A New Magic Cup Franchise Is Coming To McKinney, Texas

Experienced investors with degrees in finance and biology respectively, Chi and Tam already had an impressive portfolio in the beauty industry (and two luxury spa locations to their credit) before they decided to investigate their next business venture. Self-confessed boba, tea, and coffee addicts, Chi and Tam were always drawn to the beverage industry but knew they’d need a franchisor with both the patience and the resources to steer them toward success.

A NEW MAGIC CUP FRANCHISE IS COMING TO MCKINNEY, TEXAS
By re:verb Marketers

Big news for Texas tea lovers: After a solid 5 years of hard work and dedication, Magic Cup Cafe is excited to announce that our business is expanding to a new location!

Our new cafe will soon be opening in McKinney, TX, allowing even more tea and coffee drinkers to enjoy Magic Cup’s unique and delicious beverages in-store or on the go. Our Vietnamese-American-owned company’s innovative east-meets-west menu and its friendly community atmosphere have made us a local favorite for residents of both Richardson and Houston, and soon the citizens of McKinney will have a chance to experience our refreshing take on boba, tea, and coffee firsthand.

The move from beloved mom-and-pop cafe to the full-on franchise was a labor of love for our co-founder My Lynn Nguyen, whose expertise in both boba and coffee helped build Magic Cup into a top contender in a highly competitive industry. Beyond 5 years of work, it took 14 months to put together our franchise program. My Lynn notes: “The new Magic Cup franchise opening has been, and will continue to be, a massive collaborative effort, involving lots of careful preparation and consultation with experienced franchise programmers as well as an enthusiastic commitment from Tam T Trinh and Chi Tran, Magic Cup’s newly-obtained franchisees.”

Experienced investors with degrees in finance and biology respectively, Chi and Tam already had an impressive portfolio in the beauty industry (and two luxury spa locations to their credit) before they decided to investigate their next business venture. Self-confessed boba, tea, and coffee addicts, Chi and Tam were always drawn to the beverage industry but knew they’d need a franchisor with both the patience and the resources to steer them toward success.

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Magic Cup Franchisees

Once they met with My Lynn and our Magic Cup franchise consultants, Chi and Tam knew their search for the perfect franchisor was over. “We instantly felt the strong passion they have for the brand,” Tam says, adding that Magic Cup’s vision, core values, and comprehensive training program were precisely the right fit for her and Chi.

When Chi, Tam, and their new Magic Cup family were scouting for locations, they saw massive potential in McKinney, which has seen a remarkable development in recent years. The team is currently working with real estate developers in the area to finalize the location as soon as possible.

When doors open at Chi and Tam’s Magic Cup Cafe location, they hope visitors will experience the same welcoming feeling and thirst-quenching satisfaction they’ve come to expect from our Magic Cup brand. Whatever the future brings, Chi and Tam know that My Lynn will offer them ongoing support every step of the way.
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Franchise Money Maker
Franchise Growth Solutions is the Exclusive developer of Magic Cup Cafe franchises. For information on becoming a franchise partner please contact: [email protected]

Tips On Raising Capital to Expand Through a Private Placement

Today’s article by our friends at the Law Office of Spadea Lignana touches on some of the tips to know when attempting to rise money through Private Equity Placement. Tom Spadea and his staff well versed and fully equipped to advise and guide you through the process. Franchise Growth Solutions assists in the process by working with brands seeking to expand their business.

Raising Capital to Expand Through a Private Placement Raising Capital to Expand Through a Private Placement
By Staff Writer at Spadea-Lignana Law Office

Even a Deal with Friends and Family Needs Proper Documentation
If you are an entrepreneur looking to raise capital by selling shares of your company to an individual that won’t be an active partner in your business, you have to be sure you are compliant with federal and state securities laws. If you are selling a portion of your company to an investor, you are subject to securities regulations. That is, UNLESS you fall under an exemption and you properly document, and in some cases, file for an exemption. This is a trap for many unwary entrepreneurs, who think they don’t have to worry about formal documentation of their deal because they are just offering shares of their company to a few friends and family.

While the offering they are contemplating may very well qualify for an exemption, if they don’t follow the laws and regulations by drafting a formal private placement memorandum (PPM) and complying with certain filing requirements, they run the risk of personal liability. This liability could include accusations of fraud and potential civil and criminal penalties for failure to properly register securities with federal and state agencies.


Drafting the PPM
The rules and regulations are designed to avoid Ponzi schemes and other fraudulent investing activities by making the transaction transparent and well documented. The creation of a PPM is not as difficult as many law firms and pundits may make it sound. We are not talking about an initial public offering with a six figure legal cost. Our experienced securities lawyers can walk you through the process and help you evaluate your project as suitable for a PPM. In many instances we can give you a flat fee project cost for documenting your deal. We have drafted PPMs ranging in size from a startup, fast casual restaurant to a multi-million-dollar alternative energy project.

Minimizing Personal Risk
Raising equity capital from outsiders is typically done to avoid personal debt, risk and liabilities while sharing the upside with those equity investors. If the deal is not properly documented, you are potentially erasing all of those protections and neutralizing the purpose of raising private money in the first place. Put another way, a poorly documented deal leaves the entrepreneur with all of the downside risk personally, with a portion of the upside sold off to investors. That is not a good business deal.

Seek Professional Guidance
Let us help you understand the cost, time and effort that it will take to draft a private placement memorandum for your deal. Call us at 215-774-3331 for more information. Visit https://www.spadealaw.com/

How do you strategically get your brand’s voice out there in a unique way?

PR firms specialize in acquiring earned print and digital media coverage. They also employ other digital marketing methods, such as influencers and popular hospitality reviewers, to pique the interest of the new and returning clientele. It’s this third party, “validation” that sets you apart from basic self-serving advertising.

