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Gotta Pay Taxes on Royalties, Shucks

South Dakota ruled Thursday that a Subway restaurant area developer must pay sales tax on its royalty fees that it charges to the owners of 53 Subway restaurants in the state. South Dakota's Rapid City Journal adds:

The decision upholds the state Revenue Department's 2001 ruling that found Doctor's Associates, owner of the Subway franchise, owed $270,661 in sales taxes on the royalty fees.

Fast Food Order Taking Now Goes Automatic

Automatic ordering kiosks as originally reported about in Blue MauMau are now out and have been spotted.

Abir Majumdar, who took the photo, says: "I went to one of those Taco Bell/KFC hybrids in Morrisville, NC and all the ordering was done through the gigantic touchscreens."

One of the headaches of running a fast-food franchise are always being fully staffed. This might help smooth out staff transitioning. It also helps during customer spikes.

Photo by maju6406.

Fast Food and Convenience Store Franchisees, Clean The Ice Dispensers!

The story of how toilet water is cleaner than ice dispensers at fast food and convenience chains is gaining traction. It started with a Florida schoolgirl who won top prize with a science project proving toilet water is cleaner than ice in fast food restaurants. She collected ice from soda fountains and asked for cups of ice at drive thru windows, testing the samples at a lab. She found that 70% of the time, the ice from the fast food restaurant's contain more E. Coli bacteria than their toilet water.

Now the story is spreading to convenience stores. CNN today has a video that shows Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's, Burger King and now 7-Eleven in various U.S. cities testing positive for fecal matter in their ice. (Some employees obviously are not washing their hands thoroughly when they go to the bathroom).

According to CNN, experts are saying the most common causes of ice contamination are poor handling and storage. The problem isn't necessarily getting worse but it is hitting the television and media circuit, and it is creating buzz. It's a story that is going to grow in the public's mind, with consumers possibly drinking less from the soda fountains, a traditional source of higher margins.

Here's what can be done. Franchisees and company stores can frequently clean up their ice dispensers. Train employees to wear gloves when handling ice and cleaning dispensers and storage bins. And corporate field operation managers should be checking dispensers when they visit and evaluate individual stores.

How About Noodles-To-Go As A Fast Food Concept?

Noodles-in-a-bagWe are a highly mobile burger and sandwich eating culture. But there are times I wish there were foods other than sandwiches, particularly ethnic that could be prepared and eaten while I'm walking.

Here's a concept from Hong Kong. There is a refrigerated counter filled with different types of noodles in bags. (Yes, there are many kinds of noodles, just like there are different types of bread.) Order the noodles you want, then pick from a large range of toppings. The shop then hands the bag over and you eat as you continue to shop. As you can see, it's popular.

So, is there a franchisor brave enough to do this in say California, Hawaii or Washington?

Hong Kong over the past few decades has probably had more styrofoam cups of noodles per capita than here. You see white bags full of styrofoam bowls of won ton soup or Nanking noodles being taken to offices of busy business people. But you can't eat from a styrofoam bowl on the run like you can these bags. No food or sandwich stuffing sloshing out onto the street.

McDonald's Emphasizing Fries Clean of Allergens and Glutens

CNN has a news video today on McDonald's recent law suits. McDonald's reaffirms that although its fries contain milk and wheat derivatives, those ingredients have been sufficiently stripped so that they are allergen and gluten free. (There's a good explanation of this difference at Fast Food News.)

McDonald's claims that the law suits therefore have no merit. Burger King and Wendy's have followed suit disclaiming any gluten or allergens in their french fries.

Photo by jamesjyu

Key Steps to Buying a Fast-Food Franchise

This article from All Business makes sense. If you're going to buy a fast-food franchise, make sure you enjoy being in a kitchen, have enough money, research a growing business fit for your community and choose the right location, location, location. Here's three of their seven key steps. (Their articles like numbering.)

  1. Evaluate your interest and financial capabilities in investing in a fast food franchise
  2. Research the market and the right food franchise opportunity
  3. Select prime location


Quizno's Gives Shop Away at Ellen DeGeneres TV Show

Stephanie Busche Wins Quizno's ShopQuizno's Master LLC, the head of the Quizno's chain based in Denver, Colorado, have a winning move in getting publicity and mileage out of their free shop give away to commemorate their 25th anniversary.

Oprah has her cars that she gives out during her show and now Ellen DeGeneres has a business, a livelihood to give out. A free Quizno's sub sandwich shop was given to an elated Ms. Stephanie Busche of Fairview Park, Ohio on Thursday. Ms. Busche had written a letter among with thousands of other viewers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show explaining why she deserved such a shop.

Kudo's to Quizno's. Millions of viewers (mainly stay-at-home moms) across the country will think of not just Quizno's sandwiches but also about owning a sub shop. Although this may not be as precise of a vertical target in marketing that Quizno's normally might want, the breadth of who they reach is substantial. And stay-at-home moms should not be discounted in their influence on franchise buying decisions.

Ellen then followed up Thursday's win by calling (10.7Mb) Quizno's CEO Rick Schaden on Friday, interrupting a meeting he was in, to request another restaurant be given away to someone deserving in her home town of New Orleans.

Now A California Vegan Sues McDonald's Over Fries

Law suits seem to be flowing in after McDonald's announcements of the ingredients of its fries. There were two and now there's three. A vegan from California has filed a lawsuit claiming McDonald's Corp. misled consumers in falsely claiming that its fries were free of gluten, milk or wheat allergens. The Sacrament Bee writes:

Nadia Sugich of Los Angeles said in the Wednesday filing that she "would have never purchased or consumed the french fries if she had known they contain dairy and were not vegan."

McDonald's New Menu Item Boost Earnings

McDonald's is on a roll, er, you know what I mean. The fast-food chain has managed to expand its menus just the right amount and with the right premium items. Increase the menu to too many premium salads and chicken items, it confuses the customer, muddles the brand and slows down order time. Too little and there will be no growth in business and a more confused customer.

The world's largest franchiser has managed to increase its restaurant's average check total with three years of growth. Its restaurants have seen a 5% check increase for the past two years, a quantum leap in the quick service restaurant business.

Florida Family Sues McDonald's Over Fries

Oh no! Another fast-food law suit. It's been a busy week. Benihana's dodged their flying shrimp suit. McDonald's was served with a suit earlier this week over blood in their fries. Now the world's largest fast-food chain is being served with yet another.

A Jupiter, Florida family claims that McDonald's french fries caused their 5-year-old daughter to suffer epileptic seizures, ulcers and the autoimmune intestinal disorder Celiac disease. This claim comes shortly after McDonald's announced that their fries had gluten, more fat and allergens. The plaintiff is suing both McDonald's Corp AND the local Jupiter franchisee, Jupiter Festival Ltd. for misleading them in saying that McDonald's fries did not have gluten.