Home | I’d buy it (page 3)

I’d buy it

GameStop to Franchise

Acquisition monster GameStop (they have merged with Software Etc., Babbages, Gamesworld, Funcoland, EB Games) looks like it is planning to begin franchising next year. Our forum mavens have heard the confirmed rumors and preparations at GameStop’s annual gobal manager’s conference in Vegas this weekend. From the forum: Quote from: brem on August 27, 2007, 05:07:11 PM GameStop Offering Franchises? I’ve been in the video game industry a while and thinking about a franchise and just heard from a well connected distributor contact of mine in the business that GameStop’s looking at starting to sell franchises for their stores in the near future. As the dominant game retailer, I wonder what that will do to other video game franchisors that have to deal with all GameStop’s aggressive competitive marketing and their volume cost advantages with game manufacturers. Need more info on pricing, etc, but this might be my way in — seems smart to join forces with the giant instead of trying to compete against it. Well, here we go. I’m out at GameStop’s annual gobal manager’s conference in Vegas this weekend with several of the other distributors / industry players and heard other sources rumbling about GameStop’s plans to start franchising (prepresents new income opportunities for many in the business to set up franchise service networks to work with them). After the second source discussed it, I’m trying to find out where the sign-up list is. The industry players are apparently a little dissapointed because it requires dealing with “onesie / twosies” versus one stop shopping for consolidated groups, but apparently GameStop’s not doing what a lot of the more sophisticated franchisors like Pizza Hut do and only sell franshises to massive, deep pocket franchise groups that can afford to buy up a whole cities worth of stores (although …

Read More »

Tough Competition: Just Fresh Kitchen Café

On Donnie Deutch I just saw an interview with the new CEO of Just Fresh Kitchen Café, Dana Sinkler, who previously was a chef at a four-star NY restaurant and coincidentally founded and sold for $25 million the Terra Vegetable Chip.  Dana was previously a franchisee and has spent the past year revamping the menu launching the Kitchen Cafe concept, characterizing it as an innovator in Fine Casual Dining. The new Kitchen Cafe menu looks ideal for my increasingly healthy-focused palate (South Beach Diet / Body for Life style diet foods – salmon, shrimp filled omelettes, marinated chicken, veggies…you get the point).  And, it takes the focus off the cookie-bread centered menus.  Last I read there were 73 franchises under contract, mostly the Carolinas and Georgia. The restaurant claims to provide a fresh, great-tasting food and the atmosphere of a table service restaurant with the speed and pricing of a quick service restaurant – all in a setting that’s friendly to the senses and the environment. Why would I spend time writing about this place? Because it shows what can be done when the franchisor-owners are willing to take a risk and let a successful entrepreneur and chef take the lead.  This brand was suffering the past 10 years but now the new Kitchen Cafe concept extention seems to have the right menu, management and financial backing to expand at will, raising the bar above Panera Bread on gourmet fresh food and fine dining food in a fast casual atmosphere.  See below for examples of what the brand and food looks like.

Read More »

Dunkin’ Donuts going free of trans fat

Looks like the R&D team (or their consultants) at Dunkin’ Brands (Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin Robins, Togo’s) have been hard at work reworking their ingredients. Hopefully this won’t be too much of a burden on the franchisees and no new equipment or costlier ingredients will be required. About 400 locations nationwide that took part in a four-month test already have made the switch to a new blend of palm, soybean and cottonseed oils. That includes all restaurants in New York City and Philadelphia, which are forcing restaurants to phase out their use of artery-clogging trans fat. The ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins, another unit of Dunkin’ Brands Inc., plans to be zero grams trans fat by Jan. 1. … Dunkin’ isn’t positioning its namesake product as health food – a shift that would involve more disbelief suspension than might be possible for a treat synonymous with portly, doughnut-gobbling Homer from television’s “The Simpsons.” “The goal was not to make a healthy doughnut, it was really to create a doughnut that was better,” said Joe Scafido, Dunkin’s chief creative and innovation officer. “Certainly, we did not create a healthy doughnut.” … This past spring, hundreds of restaurants began taking part in a test to gauge customer reaction to the blend that Dunkin’ ultimately selected. Managers at participating stores were split into two groups, with one receiving conventional cooking oil, the other receiving the experimental oil, and neither group knowing which type they received. Dunkin’ closely watched sales and customer response at restaurants with the experimental oil. “We got no negative consumer feedback, and we sold 50 million doughnuts in that time,” Scafido said. What are Dunkin’ Donuts’ competitors up to with the fat? Dunkin’ is ahead of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., which has yet to roll out a zero gram trans fat …

