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Tony Roma’s Celebrates 45 Years of Happy “Rib Faces”

PR Web - 6 hours 21 min ago

Special 45th Anniversary Menu and Recent Launch of Global Prototype Restaurant in Orlando Mark Tony Roma’s Celebration of 45 “Ribtastic” Years

(PRWeb January 11, 2017)

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Dream Dinners Names Ashley Sawyer Director of Franchise Development

PR Web - 6 hours 21 min ago

Sawyer to lead franchise development team in national expansion initiative

(PRWeb January 11, 2017)

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Former NFL Player Enjoys Life After Football with Rita’s Italian Ice

PR Web - 6 hours 21 min ago

Donald Thomas Has Seen Tremendous Success as a Rita’s Franchisee

(PRWeb January 11, 2017)

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milliCare Ranked Among the Franchise Elite in Entrepreneur's...

PR Web - 6 hours 21 min ago

milliCare Named One of 2017's Top Franchises

(PRWeb January 11, 2017)

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Terry McKenna Releases Mini-Book about Customer Service Brand...

PR Web - 6 hours 21 min ago

Customer service is an organization’s only viable, long-term, sustainable, competitive advantage.

(PRWeb January 11, 2017)

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Double-Digit Cruise and Land Sales Growth for CruiseOne, Dream...

PR Web - 6 hours 21 min ago

High engagement, automated technology and innovative marketing campaigns provide home-based travel agencies...

(PRWeb January 11, 2017)

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Enabling Technologies and CallTower Partner to Provide Enhanced...

PR Web - 6 hours 21 min ago

Delivering on premise unified communications functionality in the cloud to MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions

(PRWeb January 11, 2017)

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Just Let Me Do It Partners with NEXT Franchise Systems to Launch...

PR Web - 6 hours 21 min ago

The fast-growing commercial handyman services company to open franchises in markets across the United States

(PRWeb January 11, 2017)

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Green Commercial Cleaning Franchise Stratus Building Solutions Ranked...

PR Web - 6 hours 21 min ago

Stratus Building Solutions rank among Franchise 500 increases 165 spots year over year, recognizing growth and new franchise system enhancements.

(PRWeb January 10, 2017)

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Sarku Japan Becomes a DTT Decade Partner

PR Web - 6 hours 21 min ago

DTT announces today an exciting partnership development with Sarku Japan, one of the largest Japanese QSR operators in the United States.

(PRWeb January 10, 2017)

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A regional Midwest chain was just named one of America's best...

Topix - Wed, 2017-01-18 23:24

Culver's ranks as the country's second-favorite burger chain, losing only to West Coast icon In-N-Out, according to Restaurant Business ' annual list of America's Favorite Chains. The list uses data from Technomic to find the chains with the best reputations when it comes to areas including service, ambiance, convenience, quality, and value.

Categories: Today's Food News

Restaurants: All politics is local

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-01-18 22:55

Joe Kefauver is managing partner of Align Public Strategies, a full-service public affairs and creative firm that helps corporate brands, governments and nonprofits navigate the outside world and inform their internal decision-making. This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of Nation’s Restaurant News.

Most of us are familiar with the famous quip from legendary former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill, “All politics is local.” For many employers, never has it had more meaning than right now. I have been ringing the bell, banging the drum and shouting from the rooftops for years to the restaurant industry and other entry-level employers that threats to the business model are increasingly unfolding at the local level of government.  The forums in which minimum wage increases, restrictive scheduling, paid leave and wage theft are mostly being debated are at city halls across the country, not Congress or even in many state capitols. On these core issues, the industry has been forced to spend exponentially more time and effort of late focused on the Minneapolis' of the world and not St. Paul,  the Albuquerques and not Sante Fe, the Seattle’s and not Olympia.

However, the key to being successful at the local level of government — to protecting our brands, business models and reputations — is significantly different than at the state or federal level. As an industry we have become adept at leveraging our collective political resources (PACs), our lobbying strength, and demonstrating our grassroots reach to achieve desired outcomes at higher levels of government. But at the local level, the game is much different. It is far less about money and lobbying, although they still have a role (albeit significantly diminished). 

To be successful locally, you have to be relevant in your community. You have to be a respected community partner in order to have the reputational credibility to successfully advocate for your issues. And that doesn't come from lobbyists and consultants — it comes from rolling up our sleeves and using the resources of our companies and industries to help cities, mayors and other stakeholders address local problems and challenges. It’s about sweat equity, not check writing. And wouldn’t you know it, even Uber, one of the biggest disruptors of our time and a political bad boy if there ever was one, has finally gotten the joke. 

