Rod Guinn's Blog (115)

The Smack Of Firm Leadership (or not)

OK.  I’ll ask you to bear with me a bit on this one, as I’m starting well out in left field.  (Or, to really milk the analogy, somewhere behind the first violins.)

One of the things I like about The Economist -- both print and online -- is that it manages to provide deep, generally thoughtful coverage on business,…

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Added by Rod Guinn on September 11, 2012 at 10:12am — No Comments

The Other Side Isn’t Always The Enemy; Sometimes, They’re Cleaning Up Your Messes

Think of this as part two of my prior posting on legal documents ...

In two transactions recently, I’ve had the following experience.  (In each case, it was an investor and an operator, but it could just as well have been lender and investor, or lender and operator.)  As the parties drew near to the final signing of…

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Added by Rod Guinn on August 30, 2012 at 8:53am — No Comments

Crossing “T”s, Dotting “I”s

After many months, more than a few near-death experiences, and the usual bureaucratic hurdles and personality disorder symptoms, one of my clients is about to conclude a complete refinancing of its balance sheet -- paying off existing lenders, buying back the ownership of a departing minority shareholder, and replacing everything with new lenders, some new minority investors, and sufficient capital to continue a successful…

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Added by Rod Guinn on August 15, 2012 at 6:26pm — No Comments

Who’s In Control?

I recently sat through three very interesting meetings which focused, in very different ways, on the realities of control.  They pointed out, once again, a lesson which is worth understanding: one needn’t always own a majority of the stock, or equity, of a company to be able to control it, at least in key ways which influence its behavior and future prospects.  I’ll describe…

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Added by Rod Guinn on August 1, 2012 at 2:18pm — No Comments

Lake Wobegon Syndrome

As I’ve probably mentioned lately, I’ve recently worked with several clients on debt-raise projects.  Based on that experience, as well as others over the years, I’ve begun to identify a malaise among credit providers which I’ll refer to as Lake Wobegon Syndrome.

By now,…

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Added by Rod Guinn on July 18, 2012 at 11:51am — No Comments

Declaration of Interdependence

So last Friday, an Open Letter entitled “How Can America Win This Election?” was posted on the Starbucks Responsibility page by “Howard S”, the Chairman, President, and CEO of Starbucks.  [Here’s the link: How-can-america-win-this-election]  Already two schools of thought have developed around…

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Added by Rod Guinn on July 4, 2012 at 12:39pm — No Comments

Learning To Love (Or Live With) The Downside; Today’s Debt Market

Think of a business opportunity.  Those exalted few among us who are the entrepreneurs, the builders, the creators, see the opportunity to make something new.  The operators, who make the wheels turn and the earth move, see the opportunity to make something better.  The investors, who sometimes get a bum rap (and sometimes deserve it), see the opportunity to bring their asset (capital) in order to fund the…

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Added by Rod Guinn on June 20, 2012 at 9:22am — No Comments

Why You’re Not Like Facebook (But You Could Be)

This is about two companies: 

One is a current client of mine, a company which has defied the odds by remaining profitable (and even growing a bit) through the Great Recession, basically by doing what it does very well despite the economic pressures.  Alas, it’s slipped a bit in recent months,…

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Added by Rod Guinn on June 6, 2012 at 11:11am — No Comments

Until It’s Time For You To Go

Those of us of a certain age will recall a song of this title written by Buffy Sainte-Marie and later recorded by almost everyone -- from Elvis to Barbra Streisand to Michael Nesmith to Cher.  Obviously, given that roster, the song and its lyrics had a universal resonance, with their bittersweet subject of a romance between two people who each knew the romance was destined to end.…

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Added by Rod Guinn on May 9, 2012 at 1:08pm — No Comments

Who Is Watching What You Can’t See?

I’m working on a longterm project for a fast-growing concept, with operations already scattered over four states and more to open this year.  It’s an exciting time for this company: the concept’s been refined to enable fast growth, the capital’s in hand, and performance is strong.

