March 2014

Health Care Franchising: The Latest Franchise Trend

Franchises can deliver great pizza, quick car washes, fresh pressed juice, 24/7-gyms, and now healthcare. The healthcare franchise industry is booming and it is expected to continue to grow in the upcoming years. Let’s take a closer look at the factors driving the health care franchising boom, as well as how the franchise model can deliver affordable, quality care in an industry plagued by high-costs and rising prices.

Rising healthcare costs. The costs of healthcare in the US are rising and they are rising rapidly. For example, as a recent New York Times article points out, a colonoscopy, a routine medical procedure, typically costs well over $3,500 in the US. In many other developed countries the bill for the procedure it just a couple of hundred. US patients routinely pay three to four times more for healthcare than citizens of other developed nations. And research shows that the quality of US care isn’t necessarily better. By franchising medical facilities, operators can keep overhead low, helping to cut costs.

More patients. Millions of people are expected to seek care under the Affordable Care Act, placing an additional burden on an already overwhelmed healthcare system. Tracy Weise, the founder of a Denver-based firm that provides marketing services to physicians, explains, “If you look at the growing population and demographics, there aren’t enough physicians, period, to cover people who need healthcare. That’s why franchising as a healthcare model makes sense. It creates the systems and processes that take the headaches out of insurance and billing. It creates better access and greater access in a lot of different places. It takes all the best practices and implements them in a system to create the best delivery at the lowest cost in the most places.”

An aging Baby Boomer population. In addition to the influx of patients generated by the Affordable Care Act, the aging Baby Boomer population is also expected to put stress on the supply of medical resources. As this population consumes a higher percentage of health care resources the ability to serve more patients while maintaining low overhead costs will become even more crucial.

The bottom line is that franchising is an efficient way to offer more affordable, higher quality care.

A perfect example is the chiropractic franchise, The Joint. The Joint was founded in 2008 now has 140 units and hopes to open an additional 120 by the end of the year. What is the secret to The Joint’s success? Well, essentially the franchise relies on economies of scale and makes use of a membership model. The franchise has cut insurance companies totally out of the equation, offering four appointments for $49 to members, less than the typical chiropractic insurance co-pay. The franchise only takes walk in appointments and is open on nights and weekends, ensuring that patients never have to wait for attention. Because of the membership model, members are encouraged to come in regularly to prevent problems. This preventive care helps to cut costs down the line. “We can provide services more efficiently and cheaper than a traditional practice can,” explains John Leonesio, The Joint’s founder. “With our organization and technology, chiropractors can be a lot more efficient and still make a good living, which in turn makes a good franchise model.”

All in all, it looks like this franchise healthcare model is gaining momentum across the country. And it’s not just patients who are flocking to healthcare franchises. Doctors are as well, attracted to excellent benefit packages and competitive pay. Furthermore, less managerial work and paperwork means that doctors can focus on doing what they love: treating patients. Whether chiropractic care, urgent care, or an annual teeth cleaning franchise models are proving that they can offer health care services at reduced costs and high-quality.


Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.

5 New Pizza Franchises That Everyone Is Talking About

Forget the mass produced pizza drenched in generic tomatoes sauce and coated in sub-par cheese. 2014 is poised to be the year that the artisanal pizza rises to prominence. From quinoa crust to gourmet deep dish, take a look at these five hot new pizza franchises that everybody is talking about.

