CarePatrol Franchising System Grows

CarePatrol, the pioneer of the senior living placement industry, recently bought their competitor, Assisted Transition. CarePatrol, founded in 1995 by a social worker after observing the personal trauma experienced by a family whose loved one had been placed in the wrong type of assisted living facility, today helps families make safe choices for their loved ones across the United States.

The recent deal will give CarePatrol approximately 150 franchises by the end of the year, after converting about 60 into the CarePatrol system. CEO Chuck Bongiovanni is excited for this purchase and transition for the company. With his social worker background, he prides himself in using the social work model to clients at CarePatrol. Client phone calls are answered by Master’s level social workers, rather than “the typical call center employees.”

Franchisees must receive their national certification as a certified senior advisor to maintain their franchise license. The purchase makes CarePatrol 10 times larger than their nearest competitor in the assisted living placement industry.

Want to learn more about CarePatrol? Learn more over on our site!

Nonprofits in the Franchise Industry

It may surprise you to learn that Nonprofit groups around the country own franchises, like Blimpie Subs and Papa Murphy’s Pizza. Nonprofit groups, in a more recent trend, are purchasing franchises, and using that revenue from the outlets to support their social missions.

For example, Affordable Homes of South Texas, a nonprofit that constructs houses for low-income families, opened a Blimpie sub shop in downtown Weslaco, Texas. Affordable Homes of South Texas turned to exploring new options for funding when there was a drop in federal housing grants earlier last year.

Other charitable organizations view it as an opportunity to train and employ people in their community. The Dale Rogers Training Center, an organization dedicated to providing jobs to over 1,100 people with disabilities annually, recently opened a Papa Murphy’s pizza franchise near the charity’s base in Oklahoma City.

Customarily, national franchise brands have been contracted solely with individuals, but that is certainly changing. According to the recent NY Times article, more than a dozen national chains since last May have sent representatives “to explore franchising opportunities with nonprofit groups in SourceAmerica, a network of 1,300 organizations serving the disabled, at its annual meeting in San Antonio.”

Do nonprofits own a franchise in your area? We would love to hear your comments on this franchise trend!

Guest Blog: Top 3 Franchises of 2014

Upside Group Consulting is this week’s featured blog post! Upside Group provides step-by-step coaching and consulting to franchisors seeking to increase franchise units sold by developing a solid branding platform. This week, as our guest bloggers, they talk about their top 3 franchise picks for 2014.

The Top 3 Franchises of 2014

From fitness to frozen yogurt, the franchise industry has always reflected the ever-popular trends that permeate the business world. And while some concepts seem to last longer than others, it should come as no surprise that it can be hard for many business owners to decipher which trend is lasting versus which is simply fleeting.

While unfortunately, there’s no foolproof plan, there is a way to test the franchise waters: by looking to this year’s most successful franchises businesses. Selected from the Entrepreneur 2014 Franchise 500, here is a list of three of the year’s top franchises – and just what exactly you can learn from them:

1. Anytime Fitness: Anytime Fitness combines access with affordability to appeal to both customers and employees alike. From New Year’s resolutions to a multitude of 24-hour locations, gyms like Anytime Fitness successfully capitalize on the growing trends of health and convenience.

2. Hampton Hotels: Coming in at number two, Hampton Hotels places an impressive emphasis on fostering a franchisee support system. With ongoing support offered through use of newsletters, meetings, and security procedures, in addition to a multitude of marketing support, Hampton Hotels works hard in every aspect of its business plan to promote franchisee success.

3. Subway: Since 1965, the successful sandwich shop has transformed itself into a powerhouse thanks to an emphasis on solid marketing. By taking advantage of a wide variety of different tactics – from spokespeople to healthy living initiatives – Subway combines the ease and convenience of a fast food establishment with the attractiveness of an on-the-go lifestyle.

Whether your franchise has been growing steadily for years or you’re just beginning to consider the idea of expanding, by looking to this year’s top franchise businesses, you can take away a series of important lessons that can help you find success – from management to marketing.

Learn more from 2014’s top three franchises by contacting an experienced franchise consultant at Upside Group today.

Setting New Year Resolutions For Your Business

I read a great article last week on Forbes, here. It got me thinking… we often set personal goals for the new year (which is great – January is a good time to reflect on the year’s past and prepare and set goals for the year to come,) but not so often, perhaps, do we set goals for our businesses.

The author in the Forbes article, Drew, mentions great overarching goals like following a content marketing plan, utilizing apps that can make life easier, and showing customer appreciation. The ways you go about fulfilling your goals is obviously entirely up to you. I have found in my personal experience with New Year’s resolutions that it is easier to break goals down into more detailed “mini-goals”, so to speak.

For example, if your business goal is “to have a greater social media presence in 2014”, it may be easier to make your resolution something a bit more tangible – “We will post 200 Facebook statuses this year” or tweets, or Instagram pictures, or blog posts or… you get the point. Having a more specific goal, in this case a specific number you will reach, will probably help you better keep track of that progress and feel success at the end of this year when you reach your goal.

What are your business goals in 2014? Share them in the comments below!

The Top 10 Menu Trend Predictions for 2013

According to Pantone, the “it” color of 2013 will be emerald green. But that’s not the only trend worth considering– what about the “it” menu items diners are sure to see on their menus next year?

