MRM Franchise Feed: Unique Restaurant Apprenticeship Launches and Pretzels on the Go

by MRM Staff 19 Min Read

Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine's Franchise Feed offers a glimpse at what's new in the restaurant franchise environment.

Send news to Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com.

Brinker Commits First-of-its-Kind Restaurant Apprenticeship Program

Brinker International, Inc., one of the world's leading casual dining restaurant companies and owner of Chili's® Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy®, has announced their commitment to enroll 250 apprentices into the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) program developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). HSRA is the first-ever earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship program created for the nation’s restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry.

With 250 apprentices, Brinker has made the largest HSRA commitment in the nation, expressing a strong interest in offering their Team Members the additional skills, management training and opportunities that will advance their careers and increase their incomes.

“This apprenticeship program will provide education and training opportunities to create a more defined career path for the millions of Americans who work in restaurants, foodservice and hospitality,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the NRAEF. “With support from companies like Brinker, we are working together to build a well-trained workforce that meets the needs of our labor-intensive industry.”

“The restaurant industry is known for being a stop along the way in most people’s career, but our industry is in jeopardy if we don’t show Team Members a clear path to long-term growth, so at Brinker we’re leading the way,” said Rick Badgley, senior vice president and chief people officer at Brinker. “Our goal is to prepare our Team Members for their ‘next’ and by partnering with the NRAEF, we are able to take our current internal apprenticeship program and now provide Team Members with official industry credentials, which are transferrable. This gives Team Members a foundation of industry accomplishment for their next step.”

The NRAEF and AHLA were awarded a $1.8 million contract from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in the fall of 2016. With Brinker’s support, NRAEF and AHLA are aiming to enroll 1,000 apprentices into the program. Apprenticeships are proven to reduce turnover costs, increase productivity, result in higher job satisfaction and create a more skilled and competitive workforce. Apprentices will acquire nationally recognized credentials and be equipped to pursue a variety of management level positions across the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry.

Britt Private Capital Acquires Juice It Up!
Chris L. Britt

Britt Private Capital, LLC, the recently established Newport Beach, California-based private investment firm of private equity investor Chris L. Britt, acquired its second fast casual franchise brand in the past 12 months. In February 2018, Britt Private Capital sponsored and finalized the purchase of Juice It Up!, one of the nation’s leading handcrafted smoothie, raw juice, and superfruit bowl franchises, partnering in the transaction with Edmond St. Geme-led Jupiter Holdings, LLC and Chris Braun, who was appointed CEO of the company. The purchase of Juice It Up! comes hot on the heels of Britt Private Capital and Jupiter Holdings’ April 2017 acquisition of Northern California-based Mountain Mike’s Pizza, a family and community focused franchised pizza system with more than 190 locations mostly in California, and among the 20th largest pizza systems in the United States.

Chris L. Britt established Britt Private Capital in early 2017 after nearly 25 years of investing as one of two managing partners for Southern California-based middle market buyout firm Marwit Capital, where he has worked alongside co-Managing partner Matthew Witte and Partner David Browne. One key theme of Britt Private Capital is to invest in growth-oriented businesses as a longer-term investor, in most cases for periods of time that extend beyond traditional timelines typically associated with private equity ownership. Franchised systems are one area of focus, and the purchase of Mountain Mike’s Pizza and Juice It Up! represent the first two transactions, and an impressive unveiling, for the new firm.

“I am thrilled to add Juice It Up! and Mountain Mike’s Pizza as a solid foundation for our portfolio of franchised system brands,” said Chris L. Britt, founder and Principal of Britt Private Capital. “Both brands are true leaders in their categories and I’m looking forward to helping them reach their full potential.”

While co-managing Marwit Capital, the firm completed more than 50 lower middle market buyout transactions and growth investments, including acquiring and building such industry trailblazers as Boot Barn, Solis Mammography, Driftwood Dairy, Signature Theaters, Western Emulsions, Paciolan, and Fire Grill, LLC. Notably, Fire Grill, LLC, was also a partnership between Britt and St. Geme, where from 2004 to 2014 they owned 43 Burger King restaurants. As one of the largest franchise group in the Burger King system, they gained invaluable franchise experience which has since been applied to these initial brand acquisitions.

