MRM Franchise Feed: Tropical in Colorado and The Halal Guys New App

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

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More Tropical in Colorado

Tropical Smoothie Cafe signed two multi-unit franchise agreements to develop 38 new cafes across the state of Colorado, including a 27-unit deal and an 11-unit deal. As part of these agreements, Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants will be developed in key markets throughout the state over the next five years.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe has identified Colorado as a target state for development, with five locations currently open. Two additional cafes are under construction and slated to open in early 2020 in Highlands Ranch and Littleton. Husband-and-wife team Craig and Dianne LeMieux, along with their son Kyle and his wife Saverea LeMieux, have served as the brand’s Colorado area developers since 2016. The entrepreneurial family was integral to the signing of the recent multi-unit agreements, which will significantly grow the brand’s footprint across the state.

"The five existing cafes we have in Colorado have quickly become fan favorites, and the active communities here have continued to gravitate towards our better-for-you menu items. This has resulted in an increased demand for additional cafes across the state, creating a tremendous business opportunity for experienced operators looking to diversify or be part of the brand's early growth in Colorado," said Craig LeMieux, area developer for Tropical Smoothie Cafe. "My family and I have been thrilled to help drive the expansion of a brand we're so passionate about and can't wait to serve more communities in metro Denver and surrounding areas."

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is looking to add qualified franchisees to its growing brand and currently has franchise opportunities in select markets in Colorado including Fort Morgan, Mountain Towns, Aspen and Breckenridge. Interested candidates should have business experience, along with $125,000 in liquid assets and a minimum net worth of $350,000. Candidates that meet these preliminary qualifications will need to make an initial investment ranging between $246,500 – $580,500. The system currently boasts an average unit volume (AUV) of more than $730,000 – the highest in the company’s 22-year-history – with the top 50 percent reporting an AUV of more than $938,000.

Salata Debuts Franchise Microsite

Salata  launched a new microsite for prospective franchisees. The microsite serves as a hub for prospective franchisees in all phases of the franchising journey, from exploring initial interest in Salata to connecting with Salata’s development team and completing the franchising process. Salata is currently in high-growth mode and is actively seeking to expand into new markets in 2020.

“Currently, Salata is comprised of 29 franchisees and 79 franchise stores, making up 88 percent of our 90 locations,” said David Wheeler, Salata’s Chief Development Officer. “Over the past years, we have dedicated tremendous resources to re-developing the Salata brand and putting the necessary systems in place to help our franchise partners achieve their business goals. We are looking to build on the momentum we have generated by continuing to grow through the remainder of this year and throughout 2020. Our new microsite should serve as a valuable resource to those interested and qualified to own a salad kitchen with us.”

The new microsite features pertinent information for franchising decisions, including:

  • Location requirements
  • Financial requirements
  • A detailed look at Salata’s restaurant design and layout
  • A step-by-step overview of the franchising process

It also includes an interactive map that shows markets where Salata currently has a presence, existing markets that are primed for more salad kitchens, and new markets that Salata is targeting for expansion.   

Salata is on track to have 25 new franchise contracts secured by the end of 2019. In 2020, 65. Existing markets poised for growth include Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles. New target markets include Texas (El Paso, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa and Wichita Falls); Tennessee (Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis); North Carolina (Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham); Alabama (Montgomery and Birmingham); Jackson, Mississippi; Denver, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; and Las Vegas, Nevada.

The introduction of the franchising microsite follows a number of brand milestones for Salata in 2019, including:

  • The debut of a new restaurant design (February) 
  • An expansion into two new states, Florida (February) and Louisiana (July) 
  • A rebrand (June)
  • A new tech suite (September)
  • An inaugural loyalty program (September)

“Salata is on an upward trajectory to become “the” premiere national fast-casual salad restaurant,” said Wheeler. “In addition to our growth and brand milestones so far this year, we have more in the pipeline in new and existing markets to increase the experience for both guests and franchisees. We are fully equipped to expand quickly into new markets and support franchise partners that are experienced and passionate about Salata.”

