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Learning Curve

One university's popular franchise program takes its own advice.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the September 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

After five years of teaching prospective franchisees how to succeed in the real world of franchising, The Franchise Center at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is practicing what it preaches. According to the center's executive director Carolyn Gough, UTEP is now "franchising The Franchise Center," as well as maintaining its original program.

The center was initially designed for people in the El Paso area who were looking for ways to start their own businesses. But an overwhelming response has kicked this unique outreach program into high gear, and The Franchise Center is looking to expand into universities worldwide. For $10,000, universities can set up franchise centers on their own campuses. UTEP will provide schools with literature, software and business plans, as well as teach personnel how to get sponsors and volunteers. "We've already established a center at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland," Gough says.

Those interested in UTEP's franchising programs should call (915) 747-5142 to register for its next seminar, to be held October 14-16.

What's New

  • The nation's oldest chain-restaurant concept, Farmington Hills, Michigan-based A&W Restaurants Inc., reeled in seafood operator Lexington, Kentucky-based Long John Silver's Restaurants Inc. in a multimillion-dollar merger this summer. The acquisition won't change the name of either concept but allows for dual-branding opportunities. In addition, both chains will maintain separate headquarters, but A&W's chair and CEO Sidney J. Feltenstein will run both companies.
  • Operating under new management, Anaheim, California-based Fantastic Sams is planning aggressive global expansion. Both in the United States and abroad (Australia, Canada, Western Europe and the United Kingdom), the company is seeking master franchisees for regional territories. Fantastic Sams hopes to have at least 6,000 stores by 2010, which will more than quadruple the chain's size.
  • After a five-year franchising hiatus, videotape-rental giant Blockbuster Entertainment Inc. has resumed franchising and is seeking entrepreneurs in small to midsized markets in selected states. The Dallas company is targeting those interested in starting out with a corporate structure as well as those already involved in multiunit operations. Start-up costs begin at $250,000; financing is available.

Contact Sources

A&W Restaurants Inc.,

Fantastic Sams,,

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