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7-Eleven Piloting Cell Phones For Tap And Pay

 MasterCard and 7-Eleven announced that they are partnering on a pilot program in the Dallas area that will let about 500 consumers tap their cell phone against a reader in their stores to pay.  Nokia phones will essentially act as debit cards, and will work at any of the 32,000 retail locations worldwide that currently accept payment by MasterCard's contactless PayPass cards. After a short trial, the technology will be mass produced and go mainstream. [Via Dallas Morning News]

2002 Small Business Census and Franchising

 Wanted: Women Franchise Owners

Here are some interesting results of the recently released report, Characteristics of Business Owners: 2002 (pdf: 62 pgs). Yes, it is true that the survey is from 2002 and this is the end of 2006. Nobody said the federal government works fast. Women owners in retail franchising are considerably less as a percentage than their counterparts in independent retail businesses. Some in franchising candidly admit that women just seem to have less capital than men and therefore do not qualify as readily as franchise owners. That's too bad because women seem to do alright on their own. For example, in retail, an industry with one of the highest percentage of women-owned businesses, there were almost as many female owned businesses at 715,524 compared to 852,192 male-owned and 330,074 equally male-/female-owned respondent firms.

Franchise Owner Surveys

With considerable experience as a franchisee and as an Area Developer, it was obvious that the franchisees knew how the company was "doing" long before anyone else!

As prospects search to "narrow the field" of franchise opportunities, would it be helpful if there was a source where they might find a list of companies that had used the services of an independent Research firm with serious standards and strict methodology to survey the franchisees and not ask them to invest their time calling around or having to rely on testimonials?

Do you think it would help both the prospects as well as top franchise companies to not only ask the tough questions but be willing to share the answers with prospects?

Latin Is the Fastest Growing Ethnic Food

 Packaged Facts, part of, said Tuesday that the foodservice market for Latin foods was worth $18 billion in 2005. The U.S. market for Hispanic foods is evolving and growing and it could be worth $25 billion by 2015.  

Latin food has come a long way from bean burritos and Spanish rice. Latin is the fastest-growing ethnic food category in the U.S. Latin is second in total sales only to Asian, Packaged Facts said in a news release. "And the general agreement among restaurant industry analysts is that growth in both Latin dining establishments and Latin menu items will escalate -- with more than a little help from the growing buying power of Hispanics, which is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2010."  

Franchise Giants Starting To Use Social Network Sites

 Franchises are turning to social networking as a way for their brand to reach out. Faux profiles of ad characters are popping up. On, Wendy's  cartoon marketing mascot Smart (pictured) has more than 81,000 "friends" who've linked to his page and posted notes such as, "i luv u." In case you were wondering, Mr. Smart is male, 28 years old, a square, and available. His message to the world? "EAT ME."

Assessing franchising in the EU

Europe is taking centre stage in the growth strategies of many international franchisors. European Franchising magazine's editor Stuart Anderson reflects on a recent survey which reveals the growing interest this region is generating

Europe has long been a first port of call in the international expansion plans of most US franchisors seeking to enter new markets. Its collection of developed consumer and business-to-business markets, linked together by a free market system, and a usually favourable reponse to American goods, services and brands combines with a growing recognition of the value of a fully developed and supported Master Franchise package to make the region an exciting proposition for global growth.

grocery store clinic

I just heard on NPR that a few Long's drug stores have now walk-in clinics with nurse practioners and physician's assistants. The fee is cheaper and less crowded. They are still experimenting. Wallgreens are thinking of implementing this idea. As a busy working mother with children, I like the idea. Doctor's, pharmacys and shopping all at one. For ear infection, rashes, and etc. I think this is what I need.  Maybe someone can start franchise, too.

One Laptop per Child Project

An ambitious project is led by computing visionary Nichols Negroponte to develop a $100 laptop for every child in the world. With innovation and out of the box thinking, Negroponte and his team are on their way to achieve what many said was 'mission impossible'. The laptop will have 128 MB of memory and 500MB of flash storage. A wireless connnection is built-in. It has a screen that can display color but it is also switchable to black and white at three times the resolution.

Car Runs On Vegetable Oil

With a sky-rocketing price of oil, small businesses and franchisees are looking for cheaper alternatives in fueling their car fleets. The Los Angeles Times wrote a story about a shop called Lovecraft. The operation outfits diesel automobiles to run on vegetable oil. Not only does it save fuel costs but it could help each of us to do our bit to save the environment.

According to Lovecraft's owner Brian Friedman, cars running with vegetable oil produce cleaner emission.  Friedman also is patenting a conversion kit for do-it-yourselfers and sells an at-home filtering system for waste oil.

New Franchise Data Release

Frandata, a franchise research firm, has just released their newest update on franchise growth and trends. Here is the new data (pdf file)!