6 Tips When Buying A Franchise

6 Tips When Buying A Franchise…
Make a list of questions and spend the day to meet the team and get answers as well as a feel for the culture of the organization. Find out how deep the franchisor’s organization is and, please make sure you feel comfortable that the franchisor has enough experienced staff to service the franchisees.

By Gary Occhiogrosso
Founder and Managing Partner of Franchise Growth Solutions
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Starting a business can be a life-altering event both good and sometimes not so good. One of the ways people reduce their risk is to purchase an established brand with a proven business model – a franchise.

Franchising has proved over and over again to give a new business owner the highest probability of success. If you follow the system, choose an experienced franchisor, work diligently, are appropriately funded and understand what you’re getting into then operating a franchise may be a perfect business model for you.

Selecting a franchise and purchasing a franchise combines gut reaction with solid research. Although there are many steps to buying a franchise here are my Top 6 Tips that will keep you moving forward in the process. I recommend never skipping or overlooking any of them.

Tip #1 – Begin With Some Soul Searching
Make a written list of what you believe you’re looking for in a business opportunity. However, for this exercise, you cannot put the words “make money” on your written list. The reason for that is simple. I want you to look inward at your dreams, background, hobbies, likes, dislikes, skills, social and community positions and all the elements that a business would need to deliver to you, despite the money. I know many franchisees and entrepreneurs that dread getting up every day to work their business even though are making all sorts of money. Franchisees that are great at selling or corporate engagement should seek a franchise that puts them in front of customers in a corporate environment, perhaps in the advertising business or financial business. Entrepreneurs that like to craft things or work outside or work with their hands should never seek out opportunities that land them behind a desk or stuck in a shop 12 hours a day. Although ultimately in time you will not be doing the “work of business” keep in mind that in the startup phase you may need to. Moreover, if you don’t like the work or have neither the time, desire or inclination to develop new skills you may never get to the next level in developing your business. If you can’t “see yourself” doing a particular type of work, then walk away, no matter how much money you think you’ll make. Look in the mirror and be honest when you sit down to write your list.

Tip #2 – How Much Available Capital Do I have?
Numerous business reports cite the number one reason a small business fails is that proper thought and consideration wasn’t given to the appropriate capital required to open and sustain the start-up of a small business. A lack of adequate money can destroy you before you even begin. It is crucial that you understand the numbers. Before you start your quest for a franchise, you should access your available liquid capital, your borrowing ability and the net worth necessary to collateralize a business loan. Also, there are various ways to finance your new business. That includes your savings, investments or loans from friends and family, bank loans, SBA loans and using the funds in your 401K to finance the new venture. Once you know the number, you can go shopping, or you may decide you don’t have enough money now and need to create a plan to accumulate the appropriate amount of start-up capital. Your accountant may be able to help you access your investment ability. Keep in mind many accountants (and lawyers) are not entrepreneurial minded or risk takers. Some will attempt to “protect you” by trying to convince you not to go into business. Remember you’re assessing your investing capability not looking for permission. That said, knowing how much you can invest will save you and the franchisor time. In addition, it’ll place you in a better position to succeed.

Tip #3 – Meet The “Parents”
In this case, the Franchisor. Once you’ve selected the type of industry you’d like to be in, its’ now time to search for a company that meets the criteria on the list we discussed earlier in this article. There are many ways to seek out opportunities, Franchise Trade Shows, Websites, Franchise Business Brokers and others. I’ll cover that in a subsequent article. Once you reach out to a franchisor, a franchise sales representative will most likely contact you. At this point be prepared to answer some questions over the phone. You may also be asked to fill out an application before going any further in the process. Many reputable franchisors will not engage in any serious conversation with a candidate without an application. My experience has been that franchisors willing to forgo written applications or skip asking qualifying questions at the start of the process may be desperate to “sell” a franchise. That should be a red flag for you. Beware, because it may be a sign the franchisor is undercapitalized and/or more interested in selling franchises and collecting licensing fees instead of supporting the franchisees long term by focusing on royalties from successful franchised locations.

Tip #4 – Take A Good Hard Look At All The Documentation
Once you fill out the application, the franchisor will most likely interview you over the phone or in person and then is required to issue you a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). Depending on the State where you live, you must have the FDD between 10 and 14 days before you can enter into any agreement or hand over any money to the franchisor. You will be asked to sign a receipt that you received the FDD and indicate the date you received it. This disclosure document has all the required information that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and various States require the franchisor to tell you. Please read it and reread it. Have a franchise attorney review the document and offer legal counsel regarding the franchise agreement. Then follow up with the franchisor. I would recommend that if you’re interested in moving forward, it’s now time to meet the franchisor in person (if you haven’t already) by scheduling a Discovery Day. Make a list of questions and spend the day to meet the team and get answers as well as a feel for the culture of the organization. Find out how deep the franchisor’s organization is and, please make sure you feel comfortable that the franchisor has enough experienced staff to service the franchisees.

Tip #5 – Speak With The Franchisees
Your best source of information is going to come from the franchisors customers, that means the franchisees. Call and visit as many franchisees as possible. Since many Franchisors don’t disclose Average Unit Sales and Operating Expenses in their FDD, they can not discuss it with you. Franchisors can only make claims and address financial issues published in their FDD. Be wary of the sales rep that starts telling you how much money the franchisees are making and how much money you can make. This practice of making “earning claims” not documented in the FDD is not only a violation of franchise regulation but also another red flag. However franchisees are not bound by franchise regulation and if they choose, are free to answer any question as long as they do not disclose proprietary information belonging to the franchisor, such as recipes or processes. When visiting the franchisees, build a report, let them know you’re close to making a decision and carefully phrase your questions so that they are not intrusive. I always ask about support and if they had the opportunity to “do it all over again” would they? Keep in mind there will always be a few disgruntled or struggling franchisees. Without knowing all the facts, it’s tough to condemn the system or franchisor. That said, if the majority of franchisees regret their decision or feel that the franchisor is not supportive, then you need to make further inquiries with the franchisor before signing the franchise agreement.

Tip #6 – Ready, Set, Go
Not so fast. Before the franchisor prepares a franchise agreement is it essential to discuss the best way to structure your new company. Many attornies will recommend that you not sign the franchise agreement in your name but instead set up a separate business entity such as a Limited Liability Compay (LLC) or an S-Corp. Seek competent legal advice from a franchise attorney before you sign a franchise agreement or set up a new company.

