexico City

Romano’s Macaroni Grill opened its third location in Mexico City. Opened by Macaroni Grill franchise partner, Grupo Dival, the new location is the first in the Tlalpan borough, just ten miles south of Mexico City, and the second location opened by the group within the past six months.

International expansion continues to be an important part of the strategic plan for Macaroni Grill with the recent opening in Mexico City bringing the number of international locations to 18, located in seven countries.

The new 5,000 square-foot restaurant seats approximately 225 people, including 45 seats surrounding an elegant bar. It is located on the first floor of the Paseo Acoxpa Shopping Center, a 600,000 square-foot outdoor center featuring a mix of fashion, home, electronics and entertainment retailers with over 25 restaurants and cafes.

Tastefully decorated with light and bright colors and rich textures, the restaurant features Carrera marble, Copper Expo lighting, and a new design of wood top tables, booths and seating. The only location in Mexico City to serve a special breakfast menu, the restaurant will open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., daily.  The signature open-exhibition kitchen takes center stage where guests can watch as all of Macaroni Grill’s classic Italian dishes are prepared. The lunch and dinner menus feature popular favorites including Chicken Parmesan, Penne Rustica and Lasagna Bolognese.

“Macaroni Grill has always been dedicated to providing an authentic Italian dining experience in a warm and inviting atmosphere, while embodying the spirit of generosity. It’s been wonderful to see it really resonate with our guests in Mexico City,” said James Deyo, chief financial officer and executive vice president of franchise development. “We are thrilled to see the expansion of Macaroni Grill across Mexico City with this new location and look forward to continued growth with the two locations our great partners at Grupo Dival plan to open in 2019.”

Gyro Shack Opens in Nampa

The Gyro Shack,has announced an upcoming location that will bring its signature gyros to Nampa, Idaho. The restaurant, opening in late summer 2018 and situated at 1870 Caldwell Blvd., will expand the brand’s authentic Mediterranean favorites to the Boise suburbs.

Known for its customized Greek gyros and zesty sauces, The Gyro Shack is undertaking an Odyssey in Nampa in order to share a menu fit for Mt. Olympus with local foodies. The new location will feature both an indoor seating area and signature drive-thru window. Owned and operated by local resident Sean Kress, The Gyro Shack in Nampa will be the sixth location to open in the Boise area.

“Nampa locals love to try new restaurants in the neighborhood, and our unique Greek cuisine will fit right in with what people here want to eat,” said Kress, owner of The Gyro Shack of Nampa. “After trying the signature gyros I was hooked and knew that I wanted to be a part of something this special in the restaurant industry. I’m ready to bring my retail and business experience to Nampa with The Gyro Shack and can’t wait for locals to see what the brand is all about.”

“We know locals will be hooked the first time they try our fresh, imaginative menu,” said Seth Brink, vice president of operations and development at The Gyro Shack. “We can’t wait to hear Nampa yell ‘Opa!’”

As the brand continues to expand, The Gyro Shack is seeking additional qualified multi-unit investors with restaurant experience in the Pacific Northwest to join its team. The minimum number of franchises sold to an individual group is three.

Pokéworks Partners with Toridoll

Pokéworks joined forces with Toridoll Holdings Corporation. The agreement with the Tokyo-based restaurant giant, allows Pokéworks d to solidify the brand’s position. Toridoll Holdings currently operates 1,028 restaurant locations in Japan and 533 overseas, including the most-famously recognized Hawaiian udon restaurant Marugame Seimen. The $1.6 billion holding company has identified the Pokéworks investment opportunity as a means to further accelerate the brand’s market dominance while setting the bar for quality standards within the poke segment. The announcement derives just after two short years since Pokéworks’ inception and follows an aggressive growth trajectory of nearly 20 locations operating and more than 120 under development across North America, with aims to open an additional 400+ locations.

“Pokéworks was founded on the idea of bringing high-quality and affordable seafood to the masses and this agreement will no doubt enable us to achieve our long-term vision for the brand and the concept,” said Michael Wu, CEO of Pokéworks. “It is no secret that Japan is globally recognized as the leaders in fresh and superior sushi cuisine, and we cannot think of a more sophisticated establishment to partner and further align our values with as we continue to grow.”