 

A survey of over 1,800 professional chefs produced the National Restaurant Association’s list of top ten menu trends for 2013. The top ten list indicates that consumers have four things in mind: cost, where their food comes from, gluten and their kids.

 

Consumers remain concerned about food costs while eating out, as suggested by the prediction that new cuts of meat will continue to appear on menus. These new cuts of meat, like the Denver steak, are lesser-known and less expensive but have become more popular as tough economic times have eaten into consumer’s disposable income.

 

The locovore movement continues to grow as more diners look for locally grown produce, locally raised meat, and sustainable seafood. Thanks to the popularity of cooking shows, food magazines and the rise of the celebrity chef, consumers are increasingly aware of how food appears on the dinner table– and they want it to be in an environmentally conscientious manner.

 

Gluten-free items began appearing on menus a few years ago– thank you Miley Cyrus– and, if anything, have increased in number and popularity. Pizza franchises like Domino’s offer gluten-free crusts in an effort to include those who have Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity.

 

Many of the top trends carried over from last year, including children’s nutrition and locally sourced produce.

Do you think the predictions for 2012 proved to be true? Do you think 2013’s top ten list is missing a trend?

3 Things to Know This Afternoon

CBS Miami.com — Veterans returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq are being courted by franchises at the franchise expo in Miami Beach this weekend, thanks to program Vet Fran.

CNBC.com — Read why Baby Boomers who just aren’t ready to retire are perfect for franchising.

Inc magazine— Missouri’s Sam Graves, chairman of the House Small Business Committee, has outlined what he’d like to see from the President on behalf of small businesses.

AMEX Excludes Franchises From Small Business Saturday

“With every dollar we spend, we cast a vote.”

 

My economics teacher used to repeat this whenever the question of spending came up. If only it really were that simple. She was right, though, in that with every purchase we make (and don’t make) we vote businesses on and off of America’s economic island. The holiday season is a retailer’s chance at surviving the tribal council.

 

As I’m sure many of you in the franchise industry have heard, American Express (AMEX) excluded franchises from participating in Small Business Saturday this past weekend on November 26, 2011. While many are understandably upset about the exclusion of their business from AMEX’s economic initiative, the situation opens the door to several important questions, including but not limited to where franchising fits into America’s spending psyche.

 

Many blogs, articles and forums have focused how this happened and how it can be remedied next year. I’m personally more interested in why it happened. If the franchise industry can figure out what inspired AMEX to exclude an entire industry, in which many businesses in my opinion qualify as small businesses, perhaps the thought process behind the decision can be resolved as opposed to simply the situation.

 

First and foremost, while the success of fast food franchises has certainly helped the industry as a whole, it hasn’t helped the industry’s reputation as a small business job creator. The general public most likely doesn’t understand what franchising truly entails. The term “franchise” often conjures images of McDonald’s golden arches, not mom and pop independently owned businesses.

 

The term “franchise” should first make us think of an agreement rather than a fast food restaurant. For those who don’t know, the franchise agreement is made between two parties: the franchisor and the franchisee. The franchisor lends his trademark or trade and accompanying business model to the franchisee who in turn compensates the franchisor with a royalty fee, and often an initial fee, for the right to do business under the franchisor’s name and use of the business model. In some cases, but not all, the franchisor takes responsibility for creating marketing materials and implementing marketing strategies to further the success of the franchise. That being said, marketing isn’t free and may factor into the franchise’s royalty fee.

 

Aside from the extraneous fees, franchises aren’t so different from small businesses. They are are owned and operated by the same kinds of people as small businesses. They serve and employ the same local residents. Lately, they’ve been facing the same economic challenges. It’s understandable why so many franchisees and franchisors are upset.

 

We’re all, consumers and businesses alike, pinching pennies right now. There certainly isn’t much profligate spending happening this holiday season. The Wall Street Journal hinted that only 29 percent of small businesses are able to give year end bonuses this year. As I said before, every dollar we do or do not spend really matters.

 

From what I’ve read and heard, marketing has been another issue within the franchise exclusion situation with AMEX. AMEX’s Small Business Saturday offered $25 dollar credits to shoppers who shopped at qualifying establishments, those independently owned and operated businesses that don’t have the budget for national marketing campaigns. These credits didn’t extend to those who supported chains or franchises during Small Business Saturday.

 

Then again, it’s an understandable mistake. For those of us who are part of the franchise industry that may be difficult to digest. While we recognize the hard work and long hours franchisors and franchisees put into their respective roles, many outsiders can’t see beyond the brands and logos we have pushed to make mainstream.

 

It is my hope that next year AMEX helps the franchise industry’s small business owners financially by including them in Small Business Saturday. I also hope AMEX helps the franchise industry’s reputation by putting a Main Street face on mainstream logos, so everyone, including industry veterans, remembers who’s behind the cash registers and counters.

 

 

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

 

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

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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.

What We’re Reading

Notes on what’s going on in the small business and franchising worlds.

 

Las Vegas Sun: Two tax breaks that small businesses got during the Recession are shrinking. The changes affect small business’ deductions for equipment. – Associated Press

PRNewswire: CRAL Franchise Development, Inc. joined the national VetFran program in order to offer financial incentives to veterans interested in franchise opportunities. – CRAL Franchise Development

Winston-Salem Journal: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts announces plans for expansion across the pond in the United Kingdom. – Richard Craver