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2014 Taste of Franchising

Members of the franchise community may enjoy the diversity of the sector’s food and beverage concepts during the international franchise association’s 54th annual convention’s taste of franchising event on feb. 22.  Delectable dishes, flavorful beverages and the company of your colleagues make this popular event a networking haven. Donated food and beverage items will be provided by association-member franchisor companies including:


Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt (Title Sponsor)
Menchie’s is the world’s largest self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. It was recognized in Forbes as “America’s Top 100 Most Promising Companies.” Menchie’s creates lasting memories with its mission of making people smile. As a world leader, Menchie’s ensures best-in-class products and is the ambassador of frozen yogurt quality worldwide. With 400 stores, the company has locations open in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, United Arab Emirates and more. In 2013, Menchie’s was featured on CBS’ Emmy-award winning television show, “Undercover Boss.”

CICI'S 8CiCi’s Pizza
Declared America’s favorite pizza chain and ranked No. 1 in the 2012 Market Force consumer study, CiCi’s Pizza is the nation’s largest pizza buffet concept with approximately 500 restaurants in 34 states. Its family-friendly restaurants feature a delicious, custom pizza buffet that includes pastas, salads, soups and desserts for one great price. Franchisees benefit from 28 years of brand heritage, a 2-to-1 sales-to-investment ratio and four distinct revenue streams: the custom buffet, catering, to-go orders and a game room.

Forever Yogurt circular 2.1.12_transForever Yogurt
Forever Yogurt is a self-serve frozen yogurt chain that has one of the highest per-store- sales averages in the industry. Each store is custom designed to best fit the area served, creating a unique look and feel for each Forever Yogurt store a customer visits. Currently the leading frozen yogurt provider in Chicago, the franchise is looking to expand into cities that allow substantial traffic and continuing growth. An option to broaden sales with an additional in-store kiosk, “froth” Espresso & Hot Chocolate Bar, may be a good expansion option for your store.

Great American Cookies logoGreat American Cookies
Founded in 1977 on the strength of an old family chocolate chip cookie recipe, Great American Cookies has set the standard for gourmet cookie sales in a fun, celebratory environment. Great American Cookies is known for its signature Cookie Cakes, trademark flavors and menu of delectable products baked fresh in store.

peterbrooke_chocolatierPeterbrooke Chocolatier
Peterbrooke Chocolatier originally opened in 1983 in Jacksonville, Fla. with the mission to translate the art of European chocolate making into an American neighborhood experience. Its mission continues some 30 years later with a network of 25 stores, including its original store still in operation. The company’s plan is to bring Peterbrooke Chocolatiers to neighborhoods throughout the United States and abroad. The company is supported by its 30,000 sq. ft. production facility based in Jacksonville.

PJsCoffee_logo-webPJ’s Coffee of New Orleans
PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans was founded in 1978 by Phyllis Jordan, a pioneer in the coffee industry who demonstrated that better beans, superior roasting techniques and pure passion for the art of coffee-making, mattered. PJ’s Coffee serves a wide variety of hot, iced and frozen coffee beverages using only the top 1 percent of Arabica beans, as well as organic tea and fresh breakfast pastries. PJ’s famous iced coffees are brewed daily using a special cold-drip process that protects the flavor and strength of the beans while producing a coffee that is two-thirds less acidic – a process pioneered by its founder. Bags of whole bean coffee and single-serve cups of PJ’s Coffee are available in-store and online.

Popeyes was founded in 1972 in New Orleans and currently has 2,153 restaurants in 28 countries making it the world’s second largest chicken QSR chain based on number of restaurants. Popeyes is all about the food, and as a result, over the years it has earned countless awards in the QSR and culinary industries. The taste and quality of its signature bone-in Bonafide® Chicken is legendary. The company believes that success is in the details, so it prepares its Bonafide® Chicken fresh and marinates it for 12 hours in Louisiana seasonings, then hand-batters and fries it until golden brown. The company’s unique and flavorful sides further set it apart from the competition, driving guests to return often.