Franchise ownership can provide you and your family a lifestyle that can not be achieved by working a job for a company. Building a business can be rewarding, exciting and stressful all at the same time. As an entrepreneur, I believe business ownership is the best form of work for many people.

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About the Author
Gary Occhiogrosso is the Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, which is a co-operative based franchise development and sales firm. Their “Coach, Mentor & Grow Program” focuses on helping Franchisors with their franchise development, strategic planning, advertising, selling franchises and guiding franchisors in raising growth capital. Gary started his career in franchising as a franchisee of Dunkin Donuts before launching the Ranch *1 Franchise program with its founders. He is the former President of TRUFOODS, LLC a multi-brand franchisor and former COO of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille. He advises several emerging and growth brands in the franchise industry. Gary was selected as “Top 25 Fast Casual Restaurant Executive in the USA” by Fast Casual Magazine and named “Top 50 CXO’s” by SmartCEO Magazine. In addition, Gary is an adjunct instructor at New York University on the topics of Restaurant Concept & Business Development as well Entrepreneurship. He has published numerous articles on the topics of Franchising, Entrepreneurship, Sales, and Marketing. He was also the host of the “Small Business & Franchise Show” broadcast over AM970 in New York City and the founder of FranchiseMoneyMaker.com

Branding Drives Restaurant Sales

Create Branding To Drive Restaurant Sales And Growth…

A restaurant must connect with the lifestyle of consumers. The first step to doing this is to have a definite name, image, and brand message.

Create Branding To Drive Restaurant Sales And Growth
By Gary Occhiogrosso
Forbes Contributor
I write about the franchised restaurant and food services industry.

In the past, restaurant advertising consisted mainly of print and broadcast advertisements along with word of mouth. Branding isn’t accomplished solely through conventional advertising. Although advertising uses the branding elements, it refers to so much more. Branding is the practice of making a name, symbol, reasons, and guest experience stand out in the minds of consumers. Branding gives the company and its products a competitive edge above other companies which provide similar products. Thousands of restaurants serve hamburgers, but why when people think about burgers, their minds immediately go to McDonald’s or Burger King? It’s because the power of branding connects the product to a bigger picture. Today’s savvy consumers expect more than merely a place to have a meal. They are not only hungry for lunch but eager to connect with the experience the product or service provides.

Spotlight on branding
In today’s noisy advertising environment restaurants must cut through the clutter with a cohesive advertising and marketing strategy. Franchised and chain restaurant brands spend a great deal of time, effort and dollars on this critical aspect of their business model. Creating and enforcing their brand image is a crucial task for their marketing teams. Smart restaurants marketers understand the need for a consistent brand voice with a clearly defined marketing plan. This consistency is vital because locations in the chain must present consumers with the same image and message to avoid confusion and brand dilution.

Additionally, many consumers want to know what a company stands for, it’s mission, how it goes about its business and why you should eat at a particular restaurant. The need for guest engagement has led restaurant marketers to pivot from purely traditional advertising to creating a total restaurant experience. These experiences include social causes the guests share, their experience with friends and family via social media and their connection to a community. The evolution of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Yelp, as well as search engine optimization, and online ads have become the new messaging channels used by marketers to increase “occasion to use” and brand loyalty. Today’s chain restaurants employ tactics including traditional advertising, social media messaging and participating in local events that support the community. Creating value and loyalty through brand image and guest experience lives in the mind of the guest long after the meal.

Creating a connection is key

A restaurant must connect with the lifestyle of consumers. The first step to doing this is to have a definite name, image, and brand message. Usually, the owners of the business and a branding team come together to discuss and decide on what the restaurant will mean to their future customers. This step should be accomplished at the beginning of the business planning.

Jennifer Williams, the founding partner, of “the watsons,” a New York City based branding firm, describes the importance of restaurant branding like this: ” The National Restaurant Association reports that Americans spend $799 billion a year on restaurants. Beyond clothing, restaurants are the most searched type of business online. Competition is fierce, and branding is more important than ever before. Whether yours is a franchise or independent restaurant, it takes more than great food and service to lure customers and build loyalty and repeat business. It takes a well-defined brand that resonates emotionally with your customers. A brand is essentially the personality of your business. Moreover, its value is derived from the connection people make with it. In today’s crowded restaurant sector, where many chain restaurants offer similar menus, your ability to differentiate yourself – can make or break your success.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE https://www.forbes.com/sites/garyocchiogrosso/2018/11/14/create-branding-to-drive-restaurant-sales-and-growth/#537d8cd3487a

SELLING & AWARDING FRANCHISES

“In sales, it’s not what you say; it’s how they perceive what you say.”
– Jeffrey Gitome
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Franchising, Be Your Own Boss, Venture, Shark Tank, Mark Cuban, Entrepreneur, Gig Society, Side gig, Franchise your Business

SELLING & AWARDING FRANCHISES
By Gary Occhiogrosso – FMM Contributor

Selling on every level is the principal work in any franchise organization in order to grow your franchise business. Whether it’s selling new franchises or creating systems to support your franchisees to grow their sales or selling your goals to investors, there’so business on the planet that exists without sales.

Have you given thought to the logistics? How do you intend to quickly respond to all the incoming calls, make follow-up calls and address all the prospects questions? How will you ever conduct discovery days, tour prospects to operating units or spend the needed hours to address their fears, concerns and objections? How will you manage your CRM, keep past inquirers in the loop or create buzz that may initiate new buyers and motivate past inquirers to take action now.

A consistent, timely sales effort rules the day. That’s our specialty… We sell! We make the initial contact, we qualify the prospect, guide the candidate through the application process, do the store visits, conduct the meetings & the numerous follow-up calls, the discovery day and work with the prospect each step of the way. You, the Franchisor can stay focused on building the operational side of your business.

One of the most important aspects regarding the franchise sales process is to practice timely response time and create value in the system. That comes from totally dedicated time & focus to the sales process, carefully planning a sales funnel that uses decades of experience, successful track record, industry credibility and franchise industry specific “know how”.

The various steps and numerous hours it takes to close a franchise sale are not something any startup or emerging franchisor should even be thinking about doing on their own.