Perfectly Designed Pizza Hut

In its 35th year advocating for childhood literacy, Pizza Hut and literacy partner First Book are partnering with Karamo, Culture Expert on Netflix's Queer Eye and author of the new children's book "I Am Perfectly Designed," to introduce a new holiday fundraiser aimed at increasing access to culturally relevant children's books in communities across the country.


To shine a spotlight on the need for diverse representation in children's literature, Karamo will host a reading event at a Los Angeles elementary school this Giving Tuesday and discuss the importance of providing children with inclusive books and that every child is "perfectly designed."

"Literacy is one of the most fundamental things we can teach children, but the importance falls flat when underrepresented kids aren't seeing themselves in the characters on the pages," said Karamo. "As someone deeply committed to spreading a message of acceptance and inclusion, I'm proud to join Pizza Hut and First Book in their mission to increase access to books that represent – and celebrate – all children." 

Karamo Brown

Pizza lovers nationwide can help support this cause through Dec. 31 by adding a First Book donation to their Pizza Hut orders, which will help provide grants to educators to purchase culturally relevant titles on the First Book Marketplace and allow First Book to work with publishers to bring new Stories For All titles to life in paperback. Customers can also purchase the First Book Bundle at Pizza Hut, where $1 from every bundle purchased will be donated to First Book. 

Pizza Hut has been working closely with First Book to raise funds annually since 2016, and this Giving Tuesday the pizza company is announcing its newly expanded support of First Book's Stories for All Project™, a curated collection of new, diverse books and resources that reflect myriad experiences, cultures, and communities. 

In addition, Pizza Hut is also supporting the First Book Accelerator, which is designed to provide educators and parents with helpful resources to navigate conversations around diversity and inclusion. Together, Pizza Hut and First Book are elevating the message that representation in books matters. The two-year campaign will help make even more books focused on diversity and inclusion, as well as educator resources, available to those serving kids in need.

"For 35 years we have fostered a passion for reading. From BOOK IT! kids who feel that sense of achievement earning their first Personal Pan Pizza to students who feel a sense of pride when they receive their very first book to call their own, the emotional connection to reading runs deep," said Artie Starrs, Global CEO, Pizza Hut. "But we fear that love for reading is being stunted because of the lack of representation in books offered to children. Joining forces with Karamo and investing in our partnership with First Book is a powerful opportunity to successfully increase access to diverse children's books."

Karamo's "I Am Perfectly Designed" – which celebrates accepting and loving who you are, exactly as you are – is now available for educators to purchase with grant on the First Book Marketplace, along with thousands of other books 50-90% off retail price.

"The ability to appreciate and learn from different perspectives has never been more important," said Kyle Zimmer, president, CEO, and co-founder of First Book. "We have to actively provide kids with windows into other worlds and mirrors that reflect their own so they understand that they, and everyone around them, have value. We are so grateful to Pizza Hut and Karamo; this effort could not come at a more pivotal moment." 

Pizza Hut has built a legacy of nurturing a love of reading through its BOOK IT! Program, which has impacted more than 65 million students in 35 years. The pizza company strengthened its commitment in 2016 when it launched Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project, a global commitment to impacting 100 million lives by enabling access to books and educational resources, empowering teachers and inspiring readers. Since 2016, Pizza Hut has impacted over 22 million lives through its literacy initiatives and programs.

Nathan's Brings On Franchise Experts

Nathan’s Famous, Inc, hired two industry veterans, Erik Mallon and Jim Hicks, to bolster its franchise sales and development teams. Both bring over 25 years of restaurant and franchise experience to the Nathan’s Famous brand.

Erik Mallon will serve as Senior Director of Franchise Development, and Jim Hicks assumes the role of Director of Operational Services and Training. 

“The past year has been a busy one as we’ve readied Nathan’s Famous for new franchise growth and development" states James Walker, Senior Vice President, Restaurants. "Hiring these two industry veterans helps us close out 2019 strong, and prepare for our growth plans beginning in 2020.  I’m excited to have Erik and Jim join our team, their reputations have certainly preceded them, and I know they will help us to continue to serve the flavor of New York in new stores across the country.”

