Cornering Expansion in a New Market with a New Brand



For the husband-and-wife team, Glenn and Tina Beattie, a step to broaden their 37 Denny’s restaurants in Western New York and Arizona includes a multi-unit, multi-year deal to open 22 Corner Bakery Cafe locations in New England. Glenn is president and Tina is vice president of Top Line Restaurants, Inc.

The New England market isn’t new to Glenn, who was born and raised in Rhode Island.  His passion for franchising began early: by age 20, he’d moved to Arizona and began working at a franchise company and later started working in the restaurant business.  Ten years ago, Beattie purchased three of his first Denny’s restaurants.  However, his goal was to get back into the New England region.  In February of 2009, they acquired 28 Denny’s restaurants in Upstate New York.  With an exclusive territorial development agreement for the Western New York market, “All of our growth in the last few years and continued growth will be in New York for us on the Denny’s side,” said Beattie.  “The ability to get in with a new brand is something we’ve been focused on for quite some time and just trying to find the right fit.”  They found the right fit with Corner Bakery Cafe and the added plus of being able to expand the New England market.

While the economy is still in recovery, franchisees–who are key players in the health of franchise systems–are moving forward.  The International Franchise Association’s updated economic outlook indicates that the number of franchise establishments in the United States will likely increase by 1.6 percent in 2012.  Employment in franchise establishments was revised up slightly from 2011 (a 2.0 percent gain) to a 2.1 percent gain in 2012.

Beattie points to the strong leadership of their Denny’s stores in Arizona and expects “the growth and development up in the New England-New York region will be very easy for us to manage as well.”  The benefits of the new expansion plan are that it makes sense geographically, they love the fast-casual aspect of Corner Bakery Cafe and that the brand lends itself to the family-focused community, as well as the food, food quality and how it’s prepared. Beattie added that Top Line Restaurants and Corner Bakery Cafe’s cultures were aligned in how they go about doing things, which served as the “biggest and best thing for us.”

As part of their homework before concluding the deal, Beattie said they made their rounds by visiting trade shows and studied concepts as they sought to diversify their businesses “and it was really to broaden us as a restaurant company.”   

As with most franchise businesses, the lending environment was an important consideration as the Beatties sought to expand their franchises.  “We’re very happy that the lending environment is finally opening up a little bit to the franchise community again,” said Beattie. “It was pretty locked down with the recession and all the banking crises that occurred. So that definitely played into our decision that now was the right time to sign a development agreement of this size.”  He added that even through the recession, on the Denny’s side, they found tremendous opportunities for acquiring “Top-A type locations” and the franchise provided the leadership to help them weather the recession.

In addition to the quality of the food and the way it is prepared at Corner Bakery Cafe, Beattie credited the guidance of the company’s Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage Ric Scicchitano and that he did an amazing job.  It turns out that Schicchitano is listed on the company’s website as its first employee.    

Although new to multi-branding, Beattie provided some sage advice to others who might consider this path.  “Focus and narrow your search to something you’re really going to be passionate about and want to get 110 percent behind it.”

Making the decision to open 16 Corner Bakery cafes in Connecticut and six in Rhode Island over the next eight years points to the Beatties’ passion and commitment to fast-casual franchise restaurants.  In addition, it is expected that the new businesses will create 800 more jobs in those markets.

Heading to FranCamp 2012: Franchising Goes Social

I’m actually packing my bags this week to head down to FranCamp 2012 in Atlanta on Friday. In case you hadn’t heard, FranCamp is a one-day event loaded with a fast-paced and aggressive agenda. The goal is for you to get a good education in relevant topics that marketers must understand to make good decisions.

Matt Haller and I are headed down to meet everyone and do a short session. There are a few other interesting sessions I’m looking forward to seeing, including:

  • How To Monitor And Leverage Social Platforms, Jack Monson, VP, Engage121
  • Building The Perfect Social Media Campaign, Todd Leiser, CFE, Director of Franchise Sales, Valpak
  • Roundtable: To “Pin” Or Not To “Pin” (Pinterest),
  • Developing Great Lead Generation Content,
  • Using Social Media For Local Leads Across A Franchise System
  • Local Marketing Rules!, BJ Emerson, VP Technology, Tasti D-lite
  • The Power of Connecting, Marianne Murphy, Director of Operations, Floor Coverings International
  • Build Your Business…Build Your Brand …. Build Your Legacy, Tra Williams, Small Business and Franchise Consultant

You can hop over to their website to get a look at the full agenda. If you’re going to be in the area, let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you at the Thursday night Tweetup.

Private capital leaders descend on Dallas



The nation’s premier gathering of mid-market capital investors descended on Dallas last week to hunt for prospects, network with colleagues, and announce new tools that show the positive impact of private capital in creating jobs and growing the U.S. economy.

“This is Main Street investing, not Wall Street investing,” said Pam Hendrickson, The Riverside Company’s COO Pam Hendrickson, a leader of the firm that has taken big bets on franchising concepts as diverse as The Dwyer Group and “It’s Just Lunch,” the dating service.

IFA Board member Tabbassum Mumtaz, President & CEO of Apex Restaurant Management, Inc., knew “InterGrowth” – the conference of 2000 investors presented by the Association for Corporate (ACG) — was a good place to be. “You have to stay close to the money,” he said.

“Private capital is investing in local communities and providing local jobs,” said Gary LaBranche, President & CEO of the ACG, which represents 14,000 “mid-market” private equity, corporate growth and M&A professionals. Under LaBranche’s leadership, ACG developed and went live at InterGrowth with a new data resource called “,” which maps private capital investment and job creation in communities across America.