Toridoll Holdings plans to support the fast expansion of the brand’s business model by leveraging its expertise in investing and operations through experience working with a diverse range of restaurant businesses within its global network. Heightened by the popularity of the poke trend – which has reached an annual growth rate of 25 percent and growing – Pokéworks looks to strengthen its procedures and propel operations from an execution standpoint, by placing a strong focus on higher standards to ensure a trusted and an authentic experience throughout its momentous growth.

“In this emerging market, Pokéworks has become a great success by appealing the demand for fresh, fast and healthy food at affordable prices,” said Takaya Awata, President of Toridoll Holdings. “We are excited to work in tandem with one of the largest and fastest growing poke brands in the United States –where the hottest global trends in the restaurant business emerge.”

To augment the concept’s growth, Pokéworks is seeking experienced multi-unit partners looking to invest in a turnkey franchise with minimal restaurant and labor costs. The opportunity provides comprehensive training programs and dedicated support teams to assist in on-boarding, development, opening and ongoing operations. The initial franchise fee for Pokéworks is $35,000 with the total single-unit investment ranging from $250,000 to $850,000. 

Dough-nate to Help End Childhood Hunger

One in six children in America struggle with hunger. That’s why Pie Five Pizza Co. is encouraging guests to eat pizza with purpose to raise funds for No Kid Hungry.

Pie Five locations across the country will be pitching in for the “Dough-nate to End Childhood Hunger” campaign from Aug. 13 to Sept. 2. Guests who donate $1 to No Kid Hungry will receive $2 off their next visit*. Every dollar donated to No Kid Hungry can help feed a hungry child 10 meals. *Offer can be used in-store or online. Expires 9/30/18.

“We are honored to support No Kid Hungry’s life-changing work in connecting vulnerable children to effective nutrition programs,” said Christina Coy, VP of Marketing. “Giving back to the community is a top priority for Pie Five. In addition to raising money for the cause, we hope this campaign helps raise awareness about the 13 million kids in our country who struggle with hunger.”

The No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. The campaign also engages the public to make ending childhood hunger a national priority.

“No child deserves to go hungry in America,” said Diana Hovey, Senior Vice President of Share Our Strength, the national organization behind No Kid Hungry. “We are truly grateful to have the support of Pie Five’s team members and guests, who are helping us make No Kid Hungry a reality. I encourage everyone to visit to join this national movement to ensure that every child in America has access to the nutritious food they need.”

Zoup! Celebrates 20 Years 

Zoup! is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer by giving back to the communities it serves. On Friday, July 20, the restaurant brand teamed with its local franchise partners to show its appreciation to 20 fire departments across the country via the Zoup! to the Rescue program, which delivers Rescue Care Packages to deserving parties nominated by Zoup! customers.

Zoup Hespeler Road

“Reaching out into the communities we serve is one of our Zoup!isms,” said Zoup! founder and CEO Eric Ersher. “And who deserves our thanks more than firefighters? Some of the departments we’ve selected this year, such as Troy Fire Station No. 3 in Troy, MI, or Fire Station No. 1 in Maumee, OH, are largely staffed with volunteer firefighters who respond to calls from home or work! And many, like the Rocky River Fire Department in Ohio, are also involved in emergency medical services, water rescue, hazardous materials and public education for the community. We’re extremely proud to be able to show these remarkable individuals some small expression of our appreciation for the work they do.”

Rescue Care Packages are a popular way to provide a little bit of comfort and joy in someone’s life by delivering a bowl of delicious, filling soup, a big hunk of bread and a beverage. The Zoup! to the Rescue program began in 2011, offering Zoup! customers a way to nominate co-workers or community members who go above and beyond or just to show a friend or loved one that someone is thinking about them. Zoup! guests submitted 787 nominations in 2017.  “Each of our franchisees does everything they can to fulfill as many nominations as possible,” Ersher said.

Zoup Hespeler Road

To nominate a friend or loved one, simply submit a form at The local owner or manager reviews all nominations and selects rescue recipients. The nominator is contacted to arrange a date and time to pick up the Rescue Care Package. Delivery is also available from select Zoup! locations. 

Zoup! is officially open for business in Eagan, Minnesota. The chain opened its first Minnesota location on Aug. 6 at 1348 Towne Centre Drive.

“We’re very happy to finally open our doors to the great people of Eagan,” says franchise owner and longtime restaurant industry veteran Anthony Steffen. “We’re confident that guests will love both our award-winning gourmet soups and our dedication to serving our community.”