Erik Mallon is a sales, operations, and franchise industry executive with over 25 years of experience in both domestic and international markets. He has worked with various retail companies and QSR’s, both as a franchisee and a franchisor. Erik began his tenure with My Gym Children's Fitness Center as a multi-unit Area Developer. He quickly moved into franchising, where he was VP, Franchise Development, and President, International Division. Through Master Franchise Agreements, he expanded the My Gym brand to over 30 international markets. Erik was also a multi-unit franchisee with 16 Handles for more than eight years and became VP, Franchise Development when the company expanded its franchising efforts. Most recently, Erik served as the Director of Company Center Operations and VP, Franchise Development for Huntington Learning Centers, where he spearheaded the successful re-franchising effort of company-owned centers.

At Nathan’s Famous, as the Senior Director of Franchise Development, Erik Mallon will focus on the sales process from initial solicitation through contract completion.

Jim Hicks joins Nathan's Famous with over 25 years of senior management experience in restaurant operations and corporate support. Most recently, Jim was Country Director, US West for Subway, where he was responsible for 5,300 locations in 13 western states. Before Subway, Jim was the Senior Vice President of North America for Johnny Rockets.  His career also includes senior-level positions at Fresh Enterprises, El Pollo Loco, and Prandium Restaurants (Koo Koo Roo, Hamburger Hamlet, and Chi Chi’s Mexican).

Jim Hicks will support existing Nathan’s Famous franchisees and their management teams by developing new systems and procedures to maximize sales for each store, manage the supply chain, as well as work with new franchisees through the various stages of the restaurant development process.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Erik and Jim join our team,” continues Walker. “I look forward to the incredible work they’ll do for Nathan’s Famous in 2020 and beyond.”

Del Taco Lands 10-Unit Development Deal

As 2019 winds down, Del Taco’s expansion plans are still heating up. The brand announced a development deal with multi-unit franchisee Mark Miller coupled with his acquisition of the Reno market.

With proven operational and development capabilities, his team’s commitment includes a 10-unit agreement to develop six sites in the Yakima and Spokane, Washington, markets and four across his current geographic operating area.

“From multiple openings and new development deals, the past few months have been a whirlwind of excitement,” said Miller, who recently opened another new location in Richland, Washington on the heels of two new openings in Idaho. “Being involved with a forward-thinking company, and having a determined team to drive our momentum…our growth capabilities are stronger than ever. We’re amidst a booming industry, and the opportunities will continue to come in the year ahead.”

Since joining the brand in 2009, Miller developed four new stores this year alone. Miller’s location count now includes 10 Del Taco restaurants in Idaho, 8 in Nevada, 4 in Washington, two in Colorado and one in Oregon.

Del Taco refranchised all eight company-operated restaurants in the Reno, NV market to existing franchisee Mark Miller of 3 Brothers Restaurants. Related to this refranchising agreement, Miller has also committed to develop ten additional Del Taco restaurants over the next seven years, including six in the Yakima and Spokane, WA markets and four across his current geographic operating area.

John D. Cappasola, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Del Taco, commented, “We are pleased to have completed this refranchising transaction with a high quality franchisee like Mark and to have secured a development commitment from him for an additional 10 restaurants. 3 Brothers is an experienced and proven operator and developer, having already opened four Del Taco restaurants thus far in 2019. Mark has a strong commitment to the Del Taco brand and we look forward to working together towards our mutual success for many years to come.”

As a reminder, Del Taco is optimizing its restaurant portfolio to help stimulate growth in new restaurants, primarily through franchise development, and expects to refranchise two additional markets by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Local Subway® Day Program Celebrates Nearly a Decade

Subway® Franchise Owner Todd Hicks is celebrating the ninth year that he and his team have been supporting school lunch programs in the Boise area, top photo. Hicks, a Subway owner for 23 years, has been offering meals to elementary and middle school students at a discounted rate, and which a portion of the proceeds are then given to their schools to help fill funding gaps. Last year, the Subway Day program generated nearly $30,000 in funding. This year, Hicks is projecting that the team will raise closer to $50,000 for schools throughout the Boise Valley.


