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Academy 37 – Our Largest Class of Franchisees Ever!

Posted on February 8, 2016 at 11:01 AM

Academy 37Academy 37 is our largest class of franchisees ever!

Patrice & Associates franchise is a low overhead, professional, no inventory business with built in clients to work from Day One. We’re looking for more top notch franchisee who want to build a business and not just buy a job.

Our outstanding reputation for quality and ethics attracts high level people to join our franchise organization helping hospitality managers find jobs.

NRA to challenge New York City salt labeling rules

Posted on December 2, 2015 at 9:29 AM

The National Restaurant Association will file a lawsuit this week to challenge New York City’s new rules, effective Tuesday, that require a salt shaker icon on many chain restaurant menus, the association said Tuesday.

New York City’s Board of Health voted unanimously in September to require restaurants with 15 or more units nationwide to add warning labels — a salt shaker in a triangle — on menu items that exceed the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium.


The rules went into effect Tuesday, and violators will face a $200 fine. New York is the nation’s first city to require the sodium labels.

“While the Board of Health thinks they are targeting corporate chains, in reality they are dealing yet another blow to many of New York’s small businesses that have been working and continue to work hard to provide nutritional access to their customers,” said Christin Fernandez, an NRA spokeswoman, in an emailed statement. “That is why we are taking legal action against this latest assault which goes too far, too fast for New York’s restaurant community.”

Many multi-unit restaurant brands had complied with the new rules by Tuesday.

Dr. Mary T. Bassett, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health, tweeted a thank you to Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar on Monday, including a photograph of the chain’s menu with the salt symbol. She included the hashtag #WatchTheSalt.

Zane Tankel, chairman and CEO of New York-area Applebee’s franchisee Apple-Metro, was quoted in an NBC report as saying that the icon gives customers more information. “I think it’s important that we give them the opportunity to make the right decisions,” Tankel said.

Fernandez of the NRA said the restaurant industry has been committed to lower-sodium options for customers.

“As an association, we advocated for a uniform national menu-labeling standard on behalf of the industry. We believe consumers should have the same access to nutritional information from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Ore.,” she said.

Fernandez said mandates like those in New York City “unravel that uniformity.”

DineEquity Inc. said 48 of its IHOP and Applebee’s restaurants were affected by the rules.

“We want to provide guests choices and information so they can make the best decisions for their personal circumstances. The information provided under this rule has been readily available, and accessed by our guests, for a very long time. We believe customers are best served by a uniform national standard, and we have that under the Affordable Care Act,” Patrick Lenow, DineEquity vice president for communications and public affairs, said in a statement.

In addition to putting the salt-shaker icon on menu items, restaurants must post a warning next to the point of sale that states: “The sodium (salt) content of this item is higher than the total daily recommended limit (2,300 mg). High sodium intake can increase blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke.”

The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, the Centers for Disease Control reports. The Federal Drug Administration recommends some adults — especially those who suffer hypertension, are African-American or age 51 or older — to limit their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day.

New York City has regulated menu items in the past, banning trans fats and requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts. The city’s effort to ban the sale of sodas and sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces was rejected in June 2014 by the state supreme court.

Update: Dec. 1, 2015  This story has been updated with a comment from DineEquity Inc.

Contact Ron Ruggless at
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

New York Eleven Madison Park Restaurant doing away with tipping

Posted on at 9:26 AM

stockrestaurantcheck2015promoThe movement to do away with tipping in New York gained steam with the announcement Tuesday that fine-dining restaurant Eleven Madison Park will move to a model in which service is included in menu prices.

Eleven Madison Park owner Will Guidara told Eater NY that he would raise the price of the restaurant’s prix-fixe menu to $295 from $225 in the new year, when minimum wage rates in New York City rise $2.50, to $7.50 per hour, for tipped employees, and increase 25 cents, to $9, for non-tipped employees.

Guidara said he would keep tipping in place at his á la carte restaurant, The NoMad, also in New York.

The movement to do away with tipping was given a shot in the arm earlier this year when respected restaurateur Danny Meyer said he would gradually eliminate tipping at all of his 13 full-service restaurants, starting in November with The Modern at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Guidara worked for Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group for many years, including a stint as general manager of The Modern. He was later appointed general manager of Eleven Madison Park and ended up buying the restaurant from USHG, in partnership with executive chef Daniel Humm, in 2011.