Using PR For Restaurant Marketing
BY GARY OCCHIOGROSSO – CONTRIBUTOR TO FORBES
Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Living in the New York City market, I have grown accustomed to the noisy chatter that restaurateurs make attempting to lure guests into their restaurants. While the restaurant business has always been demanding, it’s become more so as a result of COVID -19. The urgency to get the word out has never been stronger than it is today. In my opinion, many restaurateurs have not yet embraced a new way of distributing their message. Traditional forms of advertising restrict the amount of content delivered to the consumer in any one message. I’m convinced that’s one reason why much of the restaurant advertising I hear and see is limited to the safety measures restaurant owners are taking to protect guests and employees. Of course, in this extraordinary time, safety is a tremendous concern for many consumers. However, it’s critical to get more information about your business out to attract customers. It is vital you don’t get lost in the monotony that has become restaurant advertising. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that restaurants provide an essential service and well as an enjoyable experience for their guest. People returning to dine-in restaurants certainly want safety. Still, they also expect great food, service, and a feeling of returning to normalcy.

So, how do you strategically get your brand’s voice out there in a unique way? My recommendation to my clients is to use Public Relations as the method to tell their stories. PR firms specialize in acquiring earned print and digital media coverage. They also employ other digital marketing methods, such as influencers and popular hospitality reviewers, to pique the interest of the new and returning clientele. It’s this third party, “validation” that sets you apart from basic self-serving advertising.

Earned Media Increases Visibility

Debra Vilchis, Chief Operating Officer of Fishman Public Relations puts it this way: “A TV segment or online news article where a restaurant owner is interviewed about safety and hygiene measures, including photos or video of the protocols in action, go a long way in calming people’s fears about going out to eat again. The story and video then get posted on the news channel’s website and social media. People head to the restaurant’s website or social media profiles where they find reassuring updates on what the restaurant is doing to keep employees and patrons safe. Our PR agency has been working non-stop reaching out to media on behalf of our restaurant clients since early March about all of these things.”

Whether you hire a PR firm or not, there are many steps a restaurateur can take to increase their visibility. Large franchised restaurant chains and independent operators can look to PR as an alternative or additional tool in their overall marketing strategy. I included a shortlist of methods to consider when using public relations and social media to promote your restaurant or franchise. Addressing customer concerns regarding Covid-19 while creating compelling reasons to visit your restaurant should be the goal when developing a marketing plan.

Add Your Personal Story To The Message

It all begins with telling your story. Every restaurateur, as well as the founder or franchisee of a franchised restaurant, has one. Telling your story can be as simple as talking about what inspired your menu. Are you starting a franchise that serves some of your grandmother’s recipes? Did you decide that you wanted to be a chef or a restaurant owner at a young age? These intriguing memories help you connect with potential customers by making you relatable. Telling your story through an active social media account or press release gives newspapers, websites, and other platforms a starting point. It attracts reporters who may want to put together an article or review about your restaurant. [1]


Take Advantage Of Social Media Outlets

When it comes to connecting with customers, nothing works quite like social media. Your restaurant needs to have a complete and active profile on all the platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Plus, you need to ensure that your Google profile is accurate and compelling. The first thing many customers will do upon learning about your restaurant is to check out your social media presence. They’ll expect to see reviews, sample menus, pictures, and more. Social media is the most influential type of message distribution because it allows you to attract new customers with very little time, effort, and money.

Make Sure You Have News To Share

Another essential public relations method involves staying relevant and continuously having news to share. People like to be “in the know!” Wondering what’s deemed newsworthy and what isn’t? Well, are you opening a new location or franchising your restaurant? That’s news! Are you donating a portion of your proceeds to a specific charity, like a local food bank? That’s news! Are you sending out some of your wait staff or line cooks to help serve meals in a homeless shelter?.[2]

Regarding newsworthy and engaging customer information, Vilchis added: “If you think about it, consumers had little else to do than consume media 24/7, especially during the early stages of the pandemic. Smart restaurant brands and operators leveraged the opportunity to get the word out about their delivery & takeout options, safety measures they were taking, and their reopening plans. Some also did a great job of promoting goodwill to help frontline workers with free meals. Those acts of kindness went a long way with their customers. Some of our restaurant clients used PR during the pandemic to offer cooking tips or recipes – any way they could remain connected with their customers. Or they offered expertise on eating habits during the pandemic. The idea was they became a resource that news outlets wanted to turn to for information while mentioning their restaurant name on air or in print/online. It became a win-win for everyone.”

Use Influencers And Reviewers To Your Advantage

When it comes to advertising and public relations, there’s nothing quite like a 5-star review posted on social media by a local influencer. So, where do you start? Compose a list of these essential influencers and local restaurant reviewers, whom you can invite to your restaurant for a special “influencer night.” Influencers love to be wined, dined, and recognized. This event gives you a chance to ensure they receive impeccable service, an exclusive interior look, and savory food. In exchange, your restaurant will end up trending on social media, drawing in the highly coveted attention of potential customers.[3]

PR Builds Trust And Success

It should be clear that there are plenty of ways to utilize public relations and social media to build trust and attract loyal customers. Credibility, authenticity, and creativity are essential to the restaurant industry’s survival and future success, using public relations strategies to keep your restaurant’s name in the media will set you apart from the steady, mundane drumbeat of traditional advertising.

Sources:

THE RESTAURANT TIMES
‍PR for Restaurants: How To Publicize Your Restaurants
https://www.posist.com/restaurant-times/restro-gyaan/pr-restaurants-get-free-publicity.html

GOURMET MARKETING
Utilizing PR in The Restaurant Industry |https://www.gourmetmarketing.net/utilizing-pr-restaurant-industry/‍PR for Restaurants: Top Tips and Tricks to use Public Relations to Drive Restaurant Growth

PR for Restaurants: Top Tips and Tricks to use Public Relations to Drive Restaurant Growth

The Human Resource: Engaging the workforce in a crisis

As business leaders, it is more critical now to demonstrate strong leadership values and ethics in how you treat your employees and how you create and maintain a life-work balance. That includes the safety and protection of the workforce while building sustainable processes and practices that enable you to continue providing your products and services to your customers and clients.

The Human Resource: Engaging the workforce in a crisis

WARREN COOK

By Warren Cook -President and co-founder of SymbianceHR

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted us all in ways that may take years or a lifetime to reflect upon and understand. As businesses begin to reopen and emerge from the shutdown, our workforce — the employees we value and need to succeed — are emerging from a stay at home lockdown that can be a traumatic experience.

