Pizza chains face additional challenges when it comes to complying with the calorie-posting requirements soon to come under the Affordable Care Act. "There are 33 million ways to sell a Domino’s Pizza, so coming up with a way to put calories in a menu for 33 million varieties is a little bit difficult," said Domino's CEO J. Patrick Doyle, who is slated to explain the issues to federal regulators.
KFC and Taco Bell parent Yum! Brands is still bullish on China, despite a forecast for a 4% drop in same-store sales, executives said Thursday. The company plans to open about 700 new restaurants in China next year, many of them centered in less-populated smaller cities, said CEO David Novak.
Some franchisees are choosing to get involved with multiple brands in an effort to protect themselves from economic turbulence. "Having a diversity of brands is healthy for a franchisee's portfolio," IFA President and CEO Stephen Caldeira said. "Increasingly, as credit has been difficult to access, especially for aspiring franchisees, opportunities for existing successful multiconcept franchisees have become more prevalent."
Regulatory uncertainty continues to make for a difficult economic climate, Tasti D-Lite CEO Jim Amos and FastSigns CEO Catherine Monson say. "There's so much uncertainty out there right now with what’s going to happen with taxes; we still don't know the full impacts of Obamacare, hundreds of thousands of new regulations and we need to know what's going on to be able to make good decisions and then grow our businesses because of that," Monson said.
Slowing sales and growing competition have quickservice chains from Burger King and Wendy's to Sbarro and Del Taco sprucing up their stores, with remodels designed to modernize their look and create an appeal that makes guests want to linger and return more often. "As we're elevating the customer experience through the menu strategy, it's also important that we do the same for ambiance," said Panda Express VP of architecture and engineering Tabassum Zalotrawala.