MRM Franchise Feed: Smoothie King’s 1,000th and Fazoli’s Three Decades of Service

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

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Smoothie King Opens 1,00oth Store

Smoothie King celebrated the opening of its 1,000th store at 1325 E. Belt Line Road in Richardson, Texas. 

“This is an incredible milestone in our company’s history and in our journey to inspire people to live healthy and active lifestyles,” said Wan Kim, Smoothie King owner and CEO. “It’s even more special that we’ve reached this goal right here in our new home market and can celebrate with our neighbors and friends.”

The Richardson location, which is company owned, is a short drive from the company’s new corporate headquarters, located in Dallas. The company moved in June 2018 from Metairie, Louisiana.

The newly-opened 1000th store showcases a new stand-alone store design and a menu centered on Smoothie King’s Cleaner Blending recipes. Because consumers now demand transparency with their food more than ever, Smoothie King is focused on developing exclusive, proprietary Cleaner Blending recipes. This industry-leading innovation makes smoothies more nutritious with no added sugar, more fruits and veggies, no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, while still serving delicious smoothies. 

“2018 is a big year in our evolution,” said Kim. “We made the move to Dallas, made significant changes to our menu, ingredient list and restaurants, and now celebrate 1,000 locations. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to helping people live a healthy and active lifestyle.” 

 In the first half of 2018, Smoothie King opened 49 locations, and it projects to open a total of 130 locations by year’s end. 

Franchising Gives Back

The International Franchise Association's (IFA) Foundation announced  the winners of its fourth annual Franchising Gives Back Awards, who were honored at an awards dinner on Sept. 4 in Washington, D.C. Established by a generous donation from Roark Capital Group, Franchising Gives Back salutes the best, most innovative community leaders and charitable programs nationwide. 

"The economic footprint of franchising is very big, but, in many ways, the social footprint of franchise businesses in thousands of communities, impacting our neighbors and customers in very personal ways, is even bigger," said Steve Romaniello, CFE, managing director, Roark Capital Group. "Since we launched the Franchising Gives Back program in 2015, IFA members have donated more than $245 million and 2.3 million hours to non-profit organizations."

The IFA Foundation recognized five Gold Winners at the Franchising Gives Back Celebration & Awards Dinner. The winners are:

  • Spirit of Franchising Award: A Novel Idea LLC (Auntie Anne's and Cinnabon franchisee) benefiting San Antonio Clubhouse 
    A Novel Idea is San Antonio Clubhouse's longest-serving corporate partner, raising more than $100,000 for the organization, sponsoring $15,000 in matching grants and, employing 30-35 Clubhouse members through the organization's Transitional Employment program at Auntie Anne's and Cinnabon locations.
  • Enduring Impact Award: Molly Maid benefiting Ms. Molly Foundation
    Each year, Molly Maid spearheads their annual "Making a Difference Drive" to support victims of domestic violence. Molly Maid chartered the Ms. Molly Foundation in 1996 and has since raised more than $2.8 million for over 120 shelters, safe houses, and domestic violence agencies across America. Approximately 80 percent of locally owned and operated Molly Maid franchise offices raise and donate funds and collect personal care items to donate to local community safe houses and agencies.
  • Support Our Veterans AwardJersey Mike's Subs LA Co-Op benefiting Jersey Mike's Month of Giving – Operation Gratitude
    Operation Gratitude is a military-base charity that sends individually addressed care packages to our military deployed overseas and their children left behind, as well as first responders, new recruits, veterans, and wounded heroes. To date, the Jersey Mike's Los Angeles Co-Op has raised more than $2.4M for Operation Gratitude during the company-wide annual charitable initiative Month of Giving. These funds have helped support the non-profit organization's mission and paid for the shipping of 170,000 care packages. 
  • Innovation and Impact AwardUptown Cheapskate benefiting Charity Fill-A-Bag Event for BuildOn
    Uptown Cheapskate has raised over $360,000 through the Fill A Bag Event to support charity partner, BuildOn, which builds schools in some of the most under-served areas in the world. Schools constructed in Mali, Senegal, Nicaragua, Nepal, Burkina Faso, and Haiti will benefit those communities for decades to come. The Charity Fill-A- Bag event converts clearance and donated merchandise directly into cash by selling a $15 bag that customers stuff full of product.
  • The Newcomer Award: College Hunks Hauling Junk benefiting Hauling Away Hunger Project for Feeding Children Everywhere
    Both College Hunks and Feeding Children Everywhere share the same commitment to sustainability. College Hunks helps support this mutual commitment by deploying "Hunks", who were already located throughout the country to help set up the Hunger Projects. In 2017, College Hunks had the goal of 300,000 meals donated within one year. To date, more than 400,000 meals have been donated, putting College Hunks ahead of the game as they continue to work towards their goal of one million meals by 2020.

