Robert Thomas

Treat Customers Like Your Boss' Family

Before he became a Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen franchisee, David Martinez ran a bookstore, a gym, and a Ben & Jerry’s shop. Today, after more than three years of running his two Texas-based Russo’s units, Martinez says there’s one thing he learned at his former businesses that helps him outperform quick-serve competition: good customer service is critical.

Expert Tips on Co-Branding

Having opened his first Nestlé Toll House unit in 2007, Howard Taylor quickly became acquainted with the quick-serve industry and today owns and operates five units in Michigan. Taylor caught wind of the partnership between Nestlé Toll House and Häagen-Dazs in February, and explored the option of cobranding his own locations.

In July, Taylor opened his first cobranded Nestlé Toll House/Häagen-Dazs unit, and he is already planning to do the same with the rest of his existing locations.

Why it Pays to be Big Man on Campus

Paul Wilke and his wife, Sue, have transformed their Toppers Pizza franchise unit in Mankato, Minnesota, into a must-have meal for Millennials. The couple has built and maintained a relationship with Minnesota State University (MSU), which has almost single-handedly driven their business since the store opened in 2007.

Having beat out larger brands like Papa John’s and Domino’s for the MSU partnership, the Wilkes’ Toppers unit thrives on campus activities, from involvement in athletic events to student-organized fundraisers.

4 Ways to Renovate Stores and Not Lose Business

Not a lot of franchisees have the experience of Ted Nevels; the Schlotzsky’s multiunit franchisee has more than 30 years of experience. Nevels has been with the brand long enough to have had Don Disman, Schlotzsky’s founder, teach him how to bake bread.

In January, Nevels and his team kicked off the reimaging of his two units in Lafayette, Louisiana. Instead of a simple makeover, Nevels used the opportunity to overhaul the entire look of his stores and fine-tune operations.

6 Tips for Better Store Financing

As president of National Restaurant Development Inc., a board member for the International Franchise Association, and owner of more than 50 quick-serve restaurants, Aziz Hashim is a veteran of the franchise business.

With brands like Popeyes, Checkers/Rally’s, Subway, and Moe’s Southwest Grill under his watch, Hashim has the know-how to obtain the finances needed for developing restaurants.

In today’s post-recession lending market, he explains the creative steps franchisees can take to get the funds they need for development.

Don't Waste Your Sponsorships

In 2000, David Miller went from being the COO at Checkers Drive-In Restaurants to being the owner/operator of 28 Rally’s restaurants in Kentucky and southern Indiana. Since that deal, Miller has successfully promoted his restaurants by using sports to draw in customers. Miller has been a long-time supporter and sponsor of local and college sports teams in the Louisville, Kentucky, area. Whether it’s football, baseball, or basketball, Miller’s sports marketing strategies have made his Rally’s restaurants consistently profitable, win or lose.

His Advice? Call Corporate Everyday

After 17 years on the corporate side of quick service, Rob Parsons stepped out of the suit, threw on a purple polo, and opened his first Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen unit in 2009. Having previously worked for the real-estate division of Popeyes and at Denny’s corporate, Parsons helped his first store hit $1 million in sales within just four months.