Recently, Hicks and his Subway team celebrated the milestone of nearly a decade of giving back to schools in the community with the Siena Elementary School in Meridian. A total of 322 meals were custom ordered by 304 children and 18 staff members, totaling $483 in funding provided to the school for just the one day. In the month of October, all participating Subway Day schools collectively ordered a total of 3,672 meals, generating $5,508 in funding for the month.

“Every school gets so excited for their Subway Day. They love to shout out the Subway Guy,” Hicks said. “I’m the Subway Guy, and I love it. We know schools are short on funding and we’re more than happy to help give back in this way. At the same time, we’re excited about creating a new generation of Subway guests!”

The Subway Day program started nine years ago with just one school and has grown today to 17 schools that Hicks and his Subway team deliver to monthly. The Subway Day program has funded a range of needed items for the students from field trips, to classroom supplies, and recreational needs. In addition, these funds when combined with other district fundraising efforts have helped pay for two new Physical Education curriculums and equipment for the 2018-19 school year. 

The Subway Day meals are served at a discounted rate of $6.00, which $1.50 from each meal is donated back to the schools. From Subway Day, the schools raise between $450 to $800 on average per delivery each month.

"Subway has many benefits for staff and students; students love Subway Day because it offers something different and fun for lunch. Staff love it for the same reason,” said Siena Elementary School Principal Kacey Schneidt. “It allows us to purchase items for the classrooms that we may not have been able to afford in our standard budget."

Black Bear Diner Adds CMO

Black Bear Diner  hired Joe Adney as Chief Marketing Officer and Camille Chavez as Vice President of Training and Development. The new hires highlight the brand’s continuous efforts to build Black Bear Diner’s executive leadership team following years of growth and geographic expansion. Adney will report to Black Bear Diner President Anita Adams and Chavez will report to Chief People Officer Tammy Johns.

Joe Adney

Adney is a longtime brand and marketing strategist whose expertise lies in successfully positioning high-growth restaurant brands. He’s previously led marketing efforts for companies including Bob Evans Farms, IHOP, Baskin-Robbins USA and Shari’s Management Corporation. As CMO, Adney will oversee all of Black Bear Diner’s marketing and advertising efforts, ensuring its message of bear-sized portions and hospitality reaches customers across all communications channels.

“Black Bear Diner is a unique, authentic brand that extends genuine hospitality and truly delicious food to its guests, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to refine and strengthen our message and mission to more guests nationwide,” said Adney. “I look forward to working alongside the company’s incredible leadership team as we work to amplify the brand and grow its footprint.”

Camille Chavez

As VP of Training and Development, Chavez is responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive employee training programs company-wide, which will enhance operations of Black Bear Diner’s 138 locations across 14 states. Chavez brings more than 30 years of training expertise to Black Bear Diner, most recently serving as the Director of Training for Farmer Boys Foods, a family dining brand with locations in California.

“I could not be more excited to join the Black Bear Diner team and to have the opportunity to continue to promote our culture across the country,” said Chavez. “The true spirit and integrity of a brand begins with the team members, and I look forward to ensuring Black Bear Diner remains the best in the industry.”

“On behalf of the entire team, I’d like to welcome both Joe and Camille to the Black Bear Diner family,” said Adams. “As we continue to expand our diner count, strengthen our leadership team, and introduce Black Bear Diner across the country, we know that Joe and Camille’s expertise will be incredibly valuable in upholding our exceptional performance, brand values, and people-first culture.”

Black Bear Diner has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country, with 19 units opened in 2019. The  wrapped up a year of growth and expansion by announcing the opening of four new Black Bear Diners in four states.

Three company-owned locations opened in November in Sugar Land, Texas, Olathe, Kansas and Independence, Missouri. Black Bear Diner also opened an additional location in Kingman, Arizona with franchisee partner TravelCenters of America LLC.

With these openings, Black Bear Diner opened a total of 19 locations in 2019, a strong finish to the year that saw substantial growth for the popular family dining chain. The Olathe, Kansas opening also marked the first restaurant in the state and Black Bear Diner’s presence in 14 total states nationwide. Earlier this year, Black Bear Diner also announced its first opening in its 13th state, Arkansas.