Additionally, five Silver Award Winners were recognized during the dinner. They are:

  • Spirit of Franchising Award: Crimson Enterprises (Captain D's franchisee) benefiting Children's Hospital of Alabama
  • Enduring Impact Award: Hooters of America benefiting Give A Hoot Program for Hooters Community Endowment Fund
  • Support Our Veterans Award: Ben's Soft Pretzels benefiting Pretzels for Heroes for Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
  • Innovation and Impact Award: 1HUDDLE benefiting Newark Works
  • The Newcomer Award: Island Creamery Inc. (Baskin Robbin's franchisee in Puerto Rico) benefiting Puerto Rico Renace (Instituto Psicopedagógico de Puerto Rico)

"This year's awards program is a testament to the incredible charitable work franchise owners, franchisors and suppliers are doing across the country and internationally," said Michael Isakson, Chair of the IFA Foundation Board. "It's quite simple: when you do good, you feel good. Honoring those who donate countless volunteer hours and dollars is our mission and we hope to inspire businesses across the world to continue to share their stories with us for years to come."

The IFA Foundation has been building a national registry to profile franchise businesses and their charitable initiatives nationwide. Franchisees who are members of the IFA and have made exceptional contributions to their community are encouraged to take the opportunity to be acknowledged for their support efforts. Members can do so by visiting, where they can submit details about their charitable activities — including hours volunteered and money donated — as well as upcoming events, news, and blog posts.

MTY To Acquire sweetFrog

A wholly-owned subsidiary of MTY Food Group Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire most of the assets of the sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt franchise system , for an estimated consideration of USD $35 million.

"sweetFrog is an exciting brand serving premium quality frozen yogurt and will fit perfectly within our portfolio of brands." said Jeff Smit, COO of MTY's U.S. operations.  "We are extremely happy about everything this brand has to offer and the growth potential ahead."

"With an executive of Jeff Smit's caliber leading U.S. operations, MTY is the perfect organization to lead sweetFrog during its next chapter of success.  I am excited to see what Smit and his team of restaurant industry experts can do as we become the largest sweetFrog multi-unit franchisee." said Patrick Galleher, Chairman & CEO of sweetFrog Enterprises, LLC and Managing Partner of Boxwood Capital.

sweetFrog currently has 254 franchised locations and 78 corporate-owned locations. Of those 332 restaurants, 324 are located in the United States and 8 are located internationally.  As part of the deal, the current 78 corporate-owned locations will transition to franchised locations under current ownership. In the last 12 months, the sweetFrog network has generated over USD $92 million in system sales.

The transaction is expected to close within 30 days, but remains subject to multiple conditions customary for a transaction of this nature.  There is no assurance the transaction will be completed as described above, or at all, or that the anticipated closing date will materialize. Following the closing of the transaction, MTY expects to consolidate operations and run the franchising platform from its U.S. headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona under the leadership of Jeff Smit. Total consideration for the transaction will be financed using MTY's cash on hand and existing credit facilities.

Wetzel’s Pretzels Donates to No Kid Hungry

Thanks to passionate Wetzel’s Pretzels team members, franchisees and customers across the country, the brand has announced it will donate more than $100,000 to No Kid Hungry®, helping to provide one-million meals to children in need across the country. To raise the funds and cross the one million meal mark, the company implemented a systemwide promotion from July 1 through July 22 at more than 300 Wetzel’s Pretzels locations across the country, with each $1 donation from guests providing 10 healthy meals to children in the U.S. To thank guests for their generosity, Wetzel’s Pretzels provided a Free Original Pretzel for each donation made.

"We are so thankful for the incredible support of Wetzel's Pretzels and their guests, who blew us away with their first promotion for No Kid Hungry. The funds raised will help us end hunger for kids across this country,” said Diana Hovey, SVP of Dine Out for No Kid Hungry.

Funds raised support No Kid Hungry’s work to connect vulnerable children to effective nutrition programs like School Breakfast and Summer Meals, creating public-private partnerships that work together to identify and break down barriers to giving children access to meals, and teaching low-income families how to stretch their food budgets and cook healthy, affordable meals.

“Steve Leibsohn, one of our largest multi-unit operators and an active philanthropist in the Arizona market, spearheaded the idea of partnering with No Kid Hungry.  We started with a pilot in Arizona and it was an overwhelming success,” said Jennifer Schuler, Wetzel’s Pretzels’ President. “The combination of Steve’s leadership and the amount raised in his market was a catalyst for us bringing this fundraising initiative to all our stores across the nation. Everyone at the Wetzel’s Pretzel’s team couldn’t be more thrilled with how the entire brand got behind this effort.”

“When thinking about philanthropy, I go back to my motto that together we can transform small wishes into big dreams,” said Leibsohn. “Thus, by providing a million meals to the children, they can reach their maximum potential and manifest their own dreams.”

Fazoli’s Aims to Raise $100,000 for Feed the Children  

To celebrate three decades of service, Fazoli's is hosting a month-long celebration through September 30.

