• Wendy’s Sees Best Growth Since 2005

    Some of Wendy’s initiatives seem to actually be working. They have modernized their design and led a good marketing campaign around the pretzel bacon burger. I’d be feeling better if I was a franchisee. Wendy’s (WEN) says company-owned same-store sales increased 3.2% in North America during Q3 and franchise-owned stores improved 3.1%. The two-year stack for same-store sales was 5.9% to mark the best growth since 2005. The restaurant operator improved its margins with a favorable sales mix and lower paper and beverage costs factoring in. (PR) Company-operated North America restaurant margin was 15.6 percent, compared to 13.9 percent last year. The margin improvement was due to a favorable sales mix, with lower paper and beverage costs, partly offset by a 100 basis-point increase in commodity costs. From a press release: CEO says “Our Image Activation program, which started in 2011, has accelerated over the past two years, producing increased traffic and higher sales,” Brolick said. “We have developed a standard ultra-modern design with optional upgrades that provide investment flexibility to meet the needs of our diverse system. We are confident our solutions will work for 85 to 90 percent of our franchisees.” The Company is offering an incentive program to qualified franchisees commencing Image Activation restaurant reimages during 2013. About 100 of these restaurants are currently in various stages of active process, and the Company believes most of them will be open or under construction by the end of 2013. In addition to the expected 2013 increase in Image Activation new builds and reimages, the Company continues to expect further acceleration in Image Activation reimages for both Company-operated and franchise restaurants during 2014.

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  • Macaroni Grill acquiring units

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  • Another Gaming Chain in Trouble

  • Amazon and Best Buy Enters Used Video Game Trading

    updated Sept 29, 2016: GameStop’s stock price increased 24% since July 2009, Nasdaq is up 225%, S&P 500 is up 136%. I’m sure the stock performance of GameStop somewhat tracked the performance of retail gaming chains. Recent earnings calls list new and used game sales down a little less than 10%. Downloading games directly and RedBox certainly has weighed on its earnings and risk. The “I wouldn’t buy it” for the industry is still my opinion after 7 years. Originally published July 9, 2009 Amazon.com introduced used game trading in March 2009, and now Best Buy is testing video game trade ins.  Competition isn’t always a bad thing, but in this instance Game Stop and Play N’ Trade’s sales are going to be heavily diluted. Below was Game Stop’s response in the Best Buy article: GameStop spokesman Chris Olivera declined to comment specifically on Best Buy’s test, but he indicated GameStop’s more than 6,000 stores have advantages over self-service ventures.”Trading in used games and consoles is a highly-assisted activity,” Olivera said in an emailed statement. “We are very confident in our model that allows for our expert associates to help consumers trade in product, a fact not addressed with a self-serve process.””Likewise, GameStop has over 12 years of skin in the game and understands the highly-regulated business of pawn and resale laws that vary not only from state-to-state, but municipality to municipality,” he added. Young kids have been self-trained to research and buy online for the best price. I wouldn’t bet on kids paying a premium for simple trade-in transaction. Sorry Play N’ Trade and Game Stop.  One angle these speciality stores could still exploit is providing its customers with in-store use of expensive assets, particularly renting by the hour very high-end immersion and 3-d gaming equipment.

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  • Another Gaming Chain in Trouble

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  • 25 Units of Mod Pizza Planned for Colorado

    source: http://www.coloradoan.com/story/money/business/2016/09/26/farm–table-restaurant-pizza-brewery-tap-fort-collins/90935204/ A franchisee is planning to open 25 Mod Pizza locations in Colorado over the next few years. This segment has been growing rapidly, with contenders Blaze Pizza from Wetzel Pretzel founders and Pie 5 from Pizza Inn corporate. I’ve tried them all and Blaze Pizza does have the best tasting and textured dough. Blaze bakes pizza in a Woodstone oven which gives it a different taste profile from the conveyor belt bakes from Pie 5. It is less efficient in the Woodstone oven, and consistency does suffer when 15 seconds can make the pizza go from perfect to burnt, but the vast majority turn out well baked. Any of the concepts are a safe bet at this point. Expansion through delivery, especially through services like Uber Eats, will help this business model. I’d buy it!

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  • Wendy’s Sees Best Growth Since 2005

  • seattle-best-drive-thru

    Drive Thru for Coffee

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  • Advice for Franchisees Saving for their Kid’s College; Education Bubble

    Are you a franchisee thinking about how to best fund college for your children? Your research will quickly lead you to 529 plans, and in my opinion and experience as a purchaser it is probably the best option for college savings. You will also hear about Coverdale Education Savings Accounts but for tax complications and low investment levels it is probably more trouble than it is worth. 529 Plans are sponsored by states and enable USA-citizens to save after-tax money in an investment account that will accumulate earnings tax free and withdrawals are tax free if used to pay defined educational expenses. Some states offer small income tax breaks for investing in a 529 plan. For example, in Illinois: Individuals subject to Illinois state income tax can deduct from their taxable income up to a maximum of $10,000 per year for contributions made toward the purchase of any College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract.* Married couples filing jointly can deduct up to $20,000 per year.** This state tax deduction reduces the individuals’ adjusted gross income (AGI) by the amount contributed up to $10,000 (or $20,000 for those filing jointly). Contribution Limits Contributions are included in the annual $13,000 exclusion from federal gift taxes for gifts made to any one person. But, unique to 529 plans, a contributor can give up to five times that amount ($65,000) in one year and treat that contribution as if it were made over five years for gift-tax purposes. Fees; NY direct sold @ .17% is lowest in USA You’ll have to do the math to see if the tax savings in the long run outweighs the higher fees of your state’s 529 plan. A benchmark to use is New York’s direct sold 529 plan which imposes a combined annual fee of .17% starting in March 2012, the lowest of any state right now. Investment options include a diverse and respectable range of Vanguard funds. Prepaid Tuition – now too risky I have previously recommended and have purchased myself 529 prepaid tuition plans, whereby a parent prepays tuition at todays value to protect against tuition inflation that has historically been over 5%.  The state prepaid plans generally have provision to pay out-of-state and private schools the same future value of the tuition. The state-sponsored prepaid college tuition programs were supposed to shift the investment risk from families to the government. But, many states now are …

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