“Opening four diners in one month, including two in one day in the Midwest, is an exciting milestone in our journey to bring Black Bear Diner across the nation, and strongly contributes to our strategic growth plan,” said Bruce Dean, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Black Bear Diner. “We’re thrilled to give more communities and guests the opportunity to enjoy our genuine hospitality and delicious menu, and we look forward to an equally great year in 2020.”

Dog Haus Growing in West Virginia

Dog Haus signed an Area Development Agreement to open a total of three new locations in West Virginia.

Franchisees Vicki Dunn-Marshall and her daughter Carissa Marshall will open restaurants within the southern West Virginia markets. Vicki, an industry veteran of more than 40 years, began working as a crewmember at Little Caesars when she was 16. She now owns 24 Little Caesars throughout West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio and serves as CEO, president and managing member of The VDM Management Group. 

Carissa’s career in the industry began by working in the family’s Little Caesars business. For years, Vicki urged Carissa to take over the family’s Little Caesars operation, but Carissa wanted to step away from her mother’s legacy.

“I wanted to run a different brand that I can call my own,” Carissa said. “After visiting the Murfreesboro, Tennessee location, we fell in love with ‘The Absolute Würst.’ The uniqueness of the Dog Haus brand and outstanding food solidified our decision. Dog Haus was the brand we had been searching for.”

“The mother in me knew I wanted Carissa close to home in West Virginia,” Vicki said. “This way I can mentor her during the launch of her first few locations and mold her into the top-notch Dog Haus franchisee that she’s destined to be before she takes off to develop more locations in other states. This is going to be a new and very exciting experience for both of us, and we can’t wait to bring such a one-of-a-kind brand to West Virginia.”

I Heart Mac & Cheese Growing

I Heart Mac & Cheese signed a two-store franchise development agreement with Vikram Bir to bring the brand to New Jersey. The first location will open next year, with the second following in 2021, in Hoboken and Jersey City, respectively.

“I Heart Mac & Cheese is a fun, attractive concept and an affordable franchise model that is easy to operate, with support systems in place to help our partners be successful,” said Stephen Giordanella, I Heart Mac & Cheese CEO and Chairman. “We are thrilled to bring our popular concept into the state of New Jersey.”

Vikram Bir will manage and oversee operations for both I Heart Mac & Cheese locations. No stranger to the franchise industry, Bir currently owns and operates two 7-11 franchises in Hamburg and Sparta.  He was attracted to I Heart Mac & Cheese since the menu features two of America’s favorite foods – macaroni & cheese and grilled cheese – and loved the proven franchise business model.

“I’m excited to expand and diversify my franchise portfolio with the addition of my two I Heart Mac & Cheese locations in New Jersey,” said Bir. “I really love the support system that the franchising industry offers, and I’ve always had a strong desire to open a restaurant concept. I’m proud to launch the brand as they continue to expand across the country.”

A unique franchise concept in the restaurant industry with no fryers, grease trap systems or hood systems, I Heart Mac & Cheese requires a low investment and can be opened in a small space, such as a mall kiosk or food court. Shopping malls, sports venues, areas close to colleges and universities, and high-traffic pedestrian areas are also ideal locations.  With a home office in South Florida, I Heart Mac & Cheese offers franchise owner training, marketing support and ongoing development opportunities to ensure each location’s success.

The brand also announced a three-store franchise development agreement with Raj Patel to bring the brand to Alabama. Two locations will open in Birmingham and the third will open in Tuscaloosa throughout 2020 and 2021.

“I Heart Mac & Cheese is a fun, attractive concept and an affordable franchise model that is easy to operate, with support systems in place to help our partners be successful,” said Stephen Giordanella, I Heart Mac & Cheese CEO and Chairman. “We are thrilled to bring our popular concept into the state of Alabama.”

The franchise group developing I Heart Mac & Cheese in the Birmingham area includes Raj Patel and his parents, Vinod and Dipika Patel, the latter two who will manage and oversee day-to-day operations. Raj Patel was attracted to I Heart Mac & Cheese – and the restaurant industry – as his parents and other family members owned full-service restaurants during his childhood.