  1.   1.Go Roma: Founded in 2003, this casual Italian restaurant franchise is known for its thin crust, artisanal pizza. A 2007 “Hot Concepts” winner, Go Roma got its start in Chicago and is now poised for expansion across the US.
  2. 2. MOD Pizza: Former Seattle Coffee Co. and Starbucks executive Scott Svenson is the mastermind behind MOD Pizza’s individual, artisan style pizzas. Prominent backers of the concept include former Starbucks North America president Jim Alling and Dunkin’ Donuts president Paul Twohig. Right now the company is expanding into Oregon and California via company owned-stored as opposed to franchises. However, word on the street is that franchising plans are in the works. Stay tuned!
  3. 3. Naked Pizza: Founded in 2007 as “The World’s Healthiest Pizza” and rebranded to “Naked Pizza” in 2009, this New Orleans-based pizza franchise boasts chemical-free, all-natural, organic pizzas for the health conscious. The brand utilizes a variety of different healthy grains in its dough, including amaranth and quinoa, and actually promises ten grains in each and every crust. Naked Pizza only uses free-range, antibiotic free meat and doesn’t add sugar, high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oil. This brand has attracted a considerable amount of attention recently, including catching the eye of shark tank investor Mark Cuban. Naked Pizza has even gone international, with locations in Dubai and Kenya. Expect to see more US locations this year.
  4. 4. Paxti’s Pizza: Headquartered in Sausalito, California, Paxti’s Pizza offers gourmet, Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. The brand has garnered growing reviews from customers and food critics alike. Expect to see more locations across the US this year.
  5. 5. Pizza Fusion: Pizza Fusion promises tasty pizza that is fresh, organic, and earth-friendly. The franchise describes itself as eco-friendly— there are no kinds of chemical additives in the pizza and all restaurants are built to LEED certified standards. Headquartered in Boca, Raton Florida this pizza chain is already well on its way to success. It is set to double in size, having just signed a large franchise agreement in the United Arab Emirates.




Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.

Kim Kardashian: The New Queen of Multi-Unit Franchising

Kardashian Fries

According to recent reports Kim Kardashian is set to receive a rather unusual wedding gift from fiancée Kanye West: 10 Burger Kings. Kardashian might have all of the clothing, jewelry, and designer handbags in the world, but she doesn’t have a fast food franchise to her name. West, who will be marrying Kardashian in Paris in May, will reportedly be gifting his fiancée Burger Kings in the UK, France, and Italy.

The 36-year-old rapper isn’t new to the fast food industry. He owns several Fatburger bistros in Chicago through his company KW Foods LLC and reportedly wants to involve Kardashian in the industry as well. Though perhaps an untraditional wedding gift, it could prove to be an excellent idea.

Reports of the European Burger Kings were confirmed earlier this week on Burger King’s Twitter page. Kardashian, the star of the popular reality television series, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, has already proved her keen business skills. The Kardashian family as a whole has managed to build a $65 million dollar brand and Kim has undoubtedly played a key role in that success. She started out as a professional closet organizer at age nineteen and in the past twelve years has blazed her way to entrepreneurial success. She is the co-founder and chief fashion stylist of ShoeDazzle, a shoe membership club that is now valued at $280 million, she has her own clothing, perfume, and jewelry lines, and she co-owns clothing stores Dash with her two sisters, Kourtney and Khloe.

While many celebrity gossip sites are billing the Burger King gift as ridiculous, absurd, and outrageous, it could prove to be an excellent idea. Fast food franchises can often be a lucrative business opportunity and the European Burger King franchises could help Kardashian to diversify her business portfolio, helping her to transition from the world of fashion to the food industry. All in all, it is a practical gift that will likely work to enhance the couple’s multi-million dollar fortune.

Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.

The Body Language of Leaders

When you open up a franchise, you become a leader, responsible for leading your team and your business to success. Effective leaders are always effective communicators. Remember, we don’t just communicate verbally. We also send out nonverbal cues that tell people how to read us and interpret what we say. In order to be an effective leader, you need to have the right body language. Here’s how you can adopt the body language of leaders.

Stand in stature. Not standing up straight, slouching, looking at the ground — this all diminishes your physical presence and reduces your authority. Pull your core muscles up, inhale deeply, and expand your chest to adopt the perfect posture.

Always make eye contact.  Eye contact is the way we connect with another person, both literally and figuratively. When you make and maintain eye contact, you seem more relaxed, more secure, and more trustworthy. It helps you embody integrity, confidence, and authority. When you are communicating with your team or with clients, always make eye contact.