The myriad challenges today include returning to a new normal work environment with changes to working conditions. Those changes include moving from remote locations back to the regular physical office and dealing with the stress of civil unrest, protests or riots, on top of a Covid-19 virus that has no cure, and the risk of death. They all combine to create a traumatic situation for many of the people in our community.

As business leaders, it is more critical now to demonstrate strong leadership values and ethics in how you treat your employees and how you create and maintain a life-work balance. That includes the safety and protection of the workforce while building sustainable processes and practices that enable you to continue providing your products and services to your customers and clients.

Three important considerations as we emerge from the stay-at-home lockdown to support your strategy for success.

Employees will have genuine, valid, and realistic fears and concerns when asked to return to a physical work location. Do not demonstrate a disrespectful attitude or communication style by “ordering” people to return to the work location. Instead, develop a communication strategy and alternative working conditions that allow these concerns to be addressed and resolved collaboratively. Treat all employees fairly and collaborate with them through an interactive process to determine how to achieve a win-win situation for the employee and the business.
The employer, as always, has a legal obligation to provide a safe workplace for their employees. This means following all local, state, and federal guidelines and regulations to meet safety standards in the workplace. This includes but is not limited to social distancing, remote work when possible, disinfecting the worksite, monitoring the health of the staff, and communicating timely and honestly about positive test results in the workforce that require quarantine or migration back to remote working conditions to avoid the spread of the virus.
Establish policies to handle the new work processes and practices and provide training to all people leaders and the employees. Failure to communicate consistently, transparently, and timely with trust, respect and engagement could lead to employee relations issues that you don’t need right now on top of all the other challenges your business is facing.
Remember your obligations to keep certain matters confidential, to protect the rights of your employees, and to ensure their safety while under your management. The more effective you can be as leaders during this crisis, the more evident it will be that you become an employer of choice who treats people with dignity and respect, which leads to community approval and sustainable business success.

Wishing you all good health and safety during these challenging times.
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About Warren Cook
Warren is the President and co-founder of SymbianceHR and provides strategic oversight for service delivery, business operations, and technical guidance on consulting engagements. He is a human resources subject matter expert with over 25 years of experience as a strategic human resources business partner, project manager, and people leader across private and public sectors organizations. Warren is responsible for the strategic planning of all client consulting engagements from initial needs assessment and compliance review through delivery of customized strategic solutions that meet the client’s business goals. He has a proven track record of providing executive coaching and guidance to business leaders and human resource professionals at all levels including the C-Suite of Fortune 100 companies. Warren is also the Chief Talent Officer and cofounder of SymbianceHiRe, a Symbiance company dedicated to providing direct placement talent acquisition services and temporary and contract staffing solutions to the business community. Warren holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management, an MBA in Project Management, and a M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Warren is the author of “Applicant Interview Preparation – Practical Coaching for Today.”

Pandemic Spurs Innovation for Small- to Mid-Sized Businesses

Set up your business in the right entity and state. Mistakes in formation or taxation can have a lasting negative impact on business growth and viability. Before starting a new business, consider the best structure for asset protection and tax minimization. For example, a limited liability company (LLC) gives business owners time to operate at a loss for the first few months and write off the loss on their individual 1040 forms against other forms of income.

Pandemic spurs innovation for small- to mid-sized businesses

By Brandpoint

(BPT) – As COVID-19 continues to disrupt normal day-to-day operations of small- to mid-sized businesses and nearly half of the U.S. workforce hangs in the balance, employers are taking creative measures to reset their go-to-market strategies and offerings. By changing their operations to meet the demands of their customers, businesses can not only stay relevant but keep their staff employed and thrive in the new economy.

This pandemic offers business owners, investors and solopreneurs the opportunity to take a critical look at their overall business model, offerings and operations and reset the entire business structure, creating new opportunities to serve and prevail. This is the perfect time to explore new legal solutions to the most common business obstacles to help companies preserve and protect their brands and prosper for generations to come. There are great examples of resets happening within many industries.

With the pandemic closing summer camps throughout the country, ACA-accredited Adventure Links, a 23-year-old summer camp in Virginia, has found a way to replace its usual summer adventure camp programs with

The CampCloud(TM) , an experiential online alternative. The company is now offering its virtual camping programs to individuals and employers to assist employees working from home by keeping their kids engaged, learning and delighted all day from virtually anywhere. The program is being offered to other camps as a customizable, online option for their campers.

Ensuring the health and safety of employers when stay-at-home orders are lifted, and business resumes, is critical. Thanks to a team of entrepreneurs, Disinfect & Shield(TM), an FDA-registered, EPA-approved and eco-friendly disinfectant used in surgical suites for the last decade, is now available to businesses worldwide to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and other dangerous organisms. It works by creating a permanent anti-microbial shield, preventing the virus from attaching to surfaces where it has been applied without risk to humans, animals or crops. With Disinfect & Shield(TM), employees, customers and visitors can feel safe knowing that their space has been properly disinfected and treated for optimum health and safety.

Clint Coons, founder of Anderson Business Advisors, offers 5 financing and entity creation tips to help entrepreneurs and small business owners:

  1. Know how to use loans: CARES Act loans have specific guidelines like having to use at least 60% of the loan within 24 weeks of receipt for payroll expenses. Concerned that money would dry up, many small business owners applied with no way of utilizing them because their business cannot reopen under the strict guidelines imposed on the industry.
  2. Alternate cash sources: Borrow from a 401(k) or IRA to keep businesses afloat, as it does not need to be paid back for at least 3-6 years. However, pulling money out of a retirement plan comes with some risk, such as if the business does not see profitability, then retirement funds were wasted on a failed business venture.
  3. Beware of increasing liabilities: Because insurance will not cover claims brought under COVID, reopening comes with risk and business owners are wondering how they will operate under strict COVID-19 related guidelines and still make a profit. Now is the time to pivot and reset.
  4. Consider restructuring: Set up your business in the right entity and state. Mistakes in formation or taxation can have a lasting negative impact on business growth and viability. Before starting a new business, consider the best structure for asset protection and tax minimization. For example, a limited liability company (LLC) gives business owners time to operate at a loss for the first few months and write off the loss on their individual 1040 forms against other forms of income. There are different entity funding options with protection ramifications.
  5. Utilize Privacy Shield Protection by creating anonymity with trusts.

