International Franchise News for April
• Anytime Fitness has signed a master franchise deal for Austria with Manfred Mitterlehner, the fitness and personal training operator of Austria-based Mitterlehner Fitness. He will continue to operate Mitterlehner Training Physio brand locations separately and independently. Within the next 12 months, however, he will convert 9 existing Mitterlehner Fitness Clubs across Austria to Anytime Fitness clubs. He also plans to open two new Anytime Fitness clubs in Vöcklamarkt and Andorf in this autumn. With this deal, parent company Self Esteem Brands will have Anytime Fitness clubs operating in 40 countries and territories.
• China is set to introduce new rules for any companies advertising on publishers’ sites, ecommerce sites, marketplaces, and search engines like Baidu. The new rules will take effect May 1, 2023. According to an article in MediaPost, identifiable requirements for Internet advertising will be heightened, assuring that people be able to identify online ads. The changes are expected to have important implications on social media marketing and Internet advertising for businesses across a range of industries.
• Johnny Rockets, in partnership with HMSHost, has opened a new restaurant at the Kempegowda International Airport in India in Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka. The new restaurant is located in Terminal 2. “With increased travel and the opening of T2, guest expectations are sure to increase,” said Jagvir Singh Rana, HMSHost’s managing director for India and the Middle East. (Also known as Bengaluru International Airport, the facility is named after Kempe Gowda I, the founder of Bangalore, and is the third busiest airport in India behind Delhi and Mumbai.)
• KFC has completed its exit from Russia, brand owner Yum Brands announced in April. The sale, first announced in October, involved selling its 1,100-unit KFC business to two former KFC franchisees, Konstantin Yurievich Kotov and Audrey Eduardovich Oskolkov. Under the terms of the deal, approved by both the U.S. and Russian governments, the pair will take over all Russian KFC restaurants, operating systems, master franchise rights, and the trademark to Rostik’s, the name of a former Russian-based chicken chain.
• Shake Shack has struck a deal to expand into Israel with plans to open its first store in Tel Aviv in 2024. Plans call for 15 Shake Shacks in Israel by 2033. The popular U.S. brand will partner with Harel Wizel and Yarzin Sella Group to bring the brand to Israel. Wizel is the CEO of Fox Group, a fashion and lifestyle retail group with more than 1,000 global stores. Yarzin Sella, one of Israel’s leading culinary groups, owns and manages more than 30 restaurant concepts and operates high-end corporate dining services in seven countries.
• Subway in February announced it was looking for a buyer. It may have found three. According to an article from Proactive, private equity firms Advent International, Bain Capital, and TPG are reportedly looking to team up to place a bid for Subway, which is expected to sell for up to US$10 billion. “Goldman Sachs’ asset management wing and joint ASDA owner TDR Capital are also in the running to buy the sandwich chain,” according to the article. The Wall Street Journal has reported that more than 10 possible suitors are conducting due diligence. Final bids are expected by the end of April with a new buyer possibly emerging by the end of May. Subway, which has about 37,000 locations in 100 countries (21,000 in the U.S.), has said that a sale is not certain.
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