The Franchise Owner's most trusted news source

Log In / Register | Apr 24, 2017

919 Marketing Wins Prestigious Public Relations Honor

PR Web - Thu, 2017-04-20 03:30

Creative Campaign Wins Prize for Coveted Bulldog Reporter Award

(PRWeb April 10, 2017)

Read the full story at

CallTower and Five9 Strategically Partner to Deliver a Virtual Contact...

PR Web - Thu, 2017-04-20 03:30

Empowering business with enterprise cloud contact center solutions for Microsoft and Cisco UCaaS

(PRWeb April 10, 2017)

Read the full story at

Restaurant Brands annual profit rise 7.8%

Topix - Wed, 2017-04-19 23:22

Restaurant Brands New Zealand, the fast food operator, lifted annual profit 7.8 percent as its local KFC business generated record sales, bolstered by the recently acquired Australian KFC business, allowing directors to increase dividends to shareholders. Net profit rose to $26 million, in the 52 weeks ended Feb. 27 from $24 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement.

Categories: Today's Food News

Buffalo Wild Wings North American president retires

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-04-19 21:23

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. said on Wednesday that Judith Shoulak, the company’s executive vice president and president of North America would retire effective June 30.

Shouldak’s position will not be filled and her team will report to the company’s chief operating officer.

Shoulak had been with Buffalo Wild Wings for 16 years. Her departure continues a string of changes for the Minneapolis-based wing chain, which is facing a fight with an activist investor, Marcato Capital. The company hired a new CFO in October, and is planning major changes to its board of directors.

The company is also planning to sell 60 company operated locations to franchisees.

“Judy has played a key role in a wide variety of executive capacities and her intimate knowledge of the restaurant business has enabled her to be an agent of positive change throughout the company,” CEO Sally Smith said in a statement.

Contact Jonathan Maze at

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

Subway names Karlin Linhardt head of North America marketing

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-04-19 21:03

Subway has named Karlin Linhardt senior vice president of marketing in North America, the company said Wednesday.

“Karlin will be a critical member of our leadership team as we strengthen our brand and grow in a way that best supports our North American franchisees,” Subway CMO Joe Tripodi said in a statement. 

Linhardt will be responsible for brand management and guest experience for more than 30,000 Subway restaurants in North America. He will oversee advertising, media planning, menu innovation and development. 

Linhardt most recently served as a senior consultant for the consulting firm Accenture, managing the brand transformation initiative for Subway, in conjunction with Accenture’s design of the Subway digital platform. 

He also worked with brands such as McDonald’s, for 10 years, and Anheuser-Busch. Since 2011, he has been on the board of Perkins & Marie Callender’s Restaurants.

Contact Jonathan Maze at

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

KFC's New Zinger Sandwich Will Fire Up Spicy Food Lovers

Topix - Wed, 2017-04-19 20:45

Aly Walansky is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She lives with her two Shorkie-Tzus, Scarlette and Max, and a display of pink polka-dot-themed home decor -- not to mention a selection of flavored vodka.

Categories: Today's Food News

Four disrupters of physical retail

Store Front Talk Back - Wed, 2017-04-19 20:41
Four disrupters of physical retail jacquelinerose55 Wed, 04/19/2017 - 20:41

Restaurants see weakest quarter in years in 1Q

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-04-19 19:23

The restaurant industry did not get off to a good start in 2017, according to the latest MillerPulse survey

“The first quarter was the worst quarter in seven years,” said Larry Miller, co-founder of the survey.

Same-store sales fell 0.4 percent in March, the fourth straight decline and the ninth decline in the past 10 months. Traffic declined 2.5 percent, the 13th straight monthly drop.

But there are some bright spots as the industry looks to recover from what has been the worst period since the recession.

The 0.4-percent decline in same-store sales was a considerable improvement from the 2.6-percent decline in February and the 1.3-percent decline in January. The 2.5-percent decline in traffic was the best result since November.

On a two-year basis, same-store sales increased 0.7 percent, the best result since November and the first time since that metric was positive.

