Focus Brands Inc., which is the franchisor and operator of more than 5,000 ice cream shops, bakeries, restaurants, and cafés through its affiliate brands, announces its 2015 Franchisees of the Year, which recognize the leading franchise owners across the company’s six brands: Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s.
The winners were honored February 16 at the 2016 FOCUS Brands Global Franchise Conference, held at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference brings franchisees and managers across the organization together with FOCUS Brands leadership and other industry professionals, to gain a deeper understanding of the food service industry, and to celebrate those who have made an impact within the organization.
"We have an exceptionally talented roster of franchise operators within the FOCUS Brands family and we’re excited to recognize them through our Franchisee of the Year Awards program," says Paul Damico, president, FOCUS Brands North America. "This year’s winners reflect the success we experienced in 2015, and we’re excited for what’s in store for them and all our franchisees this year as we work together to maximize growth potential and success for their business.”
The following are winners of the 2015 Franchisee of the Year Awards:
2015 Franchisee of the Year (small) – Crissy Parikh
Crissy Parikh has been an Auntie Anne’s franchisee since 2012 and recently opened her second store in Louisiana. Parikh has quickly made an impression as a leading franchisee by embracing new ideas, building community relationships and treating her employees as family.
2015 Franchisee of the Year (mid-size) – Mike Hatcher and Rick Taylor
Ohio franchisees Mike Hatcher and Rick Taylor operate three Auntie Anne’s stores. Their organization is a pillar in the community, raising more than $122,000 for the local children’s hospital over the last 13 years, including $19,000 in 2015. Hatcher and Taylor are also dedicated supporters of the Girl Scouts, hosting pretzel tours for more than 800 girls last year.
2015 Franchisee of the Year (large) – Linda Read
A franchisee since 1994, Linda Read owns 10 Auntie Anne’s stores. Operating in the competitive Southern California market, she is constantly finding ways to elevate the brand over local competitors. Read identifies innovative and creative ways to market her business and build the brand, and serves on the Auntie Anne’s Franchise Advisory Council.
2015 Tom Carvel Franchisee of the Year – Neil and Tracy Wallach
A franchisee since 2014, Neil and Tracy Wallach were the first to open the Carvel 80th anniversary shop design and exceeded sales expectations in their first year. In their second year, sales increased more than 10 percent over the prior year. The Wallachs are amazing brand advocates and operators, and are involved with their local community, which has set the stage for additional new unit openings.
2015 Franchisee of the Year – Vincent Au Yeung
Vincent Au Yeung became a franchisee with Cinnabon three years ago and in that time has opened six locations from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Brandon, Florida. Au Yeung has been a pioneer in kiosk operations and development with four kiosk locations, with one finishing 2015 at $3,000 per square foot in total sales.
2015 Franchisee of the Year – Peak Restaurants, LLC
Peak Restaurants had a standout year in 2015, with extraordinary achievements in new restaurant development, food safety, overall guest satisfaction and was a leader in same store sales growth. The group currently owns 10 McAlister’s locations in Tennessee and Virginia, and has plans to expand in their markets this year. Peak Restaurants is committed to the communities they serve, with a focus on enhancing the wellbeing and growth of kids by supporting organizations such as the Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Knoxville Children’s Hospital, Second Harvest Food Bank, Lynchburg Daily Bread, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and countless local schools.
Moe’s Southwest Grill
2015 Franchisee of the Year – Mike Walsh
Mike Walsh, a franchisee with Moe’s for more than 10 years, owns, and operates nine Moe’s locations throughout Long Island, New York, some of the highest volume stores in the system. Not only has he delivered a strong financial performance, but his loyalty to his employees has led to many of them staying on board with him since day one. Walsh consistently builds awareness for the brand in the Long Island market though his grassroots focus and execution of community events, sponsorships, and catering.
2015 Don & Dolores Dissman Franchise Partner of the Year – Cary & Jackie Albert
Franchisees since 1994, Cary and Jackie Albert exemplify what it means to be a true partnership in business. The Alberts own 31 Schlotzsky’s locations in Dallas-Fort Worth and South Texas and every year their organization contributes significantly to the North Texas Food Bank through a donation system based on their catering business.