Britt continued, “We are patient investors with long-term views, and we seek partners who add value to the companies we invest in and are also enjoyable to work with. Britt Private Capital is more akin to an active family office investment model, rather than a traditional private equity firm. Although I am keeping my eyes open for the next opportunity to add strong businesses to our roster, I am personally committed to playing an instrumental role in the growth of our existing brands.”

Currently, Britt serves as Co-CEO of Mountain Mike’s Pizza, which is having its biggest year ever with 20-25 new franchised locations scheduled to open by the end of 2018; including several in Southern California, a growth area for the brand. Britt is also an active Chairman and lead investor for Juice It Up! which has over 100 locations open or under development across California, Florida, New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas.

Sedona Taphouse Open in New Jersey

Sedona Taphouse, the casual dining restaurant featuring hundreds of craft beers, hand-cut steaks and seafood, is now open in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, becoming the eighth location to join the Sedona Taphouse portfolio, top photo.

“The Cliffside Park location launches our 2018 East Coast expansion, with five more franchise stores planned to open this year,” said DJB Hospitality LLC/ Sedona Taphouse Restaurants Founder and CEO, Dennis Barbaro. “Next up is our Nashville store, which is centrally located in Germantown off Jefferson Street.”

The Cliffside Park location is owned and operated by local restaurateurs Eddie Young and Mendi Zuta.

“We are thrilled to bring Sedona Taphouse to the Cliffside Park community,” said Young. “We are committed to giving back to local organizations through fundraising efforts with our Steak Out for Charity program and partnering with businesses in the surrounding region.”

The other seven Sedona Taphouse stores are in the Richmond, VA region (Midlothian and Glen Allen) Fredericksburg and Charlottesville, VA with two stores in the New York tri-state area (Mamaroneck, NY and Norwalk, CT) and one in Troy, MI.

Barbaro founded the company in 2011 and is currently accepting single and area development franchise applications in all states.

Jersey Mike's Adds to Franchise Team

Jersey Mike's Subs is adding two new members to its franchise sales team, Stephen Sweetman as Senior Director of Franchise Sales and Corby Cronin as Director of Franchise Sales. The tandem will help further Jersey Mike's expansion efforts throughout the U.S. The company plans to develop more than 225 in 2018, primarily with existing owners. The early year success follows a strong 2017 for the brand, as Jersey Mike's opened more than 170 new locations and achieved a six percent system-wide same-store sales increase. 

"The addition of Stephen and Corby to the Jersey Mike's team further signifies our focus on recruiting best in class multi-unit operators. Their extensive experience in this area will prove invaluable as we drive our aggressive franchise development efforts into our primary and secondary markets," said Jersey Mike's Brian Sommers, SVP of Franchise and Market Development. "The compounding success Jersey Mike's has achieved is a direct reflection of our brand and operators, and we're proud to welcome two accomplished industry veterans who share our same values and vision."

As Jersey Mike's new Senior Director of Franchise Sales, Stephen Sweetman will be responsible for identifying and introducing qualified candidates to Jersey Mike's. Prior to this role, his extensive franchising experience includes casual dining and fast casual restaurants. At Wingstop, he managed 16 states in the Southeast, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and was responsible for the creation and rollout of a franchise sales marketing plan that helped generate significant openings. Sweetman also previously spent eight years with FOCUS Brands as its director of franchise sales & real estate, managing activities for four brands in a 14-state territory in the Southeast, including Moe's Southwest Grill. He was recognized repeatedly for his success there, including receipt of their Impact Player of the Year award.

Cronin joins Jersey Mike's after spending the past four years with Schlotzsky's, where he was a President's Club winner while director of franchise development. During his time with Schlotzsky's, Cronin distinguished himself for identifying quality operators, both experienced multi-unit franchisees and in particular, small operators who grew into successful multi-unit store owners. He also worked for Dickey's Barbecue for seven years, where he held a variety of positions including vice president of operations and director of franchise development. A graduate of Johnson & Wales, his chef experience underscores his passion for quality food and consistent operations, which is essential to Jersey Mike's as it adds franchisees to its base of respected existing franchisees.  Cronin will identify operators that fit the Jersey Mike's lifestyle, which includes a passion for supporting the brand, people and community. 

Greene Turtle Opens Seventh Delaware Location

The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille® opens its doors to its seventh Delaware location in Wilmington at 307 Rocky Run Parkway. 

