Small business loans: $10 billion evaporates

Catherine Clifford reports at CNNMoney.com that eight months after President Obama began prodding the nation’s banks to increase their small business lending, the loan numbers continue to move in the opposite direction. The 22 banks that got the most help from the Treasury’s bailout programs cut their small business loan balances by a collective $10.5 billion over the past six months, according to a government report released Monday. Three of the 22 banks make no small business loans at all. Of the remaining 19 banks, 15 have reduced their small business loan balance since April, when the Treasury department began requiring the biggest banks receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funding to report monthly on their small business lending.

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Ten tips for franchise due diligence

Christa Hoyland writes in QSR.com that Marianne Cintron of Glendora, Calif., thought she had done her homework. When she and her husband looked into buying a Cold Stone Creamery store from a franchisee last year, she started by trying to talk to a number of current franchisees. Of the five who returned her calls, four were selling their stores. Despite the unusually high percentage of sellers, Cintron was reassured by the good things most of them had to say about the concept.

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Starbucks on track to resume growth, CEO announces

Steve Monfort reports at NASDAQ that new instant coffee is outselling expectations and cost-cutting is helping the bottom line, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced at a conference in California. The new instant coffee, Via, is offered at U.S. and Canadian Starbucks outlets and some other stores. A pack of three Via pouches costs $2.95. Schultz called Via “not just a new product, but a new growth platform for the company.” Starbucks has yet to offer Via outside North America, but the market for instant coffee overseas is robust. Britons drink far more instant than brewed coffee, for example.

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Restaurant Chains in California Can Go Lean on Menu Labeling

California laws give them flexibility on how much information to share with diners and where to post it. But starting in 2011, chains will have to include calorie counts on their menus. Jerry Hirsch reports in the Los Angeles Times that diners at California Pizza Kitchen last week found some enticing new offerings such as white chocolate strawberry cheesecake, Baja-style tacos with sautéed mahi-mahi, and a Moroccan-spiced chicken breast salad.

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Experts Say Small Businesses Lag In Disaster Planning

CAROLINE MCDONALD reports in Property & Casualty National Underwriter that while a majority of large businesses have contingency plans for a pandemic or other catastrophe in place, many small to medium companies do not, which can result in their demise in the wake of a disaster, according to experts.
“Small businesses that don’t have a plan in place generally don’t survive after a disaster, whether it’s a flood or a tornado. We see that anywhere from 40-60 percent of those that are hit like that simply don’t come back to business,” said David Paulison, former executive director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in a phone conference with NU Online.

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A Battle in Canada Over Drive-Through Idling

KATE GALBRAITH reports in the New York Times Canadians are debating whether or not the drive-through lanes at Tim Hortons, a doughnut and fast-food chain, should be part of an anti-idling ordinance in Kingston, Ontario. According to Bill Glover, a councilor for the city, Kingston plans to restrict development of future drive-throughs. Tim Hortons, he said in an e-mail message, “seems to be rather belligerent about this” and is threatening to appeal the plan.

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McDonalds, Arby’s, Qdoba, Dairy Queen and Dunkin’ Donuts testing Tetherball’s mobile loyalty system

The results we’ve seen since launching our mobile rewards program in early July are greater than even our most optimistic projections,” says Brent Higgins of Aztec Partners, one of Qdoba Mexican Grill’s largest franchisees. “Some of the biggest brands in the US have jumped on the mobile marketing bandwagon with us” Fast food chains including McDonalds, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Arby’s, Dairy Queen and Dunkin’ Donuts are all now testing Tetherball’s contactless sticker-based mobile marketing system.

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Dunkin’ Donuts Opens In Overland Park

KCTV News reports that crowds were waiting outside the door for the first Dunkin’ Donuts in the Kansas City area to open its doors Thursday morning. Former Kansas City Royal George Brett worked the drive-through at the restaurant and will cut the ribbon at the store. The shop also teamed with Harvesters to collect canned goods. On Friday a trailer will be brought to the restaurant to collect canned goods.

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DDIFO Welcomes New Members!

DDIFO has been invited by a number franchise owners in a number of cities to come and meet franchise owners face to face. I am visiting Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners around the country in an effort to learn more about your issues and concerns as well as share with you the vision and mission of DDIFO. The meetings have resulted in many franchise owners joining DDIFO. DDIFO welcomes 100’s of new shops as members from the following states: New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, and Georgia.

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