There is no organization like Franchise Growth Solutions that offers not only a franchise consulting program but also earns its keep by selling franchises for you. It’s our “success-based” upside to offset the low fees for all the other services FGS provides.
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About the Author:
Gary Occhiogrosso is the Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, which is a co-operative based franchise development and sales firm. Their “Coach, Mentor & Grow Program” focuses on helping Franchisors with their franchise development, strategic planning, advertising, selling franchises and guiding franchisors in raising growth capital. Gary started his career in franchising as a franchisee of Dunkin Donuts before launching the Ranch *1 Franchise program with its founders. He is the former President of TRUFOODS, LLC a multi-brand franchisor and former COO of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille. He advises several emerging and growth brands in the franchise industry. Gary was selected as “Top 25 Fast Casual Restaurant Executive in the USA” by Fast Casual Magazine and named “Top 50 CXO’s” by SmartCEO Magazine. In addition, Gary is an adjunct instructor at New York University on the topics of Restaurant Concept & Business Development as well Entrepreneurship. He has published numerous articles on the topics of Franchising, Entrepreneurship, Sales, and Marketing. He was also the host of the “Small Business & Franchise Show” broadcast over AM970 in New York City.
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ABOUT FRANCHISE GROWTH SOLUTIONS, LLC
Franchise Growth Solutions, LLC is a strategic planning, franchise development and sales organization offering franchise sales, brand concept and development, strategic planning, real estate and architectural development, vendor management, lead generation, advertising, marketing and PR including social media. Franchise Growth Solutions’ proven “Coach, Mentor & Grow®” system puts both franchisors and potential franchisees on the fast track to growth. Membership in Franchise Growth Solutions’ client portfolio is by recommendation only. www.frangrow.com
Contact: [email protected]

Why Thin Crust Pizza is all the Rage in Franchising

While many new franchised pizza brands have turned to create your own, limited service concepts offering non-traditional, lower quality pizza, Riko’s Thin Crust has moved in the other direction. Offering full service, high quality, made to order pizza, salads, and Wings in a family-friendly casual setting. They practice all the steps in successful franchising

Why Thin Crust Pizza is all the Rage in Franchising

The “Think” Crust Concept behind Riko’s Pizza
By Laurie Hilliard – FMM Contributor.

The inspiration for opening a restaurant comes from many sources, Riko’s is rooted in the enduring values of family, a belief in simple homestyle food and finding the best means to serve the time-honored passion for pizza. Today Riko’s is an evolution of the classic mom and pop pizza places we all grew up with. It is familiar, inviting and smells delicious yet offers a modern next-generation twist designed to meet today’s fast-casual lifestyle. We like to say, “It’s a good place to be.” And that translates into “It’s a good place to be” all ‘round: a good place to eat, a good place to work and a good place to own.

Since opening our first location in 2011 in Stamford CT, our family-centric enterprise has evolved and adapted to the changing pizza industry, local real estate markets, and consumers’ lifestyles. We have developed two proven operating models in three locations; full-service, casual restaurant with full bar and the fast-casual model; take-out and delivery. Both models have three points of service: dine-in, call/online ordering for pick up and call/online ordering for delivery. And that’s unique in the casual dining space.

Our menu is a study (a labor of love, to be sure) in simplicity, in delicious food, and no-fail processes. Our signature 6-slice, thin crust pizza made from a 70-year-old recipe starting with a proprietary pizza dough and sauce, that tops a carefully crafted, streamlined menu. Best sellers like cheese, pepperonil and hot oil pizza satisfy family favorites while innovations, like Chicken Scarpariello, a host of salad pizzas, specialty pies like Hawaiian pizza, Mac ‘N Cheese Pizza and Veggie Pizza tempt guests looking to try something new. Our baked (not fried) chicken wings, fresh-made salads, and tempting dessert selections offer a high-quality, family friendly, affordable meal to be enjoyed at our tables, at home or on the go.

Riko’s franchise opportunities are uniquely flexible, streamlined and turn-key. And while we have refined and tweaked our business models over the past 7 years, we have retained our core philosophy; a long-standing esteem for family and relationships, quality food from our own family recipes, and warm hospitality. Our respect for guests, our employees, and our community is the cornerstone of our success.

Franchise owners and guests alike are assured of consistency with every thin crust pie. Our proprietary, simplified cooking process draws on equipment, instructions and no-fail recipes that are easily perfected by cooks and non-cooks. We boast that we can teach anyone to make our pies with our process in about 10 minutes. That typifies the thoughtful approach we have taken to all aspects of the business. We blend our strong, family-based values with a simple menu, systems, and operations to ensure quality, consistency, and success. That’s the “secret sauce” for driving success and growth while keeping Riko’s a good place to be. Contact: [email protected]

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ABOUT RIKO’S THIN CRUST PIZZA
Riko’s Thin Crust Pizza is a chain of “new generation” pizzerias located in Fairfield County, CT. Using a recipe handed down for generations; Riko’s offers authentic Italian fare using the highest quality and fresh ingredients. Known for its thin crust pizza, Riko’s also offers a full complement of salads, wings, and other menu items. https://rikosfranchise.com/index.php

ABOUT FRANCHISE GROWTH SOLUTIONS, LLC
Franchise Growth Solutions, LLC is a strategic planning, franchise development and sales organization offering franchise sales, brand concept and development, strategic planning, real estate and architectural development, vendor management, lead generation, advertising, marketing and PR including social media. Franchise Growth Solutions’ proven “Coach, Mentor & Grow®” system puts both franchisors and potential franchisees on the fast track to growth. Membership in Franchise Growth Solutions’ client portfolio is by recommendation only. www.frangrow.com Offer by prospectus only.
Contact: [email protected]

Taboonette Middleterranean – One of NYC’s Up and Coming “Better For You” Brands

Taboonette® is revolutionizing the falafel shop by filling pitas plates and bowls with our trademark Middleterranean® creations inspired by the healthy diets of the Middle East and Mediterranean. We are committed to a Chef driven menu, made from scratch, producing restaurant quality food in a fun quick service setting with American style!Taboonette Middleterranean

Taboonette Middleterranean – One of NYC’s Up and Coming “Better For You” Brands

Watch the Video

The world famous Middleterranean® Oven of Taboon® Restaurant is heating up with its latest concept
Taboonette®— a Mediterranean fast food franchise that marries flavors from the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. Aspiring restaurateurs can now run their own wood oven place and feed people authentic, flavorful, and healthy dishes made from clean ingredients, pioneered by world-famous chef Efi Naon. The culinary revolution that started with a humble, wood oven would now satisfy people who want something beyond the ordinary dinner menu.