Rotate your palms down. Rotating your palms actually makes you seem more decisive. In contrast, postures with palms exposed show that you are open and willing to negotiate on a particular point. People automatically pronate their hands when they feel strongly about something. In fact, a definitive gesture of authority when you speak is placing both hands, palms down, on or right above the conference table. So if you want to appear authoritative, keep those palms down! Though a pretty simple trick, it can actually make a pretty big impact.

Make purposeful gestures. When you are giving a presentation, gestures can help you make your case effectively, as well as appear more confident and well poised. Never make gestures that are random, unconscious, or repetitive.

Keep your feet open. Believe it or not, feet reveal a lot about emotions. Body language expert Carol Kinsey Goman explained,When you approach two people talking, you will be acknowledged in one of two ways. If the feet of your two colleagues stay in place and they twist only their upper torsos in your direction, they don’t really want you to join the conversation. But if their feet open to include you, then you know that you are truly invited to participate.” If your feet are positioned toward the person you are talking to, it signals you are involved in the conversation. If your feet are turned toward the door, it signals you want to leave.

Don’t forget the handshake! While it might be tempting to simply view a handshake as a perfunctory gesture, it is actually much, much more than that. A handshake conveys sincerity, warmth, and respect. The perfect handshake is firm but never aggressive. And, of course, you should always maintain eye contact throughout a handshake.



Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.

The Top 5 Weirdest Items on Fast-Food Franchise Menus

Forget about a burger and fries. The world of fast food is getting increasingly wild. From bacon milkshakes to pizza cakes, franchises are adding seemingly outrageous items to their menus in order to beat out the competition and attract the attention of customers. What are some of weirdest things out there? Take a look at this list.

  1. Domino’s Specialty Chicken

Essentially a large swath of breaded, boneless chicken that can be topped like a pizza, the Specialty Chicken is simultaneously bringing a revolution to the world of pizza and the world of chicken. Domino’s latest menu innovation launched on April 14 and is currently available in several different varieties, including Crispy Bacon and Tomato, Spicy Jalapeno and Pineapple, Classic Hot Buffalo, and Sweet BBQ Bacon.

Why is Domino’s on such a chicken craze? The chicken market is booming, and Domino’s is looking to get in on the action.We are proud that pizza is what we are known for, but introducing Specialty Chicken shows that we are certainly a pretty legitimate player in the chicken business as well … Specialty Chicken is unlike anything else that customers can get on the market today,” Domino’s spokesperson Chris Brandon recently explained.

  1. Sonic’s Peanut Butter and Bacon Shake

This Sonic oddity is just like any other shake – except real bacon is blended into this mixture of peanut butter, milk, and ice cream. You’ll never have to make the choice between bacon and ice cream again.

  1. KFC’s Double Down

This decadent bacon and cheese “sandwich” swamps out a bun for two thick pieces of fried chicken. When released in 2010, the Double Down went viral across many social media channels and even caught the attention of Stephen Colbert, who referred to the concoction as a “warped creation of a syphilitic brain.” Once a vestige of the past, the Double Down will be making a comeback for a limited time only and is reportedly being accompanied by a “Double Down Dare” social media campaign.

Why is KFC so eager to resurrect the Double Down? Well, companies across the board are expanding their chicken offerings, subsequently revving up competition against KFC. Domino’s, for example, is making a foray into the world of chicken with the Specialty Chicken entrée mentioned above, and Yum Brands has been exploring a chicken sandwich concept called Super Chix. The Double Down resurrection could be a way for the brand to garner a bit of attention and put itself in a more favorable position ahead of competitors. 

  1. Boston Pizza’s Pizza Cake

While the Pizza Cake isn’t a reality just yet, it could very well be quite soon. The Canadian pizza chain recently launched its annual Pizza Game Changers campaign, which allows customers to vote online for their favorite of eight innovative new products and menu items. Other options include a gas-powered pizza cutter, cheese clippers, pizza mints, and a pizza protector. The Pizza Cake has proved to be one of the more popular items, garnering quite a considerable bit of attention.