“We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate such a major milestone,” said Carl Howard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fazoli’s. “This wouldn’t be possible without the support of our loyal guests, so we wanted to take this opportunity to offer our genuine thanks by sharing 30 Days of Deals and hosting a special fundraiser with Feed the Children.”

Throughout the entire month of September, participating Fazoli’s locations will have special daily offers, such as Breadstick Slider Saturdays – Guests will receive a FREE Breadstick Slider with a $5 purchase in celebration of Fazoli’s new Breadstick Snacks line. Participating locations will also have discounts on classics like Fazoli’s Pizza and Pasta Sampler for just $4.99!

Fazoli’s is also giving back to the communities that have supported the brand over the last 30 years by partnering with Feed the Children, a nonprofit with a vision to create a world where no child goes to bed hungry by providing hope and resources for those without life’s essentials.

“We began partnering with Feed the Children in 2012, and since our partnership began, we’ve raised over $425,000 through local events and special promotions like our September Round-Up Campaign,” said Howard. “Our 30th anniversary gives us the opportunity to truly make a difference, one breadstick at a time.” 

Fazoli’s aims to raise $100,000 for Feed the Children during its September Round-up Campaign. During the month of September, guests can round up the total of their check to the nearest dollar and the difference will go to Feed the Children.

Fazoli’s also announced the five recipients of the company’s All-American Award, which honors and rewards Fazoli’s elite associates whose contributions and pursuit of excellence both on and off the job exemplify the brand’s mission, purpose and values. The All-American Team includes:

  • Desiree Brooks from Bridgeton, Mo.
  • Megan Rojas from Clarksville, Tenn.
  • Courtney Joyce from Normal, Ill.
  • Brandon Tish from Murray, Ky.
  • Aaron Feezor from Murray, Ky.

There are nearly 220 Fazoli’s locations across the country and only five associates are selected each year to receive Fazoli’s National All-American Team honors. In order to be recognized as an All-American, one must first be nominated by management and then undergo a rigorous review by a selection committee, which ultimately chooses the top five All Americans from hundreds of applications. The team member must be actively employed by Fazoli’s (either full or part-time), and demonstrate a commitment to excellence, both at work and in their personal endeavors.

“We’re dedicated to being a ‘best in class’ brand that continuously strives for excellence and that commitment extends to our team; our All Americans are truly ‘best in class,’” said Carl Howard,President and Chief Executive Officer of Fazoli’s. “Our passionate guest-service-oriented team members create an atmosphere that sets us apart from other restaurant brands. We have so many employees that work together day-in and day-out to make sure each aspect of the Fazoli’s experience runs smoothly. As part of our company culture, we like to recognize those who go above and beyond to deliver unparalleled service to our guests. The All-American Team is our way to say ‘thank you’ and reward these outstanding individuals for their hard work.”

In addition to a round of applause for a job well done, Annual National All-American Team recipients will receive the following: all expenses-paid trip to Fazoli’s National Brand Conference, recognition at the President’s Award Dinner, $1,000 prize, personal letter from Fazoli’s CEO, certificate of achievement, Fazoli’s All-American Pin, special Fazoli’s uniform and a Pursuit of Excellence Spotlight at

Texas Chicken in Jakarta

Following a busy spring and early summer for new Texas Chicken® restaurant openings throughout the Asia-Pacific region, the brand has a new franchisee entry to the Indonesian market in the nation's capital of Jakarta. The new Texas Chicken coming to the bustling Green Pramuka Square district just outside the city's downtown center will be a flagship restaurant in the brand's new STAR design, operated by a new team that has recently been highly active and successful in the region. Open on September 5, Texas Chicken at Green Pramuka Square is the first fried chicken brand to come to the area. 

"Once again, a highly experienced franchisee has leveraged their knowledge of the region into an advantageous location and market position in a key international destination," said Tony Moralejo, Executive Vice President of International Business for Church's Chicken/Texas Chicken. "We've been working with Envictus Holdings and its partners since 2012. Their track record for positive results speaks for itself – and we confidently expect the same here in Jakarta."

Envictus Holdings already operates more than 50 Texas Chicken restaurants throughout Malaysia. The new Jakarta restaurant is part of a much larger development deal for Indonesia.

"This has been an exciting opportunity to introduce a new audience to an ever-evolving brand like Texas Chicken which is known and respected for its quality and superior guest experience," said Daniel Harris Ishak, Country Head for Envictus Holdings' Indonesian restaurant division, PT Quick Service Restaurant. "We're looking forward to bringing the people of Jakarta face to face with the fresh taste and unforgettable flavor of one of the world's top fried chicken brands, and to enjoy a variety of our new international menu items for the first time in Jakarta."

Tony Roma's in Mexico and Spain

Romacorp, Inc., the parent company of Tony Roma’s®, is opening its newest restaurant location in Veracruz, Mexico. Known for its combination of modernernity and old world traditions, Boca del Rio is now home to the beloved brand—Tony Roma’s. This restaurant makes the sixth location in Mexico for the Tony Roma’s brand.

