What We’re Reading (Thanksgiving Edition)

MASHABLE- Domino’s Pizza has put the pizza making in the hands of its consumers with a new app for Apple’s iPad. The game-like app simulates the pizza-making process and allows users to order their pie and track its delivery in real-time. – Todd Wasserman


CNN MONEY- Flip Flop Shop franchisee Scott Santy’s love affair with flip-flops served him well with his store’s Las Vegas location. Santy’s store has surpassed the $1 million mark, especially exciting considering his Flip Flop Shop location opened during the height of the Great Recession. – Kristine Hansen


BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK– President Barack Obama signed into law a measure providing tax credits to companies hiring unemployed veterans. The law also repales a requirement that federal, state and local governments begin withholding 3 percent of payments to contractors in 2013. – Roger Runningen


ENTREPRENEUR– J.J. O’Connor’s paralyzing hockey accident hasn’t stopped him from entrepreneurial success. The 33-year old first realized franchising was for him when he was 15 working for a friend’s father’s convenience store. Today, he owns his own Sports Clips franchise. – Dinah Wisenberg Brin

What We’re Reading – Nov 22

POST AND COURIER – Franchises tend to do quite well during times of recession, according to the IFA. Read how two franchisees found success, and how one business can help you find it for yourself. Warren Wise

WALL STREET JOURNAL – The holiday season looks to be a turning point for a few retailers grabbing for the small share of consumer dollars. The International Council of Shopping Centers predicts mall sales will rise just 2.2%. – Miguel Bustillo, Ann Zimmerman, Dana Mattioli

HOTEL NEWS NOW- Inbound Chinese tourism is expected to increase 274% over the next five years, evidence of the country’s rapid emergence as a super power into the global economy. Hotel chains are responding to this influx with programs catered to Chinese guests. – Patrick Mayock


Bach to Rock: A Prodigy Amongst Children’s Franchises

A prodigy amongst its competitors, Bach to Rock is an innovative and fun children’s musical franchise concept that’s on the road to major success. I spoke to Ralph Rillion, Bach to Rock’s VP of Development & Sales about the franchise’s history, its future, what it’s like to be a franchisee and what makes it such a rockin’ concept. Article first published as Bach to Rock: A Prodigy Amongst Children’s Franchises on Technorati.
Bach to Rock

In the two months that Bach to Rock has been franchising, it’s earned awards and attention that even the most established of franchise concepts would covet. Inc magazine named Bach to Rock one of the Top 10 Franchises of 2010 and the Washington Business Journal named it one of the Fastest Growing Companies to Watch for 2012. It’s clear that the children’s franchise is rockin’ its way to the top.

History of the Concept

The origins of Bach to Rock lie, as with most things, in the recognition of something missing. A Juilliard-trained middle school music teacher realized the music curriculum was, frankly, lacking in his Washington D.C. classroom. So, he created his own.

Instead of just playing scales by themselves, he put his students in groups so they could ‘jam’ together and socialize. Instead of strictly classical music, he integrated popular music to make lessons more fun. Instead of teaching students just one way, he identified each students’ preferred learning method (audio, visual or kinesthetic) and customized his teaching approach accordingly. As a result, he created more engaged, happy young musicians and his curriculum spread to other public and private schools.

Better Test Scores For Kids, Jobs for Teachers and Musicians



The Juilliard-trained teacher eventually sold his method and curriculum to the creators of Bach to Rock, who have taken the concept to new heights. While the concept has been hailed as a roaring success, Bach to Rock is much more than just a career opportunity for franchisees.

As we’ve all heard, playing music has been linked with higher test scores and greater aptitude for science, math and reading subjects. We’ve also all heard that education budget constraints are leading to job cuts for many teachers and budget cuts for fine arts projects like band classes and school musicals. Opportunities for children and young adults to play music are less and less available in schools.

Bach 2 Rock offers a solution. Obviously, the children’s franchise offers music lessons, but it also provides jobs. Bach to Rock not only teaches music, but provides a place for music teachers– often the very same that the school system couldn’t afford to keep.

It’s no wonder Ralph Rillion, Bach to Rock’s vice president of development and sales and a “lifelong musician,” “fell in love with the concept.” According to Rillion, the teachers at each of Bach to Rock’s franchise locations are “musicians by trade at some point or another, hobbyists or music teachers.”

Bring Me a Beat! Kids, Parents and Bach to Rock



As a parent (Rillion has a 13-year old son who’s a stand up bass player), Rillion says kids will let you know they have an interest in music. “They’ll be beating everything around the house,” says Rillion, a percussionist himself for 40 years. You can bet Rillion’s son will be a Bach to Rocker as soon as there’s a location near their home.

“There’s only so much a school can do, parents or private lessons can do,” says Rillion. While personal one-on-one attention is definitely part of Bach to Rock’s curriculum, it’s the emphasis on “group jam sessions” amongst similarly skilled young musicians that parents and students love. Kids enjoy their music lessons, which means they learn more, something parents are quick to applaud.

In addition, young musicians learn to become comfortable in a performance setting– something that builds confidence now and will be important in the board room later.

“Twice a year our Bach to Rock bands perform at the 930 Club [in Washington D.C.],” says Ralph Rillion. “Parents get to see their kids perform on a national and regional stage.”


Rillion adds that, “Not everyone is comfortable going on stage. It’s different under the lights.” Bach to Rock students can experience the stage without the fright next to their cohorts and with their teachers and parents in the the audience.

Behind the Music– Being a Franchisee

Bach to Rock franchisees aren’t called franchisees– they’re fittingly called directors. Directors are responsible for the hiring of music teachers, the day-to-day business management and scheduling of lessons and special events. Rillion says an ideal Bach to Rock director “has a business background, can run a business and, of course, loves music.”