The much anticipated Launch of a National Franchise campaign has the culinary world buzzing all the way to Middle East. Our unique creations can now reach various parts of the country and introduce diners to a soulful blend of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Taboonette®’s famous dishes — lamb kebab, chicken shawarma, kruveet, sweet potato falafel, haloumi salad, sabich, and more — will find its way to customers and delight their palates. More people can now experience our restaurant-quality food served in a quick and fun setting by dedicated and merry staff.

Markets will be selling fast. After all, a lot of aspiring restaurateurs would want to take advantage of this great opportunity. With a famous name and a strong place in the market, Taboonette® enjoys a healthy customer base and an established business model. And with one-of-a-kind, delicious, authentic food, franchisees would have customers streaming through their doors.New York City restaurant Taboon is now franchising its fast casual concept — Taboonette Middleterranean Kitchen — in select markets across the United States, according to a press release.

Taboonette’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, saidvTaboonette President Danny Hodak.

“Because the Taboonette reputation is already built, franchisees will be investing in an established concept and brand, rather than a trendy gimmick,” Hodak said in the release. “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 restaurant franchise space. A Taboonette franchise provides entrepreneurs with a fully developed and documented business model, comprehensive training programs and continued support and guidance from pioneers in the Middleterranean cuisine space.

The total investment necessary to begin operation of a Taboonette franchised business ranges from $350,500 to $637,400, which includes a franchise fee of $30,000 that must be paid to the franchisor and/or its affiliate when you sign the Franchise Agreement.

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

The Importance of Franchisors Building Relationships With Their Franchisees

The Importance of Franchisors Building Relationships With Their Franchisees…

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

“Over my forty-plus years representing franchisors, I have seen too many franchisors fail because they do not realize how important it is for their franchisees to succeed and make money.”

The Importance of Franchisors Building Relationships With Their Franchisees
By Gary Occhiogrosso- Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, LLC.

When Onboarding new franchisees the franchisor should always remember that a common thread to success is the franchisor’s culture of support, co-operation, communication, education, and profitability with their franchisees. Building an ongoing relationship with its franchise community can mean the difference between growing a restaurant brand to hundreds of units or failing before ever making a mark in the industry.

Without these critical components in place, a restaurant franchisee can quickly go “off the rails” and compromise brand standards. It’s not long before many of these franchisees negatively redefine the brand. Poor service, improperly prepared menu items, lesser quality ingredients and overall appearance and cleanliness of the restaurant are just a few reasons why a healthy relationship with your franchise owner is essential.

It Starts At the Beginning.

Creating the proper franchisor /franchisee relationship builds success for both. This relationship building must begin right from the start. Successful restaurant franchisors know that ramp-up time and getting a new restaurant profitable takes smart planning and hard work by both the franchisor and the franchisee. The training, support, communication and ongoing assistance the franchisee receives early on in the relationship can set the tone for the entire term of the franchise agreement.

One of the most crucial steps a franchisor can take begins when selecting a franchisee. Franchisors should conduct an in-depth interview as part of a thorough vetting process. Along with the obvious discussions such as past management and business experience, time commitment to the operation and funding, franchisors must also explore the core business values of the franchise candidate. Spending this time upfront to examine the candidate’s vision, expectations and the overall business plan goes a long way into understanding if the potential franchisee shares common goals with the franchisor. It is also the first step in building brand value and a robust, lasting business relationship.

Increase Your Communication And Reduce Your Failure

New businesses can fail for a variety of reasons. Although the vast number of restaurant failures are due to undercapitalization, it could also be the result of substandard operations, inefficient marketing, poor location and changing consumer trends. In addition, a failure in a franchised restaurant may be the result of the franchisee working outside the franchisor’s branded system. Franchisees can destroy their business by implementing procedures and introducing products that are counterintuitive to the brand image. Franchise owners often lack the time, experience and money to do proper research on a new product or a new procedure, never realizing that it may disrupt the entire system. Conversely, franchisors must always be aware and teach the idea that “everything touches everything else.” Building a healthy relationship and a clear channel of communication with the franchise owner can often prevent franchise owners from circumventing the system in the first place.

Harold Kestenbaum noted franchise attorney who has specialized in franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977 explains: “Over my forty-plus years representing franchisors, I have seen too many franchisors fail because they do not realize how important it is for their franchisees to succeed and make money. Franchising is a two-way street, and to be a successful franchisor, you, as the franchisor, must understand this and make it happen. Franchisors cannot be successful if they think that it’s only them who should make money. Ray Kroc knew that franchising could only work if the franchisees made money along with the franchisor. Supporting your franchisees from the outset, and not when they are choking is imperative and franchisors need to realize this. One such way to make this collaborative effort work is by creating a franchisee advisory board. Franchisors with more than ten franchisees need to implement this without the franchisees asking for this. A franchisee advisory board will show the franchisees that you are trying to make them be a part of the system and that you want their input. Franchising is not an autocratic method of doing business; it is a collaborative method of doing business.”

Looking in the Mirror Helps

It’s easier to blame the franchisee for failure than franchisors like to admit. Franchisee behavior is often a reflection of the franchisor. Some franchisors are quick to dismiss why proper onboarding, relationship building, creating brand value, and adequate franchise support are vital to the success of the new business. When a franchisee loses confidence in the franchisor, it is complicated to turn back. Franchisees stray or “go rogue” because franchisors fail to supply the “rails” that the franchisee must run on.

An open, working relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee is the most important aspect of brand success. Franchisors must take a very active role in the franchise operation, perhaps more than they want. Supplying great tools, conducting superior training, regular visits to the restaurant to evaluate the goals and progress of the business is a crucial commitment a franchisor must make. Communication, transparency, ongoing coaching and counseling are the essential elements of relationship building. The ROI for these efforts will be opening hundreds or even thousands of franchised restaurants locations.

PEOPLE HAVE TO EAT, DON’T THEY? – WHAT’S HAPPENING ON MAIN STREET?

We have pointed out many times that the restaurant industry is a great leading indicator for the economy as a whole. If that theory prevails, there is no boom ahead.

RESTAURANT INDUSTRY – PEOPLE HAVE TO EAT, DON’T THEY? – WHAT’S HAPPENING ON MAIN STREET?
By Roger Lipton

While the restaurant stocks mark time this summer, at historically high valuations, it is a good time to consider the major trends within the group.