“Since our first meeting with Tony Roma's, we believed in this restaurant concept and considered it compatible with the virtues of Boca del Rio, Veracruz,” said Ernesto Arana, Principal of Grupo Gastronomico AWA. “We are proud to offer fresh, delicious food in a family-friendly environment to our locals and guests.”

The restaurant will feature consumer-focused amenities, such as two vibrant private dining rooms, a full-service bar and indoor and outdoor seating for more than 120 guests. Large screen TVs can be found throughout bar area. Boca del Rio is known for its natural beauty, architecture, history and warm and welcoming community, making it the perfect setting for the first Tony Roma’s location in Veracruz.

“We are elated to be opening our first Tony Roma’s in the beautiful city of Boca del Rio,” said John Brisco, President Global Franchise of Romacorp, Inc. “We are ready to grow together with this franchisee through the creation of unique and enjoyable experiences for our guests.”

Families, friends and businesses can also reserve private dining space for corporate lunches and dinners and memorable family gatherings. The venue features two private dining rooms and can accommodate up to 20 guests in an area of more than 7,100 square feet.

The company also opened in Porto Pi, Palma de Mallorca, Spain in the oldest mall on the popular Avenida de Garbiel Roca. This is the second Tony Roma’s restaurant for franchisee Angel Plaza Palma of Daytona Ribs, S.L., who also opened a Tony Roma’s in Madrid.

“We are excited to be a part of this opening, as it will be the first major restaurant in this area,” said Angel Plaza Palma. “We truly believe Tony Roma’s will thrive here, and this opening will amplify the brand’s international presence. We, above all, look forward to continuing to value the Tony Roma’s name in Spain.”

The island of Palma de Mallorca brought in more than 200 million visitors over the last century, making it a prime location for Tony Roma’s newest restaurant. The restaurant will feature 120 outdoor seats, and 80 indoor seats for guests who prefer to take a break from the Mediterranean sun. Inside the restaurant, guests will find TVs located in the main room and kids’ room, as well a TV in the bar area. The bar will feature full liquor, wine, and beer selections. The restaurant will be open daily for lunch from noon to 4 p.m. and dinner from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., with weekend closing hours of 12:30 a.m. The Palma de Mallorca opening marks the 27th Tony Roma’s in Spain.

Tony Roma’s is experiencing exponential energy and growth since leading multi-brand company, Beer & Food, took control as the master franchisee in March 2018. “We are honored to be opening another location in the beautiful country of Spain,” said John Brisco, President Global Franchise of Romacorp, Inc. “Palma de Mallorca is a city rich in culture, entertainment, and history and we look forward to introducing the people of this island to the unique cuisine of Tony Roma’s.”

Taco John's Opens in Berthoud

Taco John’s opened in 3800 E. State Hwy. 56 on Thursday, Sept. 6. Love’s Travel Stop is bringing the first Taco John’s to Berthoud, Colorado right off of I-25. 

“As a Berthoud resident myself, I can’t tell you how excited we all are to have a Taco John’s to call our own,” said General Manager Christine Gibson. “We are in the perfect location, so now we just need to hire the perfect team. We offer competitive pay, discounted employee meals and a great work environment that sets us apart from our competitors. We can’t wait to assemble an outstanding team to join us in sharing Taco John’s beloved menu with the community next week. We’re positive that everyone will enjoy the delicious Mexican food that we will be dishing up.”

Berthoud’s new Taco John’s will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, the restaurant will serve breakfast every day until 11 a.m. It is the 18th Taco John’s in Colorado and the 393rd nationwide.

Jersey Mike's Goes Non Traditional

Jersey Mike’s Subs opened two non-traditional restaurants.

Seton Hall University Campus 

In time for back to school, Jersey Mike’s opened a new location on Monday, August 27, at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. Operated by Gourmet Dining, LLC, a division of Compass Group USA, the new restaurant is located at Bishop Dougherty University Center. 

“Seton Hall University is the fourth Jersey Mike’s Subs campus location run by Gourmet Dining Group, and we are happy to continue our expansion plans with the group,” said Phil Capozzi, VP Non-Traditional Development, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “All of us at Jersey Mike’s Subs couldn’t be happier to bring our Sub Above culture and products to the students and faculty here.” 

Other Jersey Mike’s campus locations run by the group are Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.), Monmouth University (West Long Branch, N.J.) and Kean University (Union, N.J.). 

“Gourmet Dining and Seton Hall are excited to open Jersey Mike’s on campus after almost two years of planning,” said Joe Lally, VP Marketing, Gourmet Dining. “Seton Hall’s campus dining environment is a fast-paced, high-volume operation, and Jersey Mike’s enthusiastic culture is a perfect fit.” 

Washington Dulles International Airport 

On Tuesday, August 28, Jersey Mike’s opened at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). Operated by Hojiej Branded Foods, LLC (HBF), the new Jersey Mike’s restaurant is located in Terminal A. 

