Mary Avant

All the World’s Your Stage

In February, Taco Bell made the long-awaited announcement that it would soon launch the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, a follow-up to 2012’s fanfare-inducing and record-shattering Doritos Locos Taco.

But it didn’t break the news through a press release or company statement. Instead, its nearly 10 million Facebook fans and close to 400,000 Twitter followers were privy to the information before any media outlet or competitor got their hands on it.

Tricks of the Local Trade

Given the option to serve products that are considered fresh, high quality, and superior in taste—products that consumers crave and feel a connection to—operators generally don’t have to think twice. That’s why many limited-service brands are jumping on board with the local-foods trend, opting to purchase many of their ingredients straight from the source, whether it’s a cheese maker 100 miles away or a strawberry producer right down the street.

Get in the Game

Imagine a market of 173 million potential customers. Seventy-eight million of them are female (often the primary decision-maker in the family), 61 million are college students, and 29 million have an income of more than $100,000.

Seems like a no-brainer for operators, right?

The Global 30

Now more than ever, quick-service executives are opening their eyes to the wealth of opportunity that lies beyond U.S. borders, realizing that abroad is where the growth is—and for good reason.

“Domestic is one country; international is every other country,” says Bob Kaufman, vice president of business development for Southern California–based The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL).

“Of course international is huge, because of the sheer number of people and markets and opportunities.”

In the Navy Now

When opportunity knocked, Pita Pit answered. The pita chain was recently approached by the Navy Exchange to deliver its healthy offerings to the Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia.

But because there were no brick-and-mortar spaces available on base, the Navy and Pita Pit franchisee Samuel Crown came up with the idea of opening a food truck—and both the brand and the base’s inhabitants ate it up.

Commodities in Crisis

It was a dark day in September when Britain’s National Pig Association broke the news that pork products—including everyone’s favorite, bacon—would soon become a luxury because of dwindling pork supplies from the ongoing drought in the U.S.

Though consumers around the world were left clutching their pearls, it was much ado about nothing, as economists and commodity experts quickly debunked the theory. But the media hype did turn a lot of eyes—both consumers’ and foodservice industry insiders’—to the real issue at hand: rising commodity costs.

National Franchising League?

A new partnership between the NFL and IFA shows pro football players exactly what it takes to score in the franchising industry.

The IFA and NFL are partnering to teach players franchise business fundamentals.
IFA president Steve Caldeira, left, and the NFL's vice president of player engagement Troy Vincent cement the organizations' partnership.

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The National Football League (NFL) season may be winding down—or just heating up for playoff-bound teams—but the NFL and the International Franchise Association (IFA) are gearing up for a whole new venture.

The duo is hosting an NFL Franchising Boot Camp April 26–29 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, giving 20 current and former NFL players a chance to dive headfirst into the world of franchising.

The Ultimate Staff Reward

Auntie Anne’s takes employee incentives to the extreme.

Participants on Be the Boss compete to win a free Auntie Anne's franchise.
"Be the Boss" participants compete for a free Auntie Anne's franchise.

Any seasoned brand, operator, or human-resources expert will tell you that rewarding your employees can bring about a host of positive results, from improved employee morale to better customer service.

But pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s is taking employee incentives to a new level, awarding one deserving and unsuspecting employee not just a raise or promotion, but a franchise unit of his or her very own.

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