“It was a better month,” Miller said. “It’s good to see things turn up. But it doesn’t make us confident we’ve past the difficult part yet.”

“It’s not all bad,” he added, “but it’s far from good.”

Same-store sales have been slowing since 2015 due to several factors: Competition from other industries, like convenience stores for prepared-food sales; lower grocery prices; overaggressive new unit construction; and general economic malaise despite low unemployment and rising wages.

The downturn has been broadly based, affecting everyone from casual-dining chains to high-growth fast-casual concepts.

Same-store sales were negative for both casual dining, down 0.5 percent in March, and quick service, down 0.4 percent.

Traffic also fell in both segments. Quick-service traffic declined 2.2 percent in March, and casual-dining traffic dropped 2.7 percent.

Traffic remains the biggest issue, as many operators have offset traffic declines with higher prices. While the 2.5-percent drop in traffic was better than in the previous three months, it continued a long string of declines: Traffic has been negative in every month except three in the past 26 months. 

The bad start could make it difficult for the industry to come out of 2017 with a positive same-store sales year, which would be the first time that has happened since 2009. 

“We’re still looking at a negative year for same-store sales for the industry,” Miller said.

That’s possible: Comparisons will get easier in the spring, especially in June, when same-store sales a year ago turned negative and stayed there.

To come out flat, same-store sales would have to average 1.5-percent growth for each of the next three quarters, Miller said. Besides last February, which was aided by the leap year, the industry hasn’t generated more than 1.5-percent same-store sales growth in a month since late summer 2015.

For the industry to finish 2017 with normal 2-percent growth, it would have to finish the year averaging 2.5-percent same-store sales increases in the final three quarters. 

“Things should turn up,” Miller said. “Mathematically, they should. If they don’t, then things are getting worse.”

Contact Jonathan Maze at

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

Tesla settles suit against ex-Autopilot chief who formed startup

AutoNews - Wed, 2017-04-19 17:49
Tesla has settled its lawsuit against Sterling Anderson, the former director of the electric-car maker's Autopilot program, according to a copy of the agreement.
Categories: Latest News

Proven Ways to Increase Targeted Traffic to Your Ecommerce Store

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-04-19 17:30

Owning an ecommerce store has a lot of perks: It’s a self-run business available to anyone, it helps leverage an already existing online presence, it requires minimal overhead compared to traditional retail shops, and a good store has limitless revenue potential. Ecommerce stores epitomize the American Dream.

There is, however, some significant drawbacks to running an ecommerce hub; mainly having to compete with gargantuan marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay. In fact, many pieces have been published which discuss the fact that Amazon is crushing small businesses.

Despite this, entrepreneurs and business owners set up their digital shops in hopes of making it big; but most just end up wondering where all their traffic is.

No matter if you are trying to acquire your first customer or reach $1 million in revenue for the year, all businesses need to increase their traffic in order to see continued growth.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Online Store

If you are looking for ways to drive more users to your web and product pages, these are tried and tested strategies that will make an impact on your traffic and bottom line.

#1: Diversify Your PPC Efforts

PPC is still one of the most effective ways to immediately generate website traffic. Whenever and wherever your budget permits, employing technological tools and services that lighten your managerial load is always a great call.

For driving traffic to your webstore, StoreYa has created a helpful solution: Traffic Booster.

Traffic Booster is a powerful and affordable service that allows business owners to hand off the complex task of PPC ad creation and management to trained professionals. It’s backed by a sophisticated algorithm specifically created for driving targeted traffic for ecommerce companies.

Business owners just need to fill out a short form with their business information like website domain, demographics, and similar fields; it only takes about 30 seconds in total. From there, the Traffic Booster team analyzes the information to establish your target audience, effective strategies and keywords, and the most prosperous channels to use so as to drive the most relevant traffic at the lowest price across Google, Bing, Facebook, and other popular advertising destinations.

If you do decide to do things “the old-fashioned way” of running your own ads, the key to epically successful PPC campaigns always lies in the creative elements. Visual components are just as essential as the language you choose.