“We are excited to partner with Hojiej Branded Foods in opening our fifth airport Jersey Mike’s Subs location,” said Capozzi. “This restaurant at Washington Dulles International Airport is the first of hopefully many more units we will open with HBF.” 

Claude Guillaume, Chief Operating Officer – Eastern Region, Hojeij Branded Foods, said, “HBF is excited to introduce another great dining concept for passengers at IAD to enjoy, bringing the familiar quality, taste and atmosphere of a favorite national brand – Jersey Mike’s – into the airport.”

Partnering with HMS Host, Jersey Mike’s expects to open its sixth airport restaurant in September at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. 

Other Jersey Mike’s airport locations include: McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Newark Liberty International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Orlando International Airport. Started in 1956, Jersey Mike’s now has 1,500 restaurants open and under development nationwide.

Curry Up Now Inks Multi-Unit Deal

Curry Up Now finalized a multi-unit franchise deal to bring its Indian eats to markets throughout the state of New Jersey. Franchisees Pritesh Benjamin and Tejavsi Patel plan to open Curry Up Now locations in the Central and Northern parts of the state, with sights set on opening their first location in the next six months. The New Jersey outposts will be the first for the brand in the Northeast region, and join additional franchised units in development around the country.

“The creativity and unique essence of the brand is what impressed me the most when I first discovered Curry Up Now. They not only pay attention to the taste of the food, but also how it is presented, and that is something that isn’t available on the East Coast yet,” said Benjamin. “I am thrilled to start this venture with Curry Up Now and am proud to be bringing the brand’s creativity, passion, and food to future fans across New Jersey.”

“With franchise deals already solidified throughout California, we’re excited to branch outside of our home state and expand our reach to more of the country,” said co-founder and CEO of Curry Up Now, Akash Kapoor. “When we met with Pritesh and Tejasvi to discuss franchising Curry Up Now in New Jersey, we were so impressed with their passion for our brand, knack for business smarts, and general know-how of food that we knew they were the right franchise partners to introduce Curry Up Now’s unique and innovative Indian cuisine to a new market.”

Curry Up Now was founded in 2009 by husband and wife duo, Akash and Rana Kapoor, and supported by co-founder and Senior VP of Operations Amir Hosseini. The New Jersey locations join over 50 franchised and corporate stores in development, along with multiple market deals in the works in 13 additional states. Curry Up Now currently operates three food trucks and six corporate brick-and-mortar locations across the Bay Area, as well as two Mortar & Pestle cocktail bars in San Jose and San Mateo. 

Del Taco Growth

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. said several established multi-unit franchisees within its system are continuing to grow with the brand in 2018 and beyond, utilizing Del Taco as a growth and diversification vehicle for their company’s portfolios.

Existing Del Taco multi-unit franchisees that have units which have opened, or expect to open in 2018, include Paul Hitzelberger, Mark Miller, Brent Veach, Doug Koch and Mark Schostak, each of whom are growing with the brand in their respective markets across the Pacific Northwest, each of the Four Corners states and Michigan, demonstrating Del Taco’s broad geographic appeal.

Hitzelberger, who is the recipient of the Utah National Restaurant Association’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, opened his 32nd and 33rd locations this year. For diners in Utah, they know heading to a Del Taco means a great experience from a brand that supports the community, with the Hitzelberger team having donated more than $1.1 million to various local organizations since 2008.

“Del Taco sits at a fantastic intersection of fresh food, offered at a great price. It’s a core reason why we continue to leverage it to expand our business, because Del Taco delivers what consumers are looking for,” said Hitzelberger. “This year, we’ve begun to place an additional system wide focus on hospitality, which we strongly believe will continue to elevate this brand to a white space that has tremendous continued growth potential.”  

Brent Veach, longtime Del Taco franchisee, will be opening two new restaurants by year’s end, one in the Denver area and one in the Phoenix area, both growth areas for the brand. Along with having more than 40 Del Taco restaurants across Arizona and Colorado, Veach also serves as president of Del Taco’s Franchise Marketing Advisory Team which works with brand leadership to achieve transparent franchisee and franchisor relations.

“Del Taco’s leadership team understands what it takes to win in the restaurant environment,” said Veach. “As demonstrated by recent system-wide average sales increases, our organization believes the brand is well positioned for continued growth thanks to an unbeatable combination of freshly-prepared food served at a tremendous value.”

Del Taco presents significant growth potential for experienced multi-unit restaurant operators looking to diversify their business portfolio. The brand currently has more than 560 locations across 14 states, and with opportunities to grow in both existing and new markets, there is no better time to join Del Taco.

Killer Burger Looks to Expand

Portland-based Killer Burger has added two new director level positions as it ramps up franchising efforts with a focus on Arizona, Colorado and Texas.  The first of two Arizona stores is open with the second store opening in early 2019.  Also, they have appointed a new Director of Operations for their corporate stores.