There has been little specific news, since quarterly earnings reports for the period ending 6/30 or 7/31 have yet to be released. However, we can surmise what’s happening in a general sense, and consider whether there have been any major “inflection points” that we can take advantage of. In short, though the general economy, as reported by our “business friendly” administration, is picking up steam, there is little in the hospitality sector, including restaurants and retail, that indicates there is any growing momentum.

To be sure, there is more comfort and confidence by consumers as well as restaurant operators than there was a few years ago and especially back in ’08 and ’09. The public is more secure in their employment, though wage increases are still lagging the numerical employment statistics. The general economy may be on the verge of 4% real GDP growth in Q2, but same store sales and traffic are showing very modest progress.

According to Miller Pulse, Fast Food (QSR) same store sales were up 2.2% in June, the same as May, up just modestly from 1.6% in April and an average of about 0.8% in Q1 which was negatively affected by winter weather. Traffic has improved from a negative 2.7% in Q1, but is still negative every month in Q2, by an average of 0.8%.
It is the same story in Casual Dining, with traffic improving from an average of about 1.8% in Q1 but still negative every month in Q2, and down about 1.0% for the quarter. Same store sales were up about 0.8% in Q2, barely up from a positive 0.4% in Q1.

We have pointed out many times that the restaurant industry is a great leading indicator for the economy as a whole. If that theory prevails, there is no boom ahead. Though some industry observers are touting the better trends, we continue to hear the country western refrain: “Down so long, it looks like up to me”.

Anecdotally, we hear that consumers are feeling better, but still spending carefully, just as the reported sales and traffic results indicate. Job security may be better, but exposure (if not actual expenses) for health care is a substantial financial burden for many families. The housing and auto industries are increasingly sluggish as interest rates rise, and these are important portions of the economy. Gasoline prices are higher again than a couple of years ago and also help to absorb the discretionary spending from slightly higher wages. Restaurant operators are feeling better because sales have stabilized at least, but higher wage, occupancy and even commodity costs are conspiring to keep profits subdued even if sales are firming by point or two. Very few operators are building new stores, preferring to renovate and/or expand current facilities or acquire other operators. Quite a few chains, Jack in the Box, Dunkin Donuts and Chili’s have difficulty meeting return on investment hurdle rates with real estate costs so high, even though interest rates are historically so low. As interest rates rise, more operators will find themselves in the same boat, unable to afford new locations.

Among the restaurant companies that are doing relatively well, we can point to McDonald’s, Wingstop, Domino’s, the Darden concepts, Del Taco, and Texas Roadhouse. Companies that are “holding their own”, with varying degrees of difficulty, include Wendy’s, Burger King, Denny’s, Popeye’s, Cheesecake Factory, Chuy’s, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Bloomin Brands. There are quite a few companies, more than the few listed first above, that are re-inventing themselves to some degree, including Bojangles, Jack in the Box, Habit, Famous Dave’s, Sonic, Dave & Buster’s, Red Robin, Papa Murphy’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Tim Horton’s, Applebee’s, Ihop, Chipotle, and Zoe’s, and others. You can read about almost all of these companies at the “corporate description” site on this website, accessed from our Home Page. None of the above listings are meant to be all inclusive, and managements are encouraged to give us a call if we have mis-categorized someone. These listing are meant to illustrate that there are more chains that are currently challenged than are firing on all cylinders.

Earnings reports will start to come in for Q2 ending 6/30 in a couple of weeks. Based upon the apparently still sluggish trends, we see no reason why July and early August numbers will give management a reason to risk the prediction of a strong fall season. There is just no reason to stick their neck out. Guidance will likely be conservative, leaving room to UPOD (under promise and over deliver). We will do our best to read between the lines and report to you the “reality” rather than the “story”.

Learn more about Roger Lipton at: http://www.liptonfinancialservices.com

Inclusion used to Create a Competitive Advantage

In various work activities and in the execution of job duties, there is a myriad of opportunities to leverage the existing diversity of the organization to enhance the development of solutions to solve everyday business challenges.


Inclusion used to Create a Competitive Advantage
By Warren Cook

Over the past few decades, organizations have repeatedly asked me to “bring them diversity” and help them improve how they are viewed by the workforce and rest of the world. The request is fundamentally wrong and the strategy to enhance the workforce and create both ROI and a competitive advantage remain in an inclusion strategy.

Inclusion is the act of being inclusive, to include others. In various work activities and in the execution of job duties, there is a myriad of opportunities to leverage the existing diversity of the organization to enhance the development of solutions to solve everyday business challenges.

I encourage business leaders and human resource professionals to step back and analyze their current practices and approach to Diversity & Inclusion, and instead formulate a new strategy that does not focus on creating the diversity that already exists, but instead focuses on the development of programs that involve and include members of the workforce in creative and innovative ways to use their diverse characteristics as a competitive advantage.

If after reading this short article on this topic you are asking yourself “How can we turn inclusion into ROI and a competitive advantage”, then it is time to call me to schedule training for you and your leadership team on Creating ROI from Diversity and Inclusion. You can reach me at 302.276.3302 or via email at [email protected]

Tim Horton’s – RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL

The lawsuits will be settled at some point, there may or may not be monetary damages applied to QSR, but that will be one time in nature, easy to overlook by investors. Especially in light of the operating initiatives outlined just today, including delivery, advertising of all day breakfast and a new kids menu, roll out of a new loyalty program, profit margins and EBITDA at TH will be very difficult to improve from the current level and could even come down.

By Roger Lipton

RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL – Conclusion

This morning’s release by Restaurant Brands International relating to initiatives at Tim Horton’s, its now admittedly troubled subsidiary that contributes about half of its corporate EBITDA tells us a lot about the prospects for the RBI over the next few years. The now well-publicized lawsuits by the franchisees have obviously gotten the attention of their parent company. RBI management acknowledged today that “some things could have been handled better, but management has changed……in an effort to bolster that relationship….and it’s just going to be a matter of time to prove out that this is a new day, and there’s a very sincere interest in working collaboratively with all the franchisees”.