This annual challenge is not only fun, it’s also a great way for the brand to foster innovation and spark new ideas. “The Pizza Game Changers campaign is really about celebrating innovation in our pizza over the last 50 years,” Boston Pizza spokesperson Perry Schwartz recently explained. “As part of bringing items like the Pizzaburger, Taco Pizza, Calzono, and Sriracha Chicken Pizza to market, we’re also taking a humorous look at some other potential innovations that we can bring to market and involving the Boston Pizza guest in that process.” The top item is anticipated to join the menu sometime this summer. The good news is that the Pizza Cake appears to be leading the pack.

  1. KFC’s Chicken Corsage

The third chicken item on the list and also a KFC concoction, the Chicken Corsage is essentially a fried piece of chicken nestled into baby’s breath flowers. With a social media campaign geared specifically towards high school students, KFC is hoping to attract the attention of prom-going millennials. While certainly a nontraditional corsage option, it appears that this part-chicken part-flower item has been a resounding hit. The chicken-chain’s commercial promoting the corsage has been viewed more than 250,000 times since it was uploaded last week. 



Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.

Will Global Warming Mean the End of Chipotle Guacamole?

The earth’s temperature is continually rising and climate change experts predict that global climate change could bring worldwide catastrophe in the coming decades. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, and the world’s oceans are becoming increasingly acidic. Water supplies are dwindling, wildlife across the planet is threatened, and island nations like the Maldives could be totally submerged within the next century. But the biggest disaster of all? The potential loss of Guacamole.

According to prominent food franchise Chipotle, global supplies of avocados, which are the primary ingredient of guacamole, are being affected by changes in weather patterns. “Increasing weather volatility or other long-term changes in global weather patterns, including any changes associated with global climate change, could have a significant impact on the price or availability of some of our ingredients,” the franchise explained in its annual report, released just several weeks ago. The chain went on to say that because of cost increases, “wemay choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas, rather than paying the increased cost for the ingredients.”

Guacamole is huge for Chipotle. The franchise goes through a reported 97,000 pounds of avocado per a day (that adds up to over 34 million pounds per a year). But as weather patterns limit availability, prices are inevitably rising in response to shortages in supply. While the avocado industry is doing relatively ok at the moment, drier conditions could wreak havoc on avocado crops in the near future. Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory predict that warmer temperatures and drier conditions will cause a 40% drop in California‘s avocado production over the course of the next thirty years.

As it turns out, global climate change is also affecting the supply of key Chipotle ingredients such as chicken, rice, and tomatoes. The chain has little choice but to accept higher prices for these essentials. However, higher prices across the board may force the franchise to cut out non-essentials, such as their beloved guacamole.

Still, many dismiss Chipotle’s latest warning as little more than a publicity stunt designed to generate public concern over climate change. The franchise strives to position itself as a brand that is eco-friendly, raising awareness about the dangers of factory farming and offering a number of sustainable, vegan options. The recent guacamole warning could be intended to boost this eco-friendly image. All in all, only time will tell whether or not guacamole remains a Chipotle options.



Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.

4 Innovative New Restaurant Franchises from Established Brands

Sometimes the best ideas come from brands that have already been around the block. From burgers to fresh pressed juices, well-established brands and franchises are eager to put money into hot trends. Check out these four innovative new restaurant franchises backed by franchise giants such as Starbucks and White Castle.

Burger 21. Owners of world famous fondue chain The Melting Pot have expanded their horizons from melted cheese to chef-inspired gourmet burgers. Burger 21 currently only has five locations but expansion plans are in the works. The first franchise unit opened in Orlando, Florida earlier this year and the chain recently announced two franchise agreements that would lead to a restaurant in Charlotte, NC, as well as four restaurants in Virginia and Maryland.