Retail space in shopping centers are coveted for Bach to Rockers as the best locations to create a comfortable environment to accommodate 6-to-18 year olds. “We’re currently  expanding from New Jersey to North Carolina,” says Rillion, “though if the right candidate came along we’d consider a different area.”

The children’s music franchise currently has 9 locations, 6 of which are company-owned. “The business is growing and its franchisees are successful,” says Rillion. “We provide ongoing training to our franchisees on everything: sales, operations and curriculum, our three key components for success.”




The biggest reward for Rillion, along with the Bach to Rock franchisees is “watching kids learn and enjoying learning to play music,” he says.


Interested in becoming a Bach to Rock franchisee? Franchise Clique can help!


What We’re Reading- Nov. 16, 2011

FOX NEWS: Veterans have what it takes to become successful franchisees. As more veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan many are turning to franchising as a career. – Liza Porteus Viana

SACRAMENTO BEE: Guidant Financial will sponsor one veteran each month for the next year free of charge. The financial company will also offer a 10 percent discount to all U.S. veterans in hopes of jumpstarting locally owned businesses. – Guidant Financial

PR URGENT: The United Franchise Group announces that after recent success with its franchisee lending program, its available funds have increased from $5 million to $10 million. – United Franchise Group



What We’re Reading

The Street: A lack of capital in an uncertain economy has made it increasingly difficult for franchisees to find sufficient funding. Not everyone loves the idea, but several franchises have taken the responsibility of financing in-house by helping franchisees through the lending process. — Laurie Kulikowski

Business Insider: A $13 billion fast food revolution is taking over India. With 60 percent of the Indian population currently under 30, it’s no mystery why both domestic and American brands like McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts are aggressively expanding in India’s franchise-fertile economy. — Jason Overdorf

Market Watch: The Georgia Small Business Development Center has turned to franchising to help with Georgia’s joblessness. Funded by the Small Business Jobs Act, HR5297, FranNet consultants educated transitional corporate workers, retiring executives and returning veterans for businesses in the franchising industry.

Webinar Presentation: How to Get Leads

If you’re a franchisor, you’re probably one of many who utilizes portals and directories to find franchisees. The relationship between lead generator and franchisor can be, at times, tenuous.

If you’ve wondered why you’ve received ‘bad leads’ or simply want to know how to get the most out of your relationship with your lead generator, then tomorrow’s webinar from Franchise Clique and the Upside Group is perfect for you. On Tuesday, November 8 at 1:30 p.m. EST David Schwartz, CEO of Franchise Clique, will speak about:

  • How to Get the Best Leads Possible
  • How to Get the Most Out of Your Relationship With Your Lead Generator
  • Why Bad Leads Happen
Learn more about the webinar and other presenters here.

Interview with Bob Wright, COO of Charley’s Grilled Subs


Article first published as A Heart For Service: Interview with Bob Wright, COO of Charley’s Grilled Subs on Technorati.

In September, Charley’s Grilled Subs opened their 100th restaurant on a military installation on Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Seattle, W.A. It was Charley Shin, Charley’s CEO and Founder, who, “was smiling the widest when the first soldier came through the lunch line,” says Bob Wright, chief operating officer of Charley’s.

A self-described “incurable patriot” despite having not served in the military, Wright shares a heart for service with both Shin and the international Philly Steak sandwich franchise’s employees, which he says, “makes the franchise’s relationship with the military so special.”


It’s this heart for service that Wright loves about Charley’s Grilled Subs and what attracted him to franchising in the first place.


“My grandfather always said everyone needs a job where they work for tips,” says Wright, who got his start in franchising as ‘the pizza delivery guy’ in college for Domino’s. Eventually, Wright became a Domino’s franchisee for about a year. “I’ve been there, too,” Wright says. “Nothing replaces that experience of being the business owner, of being responsible for every customer’s experience.”


Though his time as a Domino’s franchisee was short, it was his time as ‘the pizza delivery guy’ that was so influential in Wright’s franchising career. “I didn’t start out wanting to be in the food service industry,” he says, “but I loved it.”


Over the course of his career, Wright has had the chance to work with big-name franchises like Checkers, Wendy’s, Café Express and, of course, Charley’s. Though Wright’s original plan was to practice law. Today, he practices management. To him, serving as chief operating officer of Charley’s means he gets to develop, train and lead other to success. “For a quarter of a century, I’ve had the opportunity to serve others; whether it’s my team or franchisees. It brings out the best in a person.”


With Wright, his words express a continuous theme of service in the name of others, which is why he fits in so perfectly at Charley’s Grilled Subs. Charley’s makes its food to order. While this might sound obvious, it’s not—most food court establishments “assemble to order” as Wright likes to say. “We don’t put anything on the grill until you order it,” he explains.


This is because, like Wright, the people at Charlie’s believe “a good quality meal can make a difference in someone’s day,” he says proudly.


For those interested in becoming a Charley’s franchisee, the selection process is straightforward. Financial liquidity and wherewithal are necessary. Above all? “A heart of service,” says Wright. It’s important for potential franchisees to have adequate experience running a business in a managerial role. It’s not easy balancing the business side of the franchise and pleasing customers.


With all that said, “Charley’s has experience same-store growth throughout the recession,” says Wright. “Restaurant units have seen 13% growth this year and expect a 20% unit growth through to 2013,” he adds. Charley’s Grilled Subs has a growth model in place that still includes the bread and butter food court locations but specifically internationally, which are traditionally underserved.

Visit Franchise Clique’s website if you’re interested in more food franchises or sandwich franchises.