The restaurant hosted two preview lunches and a special VIP pre-opening event that collected $2,275 in donations for Open Arms of Minnesota, supporting its efforts to cook and deliver free, nutritious meals to people living with life-threatening illnesses in the Twin Cities. Guests will get a chance to experience that community spirit when Zoup! hosts a weeklong grand opening celebration Sept. 17-21 with specials including a “Dine to Donate” fundraiser, School Spirit Day and more. Guests are encouraged to like Zoup! Eagan on Facebook for more details and to sign up for the Zoup! InsiderZ program to receive a special “buy a bowl, get one free” offer.

Wayback Success

Wayback Burgers’ second quarter was filled with multiple transactions, franchise expansions and significant growth in exciting new places, both domestically and internationally.

Wayback Burgers has grown to more than 160 locations worldwide. The  chain has active locations in 30 states throughout the United States and four additional continents around the globe. That includes Argentina, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco. In Q2, Wayback Burgers expanded its reach into Canada, Asia and Europe.

  International developments include:

  • An additional subfranchise agreement in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with another restaurant under construction.
  • A restaurant in Lahore, Pakistan opened its doors in Q2, and construction is underway for a second location. Workers are also constructing a restaurant in Hofuf, Saudi Arabia.
  • In Europe, Wayback Burgers reached a Master Franchise agreement to bring cooked-to-order burgers to Ireland.
  • And the Canadian expansion took important steps in Q2, with the sale of a franchise in Manitoba and a letter-of-intent agreement for a Master Franchise in British Columbia.

Wayback Burgers introduced itself to more guests in new locations in the United States in Q2. The leading burger brand opened new restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama, and Little Rock, Arkansas. Moreover, Wayback Burgers signed two new leases (Pooler, Georgia, and Pottstown, Pennsylvania), sold two additional franchises and is currently supervising 18 new restaurants under construction.

Wayback Burgers Executive Vice President, Bill Chemero, says Q2’s success is indicative of the company’s commitment to quality service.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of the Wayback Burgers family,” says Chemero.  “We’ve just launched our mobile ordering & loyalty app, a true game changer for us, and we’ve forged a partnership with a great charitable organization, The Boys & Girls Clubs of America– a partnership/association that makes us very proud. In addition to those exciting announcements, through a dedication to hard work, a focus on quality and the desire to provide a unique and traditional experience, the company’s footprint is quickly expanding here in the United States as well as key international locations. We have garnered a reputation for delivering the best burgers and the best service. It will continue to take a collaborative effort to not only meet, but exceed, our growth expectations…and I know, with passionate franchisees and dedicated support personnel at the corporate office and out in the field, we have the team to do it!”

The third quarter has  already has the makings of another successful quarter for Wayback Burgers. Seven additional restaurants are scheduled to open coast-to-coast, including Irving, Texas; Milford, Delaware; Reno, Nevada; Pottstown, Pennsylvania; Tulare, California; Atlanta, Georgia and Secaucus, New Jersey.

“The trend to deliver a timeless, satisfying meal with a wide variety of menu items the entire family can enjoy will never grow out of fashion,” says Chemero. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished up to this point in 2018, but we will remain steadfast and focused on the opportunities on the benchmarks set before us. We began 2018 on a positive note and with great momentum. I’m optimistic everyone associated with Wayback Burgers is eager to finish the year on a similar note.”

 The Wayback App is live and was designed to make it convenient to purchase Wayback menu items direct from mobile devices and tablets. Whether they’re planning their day, on their way to work, or already at the restaurant, guests can find favorite menu items at their fingertips. Guests can discover a Wayback Burgers nearby, easily monitor the loyalty points they rack up via the Wayback Payback Rewards program, send gift cards to family and friends, and share their Wayback experience through social media connectivity.

“It is one of our top priorities to deliver top-notch meals and service to our guests, and we believe the new Wayback App continues our long-standing tradition,” says Wayback Burgers’ President John Eucalitto. “We get it — families are on the go and every second is critical. The Wayback App caters to families who need to get in and out of the restaurant in a matter of moments. Conversely, the Wayback App allows parents to spend more quality time at our restaurants by opting to order and pay for their meal at their table. The app may be new; but enjoying a meal of cooked-to-order burgers, fresh fries and hand-dipped-to-order milkshakes remains timeless.”

Newk’s Cares Honors Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Beginning its fifth year, Newk’s Cares — the ovarian cancer awareness movement founded by fast-casual Newk’s Eatery— is spearheading efforts to fight for the one in 78 women who will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime, in honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September.