“ will provide visibility for an industry that has been largely invisible,” LaBranche said, adding that middle-market private capital firms have outpaced other sectors in local investment and U.S. job creation.

Kicking off the conference was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who offered an emotional look back at the days after 9-11 and the nation’s recovery afterward. “The freest nations on earth are the strongest,” she said, in remarks chock full of observations and inside stories related to world events. But Rice said freedom is not enough, criticizing political efforts to pit socio-economic groups against one another. Instead, she said, all Americans should aspire to be their best, without criticizing those who have more or less than they.

Asked about educational standards, Rice emphasized the importance of high-quality teachers. Helping a niece with homework recently, Rice recounted a math exercise in which the young relative advised the Stanford law professor not to worry because, “there are no wrong answers.”

“Oh, yes there are,” Rice told the child. She noted, “If I don’t hold my Stanford students to the highest standards, I find they sink to their lowest standards.”

Brett Palmer, President & CEO of the Small Business Investors Alliance based in Washington, said his members – mostly private equity firms — look for excellence when investing in franchising as part of the SBA’s Small Business Investment Companies program. The program helps leverage private capital into franchising. Unlike the 7(a) and 504 programs, SBIC receives relatively little public attention, despite having played pivotal roles in franchising. “Private equity is essential to job creation, and our investors know that franchising is an attractive option,” Palmer said.

Ellen Moore, ACG’s Vice President of Strategic Development, said connections between private capital and trade associations like IFA are important to facilitate business development by members and to raise awareness about job creation and long-term economic growth.

Moore knows of what she speaks. Before joining ACG, she served in leaderhsip roles with Darden Restaurants, Compass Group North America, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and the Women’s Foodservice Forum. She was also Senior Vice President of the National Restaurant Association’s Education and Certification Services division.

ACG is based in Chicago.

IFA featured on Bloomberg radio to discuss partnership with the lending community



IFA’s President & CEO Steve Caldeira joined BoeFly’s Co- President Mike Rozman on Bloomberg Radio to discuss how the IFA is teaming up with the lending community to better understand the individual issues and to collectively look for opportunities to grow. 

BoeFly, an online marketplace that connects business borrowers with lenders, is helping educate businesses on what they need to do to get ready to walk into a bank. “It is a frustrating process to go through to get a business loan, so helping match-up those borrowers with the right lenders is important,” says Rozman.  “Along the way, franchisors wanted a solution that would help all their franchises at one time, so BoeFly is helping deliver specific needs that will help financially.”

Although the new lending index that IFA released at its Small Business Lending Summit last week shows lending is stronger today than it was a year ago, Steve Caldeira reports that, “we still fell short of our 2.5 percent growth last year and because of that 82,000 jobs were not created.” The ongoing uncertainty in the economy has franchisees and investors sitting on the sidelines.  “People are waiting to see what happens with tax reform, the election and the healthcare bill,” says Caldeira.  “That is why it was critical for the IFA to bring 300 lenders, borrowers and regulators together to spring credit access to franchises.”

The index will continue to give a good read on how strong the industry is doing, which will allow a better understanding of what is working.  “Having consistent information that gives a historical perspective using data from BoeFly as well as the SBA is the first step,” says Rozman.  Yet franchising continues to grow, and for every million dollars of lending to franchising 34 new jobs are created.  “We had to do something to loosen commercial credit,” Caldeira explains.  “Creating relationships with the lending community is the first step to understanding the challenges that we all face in this economy.”

Click here to listen to the full interview.

Sharing Franchising’s Economic Significance with Members of Congress



Be part of the anticipated 500-plus franchise industry representatives to make the case for franchising’s ability to create jobs and spur economic recovery during the 2012 Public Affairs Conference this fall.  On Sept. 10-11 in Washington, D.C., the International Franchise Association’s annual fly-in will provide members of the franchise industry—franchisees, franchisors and suppliers—with the opportunity to educate federal lawmakers about issues affecting the ability of franchise businesses to contribute to local communities through job creation. 

Issues of priority for the franchise business community will focus on:

  • Access to capital
  • Labor
  • Health care

Franchise business leaders will gather and hear from policymakers, congressional leaders and IFA staff to learn more about policy issues in Washington, which are critically important in a presidential election year. Following sessions designed to prepare attendees to meet with their respective legislators, these franchise leaders will visit their members of Congress to provide their personal perspectives on what makes franchising work.

2011 Public Affairs Conference at a Glance:

In addition to the discussion of priority issues will be a session on the status of comprehensive tax reform measures and expect a lively exchange among a panel of reporters who make Capitol Hill their beat.

The event will also showcase the association’s selection for its Legislator of the Year Award, which is presented annually to a member of Congress who has promoted legislation that protects, enhances and promotes franchising. 

ADP is the founding sponsor of IFA’s Public Affairs Conference and is the proud sponsor of the Franchisee of the Year Awards, which are presented during the conference to the industry’s most innovative and best performing franchisees.

There is no registration fee for this event, so mark your calendar now and plan to join us this September in Washington, D.C. Various IFA committee meetings are also scheduled Sept. 9, 10 and 12. 

IFA’s Public Affairs Conference earns 100 participation credits for Certified Franchise Executives’ candidates and CFEs seeking recertification credits.

IFA will share additional program and registration information as they become available.  In the meantime, visit for details.

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