Read More »

Pet Franchises

Pampered pets This year, Americans will spend an estimated $40.8 billion on pets — almost double what they spent just a decade earlier, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. With about 7.1 million U.S. pet-owning households, national brands such as Origins, Harley-Davidson and Old Navy have created pet-friendly lines of clothing, accessories and wellness products. Entrepreneurs are following suit with an interest in the rising status of the posh pet. At least a dozen pet-related businesses have opened in the Oklahoma City area within the past few years, including a spa and resort, a home-based pet portrait studio, bakeries, professional poop scoopers and several specialty dog boutiques. We’ve discussed pet franchises before on this blog. All things being equal (which they never are in real life), it’s easier to be grab market share when the customer base is expanding, and the customers are accustomed to spending for posh accessories and convenience.  Unless your products or services is noticeably unique, competition will rise and prices will drop. The poop pickup business is very good business and has been profitable for the aggressive entrepreneurs and franchisees. Pet Butler has been growing very fast and is establishing a professional brand and franchise system, Happy Tails Dog Spa enables its customers to watch their pets on a webcam all day long, and Bark Busters helps you spend more quality time with your dog by training it to behave.

Read More »

Au Bon Pain franchise eliminates trans fats

BOSTON — Au Bon Pain has announced the 100-percent elimination of trans fats from its menu items, and the launch of a new Web site that provides in-depth nutrition information for consumers. The updated Web site features a “Smart Menu,” where site visitors can search for foods that fit their specific dietary needs, build an entire Au Bon Pain meal and view the nutrition information for that combination of food choices. Users simply select a nutritional requirement to search by, such as low sodium or high fiber, and choose a category of Au Bon Pain products, such as soups, sandwiches or bakery. The Smart Menu then displays the items in the selected category sorted by the nutritional requirement that the user selected, and users can add individual menu items to their virtual plate. The Smart Menu totals up the nutritional value of the items on the plate automatically, providing nutrition information such as net calories, carbohydrates, cholesterol, fiber, protein saturated fat and sodium. The Smart Menu also displays nutritional information for each individual item, as well as a list of ingredients. The Web site’s Cafe Menu also provides the FDA Nutrition Facts panel for each restaurant menu item.

Read More »

Sports Bars Doing Well

Sports Bars’ Customers Love Their Hometown Teams, Drive Profits Up [Buffalo Wild Wings] Same-store sales since the start of 2006 have jumped from 8% to 13% quarterly. For five straight quarters, profits have grown in double digits. … But rather than “worry if we are going to comp over last year,” the company “needs to make sure we’re executing and operating and giving our guests great value and experience,” she said. Buffalo, N.Y.-style chicken wings are a big part of the guest experience. Though wing prices have risen, Smith locked in prices through the year that are now below market rate. She’s keeping an eye on other costs as well. Buffalo also serves salads, burgers and a variety of specialty items. As a neighborhood sports bar, it serves as a gathering place for friends and family. Guests play trivia games and watch sports and other shows on big-screen TVs. HD screens are replacing many of them. Professional and college football and basketball playoffs are big draws, especially in the company’s core Midwest markets. Ohio stores make up about 20% of the store count. “In Ohio, people are fanatics about their local teams,” Lyon said. I’ve posted previously on the sustainability of chicken wing franchises – most everyone loves good wings, and matched with a large modern sports bar it makes for a solid business with an excellent chance of success, in my opinion.