Killer Burger’s mantra is Commit to the Burger.  The family of rock and roll burger joints has been honing its craft on Portland’s culinary mean streets since 2009, filling up the mantlepiece with a yearly harvest of “Best Burger” awards in both local and national press.  Thrillist, Mental Floss and Delish have all chimed in with astonished wonder over the full-flavored awesome burgers, each featuring locally sourced, natural beef and the highest quality ingredients chosen specifically for each recipe.

Former Director of Operations, Brian Hebb, will take on a new role as Director of Development.  Brian’s career has spanned 25 years, taking him to every position in the restaurant and every corner of the industry.  He formed an operations consulting firm to assist emerging brands in their expansion.  As the Director of Development for Sizzle Pie and now Killer Burger, Brian has built out the operational infrastructure for both chains and implemented national growth strategies.

Marisa Kraft will assume the role Director of Operations at Killer Burger, leading the company’s corporate store management teams and brand marketing strategies. Marisa’s background includes overseeing many facets of iconic Portland-based ice cream maker Salt & Straw’s market and new channel expansion. She has led operations and marketing teams for beloved brands in the food & beverage and consumer packaged goods worlds including KEEN, Overland Equipment, Moby Wrap and Odwalla Juice.

Scott Haehnel will assume the newly created role of Director of Franchise Development.  Scott’s background spans 2O+ years with roles as Vice President of Operations with Papa John’s Pizza in Houston, TX and Sacramento, CA, Area Representative and franchisee with Firehouse Subs in Dallas/Ft Worth and most recently as Vice President of Franchise Development with Texas-based Eskimo Hut.  He will be tasked with recruiting, awarding and onboarding strong single and multi-unit franchisees.

Killer Burger was founded in 2009 by TJ Southard.

Taboonette Launches Franchise Program

Taboonette® Middleterranean® Kitchen has launched its exclusive franchise program in select markets across the United States. The Taboonette franchise system provides potential franchise owners access to an established business model, authentic and health-centric international cuisine, and a trademark that describes carefully developed menu items as uniquely "Middleterranean."

The Taboonette franchise program capitalizes on the success of its critically-acclaimed New York City flagship restaurant Taboon, transforming it to meet fast-casual preparation demands. The franchise concept's menu is inspired and created by Taboon's award-winning Executive Chef Efi Naon, an Israeli native and classically trained chef. Naon has focused his recent efforts towards bringing the slow-cooked, healthy cuisine of Taboon to the quick-service restaurant community.

"Because the Taboonette reputation is already built, franchisees will be investing in an established concept and brand, rather than a trendy gimmick," said Danny Hodak, Taboonette's president. "We created Middleterranean fusion cuisine 15 years ago and the demand has consistently grown. We've been working hard at Taboonette to perfect Middleterranean at the quick-service level and it is a win-win for consumers and franchisees alike."

Taboonette offers the ability for prospective franchisees to take advantage of the high growth rate in the quick service restaurant (QSR) franchise space. Taboonette's executive team years ago anticipated trends in the restaurant and international food space that allowed them to position the menu, operations and technology of Taboonette to complement the progression of fresh, natural, non-processed food in casual dining atmospheres. A Taboonette franchise provides entrepreneurs a fully-developed and documented business model, comprehensive training programs, and continued support and guidance from pioneers in the Middleterranean cuisine space.

Taboonette's expansion plans include opening as many as 50 franchise locations by 2021 across the country.

 Captain D’s Expands in Texas

Captain D’s, the nation’s leading fast casual seafood restaurant, announced today the opening of its newest franchised restaurant in Plano, Texas. Located at 603 E. 15th St., this new location marks the brand’s 15th location in the state and the first for Collin County. Captain D’s has continued to identify Texas as a key state for development, opening a new location in Houston earlier this year with an additional location slated to open in Stephenville this November.

The new Plano restaurant is owned and operated by first-time Captain D’s franchisees Mohammed and Amira Alalimiy. The husband-and-wife team has more than 20 years of combined experience in successful franchise restaurant operations with Golden Chick.

“Mohammed and I had our first Captain D’s experience in Dallas nearly 12 years ago and absolutely loved it. We knew instantly that Captain D’s was a restaurant concept that we wanted to own for ourselves,” said Amira Alalimiy. “As Collin County continues to develop, we’re excited to bring the first Captain D’s to the area and know that the brand’s warm hospitality and menu offerings will resonate well with residents here.”

Captain D’s ongoing development throughout Texas further signifies the outstanding success the brand has achieved over the past several years, which has fueled a surge in franchise and corporate development. Throughout the past year, the company has opened more than 15 new locations and inked numerous development agreements to open new restaurants in key markets, including Michigan, Indiana, Texas and Georgia.

Coupled with its ongoing menu innovation, Captain D’s credits its new restaurant beach design with contributing to the brand’s ongoing strong performance. To date, nearly 80 percent of all restaurants have been reimaged to the brand’s new vibrant, coastal design. With these efforts, Captain D’s has remained true to what it does best — serving high-quality seafood with warm hospitality at an affordable price in a welcoming atmosphere.