Recall that Tim Horton’s is the largest contributor to RBI’s cash flow and earnings, and the distribution margins, along with G&A efficiencies at TH have been major contributors to the overall corporate progress. To be precise, the “cost of sales” at TH distribution has gone from 99.2% in 2014, on a straight line, to 83.3% in 2015 to 78.0% in 2016, 76.6% in 2017, finally up ticking modestly to 77.9% (up 160 bp YTY) in Q1’18. (Might the franchisee complaints have anything to do with the recent uptick?). At the same time, TH segment G&A went from 4.6% in ’14, to 3.2% in 2015, to 2.6% in 2016 with a modest uptick in calendar ’17 to 2.9%. In just the last two years ending 12/31/17: total corporate adjusted EBITDA, grew $480M, up 28.8%. The Tim Horton segment grew $229M, representing 47.7% of the total increase (up 11.8% in ’16, slowed to 5.9% growth in ’17, and decreased 5.0% in Q1’18). Burger King contributed $143.6M of the two-year increase (29.9% of the corporate total) and Popeye’s contributed $106.9M, all of it in ’17. The improvement in CGS at TH contributed $122M of that. G&A efficiencies at TH contributed another $5.9M. So the better distribution margin and G&A “efficiencies” accounted for 127.9M or 55.8% of the two year EBITDA improvement at Tim Horton’s.

The first quarter of Q1’18 showed total corporate adjusted EBITDA up by 12.2% or $54.5M. That included an increase of $27.0M at BK, or 14.4%, a contribution of $38.5M from Popeye’s versus nothing a year earlier, and a decrease of $11.0M at TH with non-recurring adjustments (to be discussed later) flowing through TH’s first quarter results.

The lawsuits will be settled at some point, there may or may not be monetary damages applied to QSR, but that will be one time in nature, easy to overlook by investors. Especially in light of the operating initiatives outlined just today, including delivery, advertising of all day breakfast and a new kids menu, roll out of a new loyalty program, profit margins and EBITDA at TH will be very difficult to improve from the current level and could even come down.

Summarizing the entire situation, RBI management is very smart, but they are not magicians. Popeye’s has a great deal of potential, but corporate efficiencies may be more difficult to employ here, especially considering the history at Tim Horton’s and Popeye’s is too small to move the corporate needle by much. Even though Burger King’s contribution could continue to grow at a 15-20% rate (not without their own set of challenges), TH will be hard pressed to grow from here. There is an increasingly aggressive competitor called Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts is not going away and McDonald’s does all day breakfast and all three have a head start against the latest programs at Tim Horton’s. We view QSR as an adequately leveraged (and valued) single digit growth company over the next several years.

Company Overview

Restaurant Brands International was created in December 2014 from the merger of then Burger King Worldwide (BKW) and Tim Hortons International (THI). Early in 2017, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen was added to the portfolio. Headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, the company is now the operator and franchisor of over 24,000 Burger King (BK), Tim Horton (TH), and Popeye’s (PLKI) brand restaurants generating system-wide sales of over $29B in over 100 countries. All three brands are virtually 100% franchised and are operated as independent segments from their traditional headquarters (BK in Miami, FL, TH in Oakville, Ontario, and Popeye’s in Atlanta, GA.) to preserve their respective heritages.

BK is the second largest burger chain by locations (after McDonald’s), and third largest by sales (after Wendy’s). The menu features its signature flame-grilled hamburgers, chicken and other specialty sandwiches, french fries, desserts and beverages. In 2017, the system generated a little over $20B in sales from approximately 16,800 units (about 48% in the US). The principal sources of the BK segment revenues are franchise royalties (normally 4.5% in the US) and fees, since the chain is nearly 100% franchised. The remaining revenues derive from the 12% of BK locations leased or subleased to franchisees and from sales at 52 company units. QSR does not discuss the development costs of a new Burger King, but the largest franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group (TAST) does. As described by TAST in their 10K, the initial cost of franchisee fee, equipment, signage & other interior costs is approximately $400,000. Additionally, their cost of land ranges from $500k to 900k and the cost of building and site improvements generally ranges from $850k to 1,025k. Using the midpoint of these numbers, the total development cost would be $2,037,000 – a fairly high total cost for a unit that averages $1.3 million. In spite of a sales/investment ratio (fully capitalized) well below the long accepted 1:1 objective, the Burger King system continues to thrive. We attribute TAST operating success and BKs continuing unit development to the fact that many units were built years ago (with lower development costs), the long term operating success of the system that attracts build-to-suit development, and of course the very low interest rate environment of the past decade. It is also worth noting that QSR does not indicate how many units are “traditional” versus “non-traditional” such as kiosks, food courts, etc. We suggest that not too many units in the US in particular, are built from the ground up these days, and fewer still will be built if interest rates rise. Of course, in any event, BKs primary expansion will be overseas from this point forward.

Tim Hortons quick service restaurants have a menu that includes premium blend coffee, tea, espresso-based hot and cold specialty drinks, fresh baked goods, (donuts, cookies, muffins, pastries), grilled paninis, sandwiches, wraps and soups. It generates about $6.7B in system-wide sales from about 4,700 units (about 80% in Canada). The TH segment generates revenue from sales of supplies and equipment and packaged products to retailers; from property revenues from the 80% of properties leased or subleased to franchisees; from franchise royalties and fees; and from sales at 24 company restaurants.

While BK’s supply operations are largely outsourced to approved third parties (procured in the US by a purchasing entity jointly managed with franchisees), TH operates a significant supply system to procure, store and distribute raw materials, and supplies to most of its Canadian restaurants (US units are supplied by a third-party distributors). It operates 2 roasting facilities for blending coffee for its Canadian and US restaurants (and retail), and it operates facilities for the manufacture of icings and fills for its products, though all donuts are purchased from a third-party supplier. TH has a variety of franchise agreements which largely reflect the extent of its ownership interest in franchised locations. Franchisees who lease land and/or buildings from the company typically pay a royalty rate of 3%-5% plus rent of 8.5% to 10.5% of sales. Where the premises is owned by the franchisee or is subleased from TH or leased from a third party, the royalty rate is higher; and where the franchisee essentially operates a fully outfitted company property (i.e. includes equipment, signage and trade fixtures), a rate of about 20% covers royalties and rent.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. (PLKI), QSR’s most recently completed acquisition, develops, operates and franchises over 2,700 quick service restaurants with system-wide sales in 2016 of $3.4B in 48 states, D.C., and 25 foreign countries. Popeyes specializes in strongly flavored Louisiana-style offerings, particularly chicken, but also fried shrimp, red beans and other regional specialties. PLKI is nearly entirely franchised (98% of system’s units). The US stores averaged about 2.7k square feet with AUV’s of $1.4M in 2016. US franchisees generated EBITDAR of $340K on average (23% margin). From 2008 through 2016, comps averaged 3.2% (though slowing in 2016, and further in 2017), which was the major factor in the 4.9% CAGR in the AUV’s and EBITDAR margin expansion of over 500bps (along with new store performance). In 2016 revenues were $268.9M ($108.3M company stores, $154.8M from franchise royalties & fees, $5.8M rent from franchised restaurants), EBIT at $74.5M (27.7% margin), EBITDA of $84.6 (31.5% margin) with free cash flow of $56.0M (20.8% margin). Aside from the strong financial track record, QSR said Popeyes leadership position in the chicken QSR category (26.5% market share in 2016, up from 25.5 in 2015) fits well in its brand portfolio. Also attractive, obviously is the “asset light” highly franchised structure, with further growth potential, especially overseas.