Newk’s Cares is the philanthropic arm of Newk’s Eatery, established in 2014 by Newk’s Eatery CEO, Chris Newcomb, and his wife Lori Newcomb. Lori was diagnosed with stage IIIC ovarian cancer in 2013, which inspired her to establish Newk’s Cares as a way of giving back to an important cause that has personally impacted the Newk’s family. To date, Newk’s Cares has raised over $720,000 for ovarian cancer research through the organization’s partnership with Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA), the largest global organization dedicated to advancing ovarian cancer research while supporting women and their families.

Newk’s Cares Founder Lori Newcomb

“I hope to use the Newk’s Cares platform to inspire women to communicate how they are feeling and put their health first, as they do with the loved ones most important to them,” said Lori Newcomb, Newk’s Cares co-founder and ovarian cancer survivor. “I believe women should listen to what their bodes are telling them to truly take care of themselves, and to find a doctor who will also listen to them and their symptoms. Even though the symptoms may be vague, your body is trying to tell you something. Early detection is the key to incrementally increasing the survival rate.”

To kick off Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Newk’s Cares is hosting the following events for the Jackson, Miss. community, where Newk’s calls home:

  • Newk’s Cares and St. Dominic Hospital are again joining efforts to raise critical awareness and support of ovarian cancer prevention and treatment. A free Lunch & Learn event will be held on Thursday, August 16 at noon at Sparkman Auditorium on the campus of the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum. Lori Newcomb, along with St. Dominic’s gynecologic oncologists and ovarian cancer survivors will share their stories, and guests will also hear from Dr. Katherine Fuh, an Assistant Professor in the division of Gynecologic Oncology at Washington University in St. Louis, regarding her latest research. Dr. Fuh’s research on the inhibition of metastasis in BRCA2–associated ovarian cancers is funded by a grant from OCRFA made possible by a donation from Newk’s Cares. Attendees can pre-register for the lunch and submit questions to the panel by emailing  This event is free and open to the public.
  • The community is invited to aid in the fight against ovarian cancer by participating in Ovarian Cycle® Jackson, an annual outdoor spin event that will be held at The Club at The Township in Ridgeland on Thursday, September 20. Riders can participate in one of five 45-minute time slots every hour from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is a $50 registration fee to ride and ovarian cancer survivors ride for free. Registration is now open at

The following initiatives will take place across all Newk’s Eatery’s 121 locations to raise awareness of the cause:

  • Beginning August 20 through the month of September, Newk’s iconic collectible black cups will turn teal, the color of Ovarian Cancer Awareness. Guests will have the option to make a donation in support of ovarian cancer research and education both in-store and through online ordering. All funds collected between September 3 – 30 will be donated to OCRFA.
  • Available during the month of September, Newk’s is introducing a new seasonal Thai Chicken soup that features numerous cancer-fighting ingredients including mushrooms, carrots, turmeric, garlic, and green and red bell peppers, which contain antioxidants that can help reduce the risks of cancer. This soup will remain in all Newk’s Eatery locations through March 2019.

For more information, visit and follow Newk’s Cares on Facebook, where Newk’s Cares will feature the brave faces of ovarian cancer survivors and their stories throughout the month of September.

Marco’s Pizza Celebrates 40

]Marco’s Pizza, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The brand celebrated in its Toleda hometown on July 24 to reflect on its history and milestones over the last 40 years.

During the brand’s anniversary celebration, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz presented Marco’s Pizza founder, Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco, with a key to the city honoring his contributions to Toledo over the past 40 years. Pat came to Ohio from Sulmona, Italy with his family at the age of nine and grew up making pizzas with his dad. Years later, he drove through Northwest Ohio and thought to bring an authentic pizzeria to the area. He opened the first Marco’s Pizza in Oregon, Ohio in 1978 and since then the brand has taken off – now operating over 900 stores in 35 states and four countries.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive the key to city. Toledo has given us an unbelievable amount of support and has been a key component in our success—I am proud to call Toledo our home,” said Giammarco. “I never expected the brand to grow as much as it has. We started with one location and began to open more to accommodate people who were traveling long distances to order our pizzas—from there Marco’s Pizza grew rapidly but still remained true to my roots.”