Greene Turtle

The restaurant has partnered with The Greene Turtle Lacrosse Club of Delaware, where $1 from every Boardwalk Iced Tea and Boardwalk Lemonade sold during the opening month will be donated to the organization. In addition, the restaurant will hold a silent auction benefitting the A.I. DuPont Pediatric Hospital for the first 30 days after opening where guests can bid on the #1 mug for their Mug Club. The new 6,300 square foot location will seat approximately 230 guests inside the dining room and outside on the patio and will feature 26 beers on tap. The restaurant will create over 85 jobs in the local community.

“We are thrilled to continue the expansion of The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille® in Delaware with the opening of our Wilmington location” said Pradip Saha from Pusan Investments, franchisee of The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille® in Wilmington. “Guests are invited to join us as we delight in our favorites: sports, food and good company.”

Guests will enjoy a menu modeled after The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille®’s Eastern Shore roots with featured items like Maryland crab cakes, Maryland crab dip, more than a dozen burger combinations and 10 varieties of wings. To pair with the various food offerings, The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille® features more than 30 different local and national beers—both draft and bottle—that will please the palate of any beer drinker. There are also craft beers available including Shell Raiser, brewed exclusively for The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille® by DuClaw Brewing Company, Dale’s Pale Ale, Victory’s Golden Monkey, Sly Fox Dunkel Lager, Freewill Techno IPA and Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar. Beer offerings will vary by season and location.

Through the Mug Club, patrons can own a piece of The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille® with the purchase of their own mug at their local restaurant that is numbered and waiting for them each time they visit. Members of the club will enjoy $1 off every draft, as well as other routine discounts on draft beers and specials, member-only events and exclusive offers. There are currently 30,000 Mug Club members nationwide.

With the addition of the new Wilmington location, The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille®, which first opened in Ocean City, Maryland, in 1976, has 46 locations in seven states and the District of Columbia. The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille® is a community hangout for all ages that serves great food and drinks in a fun, casual atmosphere built on the excitement and unity of sports.

#DrinkWithAPurpose

Wahlburgers is joining Generation Rescue’s #DrinkWithAPurpose campaign during April for Autism Awareness Month at participating locations. Guests can order any Wahlburgers Margarita and $1 from each drink sold will be donated to support families affected by autism. Generation Rescue is the autism organization supported by actress Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with autism. Guests are welcome to try a signature “Wahlcoction” like the Pineapple Chipotle Margarita, made with Olmeca Silver Tequila, orange Liqueur, house-made margarita mix, pineapple juice, and house-made southern spice mix with a Chipotle-salt rim in order to #DrinkWithAPurpose.

Participating Locations

Hingham, MA
Fenway, MA
Lynnfield, MA
Trumbull, CT
Port Jefferson, NY
Toronto
Foley, AL
Orlando & Waterford Lakes, FL

Dog Haus Opens New Franchise in Belmont 

Dog Haus opened its newest franchise location in Belmont, California on April 7. Located at 1000 El Camino Real, Ste. A, this will be Franchisee Vahe Issai’s first location with the brand. 

“My father and I are overjoyed to bring the Dog Haus brand to Silicon Valley,” said Issai. “Our food will be our focus, but to accompany our one-of-a-kind creations, we will have a spacious Biergarten patio where our guests can enjoy 24 local beers and four wines on tap in a relaxed setting.”

In addition to Haus Dogs, Dog Haus' full menu includes gourmet dogs, sausages, burgers, corn dogs, a fried chicken sandwich, sides, beer, and shakes. Sausage favorites include The Fonz, which partners a spicy Italian sausage with pastrami and cheddar cheese sauce; and Das Brat, which features a bratwurst topped with caramelized onions, sauerkraut, and spicy brown mustard. All sausages are nitrate-free and made with hormone- and antibiotic-free meat.  Haus Burgers feature 100% genetically tested, humanely raised Black Angus beef from Creekstone Farms, which contains no hormones and no antibiotics – never ever – in one-of-a-kind creations like The Freiburger®, with white American cheese, fries, haus slaw, a fried egg and mayo and Holy Aioli, with white American cheese, smoked bacon, caramelized onions and garlic aioli. The Bad Mutha Clucka rounds out the menu offering guests a crispy fried or grilled chicken sandwich served with lettuce, pickles and miso ranch.