COVID-19 has shown that many businesses aren’t prepared for worst-case scenarios and make common mistakes that can affect their ability to grow and borrow money. If approached strategically, small- to medium-sized businesses can take this time to implement changes and help their operations succeed and thrive.

An Interview With Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s CEO, Charles Watson

An Interview With Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s CEO, Charles Watson

By Gary Occhiogrosso
PHOTO COURTESY OF TROPICAL SMOOTHIE CAFE

CEO Shares His Story & Insights On Taking The Reins.
Amid all the pandemic news and stories of how the foodservice business is coping with the crisis, I thought I’d attempt to redirect our attention today, even if only for a short while. As a 35 year veteran of the restaurant and franchise industry, I have always been fascinated by the challenges, risks, rewards, and day to day “work” a CEO faces when first taking the helm of an ongoing franchise organization. Today’s post focus’ on that topic in an interview with Charles Watson, the CEO of Tropical Smoothie Café.

Mr. Watson was appointed the CEO position of Tropical Smoothie Cafe in December 2018. Since that time, he has led the company on its quest towards $1billion in sales by 2023. He’s no stranger to franchise development, nor is Charles Watson an outsider, having served four years as the company’s Chief Development Officer in addition to his prior role as VP of Franchise Development. He is directly responsible for selling more than 800 franchises.

As their franchise website states: “Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s menu boasts bold, flavorful smoothies with a healthy appeal, all made-to-order with quality ingredients. We find that real fruits, veggies, and juices just taste better.” The offerings have evolved over the years to include a menu of breakfast and lunch items beyond smoothies. From wraps to flatbreads to salads, Mr. Watson continues to solidly position Tropical Smoothie Cafe as a leader in the fast-casual, healthier lifestyle food category.

Gary Occhiogrosso: Tell us a little about your background before joining Tropical Smoothie?

Charles Watson: “Prior to joining Tropical Smoothie Cafe, I worked for several hotel and hospitality-centric companies, including Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotels Group, US Franchise Systems, Inc. and Hospitality Real Estate Counselors. I joined Tropical Smoothie Cafe in 2010 as the Vice President of Franchise Development and, in 2016, became the Chief Development Officer, where I was responsible for all aspects of the development of the brand. In July 2018, I was named interim CEO, and then permanent in December 2018.”

Occhiogrosso: Please give our readers the “Elevator Pitch” for Tropical Smoothie Cafe?

Watson: “Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a national fast-casual cafe concept inspiring healthier lifestyles with more than 850 locations in 44 states. Beyond just smoothies, we serve better-for-you wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads, and pride ourselves on living at the “intersection of taste, convenience, and hospitality.” In a highly competitive segment, we’re one of the fastest-growing quick-casual brands, opening 124 new locations in 2019 alone and singing 213 development agreements to open hundreds of businesses over the next few years.”

Occhiogrosso: What was the condition of the company before you were named CEO?

Watson: “We were in a good place! In 2018, when I was named CEO, we had more than 720 locations open nationwide. By year-end 2018 we opened 110 cafes and signed 191 new franchise agreements. Building off this momentum, in 2019, we celebrated the openings of our 750th and 800th locations, but taking over during such a monumental time for our brand certainly brought opportunities to improve. Each year, franchisees complete the Franchise Business Review to essentially grade us here at the Support Center on how we’re serving them. We gathered that feedback and used it to set goals and action plans for the company. Areas we wanted to attack immediately with our rapid growth were direct franchisee support as well as technology support and menu innovation. We set company-wide strategic imperatives around these issues immediately.”

Occhiogrosso: What were the one or two unique challenges that you faced upon taking over as CEO?

Watson: “As a first time CEO, learning to view the business from a thinking vs. a doing mentality was a challenge I faced. The success of our brand is about the talent and drive of our talented executives and Support Center team. It was not possible for me to get involved in every project – so I had to learn to let go and delegate. I would say that understanding the viewpoints and drivers of the different stakeholders I was serving was important. A presentation for a board is focused on very different things than a franchisee roadshow. Really trying to understand how to see the world through a different stakeholders’ eyes is something I still work on.”

Occhiogrosso: What was your plan for the first 90 days?

Watson: “I wanted to further instill a franchisee-first mentality. When our franchisees are successful, the brand is successful. When I became CEO, I launched a formal franchisee advisory council, known in our organization as the Tropical Franchisee Council (TFC). While we had always involved franchisees, I felt it needed to be formalized and more visible to our franchise system. In short, franchisees needed to know that there was a formal mechanism of their peers that was constantly feeding back to us at the Support Center. From there, we set up committees, reporting into our TFC, around the major parts of our business, and included more franchisees to provide feedback and work with us on further improving IT, Marketing, Design, and Construction, etc. It was important to me that we have franchisees themselves share their feedback and align on system initiatives and goals. In a franchise system, without broad franchisee buy-in, you cannot move as efficiently and effectively as is required in today’s business environment.”

Occhiogrosso: How is taking the reins of an existing company different than being part of a startup or a founder?

Watson: “I think when taking over any brand where you worked alongside your predecessor, there’s a certain level of pressure to continue carrying the torch, but also to make necessary changes to the brand to evolve with the changing economy and consumer trends. I was lucky enough to work with the founders of the business (and still do as they are board members) as well as work under our first CEO, who did an amazing job. Because 99% of Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s system is franchisee-owned and operated, it was my goal to maintain consistency for them and move the company forward in the right direction, with a lot of reverence and respect for the past. In my case, because I already had nearly a decade with Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the franchise development side, I had the unique advantage of personal relationships with our franchise community. We had a high level of mutual trust and respect for each other that existed before I assumed the role of CEO. I may have been, in fact, the person responsible for awarding them a franchise! My experience with the brand up to that point was beneficial because I was already very immersed in the operations and processes that had contributed to its success at that time. That created a kind of blueprint that served as the foundation for me to take the reins and lead the company the way I felt was best. Yes, I am putting my mark on the brand and culture, but I have been around long enough not to stray too far from the DNA of the brand.”

