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Peter Romeo

Editor at Large

Articles by
Peter Romeo

Page 285

The Week in Franchising, March 13, 2012

A roundup of developments affecting franchisees and franchisors.

Five social-media mavens to steal from

No one’s calling you a thief, pal. But the restaurant business certainly abounds in “coincidence.” A successful idea hatched by one operator tends to appear in short order throughout the industry—in almost exactly the same form! Mini-desserts anyone?

When social media first appeared, restaurateurs worried that malcontents on their staffs would use the new soapbox to slam their employer. Little did the industry suspect that a good restaurant whine would become a staple of the new communications channels.

Maybe the industry is leery after seeing so many “trends” fizzle into fads (low-carb menu, anyone?). Or it could just be a bandwidth issue. Whatever the reason, restaurant chains clearly lag other businesses in the use of blogs as a public megaphone.

What’s ahead tech-wise for restaurants in 2012? Probably less of the pent-up demand they’ve borne in the years just prior, according to the National Restaurant Association.

The three hours leading into the Super Bowl is the busiest time of the year for the chain, by a blowout margin. Rob Crookston, franchisee of the Roslyn Heights store, will see business soar even in that unit, which is roughly the size of a single-car garage.

Relations between franchisee and franchisor have always been a make-or-break dynamic for restaurant chains. But the prescription for a mutually lucrative partnership has been scrambled a bit by the Great Recession.

The Great Recession left clear winners and losers in the chain restaurant game. Fast-food places? Burger King wasn’t the only one that could wear a crown.

Check out the new breed if franchisees, including The Super Zees, The Career Changers and The Franchisee-Franchisors.

Attention, Wall Street Occupiers: The sort of corporate conscience you’re demanding isn't alien to the restaurant business, as the trade’s leaders will be reminded at the 2012 Restaurant Leadership Conference.

Just as the week was about to close on a so-so raft of restaurant ideas, a big thinker uncorked a notion that left the whole business bug-eyed.

If you view other restaurants as your competition, meet Howard Stoeckel. He’s eating your lunch, and you may not even realize it.

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