Jack in the Box and Postmates Team

Jack in the Box and Postmates have partnered to bring on-demand delivery of Jack in the Box's entire menu to Postmates customers, any time of the day. Delivery of Jack in the Box is available from more than 1,000 restaurants in 28 of Postmates' U.S. markets.

 "With a menu that's packed with variety, Jack in the Box prides itself on being able to serve guests whatever they crave, whenever they crave it," said Iwona Alter, Chief Marketing Officer at Jack in the Box. "Now, we are excited to satisfy guest cravings where ever they may hit by joining forces with Postmates and its expansive on-demand delivery fleet."

"We're thrilled to team up with an iconic brand like Jack in the Box to bring our customers even more of what they want -- on-demand," said Dan Mosher, SVP, Merchant Lead, Postmates. "We've been delivering Jack in the Box for years, but by entering into an official partnership we look forward to working closer with them to create an even better customer experience."   

 Deputy Introduces Franchise Feature Set

Deputy released Franchise Feature Set to help businesses navigate and comply with the wave of new predictive scheduling laws sweeping the country, as well as to help franchises avoid costly overtime in the age of increasing minimum wage. Deputy is used by several of the world’s largest fast-food restaurant franchises and hundreds of other global franchises, providing the best way for them to stay ahead.

“Predictive scheduling laws are the latest trend in workplace regulations with no sign of slowing down,” said Derek Jones, VP of Business Development at Deputy. “They started in Australia where Deputy was the first to help businesses and, over the past few years,  ‘fair scheduling’ laws have been passed by San Francisco, Seattle and New York City, with several other cities on the way. Legislators and labor organizations have become more active in pushing for them and increasing minimum wage, and franchises need to stay ahead of the curve. Deputy provides the tools that empower them to seamlessly remain compliant in the face of rapid and ongoing change.”

Deputy’s cloud-based and user-friendly Franchise Feature Set unites HR and employee management tasks to simplify day-to-day operations and automatically maintain the documentation required by scheduling laws. Benefits include:

  • Real-time alerts to let managers know when an employee's schedule conflicts with the laws

  • Tracking meal times, rest breaks, and overtime to ensure compliance

  • Scheduling app allows workers to easily swap or pick up shifts, check their schedule on mobile device, and manage time off and availability

  • Fair Workweek “estimate” of employees schedule generated for review

  • Auto-detects schedule changes and applies appropriate premiums

  • One-click payroll based on pay and premiums

  • Suggests schedules based on historical data about staffing needs

 Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh New Prototype

Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh is bringing its offerings to Longmont in May. Longmont’s first Garbanzo, currently under construction at 1232 Hover St., will be the first Colorado location with the brand’s new prototype.

“We’re excited to bring our new prototype to Colorado and to give the great people of Longmont their very own Garbanzo,” said Director of Operations Ron Cool. “At Garbanzo, we serve up love in every pita so our guests can feel brighter on the inside. Our recipes are crafted using fresh, authentic ingredients, which is why every dish served is so flavorful. We look forward to assembling an awesome team to join us in introducing everyone in the area to our scratch-made Mediterranean cuisine.

“We’re beginning to see a definite shift from Mexican to Mediterranean, and a transition from sandwiches to shawarmas,” said CEO James Park. “Mediterranean flavors have survived the test of time and now it’s become the food trend of the future. We just have to be sure not to mess with it too much because, at its core, it’s already darn close to perfect.”

When the Longmont restaurant opens, it will be the second Garbanzo in the Boulder area, 17th in Colorado, and 26th system-wide. Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh is headquartered in Colorado with 25 locations nationwide.

Fuzzy's Launches Online Ordering

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop launches online ordering, allowing guests to more conveniently order and pick up food from one of Fuzzy’s 139 locations. Online ordering is available through the Fuzzy’s website, offering the entire menu.

“Our goal is always to ensure our guests have the most seamless and enjoyable possible experience each-and-every-time they come to a Fuzzy’s Taco Shop,” said Mel Knight, President of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. “With online ordering we have the opportunity to make our customers’ experience even more convenient before they even step foot into our restaurants.”

Fuzzy’s will launch online ordering on their mobile app in mid-April.

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar Makes Its Tennessee Debut

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar opened in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Monday, April 2.

