Category Archives: News

Featured Client: 85°C Bakery Cafe

85°C Bakery Cafe is a cafe and bakery specializing in espresso coffee, flavored beverages, decorative cakes, and freshly baked breads. Founded in 2004, the chain quickly branched out overseas to China and Australia before establishing a foothold in the United States.

85°C Bakery Cafe is currently seeking sites throughout the Austin area.

Real Estate Requirements:

  • 2,500 – 3,000 sf
  • High density
  • Strong visibility
  • Preferably near other Asian co-tenants but can also go in traditional shopping centers

Featured Client: Waxxpot

Waxxpot is a head-to-toe waxing salon that offers services to both men and women in a comfortable, modern atmosphere.

Waxxpot has salons in both Columbus and Atlanta (coming soon) and is currently seeking sites in Austin and Denver.

Real Estate Requirements:

  • Approximately 1,500 – 2,000 sf
  • Trendy neighborhoods
  • Good visibility
  • Strong daytime & evening populations

So You Say You’ll Have 100 Units in a Year or Two?

If I had a dollar for every young franchisor that says they’ll get to 100 units in a couple of years and surely 500 units in three to five, I’d have a whole lot of dollars. In fact, I edit such predictions out of the stories we publish in Franchise Times because they almost never come true.

A new report by FranchiseGrade backs me up: Only one out of five start-up franchises, or 20 percent, reached 100+ locations and that was after their eighth year of franchising. Twenty-three percent had 26 to 50 locations after six years in business, and 29 percent of franchises had only one to 10 locations after six years.

After two years in business, 65 percent of franchises had no locations; 27 percent had one to 10; and only 1 percent had more than 100.

What that means to new or young franchises: Plan for a lot more capital and time to get the business to a sustainable level, which FranchiseGrade pegs at 26 or more locations after five years. That’s an “acceptable rate of growth and provides a foundation to continue their franchise development,” writes Ed Texeira, COO of FranchiseGrade, in the report.

“Undercapitalization is the biggest challenge for start-up businesses and emerging franchisors are no different,” points out Lori Kiser, CEO of The Decide Group, in the report.

She advises would-be franchisors to first work out the bugs by operating three to 10 profitable locations in multiple markets; expand locally then regionally, building a strong presence in markets “close to headquarters where you have more support” in place; and understand “when you become a franchisor, you are operating two businesses—the actual operating business and then a franchise system.”

Other advice in the report: Be willing to adjust the franchise program. “Too often, a floundering franchise is unwilling or incapable of making changes to their franchise. The result is wasting resources trying to sell a flawed franchise,” Texeira wrote.

As for industry breakdowns, personal services, quick-serve restaurants and commercial/residential services accounted for 61 percent of the emerging franchises in FranchiseGrade’s study. Personal services represented the largest sector at 27 percent.

On the flip side, lodging, real estate, automotive and retail food totaled 12 percent of the emerging franchises in the study. “These low numbers are most likely the result of the investment these franchises require and the competitive challenges from comparable non-franchised businesses,” said the report.

By Beth Ewen

Original article published 1.5.2018 by Franchise Times

2018’s Retail Outlook Can Be Summed Up In 3 Words — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Though retail real estate has suffered greatly from the massive closures of major brick-and-mortar retailers in the past year, there are still ample investment opportunities in the sector. Tenants, owners and investors could find opportunities in the sector as retailers strategically transform their business models and physical locations to embrace e-commerce and become more experiential.

TH Real Estate said in a 2018 outlook report that there are three ways the retail sector will be transformed this year. The firm called it the three R’s of retail: reduce, reuse and recycle. 


Rather than ditching all of their space, a number of retail tenants are opting to decrease square footage in order to hone their focus on the stores that are performing well. Others are choosing to get rid of the brick-and-mortar locations altogether in favor of e-commerce. 


Some landlords are getting creative in their attempts to keep pace with the shift in consumers shopping preferences, and are repurposing spaces instead of getting rid of them. Malls are adding tenants like grocers, gyms and medical offices, while retailers are turning spaces previously used for shopping into pickup-and-order counters where consumers can easily collect items purchased online. 


While many retail spaces can be revived with an update, others have met their end. This has presented an opportunity for investors and developers who are turning these previous retail spaces into multifamily, residential, office, healthcare, self-storage and industrial properties.