3G Restaurant Brands Holdings LP (3G RBH), with 43.6% voting rights, provides 3G effective control of QSR. 3G is an international activist fund specializing in consumer brands and a frequent partner with Berkshire Hathaway, which provided $3B to finance the TH acquisition in the form of 9% preferred equity, redeemed in late ‘17. The 3G playbook is to acquire and fix up mature brands (e.g. Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (Euronext Brussels: ABI) and The Kraft Heinz Co (NYSE: KHC), but unlike most activist investors, 3G is a patient investor, with an investment horizon measured in years. In order to judge QSR’s future, including incorporation of PLKI, it’s worthwhile to understand 3G’s historical initiatives in turning around BK and TH.

Burger King – For at least a decade before 2010, management and franchisees had been in growing conflict over repeated failures to revive the brand. The conflict peaked with a franchisee lawsuit charging management with driving system sales with promotions (specifically $1 Double Cheeseburgers) that were good for royalties but costly for franchisees. Into this poisonous atmosphere, 3G stepped up to acquire the company. The fund, which had been instrumental in assembling global beer behemoth AB InBev, also had established a reputation as a long-term investor that achieved strong returns by turning around flagging brands, often with aggressive cost cutting and management changes.

When 3G acquired the company in October 2010, it promptly installed partners onto the board and inserted itself in operations, staffing key executive positions with partners from a deep bench of proven managers from other investments. It instituted cost controls centered on zero-based budgeting (every budget item must be justified afresh each year). It moved quickly to restore trust with the franchisee community by giving them a larger voice in the decision-making process and by making franchisee profitability a top priority. This included simplifying the menu and eliminating money-losing promotions. To this end, new menu introductions and LTO’s aim more for flavor variations on legacy standards (e.g. “Angry Whopper”) than additions that are more operationally challenging. Management has, however, attempted to fill gaps in the core menu with added or improved items such as salads, chicken strips, beverages and desserts. These additions aim to broaden brand appeal beyond its traditional young male customer to include women and seniors. Management also attacked overhead bloat, again using the zero-based budgeting which requires justification of both historical and incremental expenses. The payoff was a reduction in G&A from $356M in 2010 to about $160M by 2015 and 2016. The dramatic reduction in G&A, while improving profitability at the franchisor level, has not been without controversy, however. Some franchisees feel that support has been compromised along with the reduction of expenditures on behalf of the franchise system. The response of the franchisor has predictably been something like “in every large system some franchisees are happier than others, but our priority continues to be the profitability and financial health of every franchisee”.

Additionally, the company accelerated a refranchising initiative that had been under way, becoming virtually 100% franchised by 2013 (from 89% at acquisition in 2010). Importantly, the 1,200+ refranchised units were placed with the system’s strongest hands, such as Carrol’s Restaurant Group (NASDAQ: TAST), BK’s largest franchisor and an exceptional operator. As of year-end 2017, only 26 company stores remained, which the company has intended to retain principally for test purposes. The new management also launched a store re-imaging initiative of the US and Canadian stores. The company provides incentives, principally in royalty and advertising fund relief, to accelerate the pace of remodeling. According to management, the remodels cost about $300K per unit and drive a 10%-14% sales lift. At the end of 2017, we estimate over 70% of the stores have been remodeled.

Finally, it launched a strong international push, particularly into under-penetrated regions. In a departure from BK’s traditional franchise agreements, the company aims to accelerate international growth through master franchise joint ventures (MFJVs) and master development agreements with experienced local partners. The structure of these agreements varies significantly, but in general local partners are granted exclusive regional rights to develop or sub-franchise units. The partners commit to aggressive development targets and franchisee support. They usually pay discounted upfront fees and royalty rates (vs the usual 5% rate) based on the characteristics of each market. The partners make substantial upfront equity contributions, while the company usually obtains a meaningful minority stake in the MFJV’s with little or no capital contribution. Of course, this enhanced growth comes with financial and brand risks, principally because the company’s operational control over sub-franchisees is weaker than with direct franchisees. QSR believes it protects against these risks by entering agreements with experienced, well-capitalized partners supported by strong management teams.

So far, results at Burger King have been impressive. The unit growth rate has more than tripled in the 8 years since the acquisition vs the preceding 6 years—from 1.5% CAGR, to 6.5% unit growth in ’17. (In validation of the MFJV strategy, the international MFJV’s have generated most of BK’s 3,800+ unit growth since acquisition, notably: Brazil >600 in 2017, up from <150 in 2011, China >650 units in 2017, up from <90 in 2012 and Russia >400 units in 2017, up from <90 in 2012.) There has been an increase over six years in AUV’s from $1M to $1.4M and a 30% increase in profitability (according to management).

Tim Hortons At the time of the December 2014 merger, the TH brand did have its challenges, but overall performance was strong. In the five years before the merger system units grew at a 5% annual pace, while quarterly same store sales (20Q’s) averaged 3.1% in Canada and 4.1% in the US, turning negative only once, in Q1’13, and then only modestly (-0.3% Can & -0.5% US). Meanwhile, operating margins were consistently around 20% and free cash flows averaged around $300M, with average FCF margins ~11.0%. The company’s challenges were (and are) to protect the brand’s Canadian dominance (>40% traffic share), particularly from the encroachments of SBUX, to expand in the US where it has struggled to gain critical mass, and to exploit the large untapped opportunity it sees on other continents (~1% system units are located outside North America). In Canada, management’s principal focus is on solidifying its lunch and breakfast dayparts and improving its coffee business. In the US it closed 27 underperforming stores in New York and Maine during 2017, to concentrate instead on building density in priority markets in the Midwest. To that end, it has signed development area agreements with partners in the Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio DMAs and the state of Minnesota. Internationally, it also concluded MFJV agreements with partners in Mexico, Great Britain and the Philippines.