With more than 530 restaurants in 22 states, Captain D’s is the fast-casual seafood leader and number one seafood franchise in America ranked by average unit volume. The company is currently seeking single- and multi-unit operators to join in the brand’s rapid expansion.

Melt Shop in Staten Island

Melt Shop opened its newest restaurant in the Staten Island Mall – a GGP Mall in Staten Island's New Springville neighborhood. Located in the mall's newly renovated food hall, the restaurant marks Melt Shop's first location in Staten Island, and emphasizes the brand's development plans in New York, opening on the heels of the White Plains restaurant earlier this year. 

"We're very excited to open Melt Shop's eighth New York restaurant at the Staten Island Mall and look forward to growing our brand further throughout the state and beyond," said Spencer Rubin, Founder & CEO of Melt Shop. "The momentum we're enjoying is made possible by our team's passion and Melt Shop's loyal guests. We're motivated by what we've achieved thus far and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure we're always elevating and innovating our product and brand."

Melt Shop's Staten Island restaurant features the company's newest kitchen and storefront design, which includes Melt Shop's signature double-stacked conveyor oven that enhances food quality and shortens ticket wait times. Named one of Fast Casual's Top 100 Movers & Shakers, Melt Shop remains committed to providing a product and experience unmatched in the fast-casual space, for its guests, franchisees and staff. 

In addition to opening corporate locations, Melt Shop is currently seeking well-capitalized franchisees, both domestically and internationally, who are entrepreneurial, have a strong knowledge of their markets, and are excited to be a part of a culinary experience unmatched in the melted sandwich space. With more than 20 new restaurants in the pipeline since launching into franchising in September 2017, Melt Shop remains well ahead of its goal to open 100 locations by 2022.

Black Bear Diner Expands in Tulsa

Black Bear Diner will officially open its doors in Tulsa on Monday, Sept 10. The new restaurant – the chain’s third in Oklahoma – is located at 9026 East 71st Street, just south of the Woodland Hills Mall.

Frequently recognized as one of the country’s fastest-growing franchises and a “disruptor” in the family-dining segment, the 193-seat, 6,853 square foot Tulsa restaurant will have a significant impact on the community by creating approximately 80 new jobs for local residents.

“We are very excited to not only open our first diner in Tulsa, but also our third in the Sooner State in just nine months,” stated Black Bear Diner Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Dean. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be continuing our eastward expansion, and we look forward to bringing home-style comfort classics – and our trademarks bears – to the community of Tulsa.”

FAT in Singapore

FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands Inc., parent company of Fatburger and Buffalo’s Express is opening their newest locations in Singapore in partnership with Singapore-based restaurant management company, Deelish Brands. These co-branded locations will feature all-American fare from Buffalo's Express and Fatburger. The two Fatburger outlets in OneKM and Velocity at Novena Square will open this week.

This will be the first of many Fatburger and Buffalo's Express locations to open in Singapore. FAT Brands has recently announced openings and development deals on the US East Coast, the Philippines, Scotland, Tokyo and Canada.

The company recently announced a new development deal with franchise partner Praveen Vig to develop a Fatburger restaurant in New Jersey’s Cherry Hill Mall, opening late 2018. The opening of this new store will launch Fatburger's return to the East Coast.

“It has been a longtime goal of ours to bring Fatburger back to the East Coast, but we knew that we had to be deliberate in our strategy,” said Andy Wiederhorn, CEO of FAT Brands. “Entering the Cherry Hill market is the perfect entry point back into the East Coast for us and we are thrilled to have found such an excellent partner in Praveen Vig.”

“We’re excited to bring our all-American favorite cuisine to Singapore,” added Wiederhorn. “Our recipes, authenticity and service have exceeded expectations in other international locations and we expect the same for these two new locations in Singapore.”

The new Fatburger and Buffalo's Express locations will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fatburger / Buffalo's Express at the OneKM Shopping Mall is located at 11 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore and Velocity at Novena Square is located at 238 Thomson Rd, Singapore.

Pie Five in Rhode Island

Pie Five Pizza opened its first Rhode Island location in the Tiverton Casino Hotel on September 1, at 777 Tiverton Casino Blvd.

“We are excited to be a part of the brand-new casino in Tiverton,” said Franchisee Kurt Gutshall. “Our first Pie Five casino location in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has been a huge hit, so when I heard about the opening of this casino, I knew that I had to bring Pie Five to the table. Pie Five’s comfortable, clean and friendly environment combined with speedy service and quality ingredients makes it the go-to spot for casino guests looking to continue their lucky streak.”

“We’ve assembled an awesome team,” said General Manager DJ Burke. “We’re all looking forward to becoming an integral part of the casino community.”

This is the first Pie Five in Rhode Island and 72rd system-wide. This also marks Gutshall’s fifth Pie Five restaurant and second casino location.