January 07, 2018 – Lara O’Keefe

Original article published on

7 Things You Need to Know Before Becoming a Franchise Owner

Recently, I was sitting, drinking an iced latte macchiato at a well-known chain, when my wife said to me, “We spend so much time in here that maybe we should think of starting one ourselves.”

Which she promptly followed up with, “I’ve always wanted to run my own business, and let’s face it: How hard can making lattes be? Everywhere we go, [this chain is] opening a new franchise. So, it’s got to be an easier option than starting my own business right?”

Well, not exactly.

My wife is not the only one to think the way she does, given that franchise-growth rates in 2016 again exceeded non-franchise business growth rates and continue to increase by 2.6 percent per year. There’s reason for this, specifically the 300 franchise business lines that already cover ten distinct business areas (automotive, business services, commercial and residential services, lodging, personal services, quick service restaurants, real estate, retail food, retail products and services and table/full-service restaurants.

So, not only are there a lot of franchise categories and companies to choose among, but there are advantages to opening a franchise as opposed to starting your own business from scratch.

Still, those choices and advantages don’t mean a franchise is a guaranteed success. To get to that point, you still need to do your due diligence to increase your chances of making it work.

To better grasp the challenges of running a franchise, I met with Tom Portesy, CEO of MVF Expositions, which runs franchise expositions around the world. I asked Portesy his thoughts on what a new entrepreneur should know before taking on this challenge.

Here are the seven things he said to be aware of before you dive into that franchise opportunity.

1. How much will it cost?

The first thing to know is the total investment to get your franchise up and running. This should include the purchase costs, your opening inventory and the amount of working capital you are going to need before you break even. Understanding these costs is crucial, as you don’t want to run out of money when you are on the verge of success.

In addition, you also need to know how you are going to finance the business, as many people can actually afford a bigger franchise opportunity than they think.

2. What are you good at, and what are you passionate about?

You don’t have to love coffee to open your own franchise coffee shop. Nor do you have to do all the work.

When it comes to running that shop, you’re actually the business owner and can hire people to deliver the service or sell the products; you don’t have to do all of that yourself. Success is dependent on how well you work on the business, not just in the business. 

Still, not everyone is cut out to be a franchisee, to thrive within someone else’s system. “Before buying a franchise,” Portesy told me, “one of the most important questions to ask yourself is, “Do I have the right personality to be a franchisee? People are all different, and so are franchises.

“As a result, one of the worst mistakes you can make is buying a franchise when you are not suited to be a franchisee, or compatible with the business.”

3. How much time do you need to invest?

While starting a franchise is different from starting your own business, it is still a business, and you won’t be the first person who’s traded a 10-hour-a-day job he (or she) hated for a 16-hour-a-day job he hates.

So, make sure you understand what’s involved. There are seasonal franchises that require you to work especially hard at certain times of the year; but it’s still your business that you’re going to be running, and you need to be clear about how much time you will need to invest to make it a success.

4. What is the franchisor like?

Not all franchisors are the same, so you need to do your research and get to know everything you can about the franchisor. This includes things such as how long has this company been in business, what is its average success rate and how long do franchisees stay on average.

Just because a franchisor is new doesn’t mean it’s not a great opportunity, but the more you know, the better informed your decision can be.

5. What does it take to run a successful franchise?

When you do your due diligence, make sure that you speak to other franchisees and not just the most successful ones. Ask them:

  • What were the key success factors they found?  
  • What were some of the challenges, and how’d they overcome then?
  • If they were starting today, knowing what they now know, what would they do differently?
  • For those that failed, what were the factors that caused that to happen, e.g. poor location, weak marketing, etc? 
  • How long did it take for them to start to make a profit?

It’s great to learn from your mistakes. It’s even better if you can learn from those of others so that you don’t repeat them.

6. What kind of help does the franchisor provide?

When you take on a franchise, unlike starting your own business, you’re not alone, and that can be a great comfort. Just make sure you know how much support you will get from the franchisor, what other people’s experiences were and how much help the company offered those people when the going got tough. How much support did those other franchisees receive, or were they left to their own devices?