Occhiogrosso: What challenges, if any, did you face in getting “buy-in” from the existing franchise community once you became CEO? Were any of the franchisees reluctant to follow the system or embrace a new direction?

Watson: “Like I said, I was very fortunate to have had already developed relationships with our franchise community prior to becoming CEO. My predecessor did a great job, so most of the hesitancy candidly was, “will this guy be as good, will we have the same amount of success?” Luckily in my first two years as CEO, we continued to expand the footprint of the brand, and increase brand awareness, drive profitability for our franchisees and drive our comp sales…. So that was helpful! The impact of the more formalized committees we have set up, and the close connection I have with TFC has gotten the system more comfortable with my style and thinking, and I believe, since trust is earned, I still have a long way to go, but am off to a good start. Without our franchisees, committees, and council, I simply could not do this job. Those franchisees are serving our guests on the front lines – I can’t run this business without their candid feedback.”

Occhiogrosso: How do you feel about franchise advisory councils? And was one in place already?

Watson: “I’m a huge advocate for franchise advisory councils, specifically when nearly 60% of all franchise agreements at Tropical Smoothie Cafe come from existing franchisees. The Tropical Franchisee Council (TFC) was established in 2018 and has been invaluable for our growth. “Relationships Rule” is one of our core values, and because of that, people are at the heart of our company. Our relationships are founded on trust and respect for the unique talents of our teams, franchisees, and vendors alike. We strive to continue to harness these relationships in this way and feel that this approach will continue to fuel our success. The TFC works hand-in-hand with Tropical Smoothie on all facets of the business from operations, IT, marketing, construction, and beyond, and their genuine feedback continues to establish the open communication we strive for, helping us to enhance our business model on an ongoing basis. This process only helps our individual franchisees and their bottom line, respectively.”

Occhiogrosso: What is the mission and goal of the company over the next few years?

Watson: “At Tropical Smoothie Cafe, it’s our mission to inspire a healthier lifestyle by serving amazing food and smoothies, with a bit of tropical fun. We want to be an escape for our consumers in this hectic world we live, and an incredible business model for our franchise partners It’s an exciting time to be a fast-casual concept within this segment, specifically as the market size of the juice and smoothie bars industry is expected to increase by 2.3% in 2020, reaching nearly $3 billion in revenue across the globe. We consider ourselves to be an approachable, healthier option for the average American, and our customer loyalty system-wide continues to climb. Our company sells about 200 franchises, opens over 120 cafes a year, and has more than 500 locations in the pipeline. As a brand, we strive for excellence in service and creating a culture of hospitality for our business no matter which location you visit, and this year we’re prioritizing them even further by enhancing pillars of our hospitality-centric culture and the technology we use to create convenience for our guests in order to reinforce our position as the leader in our segment. Over the next five years, our goals are to reach 1,500 cafes open across the U.S., with over 18% profitability for our franchisees on average volumes in excess of $1M, all with very high operational satisfaction for our guests. Our annual tactics are focused around delivering those results.”


Although I did not want to focus on COVID-19 in this interview, it is difficult to ignore its impact on the restaurant community as well as franchisees in general. So I was compelled to ask Mr. Watson his thoughts on the pandemic and the company’s response.

Occhiogrosso: During the current COVID-19 crisis, what steps have you taken to ensure that Tropical Smoothie Cafe supports the local community?

Watson: “When COVID-19 struck the restaurant landscape in mid-March, we closed all dining rooms and shifted our focus to drive-thru, curbside pickup, and delivery where available. Then we determined two focus areas, giving back to the community and prioritizing support for our franchisees. Some of our franchisees had the idea to donate smoothies to first responders and hospital workers in Atlanta. We loved the idea so much we launched a nationwide campaign to donate 100,000 smoothies across the country and the response has been incredible. Within the first day, several local franchisees jumped on board and donated more than 600 smoothies each, and the donations just kept growing from there. On April 16 we met our goal of 100,000 smoothies, but our franchisees haven’t stopped there, and the new challenge is to donate a total of one million smoothies by the end of May. Knowing that those essential workers are not only in the healthcare fields, we’ve also extended our giving to grocery store, warehouse and post office employees. We’re proud to report that as of today, we’ve donated more than 200,000 smoothies to these hometown heroes, and we’re not done yet! In support of National Nurses Appreciation Month in May, we have also pledged to donate $100,000 to the American Nurses Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund upon reaching our goal of giving away 1,000,000 smoothies.”Our franchisees are the heart of our brand, so we wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could to help them stay afloat through the crisis. We decreased royalties and deployed hyper-local marketing strategies to drive business within a 1–to 2-mile radius of cafes. While our projected 2020 growth might take a step back due to the coronavirus, I believe our approach to navigating through this will help us emerge quickly once it passes.”

Occhiogrosso: What are some of the additional support initiatives you put in place for your franchise community during the pandemic?

Watson: “Our franchisees are the heart of our brand, so we wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could to help them stay afloat through the crisis. We’ve implemented various franchisee support initiatives, including decreased royalties by 50%, ongoing support with PPP loans and real estate deferrals and abatements, rolling out curbside delivery systemwide, deployed hyper-local marketing strategies to drive business within a 1–2-mile radius of cafes, among many others. While our projected 2020 growth might take a step back due to the coronavirus, I believe our approach to navigating through this will help us emerge quickly once it passes.

Occhiogrosso: How do you see the company moving forward?

Watson: “As you know, the restaurant industry has taken a huge hit. Although COVID-19 has directly impacted our business, some days being down more than 50 percent, we consider ourselves lucky to have a business model that allowed us to easily transition to grab-and-go, curbside, and delivery only. I think the biggest shift will take place for those restaurants that can’t be open right now. The guests who support local businesses in and around their communities are the ones we give the credit to because their loyalty to our cafes is what has ultimately maintained our ability to serve. Because of our amazing guests, our franchisees, and the communities they serve, including those on the front lines of this pandemic, we will get through this. As reopening guidelines are being determined, we plan to move forward with an abundance of caution.”