In 2004, when now franchise-owner and CEO Jack Butorac came on board as a consultant, Marco’s had 126 stores across three states and it was the 26th-largest pizza chain in the United States. Today, Marco’s is the seventh-largest pizza chain in the country, and quickly climbing. In April of this year, it opened its 900th store in Puerto Rico. With a new Marco’s store opening on an average every three days, the brand is celebrating its 40th anniversary by recognizing its long history and bright future.

“Celebrating the 40th anniversary is a huge milestone for Marco’s pizza. We have our eyes set on 1,000 locations open and operating by early 2019 and look forward to seeing what the next 40 years has in store,” said Tony Libardi, President and Chief Operating Officer of Marco’s Pizza. “To reach our goals, our energies will focus on growing our people and building future leaders at the corporate and store level, providing a world class guest experience, and offering new franchise owners the support they need to succeed.”

Primo Hoagies Inks Atlanta Franchise Agreement

Primo Hoagies, the Philadelphia-born Italian specialty sandwich franchise, announced it has signed an agreement with Brian Ottaviano for the Atlanta area. He plans to open his Primo Hoagies location in Atlanta in the fall of 2018.

The new hoagie franchise location will be the first Primo Hoagies in Georgia and will be the first of three units that Ottaviano will be opening in the area. Primo Hoagies prides itself on offering guests high quality, original products from a diverse menu, including the newest addition of an authentic Philly cheesesteak. Ottaviano’s background in business and his roots in Philadelphia prepare him well for this role. Ottaviano and his business partners will be managing daily operations.

“We’re proud to have Brian join our team, as he will be a great asset to our brand,” said Rocco Fiorentino, president and CEO of Primo Hoagies. “The Atlanta market will soon be able to take a bite into our tradition and become part of the buzz that has taken over the East Coast since the start of the company,” added Adam Biedenbender, vice president of development at Primo Hoagies. “We can’t wait to see the lines form at Brian’s store.”

Primo Hoagies  launched two multi-unit deals in Charleston and North Jersey, and a single-unit deal in Bel Air, Maryland. At more than 90 locations across eight states, the new locations bring excitement and authenticity to several more communities.

“When we began to research different franchise opportunities, we were looking for a unique concept with a rich tradition that had the ability to bring people together,” said Ottaviano. “We found our perfect fit with Primo Hoagies. Nothing beats serving up a classic Italian staple that anyone can enjoy.”

Twin Peaks’ Ohio Growth

 Twin Peaks signed a franchise deal, with plans to open seven additional stores in Ohio. CEO Joe Hummel said the company has executed an Area Development Agreement with JEB Food Group, LLC, to bring seven Twin Peaks locations to Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio. The agreement ancticipates that all of the new restaurants will be open within about four years.

“Twin Peaks is so much more than the typical sports bar,” said Ed Williams, Managing Member of JEB Food Group. “The polished mountain lodge setting, scratch menu, Twin Peaks Girls, and the brand’s universal promise of serving its draft beer at 29-degrees, offers a unique experience unlike anything else in the industry. It’s a huge hit in all of its current cities and we have no doubt that Ohio will be any different. We are excited to join the Twin Peaks team and we look forward to introducing the one-of-a-kind concept to everyone in these new cities.”

JEB Food Group, LLC, is an entity consisting of three partners – Williams, Brent Irish and John Hong. JEB is led by Williams, who has more than 30 years of quick-service and full-service restaurant development, operations, and ownership experience. Irish and Hong are both successful real estate investors and devlopers in Oklahoma City. The trio has participated in a number of successful ventures over the years, including the recent purchase of the Circle M Crawfish restaurant, an East Texas institution for over 20 years.

“We have been looking forward to expanding through Ohio and the northeastern states ever since we started franchising,” said Hummel. “JEB Food Group has an awesome team with a lot of experience and expertise, so we are excited to have them lead the way into central and southern Ohio.”

Aramark Makes an Oath

Aramark forged a strategic partnership with Oath Pizza to bring the pizzeria’s Certified Humane brand to new, exclusive locations, from university campuses and sporting arenas to offices, hospital cafés and more. To support the partnership, Aramark is investing in Oath Pizza, which has gained a cult-following for its signature thin crust pizzas that are grilled and seared in avocado oil and feature ethically sourced ingredients.

“We innovate continually to enhance consumers’ food experiences with unique and on-trend culinary solutions that are also local and sustainable,” said Victor Crawford, a Chief Operating Officer for Aramark. “Our partnership with Oath will further enable us to provide a high quality, convenient, healthy and personalized menu option, not to mention a great-tasting pizza with a purpose.”