One of the hardest things is asking for help when things are going wrong. But if you know that the support will be there and that the franchisor is willing to help, the process will be a little easier.

7. What’s your end game?

I am a big fan of Stephen Covey’s “second habit” of highly successful people:  Start with the end in mind. 

plies to franchising. Before you take up your franchise, know and understand what your exit strategy is going to be. Are you planning to leave the franchise to your children, are you looking sell it or do you plan to just run it for a couple of years and then get out?

The better you know and understand your end game, the easier time you’ll have selecting the right kind of franchise opportunity, which fits you in the short term, and supports your long-term objectives.

Running a franchise can be a great way to start running your own business, but you need to understand why you are getting into it, what you are getting into, whom you’re getting into it with and of course how you plan to get out of it. The better you understand the answers to these questions, the better your probability of selecting the franchise segment and company with the best potential for you.

By Gordon Tredgold

Original article from, November 22, 2017

What Xceligent’s Bankruptcy Says About the Property Data Business
Some in the sector lamented the loss of another competitor in an increasingly narrow field.

In the wake of commercial real estate data firm Xceligent filing for bankruptcy protection, the property data industry was not surprised—it’s an expensive field to be in. Still, some in the sector lamented the loss of another competitor in an increasingly narrow field.

Before it filed for Chapter 7 liquidation, the firm was embroiled in a lawsuit with real estate data giant CoStar Group Inc. The lawsuit will now fall under the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court in Delaware, where Xceligent filed its case—a move that puts more knots in an already thorny case. “It complicates things even further. It delays things even further,” says Carl W. Hittinger, partner in the Philadelphia office of law firm BakerHostetler.

Last year, CoStar sued Xceligent in federal court in Missouri, where Xceligent is headquartered, alleging the company had stolen copyrighted commercial property information, which CoStar sells for a subscription fee, and re-sold the information for a lower price. In June 2017, Xceligent denied the allegations and in turn alleged that CoStar engages in anti-competitive practices to raise competitor prices, drive competitors out of business and keep its “monopoly” on the commercial real estate information industry. Last week, Xceligent, owned by the London-based Daily Mail and General Trust PLC (DMGT), filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and will seek liquidation. It immediately shut down its website and laid off hundreds of employees.

“DMGT had fully impaired Xceligent at the end of [fiscal year 2017], following weaker than expected revenues from its NYC rollout and other challenges, including lower renewal rates,” wrote Alex Moorhouse, head of communications at DMGT, in an email. “Ultimately, in light of these challenges, the Xceligent management team was unable to identify a way for it to operate on a sustainable basis and recommended filing for Chapter 7 liquidation. The CoStar litigation was not a direct factor, but of course did create additional cost for the business.”

Moorhouse declined to respond to CoStar’s comments.

Meanwhile, the firm’s exit from the field has opened up new business opportunities for its competitors. A google search for Xceligent brings up ads from firms including Property Shark and CrediFi offering themselves as alternative service providers to Xceligent’s clients. Employees from CoStar and 42Floors, a San Francisco-based website that also has a national database of commercial property listings, have reached out to brokers, so transactions could continue without interruption. An executive with RealMassive, a listings marketplace, said it reached out to former Xceligent employees for support.

“No one wants to see a good company—even a competitor—go down like that, because there are so many people’s lives affected,” says Jason Freedman, CEO of 42Floors, which was formed in 2011.

Unable to compete?

While antitrust claims are difficult cases to prove, filing for bankruptcy may lend some credence to Xceligent’s claim that it was unable to compete, says Andre P. Barlow, partner in the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Doyle, Barlow & Mazard PLLC. “Clearly the damages are much larger now, because now we’re talking about the loss of the business,” Barlow says. CoStar’s dominance in the sector was compounded by its 2012 acquisition of marketing platform, which was approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as long as CoStar spun off Xceligent from LoopNet and adhered to a set of conditions that would allow competition to thrive. “The behavioral solutions that the FTC required in allowing that merger didn’t appear to work here,” Barlow adds. Moorhouse declined to comment on the litigation, as DMGT is not involved.

However, bankruptcies happen, even in light of the FTC’s review, according to Hittinger. “That’s just the competitive world we live in. There are casualties,” Hittinger says. However, while antitrust laws are not designed to prop up inefficient businesses, these laws still protect against anti-competitive practices that could lead to bankruptcies, he notes.