The company has focused on G&A which, at $78.9M, was down 15.4% in 2016 over 2015, the first full year of operation under new management, then rose back to $91.0M in 2017. (The reductions may be more significant when compared with the pre-acquisition G&A levels, > $150M USD, but it isn’t clear this is an apples-to-apples comparison.) While TH’s capital-intensive supply chain operations seem ripe for management overhaul, nothing on that front has been reported yet. While management disclosed that though it will be maintaining capital incentives to remodel stores, which it deems an important priority, it seems this is aimed more at the smaller franchisees. Separately it has announced it will be reducing capital support for new stores, principally the leased and subleased locations. This shift to a more asset-light corporate structure is consistent with its strategy for seeking out larger, well-capitalized MFJV partners to drive growth.

As of the end of 2017, with only 3 full years of TH ownership under its belt, the results were promising, but have proved to be controversial. This “progress” at the franchisor level has apparently not been shared at the franchisee level, at least as described in a number of lawsuits filed by something like half of the Canadian franchisee base, and US franchisees as well. They claim that, while their sales progress has stalled, QSR has raised the price of supplies and food, contracting franchise margins further. Additionally, the franchisee lawsuit claims that advertising contributions have been “misallocated” somehow to reduce corporate overhead. Since most of the improvement from 2015 through 2017 within the TH operating results came from “distribution” and to some lesser extent G&A efficiencies, the strained relationship with franchisees is obviously a material development. While management may claim that they went through similar “growing pains” after acquiring Burger King, there was not a similar distribution segment, and BK has built sales more successfully than TH, which takes the sting out of higher costs. As strong as MCD has been vs. BK, SBUX is an even more powerful dominant competitor in the coffee segment.

Restaurant Brands International Consolidated On a consolidated basis, QSR’s EBIT in 2016, at $1.666.7M was up about 90% over a pro-forma $875.6M USD for 2014 (i.e. assuming TH was owned the entire year), driving 1,950bps of operating margin expansion to 40.2% from 20.7%. Calendar year 2017 showed a further increase of 4.1% to $1.735M.

As a result of its acquisition strategy, QSR is leveraged at the top of the range for peer “pure play” franchisors. Total net debt at 3/31/17 of $11.4B was about 5.1X adjusted TTM EBITDA of $2.25M versus 4-5X more typically for its franchising peers. The current dividend, yielding 2.86% requires over $500M of the free cash flow and management has allocated C700M over the next four years to help TH franchisees with re-imaging stores.

QSR: Current Developments – Per Q1’18 Corporate Release and Conference Call

“Adjusted Diluted” earnings, on a “New Standard” were $0.66 vs. $0.67 a year earlier, which is the number that seems to be carried by analysts and the reporting services. GAAP earnings, reported on a “Previous Standard” were $0.66 vs $0.36. The difference in “Standards” relate (among other things) to franchise agreement amortization, amortization of deferred financing costs and debt issuance costs, reflection of advertising fund contributions and expenses, supply chain related revenues at TH, and foreign exchange impact. Forgive us for presenting these technical features of the reporting approach, but this is an unusually complex financial structure, obviously requiring these various methods of disclosure.

In any event, the “organic” EBITDA for Q1’18 was up 5.0%, including Popeye’s, driven primarily by an increase in revenues at BK and PLK, partially offset by a decrease in supply chain related revenues at TH. A breakdown of Adjusted EBITDA by Segment is roughly as follows: Tim Horton’s was down 4.3% to $250M, Burger King was up 14.4% to $215M and Popeye’s was up $80% to $40M. We’ve “mixed and matched” these numbers between the “adjusted New and Previous Standards”, but, in spite of the reporting complexity, we have confidence that the direction and order of magnitude is indicative of the operating trends. More simplistically, comps were down 0.3% at TH, up 3.8% at BK, and up 3.2% at PLK. Systemwide sales growth was up 2.1% at TH, up 11.3% at BK and up 10.9% at PLK.

Per the conference call: Tim Horton’s reported flat sales in Canada and softness in the US. Early in the call, management addressed the tension in the TH franchise system, describing the press as mischaracterizing RBI intentions, citing inaccurate information that “usually reflect a purposely negative tone dictated by a group of dissident franchisees”. Changes have been made in communication strategy, both with the press and the franchisees, which will presumably bear fruit over time. First quarter sales at TH reflected softness in coffee sales, partially offset by breakfast foods. The results of some new lunch products are encouraging. A new Brand President at TH, Alex Macedo, previously President of Burger King, North America, is leading the effort. A “Winning Together” plan has been put in place, based on restaurant experience, product excellence and brand communications. A new TH restaurant design, called the Welcome Image has been put in place at 10 locations, with an encouraging customer response. Management “admittedly should have done more of this in the past……we are confident that this plan will help us achieve long term sustainable comparable sales growth for TIMs.”

We won’t dwell here on the Burger King discussion. Delivery and technology applications are among the current programs. Suffice to say that results within this segment continue to be fine and the positive prospects are undiminished.

Popeye’s is focusing on delivery and technology as well, and international franchising is a major focus, Brazil being the first master agreement. With EBITDA of $40M in Q1’18 out of close to $500M for RBI in total, substantial improvement within this segment will not affect short to intermediate term overall results in a major way.

The single largest “elephant in the room”, supply chain margins at TH, was addressed when the question was asked relative to the Q1’18 decline at TH in supply chain revenues. Management responded that “we passed on some supply chain savings to our franchisees through a reduction in pricing in the second half of last year. We continued to maintain this pricing for franchisees, so margins in the first quarter of 2018 are relatively consistent sequentially with the margins from the second half of last year. Looking ahead…. we expect the organic growth profile at TIM’s to improve throughout the year.” Maybe.

Our conclusion regarding the prospects for QSR is provided at the beginning of this article.
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Franchise Your Business www.frangrow.com

2nd edition in our “Coach, Mentor & Grow®” video series for Franchisors

Here’s the 2nd edition in our “Coach, Mentor & Grow®” video series for Franchisors. The panel at the NY FBN/IFA meeting covered the topic of “Franchising and Private Equity- How to Position your Company” Panelist Oz Bengur, Lisa Oak, Grant Marcks and Roger Lipton. Hosted by David Azrin Esq.

If you’d like to receive the entire 1-hour session please contact us at [email protected]

Watch the video: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gary-occhiogrosso/detail/recent-activity/shares/