In conclusion, I believe the growth of Tropical Smoothie Cafe over the last two years demonstrates Mr. Watson’s steady leadership and a clear understanding of building on the momentum that has made the brand a leader in its category. In my experience, making franchisee success and profitability the priority is the key to the longevity of any franchised brand. The fact that nearly 60% of all new Tropical Smoothie Cafe units are opened by existing franchisees underscores the franchise owner’s satisfaction with the concept, the company, and it’s leadership. It’s almost all you need to know about the results of Mr. Watson’s work and commitment to the franchisees. Successfully taking the reins on an existing franchise company can be a daunting task, but in the case of Charles Watson, he continues, as their franchise website claims, to create waves for a brand that started on the beach.

About Charles Watson:

Charles Watson was named CEO in December 2018. In this role, he is responsible for the brand’s strategic vision and overall franchise performance. He was previously Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s Chief Development Officer since 2016, after serving as VP of Franchise Development since 2010. In these roles, Charles was responsible for all development of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe brand. A veteran hospitality professional, Charles has worked for several hospitality-related companies, including Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotels Group, US Franchise Systems, Inc., and Hospitality Real Estate Counselors. Charles is a graduate of The Hotel School at Cornell University and also holds a Masters of Business Administration from The Terry School of Business at The University of Georgia.

* * MasterMind Minutes * *

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

MasterMind Minutes is the Webcast that shares expert business information in Minutes Not Hours. Each edition runs approximately 10 to 15 minutes and features an expert guest covering one question. The entire series is posted and updated several times a week on this page so you can binge watch back-to-back “episodes”. Three to five new editions are added each week so keep coming back to view the experts on an insightful topic that is sure to help you build, grow and run your business.

www.franchisegrowthsolutions.com

IN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE & LENDING ENVIRONMENT, WHAT ARE BANKS LOOKING AT WHEN CONSIDERING A BUSINESS LOAN.
Today’s guest is Reg Byrd.
Reg is the Managing Partner DCV Franchise Group
For over 25 years Mr. Byrd has been a business venture strategist assisting entrepreneurs with a focus on financing, business plan development, financial projections and blueprints for aggressive return on investments. The scope of his work ranges from sole proprietorship businesses to capital intensive Fortune 500 hotel development projects. To date, DCV Franchise Group has served more than 300 franchise systems placing debt for franchisees in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Panama and Canada.
Contact Reg at https://lnkd.in/eDhmeqs
Contact Gary at: [email protected]
Learn more at: https://www,https://lnkd.in/d89cb29

HOW TO EVALUATE A STARTUP OR EMERGING BRAND FRANCHISE WITH ONE OR NO FRANCHISEES?
Our Guest Today is: Ed Teixeira.
Ed has over 40 years of experience in the franchise industry and is the VP Franchise Development for FranchiseGrade.com a leading franchise market research firm. Ed is the author of Franchising from the Inside Out and The Franchise Buyers Manual and has spoken before the International Franchise Expo, Chinese Franchise Association in Shanghai, China and has lectured at the Stony Brook University Business School on Franchising.
Contact Ed at: https://www.franchisegrade.com/. 1-800-975-6101
Contact Gary at: [email protected]
Learn More About Franchising: https://www.franchisegrowthsolutions.com

WHAT SHOULD EMPLOYERS THINK ABOUT WITH RESPECT TO LIABILITY CONCERNING EMPLOYEES GETTING CORONAVIRUS AT THE WORKPLACE?
today’s guests are:
Joel Greenwald is the Founder and Managing Partner of Greenwald Doherty LLP, a national management-side employment law firm. Focusing on labor relations and employment law. AND Michael Einbinder is a founding Partner of Einbinder & Dunn. He is a participating member of the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising.
Contact Michael at: [email protected] – Contact Joel at:[email protected]

HOW A COMPANY CAN SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY, ITS EMPLOYEES AND ITS FRANCHISEES IN TIME OF CRISIS – Today’s guest is Hector Westerband. Hector is the Founder and CEO of ACAI EXPRESS. He has over 20 years in the hospitality industry. He was introduced to the amazing Acai Stone Fruit. It was there where he started his own Acai Food Truck Called Acai Express in 2013.development.
Acai Express: https://lnkd.in/eESYZ6U

WHAT ARE THE FRANCHISE BRANDS THAT ARE DOING WELL DURING AND WILL DO WELL AFTER THE PANDEMIC? – Today’s guest is Lance Graulich
Lance is the founder & CEO of ION Franchising, an industry leading franchise consulting and development group, that represents over 500 franchise brands & business opportunities within 90 categories. Lance helps prospective entrepreneurs find their perfect franchise for FREE.

ARE YOU OVERLOOKING POTENTIAL MONEY SAVING CHANGES IN THE FEDERAL TAX LAWS THAT WERE INCLUDED IN THE COVID STIMULUS BILLS? – Today’s guest is MICHAEL IANNUZZI
Michael Iannuzzi is a partner and co-leader in Citrin Copperman’s franchise practice providing a variety of services to a wide spectrum of clients within the franchise community.

GROWING YOUR FRANCHISE COMPANY POST COVID-19 – Today’s guest is Harold Kestenbaum.
Harold is a franchise attorney who has specialized in franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977. https://youtu.be/OOCXqhGPA_U

WHY DO FRANCHISEES FAIL – Today’s guest is Tom Scarda, CFE, Founder & CEO of the Franchise Academy, Best selling author and Podcaster.

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MATTO FRANCHISE
A Revolution is Brewing
LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.mattofranchise.com/

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HOW ARE BANKS RESPONDING TO LOANS FOR NEW BUSINESSES?
Today’s guest is Reginald Heard – Founder and CEO of Bankers One Capital.