SmoothieKing Logo 4cSmoothie King
Smoothie King first introduced the nutritional, fresh-blended fruit smoothie 40 years ago when founder Steve Kuhnau began experimenting with mixing real fruit, nutrients and proteins in a blender at home. Soon, his concoctions began to have a positive impact on his health, spawning the creation of the first Smoothie King in 1973. By 1989, Smoothie King had become the first franchised smoothie bar/health food store in the United States. Since then, the brand has expanded its reign to include a wide selection of healthy retail products including sports beverages, energy bars, healthy snacks, vitamin supplements, herbs, minerals and other sports nutrition products. Today, Smoothie King has more than 600 units worldwide, operating in 32 U.S. states, the Cayman Islands, Korea and Singapore.

Toppers red and goldToppers Pizza
In 1991, Toppers Pizza began its quest to become the best pizza company in the world by mastering every detail of the customer experience. Headquartered in Whitewater, Wis., Toppers takes a unique approach to the crowded pizza segment by offering mouthwatering specialty pizzas that start with its fresh, made-from-scratch dough, smothered in real Wisconsin cheese and finished with outrageous toppings such as French fried onions, oven-roasted tomatoes, mac ‘n cheese and Tater Tots®. Toppers’ claim to fame comes in the form of Topperstix, arguably the planet’s most addictively delicious cheesy breadsticks. The Toppers empire encompasses 55 restaurants across 10 states and with its rapid expansion, it is in the midst of Midwest and national domination. In 2013, Entrepreneur magazine ranked Toppers as one of the top 500 franchises in the United States, Nation’s Restaurant News declared the brand as one of the 50 breakout chains of the year, and Toppers received the No. 58 spot in Pizza Today’s top 100 pizza companies.

voodoo_BBQVooDoo BBQ & Grill
VooDoo BBQ & Grill, like its home city, New Orleans, is a melting pot of different cultures and influences. It offers cuisine that respects established culinary traditions − Southern, Caribbean, Creole, Cajun and French − but combines them in fresh ways to serve up something new. There’s much more to VooDoo BBQ than just the smoked meats; the sides are just as important. Consider Gris Gris Greens, simmered until tender, then seasoned with a little spice and lean pork − or one-of-kind corn pudding or sweet potato soufflé; all defy description. Voodoo is more than traditional BBQ, it serves great po-boy sandwiches, barbecued seafood, Mardi Gras style salads and Louisiana legends, like red beans and rice, gumbo and jambalaya. The restaurants provide a “New Orleans Style” dining experience reminiscent of the French Quarter. At VooDoo BBQ, it’s simply called “Lagniappe,” providing a little something extra in everything it does.

wowcafeTaglines2WOW Café: American Grill & Wingery
WOW Café: American Grill & Wingery was launched in 2001 by New Orleans native Paul Ballard. Originally WOW Café & Wingery, Ballard envisioned offering diners a “World of Wings” with a large selection of fresh chicken wings and sauces featuring flavors from around the world. Today, the fast casual grill is owned and operated by Ballard and his two brothers, Steven and Scott, and features an extensive menu of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, fresh salads, as well as wings, tenders and 17 signature sauces. WOW strives to create an All-American grill that serves the highest quality food made with the freshest ingredients. WOW can be found coast-to-coast, from California to Florida. With its family story deeply embedded in New Orleans culture and heritage, it strives to bring a piece of home into every restaurant.

YEAH! BURGER is an upscale fast-casual restaurant brand committed to using natural and organic ingredients and eco-friendly practices. YEAH! BURGER creates “Food You Can Feel Good About” – food without harmful chemicals and heavy processing, food from farmers it knows, and food that respects the environment and the humane treatment of animals. YEAH! BURGER offers hamburgers, veggie burgers, turkey burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, salads, sides and beer, wine and cocktails. It has received national recognition from Foursquare as “America’s Favorite Cheeseburger Spot in 2013,” from Bon Appétit as one of the “Top Ten Burger Spots,” and from Nation’s Restaurant News for “Maximizing Operations with Energy Efficient Tools” and “Our Growth Potential.”

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