Rise to launch franchise program

Jul. 22, 2014 @ 11:51 AM

Rise Biscuits & Donuts has partnered with franchise development company Fransmart to launch a worldwide franchise program.

Rise founder and owner Tom Ferguson said he built the brand on a platform to stand as a franchise or an independent store.

“Doughnuts are pretty hot right now and so are biscuits,” Ferguson said.

He said that Fransmart approached Rise about the franchise opportunities and that he doesn’t worry about diluting quality as the brand grows.

“When we make changes, quality is at the forefront of our mind,” Ferguson said. “We’ve streamlined and are a juggernaut now.”

Fransmart has developed brands such as Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill.

Ferguson said the primary focus for growth right now is the South, and he has developed a new ownership group for the franchise company with Brian Wiles, Rise store manager, overseeing operations and Andy Seamans as chief financial officer.

“It’s shocking how financially successful the brand is,” says Dan Rowe, founder and CEO of Fransmart.

He said the company reached out to Rise after seeing it on a television program and then researching it.

He said Fransmart was impressed with the strength of Rise’s social media presence and online reviews.

“It was all unusually positive, specifically for a one-unit concept,” Rowe said.

Fransmart has already received franchising interest in Rise from two airports, one in Houston, Texas, and another on the West Coast.

Initially, Rowe said the plan is to grow Rise in a concentric circle in the Carolinas and southern Virgina, while retaining a small and focused menu. He said the margins on a concept like Rise are large due to the simplicity of doughnut and biscuit ingredients, primarily flour and water.

“What drives (Rise) is that it’s a better version of what people are used to,” Rowe said. “People have been eating biscuits and donuts forever.”

Before starting Rise in 2012, Ferguson operated Durham Catering Company and started Only Burger, which he sold in 2011.

He is currently testing The Rollout, a handmade pasta and salad concept.


Blues club’s run ends: Papa Mojos Roadhouse, Creole restaurant and music venue, has closed after seven years.

“The lease is up and I’m just kind of burned out right now,” owner and founder Mel Melton said. “Working 14 hours a day, seven days a week is more than I want to do.”

Melton’s initial plan was to brand Papa Mojo’s and expand, but he said his investing partner has been suffering from health issues.

Melton said he never intended to stay in the location on Highway 55 for seven years. He said has other business plans for the future.

Melton has had careers both as a chef and a musician, working and performing in Texas, Louisiana, Chicago and North Carolina.

He is a frequent guest chef at the Southern Season Cooking School in Chapel Hill and performs with his band The Wicked Mojos.


Bull Craft focuses on N.C. beer: Bull Craft Bottle Shop, a new craft beer store focused exclusively on North Carolina breweries, is preparing to open within the next week in the Hope Valley Commons center on West Highway 54.

“We’re just waiting on the ABC inspection, co-owner Stephen Medders said.

Medders is the general manager of Char-Grill, which is connected to Bull Craft.

He said in addition to serving bottles to-go, the store will also serve draft beer for customers to drink while eating at Char-Grill.

The store aims to form strong partnerships with North Carolina breweries to have a unique but focused selection, Medders said. It recently received a shipment of BROOD Soda, which is made in Durham.

“We’re not pinned to the overhead of having such a huge selection,” Bull Craft employee Ryan Wright said.


Relay Foods expands service hours: Relay Foods, which launched in Durham last month, has expanded to 12 pickup locations, operating five days per week.

The new Durham service locations include Northgate Mall on Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m., and the Bicycle Chain at New Hope Commons on Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m.

Through Relay Foods’ website, customers order locally grown food as well as other grocery items that can either be picked up or delivered.

The company’s local vendors include Big Spoon Roasters, Nello’s Sauce, Tempeh Girl, Yawp! and Escazu.


Breakfast food truck rodeo: There will be a breakfast food truck rodeo Friday morning in the parking lot of the BB&T main branch at 505 S. Duke St.

Three food trucks will be on hand: Belgian Waffology, Caffé Bellezza and The Wicked Biscuit Company.

BB&T plans to host the rodeo every Friday, according to a release.


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