Read More »

ActionCOACH Franchise Wins 2007 Stevie Award

“Best Overall Company in North America” World’s Premier Business Award Competition Gives Global Business Coaching Franchise Its Top Honor; Contest Judged by International Business Leaders Action Coach announced today that it has won one of the world’s top business honors: the 2007 International Stevie Award for “Best Overall Company in North America.” The Stevie Business Awards is the only international, all-encompassing business awards program. Judged by a blue-ribbon panel of CEOs, business school academics and industry leaders from around the world, the Stevie Awards exists to raise the profile of exemplary companies among the press, the business community, and the public. The New York Post has called the Stevies “the business world’s own Oscar Awards.” As “Best Overall Company in North America” for 2007, ActionCOACH is recognized for its innovation, integrity, and growth. The company will receive its award at a gala dinner ceremony September 10, 2007 at the Munich Marriott Hotel in Munich, Germany. “Besides the long-term success of our franchisees and clients, being named ‘Best Overall Company in North America’ is one of the highest accomplishments ActionCOACH could hope to achieve,” said Brad Sugars, chief executive officer of ActionCOACH. “This is an award that recognizes not only the exceptional worth of our system’s coaching services, but also the way we at ActionCOACH conduct ourselves — our culture, our values and the way we’ve chosen to do business. On behalf of our employees, as well as our 1,000 franchisees in 23 countries around the world, I’d like to thank the International Stevie Awards for this tremendous honor.” Winners of the International Stevie Awards were chosen from over 1,000 nominations received from more than 30 countries. A two-step judging process determines winners, with the Stevie Awards’ distinguished panel of judges and advisors deciding the Stevie Award recipients from a …

Read More »

Fitness Together Sells its 500th Franchise

Fitness Together announced the sale of its 500th franchise. The 500th franchise is located in Glen Ellyn, Ill. Since 1996, when the company first began franchising, franchises have been sold in 42 states as well as Canada, Costa Rica, Ireland and Israel. “We are extremely excited about the growth of the company and the fitness industry, in general,” said Rick Sikorski, president and CEO of Fitness Together. “Our growth is a testament to the great opportunity offered to our franchisees and the excellent service provided to our clients. Starting with our first franchise sale nearly 10 years ago, we have been able to provide personal fitness training to hundreds of thousands of clients during that time. We are excited about the future of our company. I firmly believe that the fitness industry, especially our segment, where we provide personal training at an affordable price, will continue to grow. Our goal of opening 1,000 studios by 2012 is within our reach.” About Fitness Together Franchise Corp.: Established in 1996 in response to the growing demand for personal fitness training, Fitness Together offers the latest in one-on-one personal training. Fitness Together is part of Fitness Together Holdings, Inc., the world’s largest wellness organization. Fitness Together, founded by fitness leader Rick Sikorski, is built on three main foundations: strong corporate support, proven operating systems, and excellent leaders. There are over 340 Fitness Together franchise locations throughout the United States, Costa Rica, Israel, Ireland, and Canada and another 160 scheduled to open. Fitness Together Franchise Corp. also includes Elements Therapeutic Massage. Cross Posted at: Let’s Talk Franchising

Read More »

Junk Hauler

Positive 1-800-GOT-JUNK Article Uniformed drivers remove junk from where it’s located, break it down to conserve volume, load it in the truck and haul it away. … The cost for the volume-priced service starts at $120 and goes up to $598 per truck load. The average job in Hawaii ranges from about $375 to $400. … When McDowell took over the Hawaii franchise last year, she started with two junk trucks. She’s since added a third truck and is considering purchasing a fourth vehicle. McDowell has grown her staff to five full- and part-time employees and is looking to expand. “Business has more than doubled in the last year,” McDowell said, adding that she’s found quite a need for the business in Hawaii, where many people struggle to live in small spaces or in multifamily situations. Believe it or not, the “800” franchises tend to do well and receive reasonable flow given the name of their business is their telephone number (clever).  Partnering/revenue sharing with local funeral homes, moving companies, or hardware/equipment rental stores is smart way to keep business volume high and expand with more trucks.  The laborers you can obtain inexpensively from emove.com may dampen cap the business potential, but this would be a reasonable franchise for those with a strong back and keen marketing/parntering skills.