Oath Pizza currently operates locations in the Boston and Washington, DC areas, and recently opened a restaurant in New York City. The alliance with Aramark will enable Oath Pizza to expand more quickly with new locations opening before the end of 2018 and beyond. Oath Pizza is scheduled to open sites this month on college campuses served by Aramark. Locations in businesses and hospital cafés have already opened as a result of the partnership.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Aramark to scale up and reach new audiences,” says Oath Pizza CEO Patrik Hellstrand. “This partnership will give Oath Pizza access to unique and exclusive dining options to bring our certified humane and ethically-sourced pizzas to a greater number of people who love delicious food and want to feel good about their eating decisions.”

Gloria Jean’s Secures Master Franchise Partners

The Middle East and African regions continue to be a bountiful market for the Gloria Jean’s Coffees brand, top photo, with Khaled Aqqad and Yousef Asfour signing as Master Franchise Partners for the State of Palestine. The team look to have their first store opened by late 2018 and will grow their outlet base from there.

Retail Food Group (RFG)  now have over 200 outlets in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, which is largely driven by the strength of the Gloria Jean’s brand. With this latest signing, over twenty Master Franchise Agreements have been signed to date for the region, which highlights the desire for quality brands in the area. RFG are now looking to build on this success and are actively seeking Master Franchise Partnership opportunities for their fleet of brands including It’s A Grind, Donut King and Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar.

This agreement joins other recent Retail Food Group expansion with Gloria Jean’s Coffees Master Franchise Agreements also recently announced in the United Kingdom, additional growth of its Donut King and Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar brands in the United Kingdom, and Donut King expansion in Sweden.

Most recently, RFG are also celebrating the team behind expanding the Gloria Jean’s Coffees footprint in Austria, The Netherlands and Switzerland – the Winkel Group. The ambitious Master Franchise Partners, who already hold the master agreement for Germany, are very familiar with the brand and plan to open their first store in Cologne this October. The strength of the brand has bolstered the belief in the entrepreneurial group that the surrounding countries near Germany present an enormous growth opportunity.

L’Oeufrier Grows Following

L’Oeufrier owners Pedro Médina, Kevin Henriques and Tony Khoury opened eight new locations, raising the number of restaurants from 24 to 32 in the coming year. With annual sales of $25 million and 24 franchises located across the Greater Montreal region, L’Oeufrier employs over 600 people, or about 25 people per restaurant. 

“We are extremely proud of how our company is growing and intend to keep it that way. When it comes to breakfast, we want to be the reference in Quebec. Our mission has remained unchanged since we started: to serve the best breakfast in the city, serving up a plate full of innovation and quality that is as much a feast for the eyes as for the taste buds. We are a neighbourhood eatery that stands out for its creativity, its customer experience, its generous portions and its artful presentation that’s unlike any other breakfast spot. You can get eggs anywhere; at L’Oeufrier, we take it up a notch and then some! Our small and friendly neighbourhood restaurant concept serves up an extraordinary client experience. As true breakfast fans ourselves, we wanted to create a completely different experience from that found anywhere else. People have a right to variety and innovation, even at breakfast,” explains Medina

New Locations

  • Ste-Dorothée
  • Faubourg Contrecoeur
  • Vaudreuil
  • De La Montagne
  • Hochelaga Maisonneuve
  • Varennes
  • Lachine
  • Trois-Rivières
  • Crémazie
Pie Five in Owasso

Pie Five Pizza opened its first Owasso, Oklahoma restaurant on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 9700 N. Garnett Road.

“We are excited to bring Pie Five’s exceptional pizza to the community of Owasso,” said Brandon Birdwell, Owner of the Owasso, Tulsa and Stillwater Pie Five restaurants. “Tulsa welcomed us with open arms and we’ve seen great success there, so expanding into Owasso and opening this new location was a no-brainer. Our comfortable, clean and friendly environment combined with speedy service and quality ingredients makes Pie Five the go-to spot for every pizza lover. We’ve assembled an awesome team and we’re all looking forward to becoming an integral part of the local community.”

The new restaurant will donate a portion of the day’s sales to the Owasso Ram Football Booster Club. This is the second Pie Five in the Tulsa area, sixth in Oklahoma and 73rd system-wide.

Subway Partners with Tastemade

Subway and Tastemade announced a strategic partnership to leverage consumer trends and insights to drive innovation and bring good food to people around the world. The unique, first-of-its-kind partnership will include thematic culinary explorations, data-driven menu inspiration, trend intelligence, global insights, and marketplace innovation.

