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Franchise Daily Digest: March 27

Franchise Daily Digest: March 27

Free school lunches and a rent revolution are among today’s top stories.

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With the coronavirus crisis ongoing, many brands are enacting policies and changes to protect the wellbeing of staff and consumers. We’ve collated all of the biggest news and information below, for today’s franchise daily digest:

Yum! Brands has closed 7,000 of its international restaurants

As the international franchisor of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, Yum! Brands is hardly small fry when it comes to the food and beverage space. But even the giants haven’t been immune to COVID-19, as the parent company has now closed around 7,000 of its restaurants – including more than 1,000 domestic Pizza Hut Express locations, and more than 900 KFCs in the U.K.

These closures make up around 14 per cent of Yum!’s overall portfolio, which currently sits at 50,000.

“We and our franchisees have also experienced significant store closures and instances of reduced store-level operations that have resulted in reduced operating hours and dining-room closures,” a Yum! Brands representative said, when speaking with QSR. “In markets where governments have imposed restrictions on travel outside of the home or where customers are practicing social distancing, restaurant traffic has also been significantly impacted.”

Slim Chickens franchisee hands out free school lunches

Mike Morland, a multi-unit Slim Chickens franchisee based in Columbia, Missouri, recently organized for free Slim Chickens lunchboxes to be distributed amongst kids from Cedar Ridge Elementary School, so that children who usually depended on a school lunch would still have some sustenance amidst school closures.

“When I reached out to Cedar Ridge Elementary School (a school that we had an existing relationship with) they were really excited about our offer,” Morland told Global Franchise. “We’ve always tried to build and maintain relationships with several schools nearby our location and this was just another way we could help. The principal made every effort to let students know when and where we would be and even showed up to the event to show support for the students.”

Slim Chickens multi-unit franchisee Mike Moreland
Slim Chickens multi-unit franchisee Mike Moreland

When speaking about what he feels franchises should be doing to support their networks, Morland said: “I think it’s a case-by-case situation. First and foremost is the safety of our teams and our customers. If you are in a position to help then do what you can to be present in your community during challenging times, even if it’s just keeping a steady flow of communication via social media letting the community know we are there to help in any way that we can.”

The Cheesecake Factory advises landlords that it won’t be paying rent

In a letter obtained by Eater, David Overton, chairman, founder, and CEO of The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, told landlords that the franchise brand would not be making any rent payments for the month of April 2020, due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus crisis.

“Due to these extraordinary events, I am asking for your patience and, frankly, your help. Unfortunately, I must let you know that The Cheesecake Factory and its affiliated

restaurant concepts will not make any of their rent payments for the month of April

2020,” said Overton. “Please understand that we do not take this action or make this decision lightly, and while we hope to resume our rent payments as soon as reasonably possible, we simply cannot predict the extent or the duration of the current crisis.”

With 38,000 employees, The Cheesecake Factory is one of the largest restaurant employers in the States. The brand currently operates 294 locations in 39 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Since the coronavirus outbreak, it has closed 27 of these locations, and many others have shifted to a takeaway-only model.

Expense Reduction Analysts to offer free business advice

The three-time Best White Collar Franchise award-winner, Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA), is now offering free business advice from its many global industry specialists, to assist businesses in navigating the rocky road ahead.

Whether a business needs advice on cash flow, maintaining supply chains, or the unfortunate prospect of making redundancies, ERA is setting out to provide guidance on these issues and anything else required.

Businesses only need to get in touch via ERA’s online portal, and they’ll be connected with the most relevant industry specialist.

British Franchise Association releases franchise support guide

The British Franchise Association (bfa) has released a franchise support guide, aimed at both businesses and individuals. The pack, which contains a whole host of information and guidance to help businesses navigate this complex landscape, is available to all bfa members through the organizations ‘bfa franchise forum group’ on LinkedIn.

Snap Fitness UK & Ireland waives all fees to support franchisees

Snap Fitness UK & Ireland, an international gym franchise, has announced it will be waiving all fees and helping to defer third party costs to ensure the financial wellbeing of its many franchisees. This will be the case until sites are able to open again, following the U.K.’s government-enforced shutdown.

“With our clubs temporarily closing as of Friday last week, it has been our number one priority to support the people who invested in us right from the get-go, our franchisees,” said Isaac Buchanan, CEO. “Without them, we wouldn’t have our 70 Snap Fitness clubs across the U.K. and Ireland, as well as all our fantastic staff and members.

“This is a chance for all franchise brands to step up and give franchisees as much support and relief as possible alongside the government measures. It is a challenging time for our industry, but with these measures, our incredible franchisees can continue to support our club managers, PTs and many others. We will come out of this stronger than ever and with a unified team.”

Just Cuts temporarily closes branches amidst coronavirus health concerns

Australia’s largest hairdressing franchise, Just Cuts, has closed down for at least the next four weeks after its CEO, Denis McFadden, pleaded with the Australian government to close hair salons.

This past week, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison announced the closure of all non-essential businesses, to prevent any further spread of COVID-19. This did not, however, include hairdressers and barbers, who were instead encouraged to remain open by maintaining a distance of four square meters per person.

“We had hoped that common sense would finally kick in and the State, Federal and Territory Governments would act on the medical advice that safe distancing is critical,” said McFadden. “National Cabinet has today failed to act on our pleas to add hairdressing to the list of non-essential services. How can we ask them to continue when everything and all the medical experts says the risks are too high?”

Texas Roadhouse CEO forgoes salary and bonus to pay for front-line restaurant employees

Franchise businesses are all dealing with the impact of COVID-19 in different ways, but the financial impact has been massive across the board. This is true for both the businesses themselves, but also the employees still manning cash registers and serving customers.

For Texas Roadhouse, the steakhouse franchise with more than 600 locations in 49 states, the outcome of this ongoing crisis has shone a positive light on the brand. W. Kent Taylor, CEO of the brand, has agreed to forgo his salary and bonus from the period of March 18, 2020, to January 7, 2021, as reported by MarketWatch, so that front-line workers can still receive their full pay during times of uncertainty.

Helen Doron Educational Group to hold international webinar
Recent winner of the Global Franchise Award for Global Mentorship, Helen Doron Educational Group is continuing to set standards within the education industry. To share some of its insight and encourage new franchisees to join a proven concept, the brand is hosting an online webinar on April 16, which is completely free to attend.

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