HOW ARE YOU MARKETING AND GETTING THE WORD OUT THAT YOUR BUSINESS IS GETTING READY TO REOPEN? Laura Skulman, Director of Marketing and Events for B&D Burgers in Savannah Ga.

HOW FRANCHISORS ARE CREATING A DIGITAL STRATEGY AS THE ECONOMY OPENS UP – Today’s guest is Aubree Coderre, National Sales Manager at C-Squared Social

Stephen McCluskey Insurance Expert – Discussing what you can do if your Insurance Company is not paying business interruption insurance due to Covid 19 closure

Michael Einbinder – Founding Partner of Einbinder and Dunn, a Law firm focusing on the needs of franchisees and franchisors

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MATTO FRANCHISE
A Revolution is Brewing
LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.mattofranchise.com/

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OPPORTUNITIES TO OPEN A RESTAURANT NOW! Today’s guest is David Simmonds – Commercial Rental Expert

MasterMind Minutes – One Question – One Expert Answer – Minutes Not Hours
Our guest today is Doug Smith… He is the Director of Sale for ROI Experts which is a digital marketing agency that works with restaurants around the world. ROI Experts generates trackable ROI using their unique ROI engine platform. Doug is 27 year veteran of the radio, sales and marketing. Visit their website at www.roiexperts.com‍

How Are You Handling Your Covid Financial Anxiety?

It is not worth the mental energy and distress to put pressure on yourself for what is out of your hands. Unproductive thoughts will put you on a never-ending cycle of “I have to figure it out, I have to figure it out.” That kind of spiraling activity just runs down your batteries.

Combating financial anxiety during a pandemic

Courtesy of BRANDPOINT
Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

(BPT) – In the face of a global pandemic, financial anxiety is an everyday reality. Concerns surrounding personal finances, businesses shutting down and market volatility have us navigating new waters, experiencing more acutely than ever before how our financial lives are intertwined with our mental health. Amanda Clayman, financial therapist and Prudential’s financial wellness advocate, works with people to better understand the emotional connection we have with money.

According to Clayman, financial stress, while it may be inevitable in these times, does not have to control our lives. Even in the midst of this crisis, we can practice good financial and mental health and grow in our ability to maintain calm.

How to ease your mind and overcome financial distress

Clayman offers the below tips on how to ease your mind and overcome your financial distress during the days of COVID-19.

  • Allow yourself to feel a sense of loss: These big market changes may throw a wrench in the vision you had for retirement or your 401K. This is a scary realization, and a sad one. It is natural to have an emotional response, so let those feelings come and acknowledge them as they do. By not bottling up those sensations you are better able to say goodbye to your former plans and move forward. Additionally, looking your feelings in the face and comparing them to the reality of the situation provides valuable perspective that is key in the healing process.
  • Embrace uncertainty as part of the plan: Concentrate on the here and now, and don’t think too far ahead. It is common to try to manage anxiety by making a plan, but that’s going to be challenging when the future feels so uncertain. Try telling yourself, “I’m going to make the best plan I can based on what I know now. Then I’m going to trust that I will figure out problems as they arise and ask for help when I need it.”
  • Let go of what you can’t control: It is not worth the mental energy and distress to put pressure on yourself for what is out of your hands. Unproductive thoughts will put you on a never-ending cycle of “I have to figure it out, I have to figure it out.” That kind of spiraling activity just runs down your batteries.
  • Be intentional, not impulsive: Anxiety floods your mind with fearful thoughts of worst-case scenarios, tricking you into believing immediate action is necessary to fix the problem. It may feel like you are making progress initially, but these are not emotionally grounded decisions and can lead to costly mistakes. What you need is space for perspective, to differentiate between internal feelings and external reality. Try stepping away from the computer or going for a walk before making big moves. Remind yourself that you are safe right here, right now.
  • Don’t be a hero: You don’t have to bear this weight alone. You may feel as if providing financial security is all up to you, especially if you’re a caretaker or your kids moved home to ride out the pandemic. But this is not an individual problem, it’s a collective one we can face together. So reach out — take care of each other and ask to be taken care of in return. In addition to sharing your feelings with family and friends, be in touch with creditors, landlords and service providers about your concerns. They may be able to offer a payment holiday, partial payment or interest-only payment.

Explore new types of self-care

One of the most important lessons in combating any anxiety is to remember that you will not feel this way forever. In the meantime, let’s use these moments to explore new forms of emotional and financial self-care. With thoughtful reflection, we can foster a relationship with money that promotes mental health in even the most challenging circumstances.

MATTO FRANCHISE
A Revolution is Brewing
LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.mattofranchise.com/

5 Tips To Protect Your Network From Hackers When Staying At Home

“Cybercriminals are continuously looking for ways to exploit computer system vulnerabilities and home networks are popular targets because so many of our devices — phones, TVs, computers, even appliances — are connected to them,” said Jane Li, Mercury Insurance director of product management.

5 Tips To Protect Your Network From Hackers When Staying At Home

By BrandPoint

(BPT) – Being home 100% of the time has become the new norm for many Americans, as social distancing is implemented in communities across the country to slow the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic. Connected devices are being used virtually nonstop, as the homebound stream shows to binge watch and video chat with friends to help pass the time. Unfortunately, most residential computing networks aren’t regularly maintained and monitored to protect against security breaches. This presents hackers with a virtual playground of which to take advantage.

“Cybercriminals are continuously looking for ways to exploit computer system vulnerabilities and home networks are popular targets because so many of our devices — phones, TVs, computers, even appliances — are connected to them,” said Jane Li, Mercury Insurance director of product management. “Insurance companies like Mercury provide solutions to help financially protect homeowners and renters if they fall victim to a cyberattack. There are also steps they can take ahead of time to help prevent one from happening in the first place.”

Following are five tips to protect your home network — and the devices connected to it — from hackers.