Lately, Uber has been the national poster child for how to antagonize local governments. But just this week, they announced a new technology platform called Movement where Uber drivers in a given metropolitan area will share real-time information with transit planning agencies, researchers and ultimately the public regarding traffic patterns and vehicle speeds across cities. Basically, the company is helping local government agencies and elected officials do their job. Brilliant! As the spouse of a longtime, community transit planner who has worked directly for two mayors, I can tell you, detailed traffic information is extremely costly and labor intensive to collect. Now Uber is offering it up every day for free. For free! And the key is they aren’t focused on building relationships with elected officials who come and go (especially at the local level) but building partnerships with cities that are sustainable. Just brilliant.

Ironically, they may be stealing a page from the restaurant playbook. The industry, through the leadership of the NRA and many of their state allies, has been moving swiftly in this direction and in many communities, the industry is partnering with mayors and city councils on workforce development programs, workforce re-entry programs for veterans, homeless people and past-offender constituencies. They’re also leading summer jobs programs and the list goes on. "Helping cities solve problems" is and should continue to be a significant theme in all our outreach efforts going forward.  It will take years, but ultimately, when we walk through the door, we want mayors to see their local workforce development, recycling or hunger partners coming into their office — not the "minimum wage guys.” For those of us that have worked in government, we know all too well that animosity as a result of the wage fight — whether past or present — is the “gift that keeps on giving,”  and we need to seriously address it.

If you want to change your relationship with local government, put away your checkbook, lean in and grab a shovel. Step into a classroom to mentor. Start programs that add value to your community. No industry is better poised to do that than ours and thankfully we are underway with that process. But it will take years. And it will take real effort. Being successful at the local level is not about fly-ins and fundraisers. It’s about being engaged in a way that is meaningful to the community — on their terms — and believe it or not, it actually plays to what we do best everyday in our restaurants  —putting personal skin in the game and connecting with our community. When that becomes part of our political culture, we will then become the types of neighbors that cities want to protect.

McDonald’s looks to the Big Mac for sales growth

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-01-18 22:09

McDonald’s Corp. is going big with the Big Mac this year.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based burger giant this week introduced two new sizes of its signature Big Mac — a rare line extension for the chain’s signature sandwich.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s said on Twitter that it plans to reveal a surprise next Thursday. It’s uncertain what that surprise will be, but it appears to be related to the chain’s Big Mac promotion.

From way up here, those numbers kinda look like… an awesome surprise that’ll be unveiled soon. Who’s got a guess?

— McDonald's (@McDonalds) January 17, 2017

The bigger Grand Mac includes two patties totaling a third of a pound of beef. It costs around $5 and has nearly 900 calories. The sandwich weighs about 11 ounces in total and is roughly larger than a softball.

The smaller Mac Jr. is designed for customers who want an easy-to-hold version of the Big Mac. It costs about $3, has one patty and is 480 calories. Both sandwiches have lettuce, onions, pickles, Big Mac sauce and a sesame seed bun.

The new Big Mac sizes signal a return to new-product news for McDonald’s after an 18-month hiatus — its last new product LTO was the Third Pound Burgers in 2015. Last year, the chain focused much of its marketing on all-day breakfast and value deals, while leaving much of the innovation up to different regions.

The offer also signals a major change in thinking at McDonald’s headquarters. Outside of a brief foray into a Mac Snack Wrap that ended in 2010, McDonald’s has largely avoided any extensions of the Big Mac in the U.S. — despite news from competitors like Burger King, which is using its Whopper as a new product format.

Last year McDonald’s tested Big Macs featuring sauce laced with Sriracha in Ohio.

McDonald’s hopes the Big Mac promotion can be a shot in the arm early this year as it seeks to regain some momentum it has lost in recent months. Same-store sales in the U.S. slowed to 1.3 percent in the third quarter, and some analysts expect that number to turn negative in the fourth quarter as the chain laps a strong fourth quarter of 2015.

Mark Kalinowski, analyst with Instinet, said in a note Wednesday morning that he expects McDonald’s same-store sales to fall 1.2 percent, based on a survey with franchisees. He also expects same-store sales to fall 1.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, in which the chain also runs up against difficult comparisons from the same period in 2016. 

But one operator told Kalinowski that the Big Mac promotion “should be a winner,” and expects the chain’s $1 coffee promotion to generate traffic. 

Investor expectations appear to be increasing when it comes to McDonald’s. The company’s stock has risen more than 10 percent since early November. 

McDonald’s has signaled a willingness to do more to promote its core menu items in the past two years, and the Big Mac is central to that core. It is arguably the most well known sandwich in the restaurant industry, one so prevalent across the world that the magazine The Economist uses it as an index to measure the strength of different countries’ currencies.

Franchisee Jim Delligatti, eager to get McDonald’s to develop a bigger sandwich, started serving the Big Mac in 1967. Sales took off. McDonald’s expanded the sandwich nationwide, and it has remained on the menu ever since.