Tools like Canva can help you appear polished and professional, even if you’re a design amateur. Canva has a plethora of templates and customizations to help you create stunning and effective graphics, and it will also format these to meet the specific criteria of platforms like Facebook Ads. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer with PPC, Canva is a godsend.

#2: Making the Most of Your Campaigns

Generally speaking, businesses generate $3 for every $1.60 spent on Google AdWords. So if you’re seeking immediate traffic, this is still a very effective channel.

From an ecommerce perspective, when advertising with Google, one of the best options is Product Listing Ads. While these have been around for quite some time, they are still immensely powerful.

In Q1 of 2016, Product Listing Ads accounted for 43% of all retailer’s ad clicks on Google and 70% of non-brand clicks.

If you would rather go the route of social media, Facebook and Instagram both provide a myriad of targeting options and dynamic experiences that can help you reach the right crowd.

With these platforms, promoters can target ads based on age, location, interests, behaviors, and other defining characteristics. Additionally, Facebook Dynamic Ads help businesses by serving up automatically-generated ads to users who have already visited your site.

Outside of these two social juggernauts, Pinterest is a prime location for ecommerce adverts as 93% of users have leveraged the platform for planning out purchases and 52% of pinners have bought something they saw on the website.

That said, mastering each of these ad platforms is challenging (that’s putting it mildly). Many small business owners find that the ever-increasing prices for clicks is beginning to squeeze them out of the market. For example, the phrase “free online auto insurance quote” can cost advertisers $75 – $344 per click, depending on where they are.

Whether or not you gain a sale, you’re going to be paying for those clicks.

Considering that sites like Amazon are bidding top-dollar for the most relevant keywords, it’s likely to be impossible to edge them out.

Moreover, if advertisers end up making an all-too-human mistake of misspelling a keyword, neglecting a landing page while managing an ad campaign, or committing any number of simple errors, Google will downright penalize you.

Not to mention that if you ever forget to turn your campaign off, it could cost you thousands.

If this all sounds too complicated for your taste, fear not, for there is other options.

#3: Offer Your Audience Premium Content

Content is the ultimate driver of web traffic. Considering that ecommerce is not only about selling products, but providing consumers with helpful assistance, a blog is the perfect solution.

Your target audience has a variety of problems and pain points that they need solving. In the ecommerce space, this is about finding the perfect product within a certain category, new techniques for using merchandise that will optimize their experience, and other how-to information.

Producing a blog that offers consumers honest product reviews, tutorials, and other informative advice in related topics is a stellar avenue for driving traffic to your site; just be sure to include the product’s URL in the post, optimize it for SEO purposes, and share it across your social media accounts.

#4: Let Influencers Do the Heavy Lifting

Influencer marketing has effectively allowed advertisers to gain access to sizeable, highly-targeted audiences to promote their products or services with credence.

By leveraging the creativity, trust, and reach of various social media influencers, your webstore can be put in front of thousands of new customers who will very likely visit your digital shop.

As it stands, influencer marketing generates, on average, $6.50 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media. Plus, an influencer’s recommendation is trusted as much as that of a real-life friend.

Leveraging platforms like Famebit, HYPR, and the myriad of others out there has made entering the influencer arena easier than ever.

Driving traffic to your site doesn’t have to be a maddening endeavor. The key to success lies not in the number of tactics you employ, but the depth and expertise with which you execute. Play to your strengths and become a master of two or three strategies, devote yourself to the long haul, and you will see positive results.

Traffic Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Proven Ways to Increase Targeted Traffic to Your Ecommerce Store" was first published on Small Business Trends

Noodles terminates COO

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-04-19 16:07

Troubled fast-casual chain Noodles & Co. on Wednesday said it has terminated its chief operations officer, Victor Heutz.

The one-line announcement in a Securities and Exchange Commision filing said only that Heutz was terminated “effective immediately.” There was no explanation for the move, or mention of a potential replacement.

“Effective immediately, Victor Heutz has left his role as chief operations officer,” company spokeswoman Danielle Moore said in an email. “We thank Victor for his contributions over the past year and wish him the best on future endeavors.”