  • Power down your devices. This disables the internet connection, cutting off access to any personal information stored on your computer, tablet or phone. Unattended machines are easy targets for hackers, especially if you’re asleep.
  • Secure your wireless network. Information accessed on an open network, including email passwords and sensitive bank information, is fair game for hackers. Don’t make their jobs easier — protect your Wi-Fi network with a strong password that’s difficult to guess. Wireless routers that are issued by cable providers are typically assigned a network name and password that’s easily located on a label on the device itself. These can be changed using your online account, so do this as soon as possible for added security.
  • Invest in anti-malware software. Malware — or malicious software — can be installed on your computer without your knowledge so hackers can damage your system, steal personal information or restrict your access to extort money from you. Anti-malware software helps protect against, detect and remove malware, stopping cybercriminals from doing further damage. Also, avoid downloading music or video files from suspicious websites, and clicking on links or email attachments in messages sent from unknown senders to help prevent malware from infiltrating your system.
  • Install recommended updates. Smartphone, computer, tablet and smart TV manufacturers, among other providers of connected devices, offer periodic software updates to protect against potential security breaches. Chances are, if an update is recommended, hackers have already discovered a way to access your personal property and information, so keep your software up-to-date. Set your devices to install auto-updates when possible.
  • Beware of phishing scams. Phishing scams aren’t new, but hackers continually use more sophisticated email — and even text messages — to trick people into providing their personal information. Once again, do not click on the links or attachments in messages from unknown senders.

Li suggests homeowners and renters consider adding Home Cyber Protection to their existing policies as an additional way to protect against hackers. “Even the most vigilant individuals can experience a cybersecurity breach,” said Li. “Having coverage to help recoup financial losses that are brought on by cyberextortion or stolen personal information can offer peace of mind during an otherwise stressful time.”

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MATTO FRANCHISE
A Revolution is Brewing
LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.mattofranchise.com/

Restaurant Industry In Turmoil, But There Is A Way Out!

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

In short, most operators, with a great deal of effort, should be able to generate enough sales, on premise and off, to satisfy their landlords, who will have become their partners, dependent on sales. Store level expenses will be largely variable, including rent, and there should be less upward pressure on the fixed costs at store level.

RESTAURANT INDUSTRY IN TURMOIL, BUT THERE IS A WAY OUT!
By Roger Lipton
restaurant, COVID-19, Roger Lipton, Franchise Money Maker

The world, as we have known it, is seriously changed for the foreseeable future. Restaurant and retailers will have to cope with lots of new requirements that deal with social distancing and testing.

PAYROLL PROTECTION?? NOT QUITE!

One of the current priorities is to access the Payroll Protection Program. Unintended consequences are already coming into focus. Restaurant operators realize that business will be slow after opening, which is still weeks or months away. If they spend 75% of the money, mostly for payroll and rent, in the next eight weeks to qualify for loan forgiveness, they will not have the resources to carry the predictable losses when they first reopen, and those losses will likely last for months at least. They have the option of holding the money, which will then remain a loan rather than a “grant. However, while the two year term, at only 1%, seems cheap enough, there is no way that cash flow will be sufficient to pay back the loan that quickly.

MATTO FRANCHISE
A Revolution is Brewing
LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.mattofranchise.com/

Some operators will therefore let their ex-employees remain on unemployment insurance for the time being, use the government capital to cushion losses after reopening, and deal with the ramifications two years from now. Other operators, will take the money, never reopen, and walk away. There are no personal guarantees, after all.

At the least, therefore, the program must be changed to allow for a sufficient payback period to recoup losses. We suggest this will happen, because the problem, and the fix, is so obvious. There are, predictably, other unintended consequences of this huge program that was implemented with such a rush, but we will leave that for another day.

RENT – THE BIGGEST FIXED COST

We are all reading about various companies, small and large, holding back rent. It’s understandable under the circumstances, and landlords realize that their world has changed as well. At the end of the day, we believe that percentage rents will be the new normal. The lessors have no real option. Yesterday’s rent structure is gone, and their alternative in almost all cases is to have empty space for perhaps years.

OFF-PREMISE CONSUMPTION BECOMES CRITICAL

Even after vaccines and treatments are in place, it is going to be quite a while before consumers are comfortable in close contact with strangers. We can be assured that dine in traffic will be at a lower level than previously. It therefore becomes critical for restaurant operators to do everything possible to build their off premise activities. Drive-thru locations, where applicable, can help a lot, but delivery (with or without third parties), catering, curbside pickup, packaged products to go are all brand building alternatives that can help to carry the physical overhead.

OVER-STORED NO MORE

Stated most concisely: there will be more closures than we have seen in at least fifty years (from today’s huge base). Far fewer chains will be expanding. Survivors will have less competition.

LABOR COST PRESSURE WILL ABATE

When the stores open, there will be less upward wage pressure than we have seen in the last few years and that we were anticipating would continue.

The cost structure will be more variable than ever before. It will take a while for negotiations to take place but rent will be based on a percentage of sales. Cost of Sales is variable and Labor is largely variable. Other Operating Costs at the store level (waste removal, bank fees, insurance, property taxes, etc.) can be negotiated lower. (It happens that I am affiliated with a Company that can help in this regard, with no up front cost.) Corporate Overhead can be scaled for the new world we are all living within.

In short, most operators, with a great deal of effort, should be able to generate enough sales, on premise and off, to satisfy their landlords, who will have become their partners, dependent on sales. Store level expenses will be largely variable, including rent, and there should be less upward pressure on the fixed costs at store level. Store level cash flow may not approach previous levels but should be adequate to support, if not enrich, a reasonable level of corporate overhead. Regional operators will have an advantage, with their proximity to the store level and their ability to respond quickly and efficiently to changing circumstances. National operators should decentralize to whatever extent possible for the same reasons. Dedicated corporate management should be able, in most cases, especially if not burdened by excessive debt, to lead their companies to survive, and even prosper over the long term.
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About Roger Lipton
Roger is an investment professional with over 4 decades of experience specializing in chain restaurants and retailers, as well as macro-economic and monetary developments. After earning a BSME from R.P.I. and MBA from Harvard, and working as an auditor with Price, Waterhouse, he began following the restaurant industry as well as the gold mining industry. While he originally followed companies such as Church’s Fried Chicken, Morrison’s Cafeterias and others, over the years he invested in companies such as Panera Bread and shorted companies such as Boston Chicken.