“I’m thrilled to be opening the very first I Heart Mac & Cheese locations in Alabama, alongside my parents,” said Raj Patel. “We look forward to bringing a unique dining experience to Birmingham and showcasing menu items that are reminiscent of everyone’s favorite childhood memories.”  

Twin Peaks Makes Cincinnati Debut

Twin Peaks is now serving guests at its first Cincinnati-area restaurant. Located at 9424 Civic Centre Blvd. in West Chester, the new Twin Peaks restaurant will feature 68 high-definition flat screen TVs, 32 taps and an open-air covered patio.


To complement the extensive drink selection, Twin Peaks Girls will serve up a variety of made-from-scratch American comfort foods and tasty, shareable favorites. Guests can choose from freshly made specialties like in-house smoked Sweet n’ Smoky Ribs, Bites for the whole crew like the Spinach Dip or Peaks Sampler or the beer-battered Fish and Chips. Other sports lodge signatures include The Hangover Burger and a delicious wing menu with more than 30 variations.  

“We couldn’t be more excited to introduce our acclaimed sports viewing experience to everyone in the Cincinnati area,” said Ed Williams, partner of JEB Food Group, a proud Twin Peaks franchisee. “We’ve hired an incredible team of more than 140 individuals to join us in serving our delicious, made-to-order food and signature ice-cold beers and spirits. We’re all looking forward to creating a rarified experience to make each of our guests feel special here in West Chester.”

This is the first Twin Peaks restaurant of seven that JEB Food Group plans on opening throughout Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.

ABE Growing Strong

 Another Broken Egg Cafe® ("ABE") has begun execution of their 2020 growth strategy which includes a focus on targeting experienced, multi-unit franchisees, development in hot new geographies, and further brand expansion in existing markets that are seeing solid growth. The brand's strategic growth plans are designed to further capitalize on the continued and projected future growth of the breakfast and brunch dayparts in the years ahead.

Another Broken Egg Cafe is scheduled to open seven new cafes by May of 2020. This rapid growth is backed by the brand's time-tested new cafe opening strategy designed to leverage the sales opportunities surrounding each new location and while working together with multi-unit restaurant franchisees looking to expand their portfolio of brands into breakfast and brunch. ABE is eager to work with these newly signed franchisees, several of whom have experience with other historically successful growth concepts like McDonalds, Buffalo Wild Wings and Five Guys.  

With plans for 300 cafes by 2025, it is no surprise that Another Broken Egg Cafe is continuing to target its development initiatives toward experienced multi-unit restaurant franchisees looking to expand into breakfast and brunch. The brand's recent development efforts have been very successful and will help to get 2020 off to a strong start with unit growth in 3 new states including AZ, KS and PA.  By targeting its ongoing development efforts toward existing multi-unit restaurant operators, the brand is looking to expand into priority growth markets like Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and suburban D.C. where the competitive daytime cafe penetration is low and while consumer demand for breakfast and brunch is continuing to grow. 

Not only does Another Broken Egg Cafe plan to bring its one-of-a-kind southern-inspired dishes to new states and to new markets, it is also looking to infill states where the brand is currently experiencing solid success. This unit expansion is planned for AL, FL, GA, IN, MS, NC, OH, TN and TX together with both new franchise partners and with existing franchise operators of the brand.

To wrap up a successful development year in 2019, Another Broken Egg Cafe recently opened a new corporate-owned cafe in the upscale Destin Commons retail center located in the heart of Destin, FL.  The location for this cafe was an easy choice as the brand has enjoyed ongoing success in nearby Sandestin and Miramar Beach.  With leases to be signed before the end of 2019, ABE plans to continue their corporate-owned cafe expansion into Columbia, SC, a new market for the brand, and additional corporate expansion is planned for Jacksonville and Orlando in 2020.

The Halal Guys Updates App

The Halal Guys launched a brand new mobile app and loyalty program that went live on December 3. The Halal Guys originally rolled out its first mobile app in August of 2017. This new app and new loyalty program will now allow users to use points to pick and choose what they want to purchase – i.e. cash in early for a free drink or save up for a free platter.