“This is a huge moment for the entire Bad Daddy’s family, to break into the Tennessee market and introduce the people of Chattanooga – and all across South East Tennessee – to our insanely delicious, award-winning burgers,” said District Manager Nick Leach. “We’ve earned a distinctive reputation in the burger world for the unique culinary passion we put into our hamburgers, and we can’t wait to share this passion with the everyone in the area. We have assembled an awesome team and we’re all looking forward to becoming an integral part of the local community.”

The  Chattanooga restaurant is the 28th Bad Daddy’s system-wide, with other locations throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Georgia and Colorado.

Velvet Taco Continues Expansion

Velvet Taco announced will take over the space at 3411 McKinney Ave. in Uptown Dallas, which is currently occupied by Urban Taco. Urban Taco will close on Saturday, March 31, following dinner service to make way for Velvet Taco, which is projected to open in early September.

“This is all part of our strategic growth plan and we couldn’t be happier with our progress thus far,” said Clay Dover, President of Velvet Taco. “The Urban Taco team has been great to work with; the transition has been seamless so far and we are excited to commence construction on the Uptown location. We are also thankful to have the wonderful support of our partners – Front Burner Restaurants LP and L Catterton – and look forward to continued growth in the year ahead.”

Velvet Taco’s all-day menu features scratch-made everything, including handmade corn tortillas, slowly roasted rotisserie meats, fresh-made, kick-ass margaritas and homemade red velvet cake for dessert. The restaurant has a one-of-a-kind, funky, fast-casual setting that perfectly complements its eclectic menu featuring unique, international flavors made from only the freshest ingredients.

With the opening of Houston’s second location, and this Uptown development, Velvet Taco now has 10 restaurants open or under construction in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and Chicago.

Tropical Smoothie and ApplePie

Tropical Smoothie Cafe, one of the fastest growing franchise concepts in the country, announced today it is working with ApplePie Capital to offer new and existing franchisees access to up to $20 million in debt capital to drive continued expansion across the U.S. 

"Tropical Smoothie Cafe is committed to helping our franchisees grow and prosper, and we are excited to launch this program with ApplePie. They are franchising professionals who understand the needs of our franchisees to help foster their growth," said Charles Watson, chief development officer of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. 

"ApplePie recognizes our business model and has developed a dedicated lending program to address the financial needs of our franchisees, whether they are looking to open new locations, acquire capital for acquisitions or remodels, or looking for assistance with refinancing. Their decision to allocate $20 million to Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchisees will help us achieve our accelerating expansion efforts in key target markets across the U.S. and reach our goal of 1,000 locations by 2020."

"ApplePie Capital is thrilled to partner with Tropical Smoothie Cafe to support the growth of the brand more quickly and efficiently," said Denise Thomas, CEO and co-founder of ApplePie.

"ApplePie offers financing options that address the full spectrum of franchisee needs, and our proprietary growth products are specifically designed for franchisees with stellar franchise brands like Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The options we provide often do not require personal collateral, and we have introduced lower pricing to help accelerate their aggressive multi-unit growth plans."

Chicken Salad Chick Eyes Expansion

So far this year, Chicken Salad Chick  signed six franchise agreements to develop a dozen restaurants that will expand the chicken salad franchise into new and existing markets nationwide, including Houston, Texas; Johnson City, Tennessee and Biloxi, Mississippi. Chicken Salad Chick also opened six new locations throughout the Southeast, bringing the total unit count to 85 at the end of the first quarter.

Chicken Salad Chick concept

“Over the past several years, we’ve continued to invest time and resources into our franchise expansion efforts and as a result, we saw our unit count grow by 27 percent with system-wide sales increasing by 41 percent in 2017,” said Scott Deviney, CEO of Chicken Salad Chick. “We’re riding that momentum as we close out the first quarter and, with the help of our dedicated and loyal franchisees, are confident that we’ll continue to propel the brand forward throughout 2018 as we expand Chicken Salad Chick’s footprint.”

In addition to the brand’s widespread growth, Chicken Salad Chick is continuing to experience tremendous success with new restaurants reporting record-breaking first week sales throughout the first quarter. On the heels of achieving positive comp sales of 8.4 percent in 2017 on top of double-digit increases the year prior, the company also saw a 14 percent increase in average unit volume (AUV) at the end of last year.