Read More »

Fun business moderate investment Fun Bus

One of the franchise opportunities that I thought was interesting at the IFE last week was the Fun Bus. The cornerstone of the Fun Bus franchise is a full-sized and fully operational school bus whose seats have been removed and replaced with a padded playground ideal for children ages 2 to 7. The bus features a trampoline, a rope swing, a punching bag, a parallel bar, a basketball net and a big slide that is attached out the back. The bright green school bus brings fitness and fun directly to children at daycare, nursery schools and birthday parties. The Fun Bus visits daycares and nursery schools once a week for a 10-week session, giving the children 30 minutes of learning and fitness taught in a fun way. What I find appealing about the opportunity is there is no real estate involved, it’s an easy business to operate and it acts as its own billboard as it drives around town. The investment is moderate: franchise fee is $25,000 fee, franchisees get the Fun Bus name in a secure territory, training, manuals, after-sale support and a list of potential customers (day care centers), a customized bus and equipment runs another $25,000. Add additional $15,000 for some advertising, working capital and misc. expenses, and the total investment is approximately $65,000. Although they are fairly new to market, they do have some track record, they started franchising in 2003 and have 16 operating units. I have yet to see the UFOC (I requested a copy), but I think the concept could be a good match for moms, or 20 something year olds looking to get into business. For more information visit: Fun Bus Franchise

Read More »

How to Make Money as a Franchisee

Value Place franchisee signs deal for 100 hotels – Wichita Business Journal: The scale and efficiencies of being a large area developer is a highly-successful strategy to making money as a franchisee. Value Place is an extended-stay hotel concept based in Wichita and founded by Wichita entrepreneur Jack DeBoer. Liberty Lodging announced Wednesday that it closed a debt financing facility of up to $360 million with Goldman, which will allow Liberty to build properties in Boston, central Florida, Denver, Indianapolis, Montgomery, Ala., Providence, R.I., Salt Lake City and Springfield, Mass.

Read More »

New Englands own Papa Ginos wants a bigger slice of the national pie!

When I was growing up: Wednesday’s was always Prince Spaghetti Day, but at least once a week we had pizza from Papa Gino’s.   It’s great to hear that Papa Gino’s is planning to more than double its restaurants to 335 pizzerias over the next five years and expand for the first time outside its hometown New England market. The Dedham company is looking to add 135 stores in New England, including about 90 of its first franchised restaurants, and open shops in new regions along the East Coast in Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina. “We’re taking a giant leap,” said Anthony Padulo, Papa Gino’s senior vice president of franchise development. “We’ve been a market leader in the pizza business here, and we want to grow at a faster rate than what we’ve been doing. The timing is right.” The push comes as other major pizza purveyors, including Little Caesars, have targeted the competitive Boston market for expansion. Papa Gino’s, which was started nearly 40 years ago as a single East Boston pizza shop, was ranked as the 21st-largest operator with about $145 million in sales in 2005, according to the most recent figures from trade publication Pizza Today. Last year, Papa Gino’s sales exceeded $160 million, and existing stores have seen a 5 percent sales growth annually over the past five years, Padulo said. Papa Gino’s says this makes it a prime time for the company to expand its brand through franchises and take advantage of the growing $35 billion US pizza market. Papa Gino’s, whose parent company Papa Gino’s Holdings Corp. also owns D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches, has already secured the market’s first franchise location, in Portland, Maine. Papa Gino’s recently unveiled the prototype for company and franchise stores that aims to create more of an authentic, yet contemporary …

Read More »

Smoothies Competition from McDonald’s

McDonald’s may add smoothies to menu | Crain’s Chicago Business Smoothies, iced coffee and other specialty coffees could be added to the menu at U.S. McDonald’s restaurants, a top executive of the world’s largest restaurant chain said Wednesday. McDonald’s already has scored a hit beverage recently with the addition of premium coffee to its more than 13,700 U.S. restaurants a year ago. Alvarez said coffee unit volume is up 15% as a result. “McDonald’s is so large that they don’t really need to invent anything at this point,” he said. “For McDonald’s, it’s more important to recognize new things that are working well for competitors and finding a way to incorporate it into their system.”