Here’s how it works: 

$1 = 1 point
50 points = Free Drink
80 points = Free Dessert
90 points = Free Side
100 points = Free Sandwich
125 points = Free Platter

In addition, the new app allows for online ordering, access to a nutritional guide and users will enjoy extra benefits for referring friends, birthday rewards and additional rewards for loyalty program anniversaries. Beginning tomorrow, the app will be available for download on iOS and Android. 

Coolgreens to Introduce Smart Fridges to Dallas Market

Coolgreens wants to make its mission to “feed your life” even more convenient: the company will introduce smart fridges that will serve its signature salads, wraps and snacks throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area in early 2020.


New Coolgreens Market® will offer a quick, affordable and delicious way to grab healthy food on-the-go. Its chef-inspired items will be made fresh daily in an off-site local kitchen and delivered fresh to its smart fridges. Guests will simply swipe their credit card, open the fridge, explore the variety and make a healthy selection. 

“We’re always looking for additional opportunities to serve our guests, and Coolgreens Market allows us to reach them in new ways,” said CEO Robert Lee. “Everyone is super busy and often it’s tough to get healthy food on-the-go. Coolgreens Market solves that challenge and enables us to offer a selection of the quality menu items that are sold in our restaurants, in a convenient, affordable way. It’s literally ready whenever you are.” 

Coolgreens will be locating its new smart fridge concept in office buildings, medical and corporate campuses, airports, rail stations, college and university campuses along with retail mixed-use developments. Any place where large amounts of people gather and are on-the-go will be a target for the new concept.

“We are excited to offer this unique franchise opportunity,” Lee said. “Coolgreens Market is a very cool concept that is designed to make it even easier for our guests to get our healthy, delicious recipes. Interested franchisees will be able to serve healthy food in a whole new way, while also producing an attractive revenue stream.”

Roy Rogers Teams with Singer EVI, Adds Consumer Care Manager

Roy Rogers® Restaurants announced today that it has partnered with Singer EVI to provide equipment fulfillment and kitchen design support for its existing and future quick-service restaurant locations.

Roy Rogers Restaurants celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018. Since then, the company has been focusing intently on investments to strengthen its operations, infrastructure and both its consumer and franchise offerings in preparation to mount an aggressive expansion campaign. The company has added nearly half a dozen new executives who are seasoned experts in restaurant operations and marketing. It has added new and improved menu items, forged new partnerships to add or improve delivery, site selection, food distribution and marketing, introduced a new restaurant design and evaluated every aspect of its business to identify opportunities for improvement. In 2020, the company plans to roll out upgrades to its kitchen and storage formats and kick off a renewed expansion initiative fueled by franchise growth.

Jeremy Biser, executive vice president of Roy Rogers Restaurants, said that the new partnership with Singer EVI will play a critical role in those plans. “Singer EVI has nearly 30 years of commercial foodservice experience and an extensive nationwide client list including quick-service and full-service restaurants,” he said. “The company has well-established relationships with manufacturers to ensure that we can readily obtain the best equipment at the best price. Our new alliance will help us reduce initial and ongoing costs and optimize our equipment package, while also providing top notch service to our existing and new franchisees.”

“We’re honored to be adding Roy Rogers to our distinguished list of clients,” said Tom Lawson, president/founding partner of Singer EVI. “Like our company, the chain has a long-held tradition of community involvement and a focus on growth through quality people, products and service. We look forward to a long-lasting relationship supporting Roy Rogers as it expands and looks to maximize performance and profitability.”

The company also named John Giffin to the newly created position of Consumer Care Manager. Based in the company’s Frederick, Md., headquarters, Giffin will report to Executive Vice President Jeremy Biser and will oversee the administration of all consumer care activities, which includes guest relations and recovery programs, brand reputation management, mystery shopper activity and guest intercepts to gather feedback on strategic initiatives.

“John’s hiring is the latest in an extensive list of investments we are making to enhance and elevate our brand,” said Biser. “He will be integral to the deployment of our organizational philosophy, which states that we are a values-driven company maniacally focused on quality as expressed in the four pillars of products, people, experiences and business. John will play a key role in maintaining that focus by gathering guest insights and ensuring they are represented in all discussions as we strategize to improve brand relevance, guest experience and menu strategy. We are excited to bring him onto our team to help Roy Rogers Restaurants stand out as a ‘cut above’ a typical QSR.”