Heutz was only hired in July of last year, before CEO Kevin Reddy stepped down at the Denver-based chain. Heutz had been the vice president of U.S. franchise operations at Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.

His departure is only the latest setback for Noodles, which has struggled with weak same-store sales and financial losses. The company recently sold stock to private equity groups L Catterton and Mill Road Capital to help pay for costs associated with the closings of 55 underperforming locations.

The 500-unit company reported a $71.7 million loss in 2016 on revenues of $490 million. Company stock was down 2.5 percent in morning trading on Wednesday.

Contact Jonathan Maze at

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

Masked men do not pass Go as they steal Monopoly stickers from McDonald's across Greenwich

Topix - Wed, 2017-04-19 15:53

Youths in Greenwich have not been passing Go and instead jumping over the counter at McDonald's to steal Monopoly stickers. Witnesses at the McDonald's in Charlton said they saw three young men with their faces covered take a Chance and rob the promotional items from behind the counter.

Categories: Today's Food News

Building sales with bakery snacks

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-04-19 15:38

Sponsored by Dawn Foods

To keep up with consumers’ penchant for sweet snacks and desserts, the staff at Fresh to Order locations bake small, fresh batches of the Fudge Brownie 27 throughout the day.

“You can always get a brownie,” says Chris Campagna, vice president of marketing for the upscale fast-casual concept based in Alpharetta, Ga. “But the afternoon, starting around 2 or 3 p.m., we’re seeing that daypart rise so we are constantly baking those fudge brownies.”

Snacking is as strong as ever among customers, from millennials looking for a late afternoon energy boost to baby boomers wanting to reward themselves with an indulgent treat. In an effort to cater to that growing market, restaurant operators are offering a variety of sweet and indulgent baked sweets, promotions and menu pairings and other strategies to increase incremental sales with snacks.

Among millennials 77 percent said snacking is necessary to get through the day, according to Snacking in Foodservice, a June 2016 report from Chicago marketing research firm Mintel Group Ltd. Those snackers often are looking for a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Baby boomers do not frequent snack shops as often as millennials, but when they do they are looking to treat themselves.

Here are some ways quick-service, fast-casual and specialty snack concepts are promoting the sweeter side of their menus.


While consumers across age groups cited “healthier snacks” as their top motivation for purchasing snacks, nearly 70 percent agree the best snacks are indulgent, according to the Mintel report. Caramel, hot fudge, cinnamon sugar and vanilla icing are some of the dipping and flavor options for customers at Ben’s Soft Pretzels, an 82-unit concept in eight states and based in Goshen, Ind.

“Sweet has been with us from the beginning,” says co-founder Scott Jones. “Over time we’ve experimented with a variety of flavors. Our Dutch almond pretzel has real almond and sugar baked in. Popular dips for it are cream cheese, caramel, peanut butter and hot fudge.”

Fresh to Order also offers cupcakes and cookies in addition to the fudge brownie. Cupcake flavors include red velvet, salted caramel and a birthday cake flavor, Campagna says.

“We’re always looking to bring flavor in,” he says. “Guests' palates are more adventurous now.”

Get Fried, a quick-service French fry chain based in Buffalo, N.Y., introduced a sweet potato treat that offers a more healthful option, but one that can be made more indulgent with the addition of toppings, from organic honey to powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Right size

Making snacks portable for on-the-go-consumption is still a desired quality for 67 percent of surveyed consumers, ages 18 to 44, according to the Mintel report.

Snacking is still a category that generally occurs while multitasking or during a commute. According to Mintel’s Transumers Trend report, people who travel by public forms of transport versus private are constantly seeking ways to make the most of their commute. This presents an opportunity for operators to put the right-sized, portable snack in their hands.

For example, Fresh to Order offers cupcakes and cookies that are the right size for grab n' go customers who might want to snack in transit. Ben’s offers pretzel bites. Other concepts feature doughnuts and treats that can be handheld and eaten while on the move.


Consumers also like to pair a snack with a beverage, so offering a value deal can help drive sales — particularly given that beverages tend to be the highest profit margin items on a menu, Mintel reports.

