The Week in Franchising, June 15, 2012

Second generation Wendy's operators bow out of Texas, Bagger Dave's bags its first zee, CKE Restaurants hires a new growth chief, more franchisors extend breaks to vets.

Jim Near’s sons sell their Austin Wendy’s units
Two sons of legendary Wendy’s leader Jim Near are selling their franchises back to the company.

The units are located in Austin, Texas. A Wendy’s spokesman told the press that the market will not be refranchised, and that Austin will become a test market for the chain.

David and Jason Near had followed their father into the Wendy’s system, where he’d held the CEO’s post and other top jobs during the chain’s turnaround in the late 1980s and emergence as one of the industry’s power brands. Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas joked that he should carry business cards reading, “Jim Near’s right-hand man,” a play off Near’s leadership abilities.

David Near was Wendy’s COO from 2006 to 2008, when the company was struggling to reverse a slide in sales. Wendy’s was subsequently purchased by activist shareholder Nelson Peltz, who put in his own management team. 

First franchised Bagger Dave’s opens
Bagger Dave’s, the burger concept uncorked by Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee Diversified Restaurant Holdings, has awarded its first franchise.

Fellow BWW franchisees Bill Zellmer and Lonnie Griggs have signed on to open six Bagger Dave’s units in the Midwest during the next five years. The first, in Girardeau, Missouri, opened June 10.

Diversified operates eight Bagger Dave’s and 22 BBWs.

Carl’s & Hardee’s franchisor names domestic growth chief
The parent of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s has hired the other Jim Sullivan—the veteran of Friendly’s domestic expansion, not the book author and consultant—as senior vice president of domestic franchising.

Sullivan was formerly chief development officer of Friendly’s, which filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection last fall and emerged from court supervision eary this year. In his new post, Sullivan is responsible for franchise sales and domestic expansion of Carl’s and Hardee’s, which are both franchised by CKE Restaurants Inc.

Wild Egg daytime chain starts franchising
Wild Eggs, the Louisville, Ky.-based breakfast-and-lunch chain, plans to start franchising. One of the brand’s four full-service restaurants operates outside of Kentucky, in Denver.

Two more franchisors offer breaks for vets
The franchisor of Dick’s Wings & Grill is waiving the upfront fee for veterans who sign on as franchisees. The brand is own by American Restaurant Concepts.

Bennigan’s is also cutting its franchisee fees and offering other incentives to veterans, a move that will save newcomers to its system about $35,000, the franchisor announced this week.

The casual-dining stalwart is participating in Operation Enduring Opportunity, an initiative undertaken by the International Franchise Association to put 75,000 vets and spouses and 5,000 “wounded warriors” on career paths in the franchise sector by 2014.

U-Swirl adds Houston zee
The U-Swirl chain of frozen yogurt “cafes” has awarded a 10-unit franchise to the Palmer family of Texas. The Palmers will build the stores in the Houston market during the next four years.

Sheryl Palmer is the CEO of Taylor Morrison, a home builder, and Dale Palmer has 25 years of experience in operating restaurants, according to U-Swirl

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