Read More »

Dunkin’ Donuts – New Restaurant Design

Dunkin’ Donuts Introduces New Restaurant Design and Menu at Restaurant Re-Opening in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania As one of the first “New Concept” stores to open nationwide, some of the remodeled highlights of the Philadelphia store include: An updated image featuring a new logo that contemporizes the current Dunkin’ Donuts logo, but maintains the core DNA of the brand A new warm bakery display and a baker/merchandiser at the front counter offering samples of warm, freshly baked products throughout the day This new design concept is complemented by a new, innovative menu that moves Dunkin’ Donuts beyond breakfast. Some of the new and exciting all day menu items created by Dunkin’ Brands’ culinary team that customers will enjoy throughout the day include: Warm baked goods available throughout the morning and afternoon, including a variety of freshly made muffins, danish, croissants, gourmet cookies, brownies and blondies Three varieties of Flatbread Sandwiches — Wedges of toasted lavas bread containing one of three fillings: three cheese, ham and cheese, and turkey, bacon and cheese Personal breakfast pizzas, topped with egg and cheese or sausage, egg and cheese The South Broad Street location is open 24 hours a day, everyday.

Read More »

Ground Round on Rebound

Three years ago on Friday, February 13th, Ground Round’s parent company shuttered its nearly 60 corporate restaurants and the chain’s headquarters. The closing stunned customers, creditors, employees and franchisees. The mass layoffs and hasty restaurant lockups on that Friday afternoon, catching scores of diners in the middle of unfinished meals, were of a scale not seen in the restaurant industry. The announcement came right before the dinner rush on a Friday, when store managers were ordered to tell diners to finish eating and pay their tabs. (Some were sent home with half-eaten meals in takeout containers.) More than 3,000 employees—some of whom had been with the restaurants for over a decade—were let go without severance, and their final paychecks bounced. A few big competitors immediately considered buying Ground Round’s assets out of bankruptcy, but during the months-long sale process, the franchisees were left to fend for themselves. They considered it crucial that the franchisee-owned restaurants all stay open during that time. Within a few weeks the franchisees elected leaders, hired a law firm, created a buying co-op, renegotiated food contracts—and even introduced a new, low-carb menu. In fact, after the initial scare, being on their own had a certain revolutionary appeal. With no royalties to pay and no corporate office to answer to, life was pretty good. So a few months later, when bids started coming in, the franchisees got the idea of taking their experiment in self-government to the next logical step: Why not pool their assets and buy the company themselves? The franchisees formed the Independent Owners Cooperative, LLC (IOC) and acquired a majority of the assets of The Ground Round Inc. The assets acquired included 42 trademarks registered in the United States and Canada, all of the franchise agreements and leases related to franchised locations and …

Read More »

Why Jimmy John’s Franchisees are Happy

Jimmy John’s (“JJ”) franchisees are happy because they make money and get decent support from the franchisor. The failure rate is very low, particulary in the past 5 years, if you follow the sytem. It is rumored that a single unit, on average, achieves $850,000 in annual sales, with breakeven reached usually with annual sales of $400,000-$420,000 (depending mainly on the lease). The latest numbers are over 500 restaurants in operation (20 company owned) with 1016 franchise agreements signed. A new JJ is opened every 36 hours as of January. Most of the franchisees now are area developers, but sometimes single-units are sold. JJ has a well tuned but quirky fun system to make it ‘happen’. The operation manual is specific to every last detail, to how you put on your apron. The headquarters has rock music playing, Plasma TVs with Fox News on full time, and very casual but go-getter attitude. The founder recently sold a third of his business to a Weston Presidio, a famous private equity fund who funded Starbucks, Jet Blue, Wild Oats and Guitar Center, but founder Jimmy John Liautaud still has a 4-to-2 vote lead on the board.  Liautaud’s 29-year-old President is the 3rd largest shareholder. On of JJ quirky but effective marketing approaches is an in-your-face attitude in the store and in their infrequent advertising. A second unique aspect is JJ’s Franchise Consultants, who visit stores with supplies (tile glue, cleaners, mits, pans, etc.) to clean up and fix up shops, all while encouraging the owner. A third unique aspect is its use of more than a dozen guerilla marketkers who will visit one location and spend 4 days there. The first day is planning for the massive 3,000 sample distribution strategy over the next few days, the second day is giving …

Read More »