Still, Xceligent’s liquidation could put a chill on others trying to compete with CoStar, which has a history of litigation against other commercial property data companies, including LoopNet, Barlow says. “It certainly makes it difficult for all these smaller competitors to exist and to grow,” he notes.

According to Linnington, though CoStar is dominant in its field, it embraces competition and will continue to innovate. Accusations that the company is anti-competitive are “fictional,” he says.

Competition is good for the industry as it creates an incentive for innovation and more options for the brokers, says Kevin Green, vice president of marketing for Austin, Texas-based RealMassive, which also settled a lawsuit filed by CoStar in 2016. “Now there’s one less choice for brokers in the marketplace,” he notes. While it may be too soon to tell how the case with Xceligent—and its subsequent bankruptcy—will affect the industry overall, Green says there is still room for players with different value propositions. “The market is made up of different brokers and people who have different needs.”

What lies ahead

Xceligent’s fall points to what some in the industry—not affiliated with CoStar—say is a fundamental business issue: It is difficult to have enough human and capital resources to match CoStar’s database, one the company has constructed over three decades, and finding new ways to create such information more efficiently.

“People underestimate what it takes to build a property database, and all the research that goes into building a database like that,” says Andrew Bermudez, CEO of Digsy AI, a commercial property interface which is based in Fullerton, Calif. and was founded two-and-a-half years ago. Even if a company were to match CoStar’s reach—as Xceligent was attempting to do—many brokers would be prone to stick with whatever service they were using, Freedman notes. Commercial brokerages are not required to use CoStar—unlike the MLS on the residential side—but many do, sometimes in addition to internal databases.

While Bermudez does not fault CoStar for filing a lawsuit against Xceligent—“It would be irresponsible to them to not try to protect its asset,” he notes—he says the industry itself is in need of disruption. Similarly to how crowdfunding has shifted the fundraising industry, “The paradigm needs to change all together, taking economics and process and human resources into account,” he says.

Mary Diduch | Dec 22, 2017

Original article published by National Real Estate Investor at

Most Franchises Struggle to Grow, but Then There’s the 20%

We routinely write about young franchise concepts because everybody likes to know what’s new in franchising, but a study released recently by Franchise Grade shows how long the odds are for those so-called emerging brands.

Just over 30 percent of brands that started four years ago had one or fewer locations, the study said, while 52 percent that started 10 years ago had 50 or fewer franchise locations, according to Ed Teixeira, COO for Franchise Grade, the market research company for franchising in Long Island.

But of course that leaves 20 percent, the percentage of franchises that started from six to 10 years ago and reached or surpassed 100 locations—in other words, the amount that causes prospective franchisees and emerging franchisors to keep on trying.

Emerging franchise systems are defined as having 100 franchised outlets or fewer and account for 71 percent of franchise systems in the United States. Fifty-seven percent of all franchise systems in the United States have 50 or fewer locations, the study says.

“We did it for a couple of reasons, not the least there’s been so much attention lately on emerging franchises,” said Teixeira, about why Franchise Grade did the study. He cited the Springboard event in Philadelphia in September that drew hundreds of emerging franchises, and the International Franchise Association’s offerings for young brands. “Last year the IFA had a workshop for emerging franchises,” after its annual convention, and it drew a standing-room only crowd. In early November the IFA is hosting an Emerging Franchisors Conference in Phoenix.

He said the stats aren’t depressing, as I had opined, “but rather just to show what the situation’s like.” Twenty percent are doing great, the study shows. “Unfortunately there are some others that either should not have franchised, or maybe should have waited until they had more units up and operating or more working capital,” he said.

“The whole idea of this is not only to shine a light on what these startups and emerging franchises look like, but what’s needed to get them off the mark, so to speak,” Teixeira said. “It’s always grow, grow, grow, which is important, but maybe there should be more focus on having a sound system in the first place.”

Franchise Grade has 2,500 FDDs or franchise disclosure documents in its database, and based its study on those franchises it could identify as start-ups. Part two of the study, expected to be completed in about a month, will drill down into industry sectors and compare systems’ growth patterns.

