Franchising is big business that attracts investors of many stripes. We’ve already covered mom-and-pop investors, multi-unit franchisees and area developers. But there is another type of franchise investor that we still haven’t discussed: that is, an investor that acquires franchise companies outright. One of the most famous names that falls under this category is Kahala Corp.
It all began in 1988, when Kevin Blackwell and his wife Kathi founded a juice bar concept called Surf City Squeeze. A decade later, the holding company Sports Group International, Inc. merged with Surf City Squeeze, and Surf City began operating as a subsidiary of Sports Group. That same year, Sports Group purchased the Frullati Café & Bakery chain, giving the company its second restaurant concept. In 2000, Sports Group was renamed Kahala Corp and the company developed a third concept called Rollerz. In the years that followed, Kahala purchased numerous other franchise companies, and today, their portfolio includes brands such as Blimpie, Taco Time, Cold Stone Creamery, to name a few.
Companies like Kahala Corp do extensive due diligence to determine which franchise companies are worth investing in. They consider numerous factors such as the brand’s unique concept, growth prospects, co-branding opportunities, and price. I think it’s safe to assume that the brands in Kahala’s portfolio are there because Kahala found some value in them.
It is for this reason that I thought it would be helpful to learn more about the different brands in Kahala’s portfolio and to hear straight from the company what distinguishes each of their brands. I reached out to Kahala, and they graciously answered my simple question: What makes each brand in your portfolio special?
Here are Kahala’s answers, in their own words:
1. Customers have been craving Blimpie’s famous freshly sliced deli subs since we opened our first location in 1964. Every Blimpie sub is prepared by slicing the meat and cheese right from the deli slicer, then piling ingredients high on bread baked fresh from the oven.
2. The great taste of Blimpie is more reasonable than ever with seven Blimpie sub favorites available for just $5 for a 12” sub or 6” sub combo meal.
3. While our deli subs made us famous, we also offer a variety of hot subs, Panini grilled subs, wraps and salads made with the same tasty fresh-sliced meats that customers know and love.
4. The health conscious have reason to crave Blimpie too with several dietician-approved menu items approved by Healthy Dining Finder.
5. With quality, value, variety and healthful options, there’s plenty of reason for customers to choose Blimpie any day or every day of the week.
1. Cold Stone is all about the Ultimate Ice Cream Experience and Indulgence. It’s not just getting ice cream — it’s creating your own “creation,” watching the “mixing on the cold stone,” it’s hearing crew members sing our Cold Stone songs — we make the ice cream purchase an experience.
2. As the first company to start “mixing on the stone,” we are an innovative group with over 1500 stores in 17 countries. Many have tried to replicate what we do, but we are the original and the best!
1. For 30 years, Great Steak has been serving America’s Premier Cheesesteak in hundreds of locations across the United States and abroad.
2. Our concept is a simple one; a “meat and potatoes” operation. We prepare authentic Philly cheesesteaks grilled to order using quality meats, real cheeses and a proprietary blend of seasonings served on freshly baked bread.
3. In addition to cheesesteaks, a palate of genuine comfort food can be found in Great Steak’s world famous fries, baked potatoes, salads and a variety of specialty sandwiches. Known simply as Great Steak, the menu offers a variety of affordable and delicious options.
1. At Samurai Sam’s, we pride ourselves on offering a healthy dining alternative with an affordable price tag.
2. Since its inception more than 15 years ago, Samurai Sam’s has been serving flavorful and healthy Japanese dishes made-to-order. Our core goal is to bring fresh, healthy aspects of Japanese cooking to life while helping busy people on-the-go make smarter meal choices.
3. In addition to our famous teriyaki rice bowl, we offer additional delicious menu selections such as our fresh salads, wraps, and grilled egg rolls.
4. Whether the guest orders their meal to go, or stays to dine with us, we know the service they receive, along with our variety of menu selections, will keep them coming back for more.
1. Johnnie’s New York Pizzeria has its roots in the Southern California market bringing authentic New York style pizza to the West Coast.
2. Johnnie’s New York Pizzeria is all about delivering the finest Italian food. We begin everyday by mixing “secret” ingredients and special filtered water to create the finest pizza dough this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Add our homemade pizza sauce, an abundance of mozzarella cheese, your choice of toppings and you get the “Best NY Style Pizza”.
3. Johnnie’s New York Pizzeria became part of the Kahala family in 2005, 21 years after the first store opened.
4. With a well-rounded Italian focused menu offering soups, salads, pastas, sandwiches, calzones and pizza, Johnnie’s can serve up a great meal.
5. Johnnie’s Express, developed especially for high-traffic mall locations, downtown office complexes and as a co-branded opportunity with other Kahala concepts, offers a more concentrated menu focusing on pizza by the slice.
1. Frullati is an Italian word for fruit drink and is at the heart of Frullati’s menu offerings. Our smoothies are a creamy combination of fruits, juices and a non-dairy smoothie mix.
2. Frullati offers a fresh menu of gourmet sandwiches, grilled paninis, freshly-tossed salads, soups and a variety of baked goods.
3. Founded in 1985, Frullati prides itself on being a healthy alternative to fast food. All products are prepared daily with fresh, high-quality ingredients.
To read the second and final part of this series, please click here.