Advocates for eliminating tipping say the model is antiquated, devalues the professionalism of servers, and creates pay imbalance between front- and back-of-house staff.

Several restaurants across the country had previously eliminated tipping, but most did it by adding an automatic service charge rather than raising menu prices. Others, including The Lazy Bear in San Francisco and Alinea and Next in Chicago, have started selling all-inclusive, non-refundable tickets, doing away both with the need to tip and preventing no-shows.

Joe’s Crab Shack, a 131-unit casual-dining seafood chain owned by Ignite Restaurant Group Inc., has been testing a no-tipping policy at 18 of its restaurants for several months, taking Meyer’s approach of raising prices instead of adding a service charge while increasing the hourly wage of front-of-the-house staff. Ray Blanchette, CEO of the Houston-based company, told Nation’s Restaurant News earlier that he expected turnover to fall and teamwork to improve.

Meyer told NRN earlier that with the increase in minimum wage and resulting higher menu prices, the wage gap between cooks and servers would rise even further, something he could address by doing away with tipping.

Contact Bret Thorn at
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

Franchisee growth continues unabated

Posted on at 9:21 AM

Applebee's restaurant

Franchisee growth continues unabated

With an unprecedented amount of financing available and a whole lot of restaurants up for sale, restaurant franchisees are finding a market in which they can quickly build large organizations, sometimes from the ground up.

Take, Tom Garrett, who resigned as CEO of Arby’s in 2010. He re-emerged on the restaurant scene two years later — as a franchisee of Burger King. Garrett founded GPS Hospitality Inc., starting with the acquisition of 42 Burger King locations in the Atlanta area. The company has done several deals since, and now has 221 units, already making GPS one of the largest franchisees in the system.

Garrett has no intent of stopping that growth. “Our goal is to have 400 GPS Hospitality restaurants by 2018, and I truly believe we can achieve that goal if we stay true to our core values,” Garrett told Nation’s Restaurant News. “In this last year alone, people have really started to recognize what kind of company we are, and that we are good operators.”

For Garrett, the move was a return to the franchisee world. He had risen from an assistant manager to become the president of RTM Restaurant Group, which for a time was the largest franchisee in the country with 775 Arby’s, before the franchisor bought the company.

Yet, the move is indicative of the current market, and the opportunities available for entrepreneurs. The market is attracting a flurry of investment from private equity groups and lenders, all eager to put money into the businesses.

It is also attracting a new generation of investors into the business, including former restaurant company executives and even those who operated businesses in other industries.

“Folks have figured out that restaurants, especially larger restaurants, are not as risky,” said Cristin O’Hara, managing director and market executive with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “They’re cash generators.”

A few key elements are driving overall investment in the restaurant business, both among brands and among franchisees.

A safe investment

Consumer investors have shifted funds to the restaurant business because it’s generally safer than other industries. Other consumer sectors, notably retail, have faced intense competition from Internet retailers that compete with lower prices and lower margins.

The restaurant business generates a ton of cash while operating a proven business that, once it gets going, can be difficult to kill.

That consistency has brought a bunch of lenders into the industry in recent years. The lenders have competed to make loans to large-scale franchise businesses. That competition is driving down the cost of loans and the terms available to these companies.

“It’s a favorable market for borrowers right now,” said Brian Frank, who heads the Restaurant Franchise Lending Group with TD Bank. “With so many lenders in the marketplace, and folks wanting to do business, the terms are very favorable to the borrower.”

Large-scale franchisees like GPS Hospitality actually represent a relatively safe investment.

“It’s a cash business,” Frank said. “You know exactly how you did at the end of every day. There are not many businesses that you know at the end of the day how much you sold.”

Brands like Burger King, Taco Bell, TGI Fridays, Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill have long track records and have thrived in good times and survived recessions. They have the strength of national brands that often advertise heavily on television.

The operators are buying market-controlling positions in the franchisees. By purchasing, say, all the Burger King locations in a given market, the operators don’t have to worry about a nearby unit run poorly by a different franchisee ruining their business. They also control the marketing message.


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