Consumers, especially millennials, also are looking for smaller plates of larger entrées to purchase as snacks, according to Mintel. Fresh to Order found when it created small plate options; consumers who bought them were also more likely to purchase a brownie, cupcake or cookie to go with their meal.


Another way to drive consumer interest in a snack is to host a contest or promotion that elicits responses, operators say.

Get Fried introduced its sweet potato fry snack with a contest asking customers to vote for the best toppings. The winner was a scoop of vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and powdered sugar.

Last November Ben’s held an election asking customers to vote for their favorite candidate — the savory jalapeño Cheddar pretzel or the new Dutch almond sweet treat.

“We did some giveaways to get people motivated,” Jones says. “Everyone loves a free Ben’s pretzel.”

But whichever route an operator takes, many are finding that offering sweet snacks throughout the day can help to boost traffic and generate sales.

Retailers devote 53% of AdWords budget to Google Shopping

Store Front Talk Back - Wed, 2017-04-19 15:31
Retailers devote 53% of AdWords budget to Google Shopping jacquelinerose55 Wed, 04/19/2017 - 15:31

Instagram Steals a Page from Pinterest — But Not Really

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-04-19 15:30

A new feature from Instagram takes a page out of Pinterest’s book. And while it could potentially help businesses in a small way, it doesn’t offer the potential marketing punch of Pinterest just yet.

Instagram Collections

The feature is called Collections and it allows users to save and organize posts that come across their feeds. So if you come across a cool photo that you want to go back to later, you can put it into one of your collections, similar to how you would with a pinboard on Pinterest.

But the major difference is that these collections are totally private for now. So essentially, you can really just use the tool to save the items that you personally want to remember. But you can’t use the feature as a marketing tool to share even more content with your audience.

For businesses, the tool could still have some potential applications. For example, you could save posts that customers share of your products so you have a selection to choose from when you go to re-post at a later date. Or you could save images that you find inspirational or helpful in some way. Here’s how some people are already using it:

The new Collections feature on @instagram helps me organize my portfolio. #louiegraphyShoots ???

— louiegraphy ?? (@louiegraphy) April 19, 2017

#Instagram Adds ‘Collections’ to Help Organize Ideas on #ThePlatform via @adhutchinson

— ScrapeLogo (@ScrapeLogo) April 19, 2017

Instagram slaps #Pinterest and takes collections to the prom & Facebook #FBF8 makes #Snapchat release new AR world lenses. #SocialMedia #SMM

— Jeff Higgins (@ItsJeffHiggins) April 18, 2017

So while the feature isn’t exactly going to take the place of Pinterest just yet, it could still have an impact on your business if you find a creative way to use it.

Image: Instagram

This article, "Instagram Steals a Page from Pinterest — But Not Really" was first published on Small Business Trends

Retail Roundup—Walmart and Bonobos get serious, Albertsons trains techs

Store Front Talk Back - Wed, 2017-04-19 15:16
Retail Roundup—Walmart and Bonobos get serious, Albertsons trains techs jacquelinerose55 Wed, 04/19/2017 - 15:16

Habit Restaurants names Douglas Branigan CDO

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-04-19 15:14

The Habit Restaurants Inc. has named Douglas Branigan chief development officer, the company said Tuesday.

“We are pleased to welcome Doug to the Habit team, who brings with him more than 20 years of leadership in restaurant operations and development,” said Russ Bendel, president and CEO of Habit Restaurants. “His experience will be a valuable asset to us as we continue to expand throughout the U.S.”

Before joining Habit, Branigan was chief development officer at Black Bear Diner. Earlier, he was COO of Sprinkles Cupcakes and senior vice president of franchise operations at Smashburger.

Branigan has also worked for Mimi’s Café, Morton’s of Chicago, and Chart House Enterprises. 

The Habit Burger Grill debuted in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1969. Since then, the Irvine, Calif.-based fast-casual operator has expanded to more than 175 restaurants in 10 states, plus two international locations. 

Contact Dan Orlando at

Follow him on Twitter: @danamx