Evolution Fresh. The juice craze is so hot. From Greenwich Village to Hollywood crowds are clamoring outside of juice shops to get a glass of fresh-pressed juice, which is purportedly to be healthy, cleansing, and delicious.  The craze is so hot that even Starbucks has jumped onboard. The iconic coffee chain has recently purchased Evolution Fresh from Naked Juice founder Jimmy Rosenberg. Offering fresh pressed smoothies and juices, Evolution Fresh promises “flavor and nutrition in every sip.”  A fourth unit recently opened up in Seattle and it looks like Starbucks plans to take the chain global.

Deckers. While Time Magazine might have just named the White Castle Slider as the most influential burger of all time, White Castle is always looking for new ways to attract customers. The chain, which has thousands of units across the Midwest and the South, has recently launched Deckers in an attempt to take the double-decker Panini sandwich mainstream. The new chain will also serve up soups, sandwiches, and salads.

The Laughing Noodle. While we are on the subject of White Castle, we should mention that they are expanding their horizons to much more than just double-decker Panini sandwiches. They’ve recently been pushing The Laughing Noodle, a new franchise that offers multicultural noodles to customers looking for something a bit healthier than a burger and fries. The first Laughing Noodle opened up in 2010 in Springfield, Ohio, inside of a White Castle. The first standalone Laughing Noodle is slated to open in Sharonville, Ohio this year.



Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.

Burger King Revamps its Image with Healthier Fries

Burger King recently announced that its lower-calories ‘satisfries’ will replace standard fries in all kids’ meals. Satisfries, which were launched by Burger King just last September, are crinkle cut fries. They boast approximately 40 percent less fat and 30 percent less calories than traditional Burger King fries, as well as those of its competitors. A small order of satisfries at Burger King contains 270 calories, while an order of classic fries contains 340, roughly 70 calories more.

“As a parent, I know when it comes to what I feed my child, it’s all about lower-fat foods that kids will actually want to eat – since we all know they are the pickiest of eaters. Kids don’t want to give up their favorite snacks,” Eric Hirschhorn, Burger King’s chief North American marketing officer, explained in a recent statement.

Burger King reports that the reduction in calories between traditional fries and the satisfries can be attributed to the use of a new batter that doesn’t absorb as much oil. The franchise insists that same ingredients are used in both classic fries and satisfries, simply in different proportions. In order to keep kitchen operations streamlined and simple the satisfries and classic fries are even deep-fried together.

The fast food industry has been under increasing pressure to offer healthier choices to its customers, especially its youngest patrons, in the face of childhood obesity. Chick-fil-A, for example, has recently reported moving toward antibiotic-free chicken while McDonald’s is hoping to move to the use of exclusively sustainable beef. A recent report revealed that at obesity rate among 2- to 5-year-olds in the U.S. has dropped by 43 percent over the last decade, a reflection that national efforts to educate children about food and offer healthy choices have been successful.

The satisfries move comes in the wake of Burger King’s refranchising efforts. The franchise opened a stagger 670 new units and also refranchised 360 company-owned units, facilitating drops in costs and generating a new revenue stream via franchise fees. The efforts were a success: net income increased 99 percent, reaching $234 million in 2013 compared to $118 million in 2012. Many speculate that the franchise is trying to capitalize on this momentum by revamping its brand image. All in all, it looks like satisfries could be a huge hit for Burger King, helping the franchise to give their brand a more health conscious image and boost their profits.



Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.

Everything You Need to Know About Pinterest and Franchise Marketing

Pinterest is currently one of the hottest phenomena in social media and can be effectively deployed as a powerful franchise-marketing tool. Essentially a vast, virtual pin board, Pinterest allows users to sort through a plethora of visually driven content and “repin” the images they find most interesting, relevant, and compelling to their own boards. While it is often overlooked it can be an incredibly powerful tool to add to your social media marketing repertoire. With 100 million visits every month, the site is more popular than LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube combined.  If you’re planning to use Pinterest for franchise marketing be sure to keep the following tips and tricks in mind:

Pin well and pin often. The foundation of every good pin is a beautiful image. After all, compelling content is the major selling point of Pinterest. Ideally, the image should be between 600 and 800 pixels wide and about 1000 pixels deep. Be cognizant of size (if an image is too small users won’t be able to re-pin it). Whenever possible try to post unique and compelling pictures of your products. Nothing is as enticing to consumers as seeing a product well used or beautifully displayed.  Last but not least, when it comes to successfully managing a Pinterest account quantity is just as important as quality.  In order to build-up a presence on the site try to pin at least once a day.