A New Walk-On's 

Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar opened in the Huebner Oaks Center on Monday, April 2.

“I opened the first Walk-On’s in San Antonio just last year and it has been a huge hit, so we couldn’t be happier about bringing our winning combination of Louisiana-style food and drinks to everyone near Huebner Oaks,” said Franchisee Moussa Haidar. “You won’t find another menu like ours in San Antonio, and our game-day atmosphere is perfect for sports fans of all ages. We’ve assembled an awesome team of about 150 and we’re all looking forward to becoming an integral part of the community.”

The new restaurant is the second Walk-On’s in San Antonio, the fourth in Texas, and the 19th system-wide.

“We are quickly expanding across Texas thanks to extraordinary franchisee partners like Haidar,” said Scott Taylor, President & COO of Walk-On’s Enterprises. “The new restaurant is absolutely beautiful, and I know it’s going to be a very welcome addition to the dining and entertainment landscape in the Huebner Oaks Center.”

Walk-On’s now has 18 locations: four in Baton Rouge, two in New Orleans and one each in Lafayette, Houma, Shreveport, Lake Charles, Covington, Broussard, Alexandria, Gonzales, and Bossier City, La., and Lubbock, San Antonio and Tyler, Texas. Other locations are coming soon in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas, with several additional markets across the Southern U.S. likewise on the drawing board.

New Orleans Saints superstar Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, bought in as co-owners in May 2015.

Corner Bakery Teams with SpenDifference

Corner Bakery Cafe has partnered with SpenDifference to support their supply management function. As an integral part of Corner Bakery Cafe’s strategic growth initiative, SpenDifference will support the company’s purchasing and cost saving programs to maintain a competitive advantage.

“SpenDifference has a proven track record of delivering results and we’re happy to partner with them to support our company and franchise business needs,” says Frank Paci, CEO of Corner Bakery Cafe.

“We couldn’t be happier to work with the Corner Bakery Cafe team to support their supply management needs,” says Maryanne Rose, CEO of SpenDifference. “Our passion for our clients is demonstrated by our commitment to their success. The SpenDifference model allows Corner Bakery Cafe to respond competitively by providing processes and resources often only available to the largest restaurant brands. We will provide purchasing leverage, supply chain expertise, actionable business intelligence and streamlined processes that bring sustainable value to Corner Bakery Cafe.”

Sodas for Causes

The Pizza Press rolled out a fundraising initiative, Sodas for Causes, on April 1 that will run through April 2019. The Pizza Press will donate a portion of the proceeds from every fountain drink sold to Cancer for College with a goal of raising $30,000.. Since inception, Cancer for College has granted over $2.5 million in scholarships and The Pizza Press hopes to raise $30,000 to help support their mission.

"We are beyond excited to roll out this fundraising initiative to provide cancer survivors with college scholarships. By including our customer base in our efforts, we are able to spread awareness and get the community involved in raising money for a good cause that affects so many people," said Dara Maleki, CEO and founder of The Pizza Press. "It is an honor to be able to do something for cancer survivors who have unimaginably suffered but beat this terrible disease. We are working to help raise money for Cancer for College because we believe in the mission of making the world a better place for cancer survivors."

Cancer for College granted 63 scholarships in 2017 and The Pizza Press aims to help raise that number during the year-long fundraising partnership. Scholarships can be granted to any accredited college enrolled cancer survivor in the United States. Aside from granting college scholarships, Cancer for College also provides professional mentor services to low-income cancer survivors.

"We are thrilled to have The Pizza Press support our mission to make the world a better place for cancer survivors," said Greg Flores, Executive Director of Cancer for College. "Their dedicated fundraising efforts will positively impact the lives of many cancer survivors."

Pretzels on the Go

Ben's Soft Pretzels is the first soft pretzel company in the country to offer pretzel fanatics the ability to order on-the-go via their mobile device. Through the Ben's Soft Pretzels Mobile Application, customers can skip standing in line and quickly place their order and then pick it up at the closest Ben's Soft Pretzels bakery. An introductory five-percent discount on all orders placed on the mobile app will entice pretzel lovers to give mobile ordering a try. 

Ben's Soft Pretzels is the first pretzel company in the country to allow customers to order pretzels on-the-go via a mobile app.