Original article by Beth Ewen

Published 10.24.17 on

Meet The Commercial Real Estate Industry’s Military Veterans

Many of the skills needed to excel in the commercial real estate industry parallel those learned while serving in the United States military: Discipline. Preparedness. The ability to stay calm and think rationally in heated situations. Integrity.  Bisnow spoke with nearly two dozen military veterans from across the country ahead of Veterans Day on Nov. 11 to gain insight into their experiences in the military and how those years of service have influenced their careers in real estate. 

See below for information on a few of these remarkable professionals in our industry, and check out the full article for the complete listings and photos!

St. Croix Capital Advisors Senior Vice President Stephen DePizzo

City: Austin

Military Rank: Army, Engineer Officer – Captain

Years Served: Six

Military Memories: The greatest memories during my time in the military [were from] being able to lead young men and women. The time we spent was priceless. I also had the opportunity to be an Aide de Camp to a two-star general. Being mentored by a high-ranking officer was one of the best experiences I have ever had. 

How has your military service shaped your life and career? The military shaped the way I look at all situations in my life and in business. It taught me to be patient, to analyze all situations from different perspectives and to pay attention to all the details. I’ve been able to use my skills and military experience in all aspects of commercial real estate.  

Newmark Knight Frank Executive Managing Director Jeff Castleton

City: Denver

Military Rank: Navy Lieutenant Commander

Years Served: May 1981-February 1991

Military Memories: Castleton graduated with honors from the United States Naval Academy, where he earned his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering.

What lessons from your military service carried over into real estate? Leadership skills to focus on the team and ensure all members are enabled and motivated to succeed. 

CBRE Advisory & Transaction Services associate John Bernatz

City: Portland

Military Rank: Army; E6, Staff Sergeant

Years Served: Six years, from 1995 to 2001

Military Memories: I highly enjoyed my years of service in the U.S. Army. I was stationed out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and had a lot of great experiences. My job while in the Army was combat medic, and one of my fondest memories was during initial basic training. Growing up, I was involved in Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle, so camping and backpacking were an important part of my life. During our sixth week of training, it was time for the 15-mile ruck to camp and we spent several days in the woods learning how to be better soldiers. I always backpacked trying to carry as little as possible, but in the Army it’s about carrying as much as possible. About halfway into the hike, a few of my battle buddies started falling out due to their back weight, and so instead of getting in trouble with our drill sergeant I started carrying some of their gear. By the time we got to camp I had more than doubled my weight and thought that I was going to crumble. Hoping that we would have some time to rest, I dropped gear and reached for a snack. To my dismay in my efforts to help my friends, it brought attention to the one person we were trying not to alert, Drill Sergeant Cambell. Once he saw how well we did during the march and that I was just ‘sitting around’ snacking, he felt it would be a good time to do some additional training. We were then put through the ringer for the next three hours doing physical training in the rain and mud. The next three days were torture. And to top it off, since I was such a great help on the march there, he decided to let me carry their gear on the way back, too. Soldiers do the stupidest things. As a medic we have to spend time in the hospital emergency room treating soldiers and families when we are not deployed or in the field. It was a little after midnight (I always seemed to be stuck with that shift) on a Sunday night, and the ER was silent. We were all dozing on the beds, recovering from a rough Saturday night when all of a sudden, a soldier barges into the ER screaming for help. The guy looked oddly familiar, but I couldn’t quite place the face. The group of us went into solution treatment mode and got him on a bed and started shearing off his uniform. We begin to cut off his underclothes, when suddenly four snakes fall to the floor. His body is covered in little bites, and now there are four loose snakes in the ER. We found out that he and his buddies had been playing a drinking game, which he was losing. Every time he lost a round, they put another snake in his uniform, keeping it buttoned up and the snakes tucked under his clothes. We gave him some medication to calm down, dropped an IV on him to sober him up and then spent the rest of the night catching snakes in the ER. Needless to say, he and his buddies were in deep with their commanding officer, and we only recovered one snake that night.

How has your military service shaped your life and career? Military experience has shaped every aspect of my professional career, but has come in extremely handy in commercial real estate. My experience has taught me to stay cool under pressure, think clearly and remain unemotional in stressful situations. Being able to dissect a situation in my head rapidly and make quick decisions has proved to be a valuable skill.

Original article posted November 9, 2017 on