Contact Jonathan Maze at

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

Report: Chuck E. Cheese’s parent in IPO talks

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-01-18 19:57

According to a Reuters report, CEC Entertainment Inc., parent to the Chuck E. Cheese’s and Peter Piper Pizza child-oriented chains, is in talks for an initial public offering in the last half of this year. 

Irving, Texas-based CEC, which was taken private in 2014 through a $1.3 billion deal with Apollo Global Management LLC, has talked with banks but not yet hired underwriters, Reuters reported Tuesday. Sources said the IPO could value the company at more than $1 billion.

A CEC Entertainment spokeswoman said Wednesday that she had nothing to add to the reports.

Chuck E. Cheese’s has been expanding its menu items geared toward adults and increased value offerings in order to build frequency, said Thomas Leverton, CEC CEO, in an interview last June. 

“We’ve spent a lot of time working on mom and dad and that veto [vote],” Leverton said. “Your average kid who comes to Chuck E. wants to come 11 times a year; they come three times a year. The difference between that and the 11 times a year they want to come is the mom and dad veto.” 

Chuck E. Cheese’s is also modernizing by phasing out game tokens for computer-chip tap-to-play cards at its popular arcade-style games. 

CEC Entertainment owns the similar entertainment and dining brand Peter Piper Pizza, the 147-unit company it acquired in October 2014 from ACON Investments LLC.

In Securities and Exchange Commission filings for the third quarter ended Oct. 2, CEC Entertainment reported revenues or $223.7 million, up from $217 million in the prior-year quarter. The company narrowed its net loss to $2.4 million from $3.2 million in the same quarter last year.

As of Oct. 2, CEC had 742 units, 557 company-owned and the remaining 185 franchised, in 47 states and 12 other countries and territories.

Contact Ron Ruggless at

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

The Most Important Steps To Establishing Your Brand Online  

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-01-18 18:30

It’s hard isn’t it?

Yes, I’m talking about establishing your brand online. As you have probably learned, you can’t just throw up a cool-looking website and then expect thousands of visitors to come flocking to it.

It doesn’t work that way. And it’s pretty frustrating, right? You’ve probably dabbled in social media. You may have even written a few blog posts.

But nobody comes to visit. And you’re probably about to lose your mind.

To add salt to the wound, you have probably seen many business owners make it look easy. How do they get so many visitors and subscribers?

Here’s reality: it’s not easy at all. Building a strong online presence takes a lot of time and hard work. But that’s not all. It also requires you to make sure you’re taking the right steps. After all, you don’t want to waste time working hard on something that isn’t going to get you anywhere, do you?

Online Branding Steps

That’s what this post is about. In this post, I’m going to give you some basic pointers that will set you on the path to building a thriving online presence. You will learn the steps you need to take to begin earning more traffic, getting more subscribers, and converting customers.

Start Your Blog

If you have done any reading on online marketing, you’ve already learned why blogging is important for business owners. Blogs remain one of the most powerful tools for expanding your influence, building credibility, and getting more exposure for your business.

Businesses who blog earn tons more leads than those that don’t.

Here are some of the benefits of blogging:

  • Blogging improves your search engine rankings, making it easier for prospective clients to find your business online.
  • It increases the likelihood that prospects will become paying clients.
  • Blogs are a great way to build your email list.

So why don’t more entrepreneurs blog? Well, one of the reasons is because they believe it’s too hard to build and maintain one.

But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are steps you can follow to establish a high-quality blog.

Start Creating Content

After you have chosen your platform and web host, and your blog is completely set up, you need to start creating content. This is the part you’ve been waiting for, right?

Not so fast.

Before you start writing content you need to have a plan. You don’t want to just start writing whatever you feel like writing. You need to know what type of content you need to write.

Fortunately, this isn’t too hard. You just need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of information does my audience need? What questions are they asking?
  • What types of blog posts would work the best for my readers?
  • What have others in my industry written about? How can I take a unique approach?

Here’s the thing: you’re not just writing content for the sake of writing content. Each blog post you write needs to have one objective: to benefit your readers as much as possible.

People don’t read content that isn’t helpful. Chances are, if they came to your blog it’s because they believe you’re providing information that they need. You need to deliver the goods!

Create Your Social Media Strategy

Creating a blog is an important step, but it’s pretty much useless if nobody reads it, right? That’s where social media comes in.

Social media is the best way to promote your content and your business. It’s the tool you will use to attract visitors to your blog and your website. An effective social media strategy can get your website more exposure and enable you to interact with your audience.

Use The Right Social Media Platform

Before implementing a social media strategy, you need to know which platforms to use. Otherwise, you might be wasting a lot of time posting on platforms that your audience doesn’t use.

The key is to find out which services your target market is using the most. You have to understand the demographics that make up your audience. Fortunately, you may already know this if you’re familiar with your industry.