Consider your target demographic. Roughly two-thirds (68%) of Pinterest users are female and the most represented age demographic is 25 to 34 years of age (27.4% of users). Roughly half of Pinterest users have children and roughly one fourth of users report an annual household income of over $100,000. If there is a substantial amount of overlap between your target demographic and those demographics most commonly using Pinterest the marketing impact will be all the more powerful.

Integrate web content with Pinterest. Remember, the key to a successful Pinterest account is a large number of followers. The more people who follow you the more people who will “re-pin” your content and the more visibility you will garner. In order to encourage more people to follow you be sure to integrate web content with Pinterest by enabling share buttons. Install the “Pin It” button on both your website and blog. Also be sure to give every webpage and blog post a featured image that can be pinned automatically.



Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.


Tesla Considers Franchising

Tesla Motors is renowned for its electric cars and electric vehicle powertrain components, garnering special attention for its Tesla Roadster, the first fully electric sports car. Though Tesla has achieved success across the country, it hasn’t done so with a franchise model. In fact, the company has long eschewed the franchise model, insisting that it would kill its business. The company has long relied on the direct sales model, setting up its own stores instead of relying on a third-party franchisee.

“This in part has to do with the brand’s image — it wants to situate itself as an alternative option in the auto industry. [Tesla not franchising] probably matches the brand perception … of up-class, upscale, state-of-the-art, everything else that comes with a Tesla vehicle,” explained Nick Powills, a member of the International Franchise Association Board and CEO of public relations firm No Limit Agency.

However, the direct sales model has taken quite a bit of heat, with many critics insisting that it violates state laws. In October, Michigan became the fifth state to ban the direct sales of Tesla vehicles, as all car dealers in the state are required to provide a franchise agreement.

In addition to Michigan, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Missouri have all argued that Tesla’s controversial direct sales model not only undermines the franchise system, but that it also is a direct threat to consumers’ ability to utilize dealers as an advocate separate from manufacturers. In other words, if something goes wrong with the car, the consumer is forced to deal directly with Tesla, instead of having a dealer to act as an advocate. Many argue that this erodes consumer protections, including legislators in Michigan.

And it looks like pressure from state lawmakers could have forced Tesla to reconsider its staunch anti-franchise position. Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, recently insinuated that the company may be entertaining the idea of franchising, abandoning its entrenched anti-franchising sentiment. “We may need a hybrid system, with a combination of our own stores and some dealer franchises,” he said.

Legal experts agree that Tesla may be forced to succumb to legal pressure. “I think eventually they will have to [franchise],” explained Lou Chronowski, a Chicago-based attorney who has extensive experience working on automotive and franchise industry cases. “I think that the powers of the dealers and the dealer bodies are so strong, they can keep them at bay for a while, but eventually, they will need to have franchise dealers.”

Still, a Tesla spokesman is adamant that Tesla has absolutely no plans to franchise. “There are no plans to franchise in any capacity,” the spokesman insisted, adding that what the company is considering is a hybrid model.

So, what, exactly is this hybrid model? Well, the spokesman said that there are “no details at this point.” Subsequently, it is difficult to accurately ascertain whether or not the company is actually considering the idea of franchising. Still, several industry insiders have suggested that this hybrid model could mean franchising on a state-by-state basis, or simply adjusting to existing auto sale regulations while fighting other regulations. All in all, it looks like only time will tell what exactly Tesla has up its sleeve.



Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.