Subway’s partnership with Tastemade represents a truly global collaboration that will create a stronger food innovation pipeline and points of cultural connections for consumers. By tapping into Tastemade’s network of hundreds of tastemakers, Subway will reach people in every corner of the globe in new and engaging ways and leverage insights on how to create more locally-relevant menus to deliver a more contemporary food experience.

“Global innovation is key to driving our brand forward, and we are disrupting the way we’ve traditionally managed the process, which includes bold new strategic partnerships like the one we’ve crafted with Tastemade,” shared Len Van Popering, Subway’s VP of Global Brand Management & Innovation. “Through its global network of tastemakers and rich data-driven insights, Tastemade has its finger on the pulse of how people interact with, think about, and are influenced by food—and through this partnership, those insights will be embedded in Subway’s food innovation around the world.” 

“Every day, we use data and insights to create compelling content for our viewers across all digital platforms around the world. We are thrilled to be able to tap into years of consumer trends and insights in a new way, to help fuel real innovation for Subway,” said Oren Katzeff, Global Head of Programming at Tastemade.

The partnership will include curated innovation events, food and flavor trend insights, and joint food development with today’s consumer front and center. The global collaboration will focus initially on North America and Latin America.

Chicken Salad Chick Expands in Nashville

Chicken Salad Chick will expand in Tennessee with its fourth Nashville location opening in Spring Hill. Located at 4867 Main Street, the company-owned restaurant marks the brand’s 92nd location in the Southeast and will open on Tuesday, August 21.

“Chicken Salad Chick has established a strong presence in Nashville over the years, as residents in the market continue to embrace the brand,” said Scott Deviney, CEO of Chicken Salad Chick. “Our passionate following has helped us accelerate Chicken Salad Chick’s growth and success in Tennessee, with the new Spring Hill restaurant marking the 9th location in the state. With additional restaurants slated to open in Maryville and Germantown later this year, we are eager to expand our Tennessee footprint even further and introduce more communities to our signature menu items and vibrant atmosphere.”

The Chicken Salad Chick concept, born in Auburn, was established in 2008 in the kitchen of founder, Stacy Brown. When Stacy discovered that the local county health department would not allow her to continue making and selling her delicious recipes out of her home kitchen, she overcame that obstacle by launching her first restaurant with the business expertise of her future husband and fellow founder, Kevin Brown. Together, they opened a small takeout restaurant, which quickly grew; the company now has 92 restaurants across the Southeast.

The Hummus & Pita Co. Starts National Expansion

The Hummus & Pita Co. will mark the official start of national expansion with the opening of its first franchised store in Brookfield, Connecticut on Saturday, August 11. The brand’s newest outpost, located at 15 Federal Road, is part of a multi-unit, statewide franchise deal inked earlier this year. The Brookfield store will introduce The Hummus & Pita Co.’s fresh, authentic Mediterranean fare and viral hummus-based desserts, including Dessert Hummus, Hummus Shakes, and Hummus Ice Cream, to a new legion of fans all across the state of Connecticut.

“Since first finalizing our franchise deal with The Hummus & Pita Co., we have anxiously been waiting for this day. It fills my heart with immense joy to see my dream of opening one of New York City’s best Mediterranean fast casual concepts come to fruition. I am proud that the first ever franchised location of The Hummus & Pita Co. – the authentic, delicious, and freshly-made Mediterranean food – is in my community,” said franchisee Saiyam Shah.

The Hummus & Pita Co.’s three existing stores in New York City average impressive unit economics of well over $1,000 in sales per square foot. The high sales volume, coupled with high consumer demand, proves the brand is well-poised for its planned national expansion, including units in development in Denver, CO; Bellworks, NJ; and Detroit, MI; which are slated to open by year’s end, and multiple units in Los Angeles, CA planned for 2019.

“We, as a family, are so excited to be able to spread our dream nationally with our first of five Grand Openings in five new markets in the next four months,” said Dave Pesso, co-founder of The Hummus & Pita Co.

The Hummus & Pita Co. is partnered with Fransmart, the industry leading franchise development company behind the explosive growth of brands like Five Guys Burgers and Fries, The Halal Guys, and Qdoba Mexican Grill, as their exclusive franchise development partner to grow the brand. They are currently looking for experienced multi-unit foodservice operators to develop franchise territories in major markets.