One of the essential controls which was recently reinforced…

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Added by Rod Guinn on April 25, 2012 at 1:14pm — No Comments

Suddenly, We Are What Our Customers Require Us To Be

For the past few years, we’ve heard industry leaders and visionaries telling us that social media was going to change the way businesses interacted with their customers, and vice versa.  Notably, most of these leaders were not from the retail, restaurant, food manufacturing, or consumer products industries, but from the various internet communities and social media hubs.  We all listened as people like Mark…

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Added by Rod Guinn on April 10, 2012 at 7:10pm — No Comments

Not-so-Random Thoughts From The 2012 RLC ...

Each spring, just as spring training is wrapping up, Scottsdale is the scene of the Restaurant Leadership Conference.  It’s neither the largest, nor by most measures the most frenetic of the key restaurant conferences; the first title must go to Chicago’s NRA extravaganza, and arguably the second goes to the well-run, but adrenaline-filled, RFDC in Las Vegas (the adrenaline perhaps unavoidably due to the locale as well…

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Added by Rod Guinn on March 29, 2012 at 8:07am — 1 Comment

March Madness, or Choosing a Dance Partner

If one is exposed to commercial media this week, one can’t avoid hearing about March Madness or The Big Dance.  (Note to all who are otherwise occupied: it’s the annual NCAA College Basketball Tournament, which undermines or eliminates productivity across vast swathes of the populace for hours of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday over the next two weeks before its semifinal and final rounds March 31 and April…

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Added by Rod Guinn on March 14, 2012 at 5:19pm — No Comments

Doing It Right

Yes, I’m the finance geek here, and my blog on FohBoh is typically about the breathtaking worlds of accounting, lending, investing, budgeting, and other heartpounding subjects.  [Side note: you may be aware that over the past thirty years there’s been a decided lack of thrilling movies about accounting and lending; hence my problems getting a best-selling book published.]  However, I do have one advantage: because I get to…

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Added by Rod Guinn on February 29, 2012 at 7:30pm — No Comments

The Pipeline

At various times in my career I have worked in institutions which more or less depend on the steady flow of new business to insure their continued profitability.  Hmmm ... sounds a lot like a restaurant so far, doesn’t it?  Hold that thought -- there are some important differences, and at least the beginnings of some tools to minimize those differences.  Let’s play this idea out a…

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Added by Rod Guinn on February 15, 2012 at 8:10pm — No Comments

Scary Ideas? Good Ideas?

There are two distinct, yet related, ideas in brand extensions which have been in the news recently.  I’m going to be following both with more than idle curiosity to see if they create added brand awareness, added traffic, or a negative backlash -- or all three.

First ... Friendly’s and Burger…

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Added by Rod Guinn on February 2, 2012 at 3:00am — 2 Comments

In which would you invest? To which would you lend?

I’ve had some interesting encounters recently with both existing operators and aspiring entrepreneurs armed with business plans.  Today, I’ll give a brief synopsis of several (with names and other distinguishing characteristics disguised); I welcome comments on which seem likely to be successful businesses, as well as debt and/or equity investments, and perhaps we’ll have followups on a few in the coming…

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Added by Rod Guinn on January 19, 2012 at 3:30am — No Comments

Shiny and New

Now that the presents have mostly been opened, let’s evaluate our position.  I was prompted to undertake this exercise by a recent conversation which ranged from (1) the errancy of Harold Camping’s 2011 end of the world forecast, which was surely a gift for many, to (2) the as-yet unproven accuracy of Mayan calendar predictions that Mr. Camping was only a year premature, to (3) the uniquely American apocalypse being…

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Added by Rod Guinn on January 4, 2012 at 7:55pm — No Comments

Twas Three Nights Before Christmas

‘Twas three nights before Christmas, a time to prepare

For the mad rush of diners -- a hope we all share

We’ve menus all hung by the entry with care

In hopes that…

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Added by Rod Guinn on December 21, 2011 at 3:30am — 5 Comments

Fear of Franchising?

No, I’ve never read anything by Erica Jong, and there’s nothing zipless about this column -- nor, I trust, about the attitudes of the parties who inspired it.  (For those of less than a certain age, feel free to research Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying and the cultural touchstone it provided.)…

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Added by Rod Guinn on December 8, 2011 at 3:30am — 2 Comments

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DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

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