Giffin’s career history spans multiple fields connected by a common thread of ensuring customer engagement and satisfaction. Most recently, he was an area operations manager for Office Pride, a Frederick-based commercial cleaning service, and oversaw a team of 20 employees charged with ensuring client satisfaction and customer retention for 50 accounts. A 2016 graduate of the Perdue School of Business and Fulton School of Arts at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md., he remains active in his native Maryland community as a volunteer with the Thurmont Food Bank, a coordinator for youth retreat weekends, volunteer with Salisbury’s Hope and Life Outreach (HALO) program, a coach for Catoctin High School and other activities.

“I grew up in Maryland, and know what a loyal following Roy Rogers has here,” Giffin said. “I’m honored to now have the opportunity to help strengthen the company’s bond with existing and new fans alike. I look forward to hearing and sharing their thoughts on how the brand is performing and how we can further improve our quality standards.”

Waters Edge Grows in Montana

Waters Edge Wineries® signed a franchise agreement to open a Waters Edge Winery & Bistro in Kalispell, Montana. This new location will join 11 others already operating throughout California, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. Husband-wife duo Angela and Trevor Zuba, Canadians who are relocating to the Flathead Valley, will open Waters Edge Winery & Bistro of Kalispell next year.   

“We are thrilled to expand our brand into the Pacific Northwest, working with our new franchisees, Angela and Trevor, to bring the concept to Montana in 2020,” said Ken Lineberger, president and CEO of Waters Edge Wineries. “We are looking forward to working with the Zubas to cultivate a new wine tasting experience for the residents of the Flathead Valley, growing our passion for wine in the process.”

The Zubas are relocating from Coaldale, Alberta, Canada to the Flathead Valley to pursue their American entrepreneurial dream.  Prior to finding the Waters Edge Wineries concept, Angela spent 20 years growing businesses and not-for-profit organizations in Lethbridge, being active in politics, and serving as CEO of the Canadian Homebuilders Association, where she led the efforts to help business owners understand how to grow their business and navigate the complicated regulatory system of urban development.

The couple have spent a lot of time in the Flathead Valley area over the years, ultimately choosing it as the ideal location to open their new business and raise their family. Upon reviewing franchise concepts, they saw a natural fit to open a Waters Edge Wineries franchise, as both are passionate about wine, food and bringing people together.  Angela will manage the day-to-day operations for the micro-winery, overseeing customer service, marketing initiatives and F&B management.

“It is truly a lifelong dream of ours to own a winery, and we cannot thank Waters Edge Wineries enough for providing us the opportunity to move to America to pursue our dreams,” said Zuba. “We are excited to share our love of wine from around the world with the residents and tourists in the Flathead Valley who stop in to visit us, and we look forward to providing them with a place where they can create memories over a glass of wine. Kalispell and the Flathead Valley is a place we have absolutely fallen in love with over the years and become immersed in this amazing place and couldn’t think of a better area to open a business, provide jobs and contribute to the growing economy.”

Combining elements of the traditional winery experience with the wine bar concept, Waters Edge Winery & Bistro locations serve as a lively hub within its communities, offering bistro-style artisanal selections including appetizers, flatbreads, sandwiches, salads and desserts, custom bottle labeling as personalized gifts, private tasting areas for groups, a wine club and more. This gives guests the opportunity to engage intimately with what has historically been a somewhat exclusive lifestyle, limited to select regions.

Earlier this year, Waters Edge Wineries announced three new franchise agreements to introduce its concept in Madera, California; Toledo, Ohio; and Richmond, Texas. In August, a new location opened in Davidson, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte, and a new flagship location showcasing an updated design footprint opened in Long Beach, California this month. Waters Edge Wineries® currently operates 11 locations in California, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas with expansion in North Carolina, Kentucky and Montana. Each Waters Edge Winery & Bistro location is individually owned and operated by local entrepreneurs in their communities.