Like soldiers on the front line, restaurant franchisees often are the first to see opportunities for new menu items that can dramatically alter the product battlefield. Many iconic menu items have been the brainchildren of franchise operators: McDonald’s wouldn’t be the chain it is today without The Big Mac and the Egg McMuffin, both of which were concocted by franchisees. And Subway’s hugely popular $5 Footlong also rose from the franchise ranks. “Most of the great ...

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