Ben's Soft Pretzels' real estate partnerships with retailers such as Walmart, Meijer, Simon Properties and others mean that customers can order a fresh baked pretzel while they are are browsing in the sporting goods section of Meijer, getting new tires at the Walmart Auto Care Center, or while shopping at their favorite mall retailer.

"We couldn't be more excited to help our raving pretzel fans order on-the-go," said Brian Krider, Co-Founder of Ben's Soft Pretzels. "One of the best parts about being in this business is the ability to connect with our guests through our product. Now with the addition of mobile online ordering, we can foster those connections outside of the bakery and show our gratitude through the loyalty rewards program.

Imo's Gets StaffedUp

StaffedUp, a web-based staffing platform designed for the service industry, has completely streamlined the hiring process for select Imo’s Pizza franchises, a U.S. chain of pizza restaurants based in the greater St. Louis, Missouri area. A lot has changed for the family-owned and operated company since they first opened their original location. With over 90 locations currently spanning the Midwest, Imo’s Pizza has little time to focus on hiring. Imo’s Pizza is forecasting a steady growth for the year ahead and will need a crew of experienced workers on board for the long haul. Their solution: StaffedUp – built for people in the hospitality industry, by people in it.

Imo’s Pizza locations utilizing StaffedUp’s staffing tool can now find and hire job seekers with ease for roles such as a delivery driver, cook, counter service and shift managers. Applicants can apply for open positions directly on Imo's Pizza's website, for all participating locations, eliminating piles of resumes and using outside job boards. StaffedUp allows companies to promote job openings all while managing top talent through their hiring database, ensuring a pool of proficient candidates is ready to be hired during those inevitable employee turnovers. Posting jobs, managing candidates, and networking with talent can all be done through StaffedUp’s database.

Since implementing StaffedUp’s customizable hiring platform, Imo’s Pizza location’s utilizing the platform have praised the hassle-free process, favoring the pre-qualifying questions and position requirements that help in eliminating wasted time, money and energy with staff that just doesn’t fit. As a family-owned company, finding and keeping employees that represent the ethics and values Imo’s Pizza was built upon is crucial for long-lasting success from both an employer and customer satisfaction standpoint.

Imo’s Pizza locations participating in StaffedUp’s hiring software include the following: Delmar, Columbia, Delor, Eureka, Fairview, Oakville, Crestwood, Hampton, Springfield, Hillsboro, Bridgeton, Jefferson City, Mehlville, Ferguson, St. Louis, Northwood, MO; Edwardsville and Bethalto, IL; Overland Park, KS.

Sbarro Works with Revention
Sbarro, a global New York Style pizza concept, has selected Revention as their preferred point of sale provider for their Off-mall concept which offers a fast casual dine-in experience along with carry out and delivery service. All Off-mall corporate locations have implemented Revention point of sale, HungerRush online ordering and R-Enterprise, Revention’s cloud based remote management portal.
 
“Having one POS provider for our Off-mall expansion will allow us to achieve standardization across this important growth initiative. Our focus is on big data and that requires consistency,” stated Ben Mills, Vice President of IT at Sbarro. “We researched and tested numerous solutions. Revention offered all the services we needed and provided the open architecture we required for our data mining needs. Revention is the partner we were looking for.”

Revention is prepared to accommodate the continued growth of Sbarro and provide programs to encourage the franchise community to upgrade from their current technology platforms. “As a company experiencing rapid growth ourselves, we have the tools and knowledge to take our customers to the next level,” said Laura J. Gaudin, Director of Product Management. “We approach each customer as a partner, and work collaboratively with them to achieve milestones that are mutually beneficial.”
Cowboy Chicken Expands in Oklahoma

Cowboy Chicken is opening its second Oklahoma City location, coming in April to Edmond.

“Oklahoma City has really embraced Cowboy Chicken in a big way,” said Cody Trammell, franchise owner and operator with the Southern Fired Hospitality Group. “We can’t wait to bring our authentic, wood-fired flavor and one-of-a-kind dining experience to the community of Edmond.”

Construction is already underway at the new restaurant, located at 410 Bryant Ave., and Cowboy Chicken is searching for crew members.

An Edmond resident himself, Trammell has been in the restaurant business nearly 20 years. He and his business partners plan to open additional Cowboy Chicken restaurants in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and beyond over the next few years.

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