Social Media Marketing Is About Being Helpful

Just like writing content, your main objective when using social media should be to help as many people as you can. It’s not about just promoting your products and services. Social media should be used to share your content and engage with your prospective clients.

Now, I’m not saying that you should never use social media to promote your products and services. It’s a great way to create awareness of what your business offers. However, you don’t want to overdo it.

One effective method for sharing on social media is to use the 30/60/10 rule. Here’s how this works:

You don’t have to stick hard and fast to that ratio. You might find that tweaking it a bit will work better for your business. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Find out what’s most effective for you.

Build Your Email List

When you start earning more traffic from your content marketing and social media efforts, it’s time to start converting these visitors into subscribers. This is how you will build your online audience and keep in touch with your followers.

Not only is email marketing great for building and nurturing your audience, it’s a highly effective way to get more customers. Email marketing is 40 times more effective than using only social media to attract business.

Give A Compelling Offer

How many times have you visited a website and been offered something cool for free? No doubt you’ve probably downloaded at least a few ebooks, checklists, and other types of content from sites that had valuable information to share.

Chances are, you only had to type in your email address, then download the goods, right?

So why does this work? Well it’s a little thing called the “reciprocity principle.” It simply means that if you give something valuable to another person, they will be more willing to give you something that you want.

In order to get subscribers, you have to offer something valuable. You can’t expect your visitors to give you their highly-prized email address if they’re not going to get anything out of it.

The great thing about this is that it’s not too difficult. You just have to think of what types of information would be the most valuable to your visitors.

Here are a few examples of free offers you can give to your readers:

  • Ebooks
  • Cheat sheets
  • Checklists
  • White papers
  • A free consultation
  • A video teaching

Not too hard right? But here’s the key: it has to be something that goes deeper than the value you’re already providing on your blog. You have to give them a reason to want it.

Engage With Your Audience

After you have gained permission to contact your visitors, you need to engage with them. This is where you will develop your email marketing campaigns.

When email your list, you don’t want to send only promotional materials. Similar to social media campaigns, email marketing should be used to provide value to your readers. Otherwise, they will stop opening your emails. They may even unsubscribe.

You don’t want that, right?

Figure out ways you can give your readers more of what they want: helpful information. Here are some suggestions:

  • Send updates on your latest blog posts.
  • Give content that only your email list gets to see.
  • Ask for some feedback from your audience. It’s a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your subscribers.
  • Give your readers a “behind the scenes” look at what your business is doing.

When you’re focused on providing more value with your email marketing, your readers will be more likely to spend their money with you. You don’t want to send a ton of sales emails if you’re not also providing a benefit to your readers.


Building an online footprint isn’t easy. It does take time. You will need to work hard to promote your website and build a healthy following. Most businesses don’t get instant results.

But if you’re consistent, you will be able to build an engaged audience. It does require perseverance, but when you finally start getting more clients, the hard work will pay off.

Computer User Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "The Most Important Steps To Establishing Your Brand Online  " was first published on Small Business Trends

More Consumers Can Soon Try Grocery Delivery From Amazon (Watch)

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-01-18 16:30

Grocery delivery is a growing trend in markets around the U.S. But some of those who could most benefit from getting their groceries delivered, like those living in food deserts, can’t afford it.

That’s about to change in a few select communities though. Amazon and six other companies are taking part in a pilot program to deliver groceries to families on SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Families on the program can use their SNAP funds to purchase eligible healthy items from Amazon, like vegetables and meat. They then pay only service and delivery fees to get their food items delivered right to their front doors.

The program is slated to last for two years. And at that point, the U.S. Department of Agriculture may choose to expand it to even more states.

For the companies like Amazon that are participating, this program also presents a unique opportunity. It introduces more customers to grocery delivery services who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to consider them.

The Benefits of Market Testing

It doesn’t matter whether your small business has  the opportunity to participate in a government program or not. It’s a good idea to find ways to serve customers who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to your products or services. That includes customers who might not ordinarily be able to afford what your business provides.

Those customers still represent an untapped market. And finding ways to serve them ultimately can bring more revenue to your bottom line.

Perhaps you could dream up a more affordable version of your product or service or find a non-profit or other organization to help defray the cost. Either way, you’re increasing your customer base and the potential word of mouth your business gets in the community. So there’s plenty of positives to consider.

Delivery Drone Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "More Consumers Can Soon Try Grocery Delivery From Amazon (Watch)" was first published on Small Business Trends

AutoNews Now: Supplying jobs by shifting into park

AutoNews - Wed, 2017-01-18 16:15
How GM creates supply jobs by shifting into park; SEC fines GM; Amazon patents tech for autonomous commutes; Jag E-Pace spied; Mini Countryman gets the Works; Loyalty awards.
Categories: Latest News