Which stories grabbed the headlines in 2020?

By Sarah Stowe | 16 Dec 2020 View comments

Covid-19 has dominated so much of our lives in 2020. But there has been plenty going on besides the pandemic. Take a look back with us at some of the big – and quirky – news this year.

Way back when we had little idea of how Covid-19 would affect our business and personal lives, in February disgraced former Kleenmaid director Andrew Eric Young received a nine year prison sentence, bringing to an end a long-running saga.

In March, before the government revealed its Covid rescue packages, Taco Bell announced a 13-store expansion plan.

In April MailBoxesEtc outlined a 2025 target, Oporto appointed a new CEO, and Steve Plarre was well on his way with a song-and-dance side-hustle, the Corona-Oke.

The next month Bob Jane T-Mart’s parent company was pulled up by the ACCC. Also in May, Hero Sushi copped a mega $891,000 fine for underpaying workers. But it wasn’t all bad news. Aussie fast-tracked its recruitment program and Lone Star unveiled a new business model.

By June Poolwerx had decided to slice its franchise fees by $40,000. Businesses were given a $150,000 write-off extension and US indoor cycling sensation CycleBar signed a 45+ studio deal.

We heard the sad news that Hairhouse co-founder Joseph Lattouf had passed away.

Not long after the F45 acquisition was announced, in July Plus Fitness announced its sale to Viva Leisure, Physio Inq slashed upfront franchise fees by a mega 85 per cent and flying in the face of tough retailing, Forty Winks revealed a 30-store expansion plan.

August saw the long-awaited Code reforms announced. In the same month RFG hit an EBITDA of $35.5m while Flight Centre copped a massive $510m loss and Total Tools, which would have its Metcash acquisition confirmed in September, was sued by a competitor.

In September, McDonald’s sued Hungry Jacks. The Cheesecake Shop became the first food franchise to score a 5-star franchise rating. Victorians, who have done it tougher than most this year, got news of a $3bn support package.

The next month Pack & Send reported rocketing sales, Battery World appointed a new GM, Clark Rubber revealed its new owners and Quest’s Paul Constantinou joined the FCA Hall of Fame.

Last month while 7-Eleven got a thumbs up for compliance from Fair Work a former Hans Cafe franchisee was slammed with a monster fine. Harvey Norman profits rose a staggering 160 per cent.

And here we are, in December, with RFG once again in the news and 22 Soul Origin stores found to have breached workplace laws.

The FCA revealed its national award winners, and Domino’s celebrated its 60th birthday as only this pizza giant could.

So what’s next? How will 2021 shape up? Watch this space.

This is the final Inside Franchise Business Executive newsletter for 2020. The newsletter will be back in early January. Thank you for your support this year.