Cowboy Chicken Opens in Georgia

Cowboy Chicken opened its first Georgia restaurant in McDonough (90 South Point Blvd.) on Monday, Sept. 3. To mark the occasion, Chrystal Jakes, wife of former NFL player Van Jakes, is serving up a Texas-sized helping of hospitality with a weeklong Grand Opening Celebration from Sept. 24-28, featuring five days of specials and the chance to win free chicken for a year.

“I’m beyond excited to finally be bringing the fantastic wood-fired flavor of Cowboy Chicken to McDonough,” says Jakes, owner of franchise operator CBJ 22 Consulting LLC. “We’ve got a great team assembled, and we’re eager to kick off this grand opening celebration to introduce our unbeatable menu and community spirit to our new neighbors.”

The week of grand opening festivities includes the following:

  • Monday, Sept. 24 – Win Free Chicken for a Year and Kids Night: The first 100 guests waiting in line when the restaurant opens at 11 a.m. are entered into a drawing, and five lucky winners receive free chicken for a year. Must be 18 or older to win. For official giveaway rules, visit Cowboy Chicken is giving kiddos perks, too. Kids eat free after 4 p.m. with any adult entrée purchase. Dine-in only.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 25 – Dine to Donate: All day long, 25% of all proceeds are donated to the Stockbridge Youth Council to support their trip to the National League of Cities' City Summit in Los Angeles this November.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 26 – Way-Back Wednesday: Cowboy Chicken is taking guests back to 1981 – the year the restaurant first opened – with original menu pricing on select items. Dine-in only.
  • Thursday, Sept. 27 – Hometown Heroes Day: All members of law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, nurses, doctors, and active and veteran military personnel receive 50% off all dine-in purchases. Must present badge or proof of profession.
  • Friday, Sept. 28 – Eagle’s Landing High School Spirit Night: All guests dining in the restaurant and wearing Eagle’s Landing High School swag or apparel will receive a free cobbler with the purchase of an entrée. Dine-in only.

CBJ 22 Consulting LLC has signed a five-store franchise agreement to bring the growing Cowboy Chicken brand to Atlanta and surrounding areas. Since 1992, the Jakes have led their company with a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction and community involvement. In 2018, the Jakes were awarded the Legendary Award for their continuous community service work. Before becoming involved in the hospitality industry, the now retired Van Jakes spent six seasons in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers.

Cowboy Chicken McDonough is located at 90 South Point Blvd. The new 2,800-square foot restaurant centers on a large, wood-burning rotisserie where guests can view the chickens roasting from the rustic-meets-modern dining area. The restaurant seats up to 144 guests and serves lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Shoney's Looking to Expand in Tulsa

Shoney's Restaurants are currently offering franchise opportunities to qualified candidates in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

"Over the past 70 years, many of our franchisees have opened restaurants, created jobs, boosted their city's economy, and have done some remarkable things for their community," says David Davoudpour, Shoney's Chairman and CEO. "We are looking to do the same exact thing in the Tulsa market."

Aside from being open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Shoney's newer and reimaged units feature beer, wine and spirits, which is advantageous for those looking to open franchises.

The company, which is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, prides itself on serving all American cuisine with a southern twist on the fresh food bar and chef driven menu. Once brought on board, franchisees will obtain access to an American legacy brand, tested and proven processes and support, purchasing power and distribution chains, cooperative marketing, new product research, development and roll-out, experienced training staff, and continuing education opportunity at "Shoney's University."

Shoney's already has an established market presence and substantial market penetration throughout 17 states.  From that highly successful platform, the company is looking to expand the brand in select key areas domestically and internationally.

"Restaurants build-out options include end-cap, in-line, free standing, food court, airports, arenas, toll way and universities," says Terri Harof, Shoney's Director of Franchise Development. "We are excited to continue this aggressive growth not just in Oklahoma, but in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Middle East and beyond." 

Single restaurant locations and territories are available for new build or conversion of existing real estate with footprint of 3,000-6,500 square feet for Shoney's and 1,000-3,000 square feet for Shoney's On the Go.

Operating a Shoney's Restaurant gives you a variety of revenue streams including take-out, delivery and catering for events in the Tulsa area, such as: client meetings, holiday parties, corporate events, graduation and bridal parties, and more.

Zoup! Coming to Florence

 Zoup! is opening in Florence, Kentucky this fall in the Florence Square shopping center.

“My husband Jim and I happened across Zoup! last year while traveling,” says franchise owner and operator Pat Cowley. “We loved the idea, as we are year-round soup eaters. We could not believe how good the soup was. Jim is a chef who makes incredible soups, and the soups we tried at Zoup! were as good and flavorful as the ones he makes. We’re extremely excited to bring Zoup!’s high-quality gourmet soups and culture of community service to Florence.”

For Cowley, a 30-year veteran of the corporate sector (most recently as senior vice president of a leading global marketing, research and media services company), the restaurant business is in her blood. Her grandparents opened an Italian restaurant in a Chicago suburb that is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, and her uncle owns a successful retail and wholesale bakery. Cowley plans to manage the location full-time while drawing on Jim’s 33 years of experience in the restaurant and food service industry.