I took Jet's comments to mean that he thought Shakey's was trying to get long-time franchisees who were still mixing their own ingredients to switch to pre-mixes, such as the dough, cheese, and sauce premixes that the corporate stores in California are using.
Thanks for reporting the local "word on the street" that Shakey's corporate flacks won't. What you have reported squares with what happened to the last two franchisees in Wisconsin, as noted in these old reports still on the web:http://www.gazettextra.com/news/2008/feb/09/long-time-janesville-restaurant-will-close/
which dates from about July, 2008. I have a video on my hard drive, only the third I ever downloaded, from the westallisnow website, which had an interview with the owner of the West Allis (Milwaukee) store. He stated that Shakey's wouldn't let him run an all-day buffet anymore, so he closed the place down. That property is to this day still listed as available on real estate websites, such as:http://www.judsonrealestate.com/PropertySearch/Details.aspx?mid=63&pageid=41&ListingGuid=ffae9f37-3d89-4c22-a334-571625f153e6
A similar story about the final closing of the Springfield, Illinois store, after it dropped the Shakey's franchise and went independent:http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x2111991732/A-la-carte-Diamonds-Buffet-closing-today
If Shakey's wanted the Warner Robins franchisee to remodel the store, I don't think he could remain solvent. I did a desktop study on superpages.com to see how many other pizza joints were in a 3 mile radius, scrubbing the list for bad entries. Among chains, I count 2 Little Caesar's, 2 Pizza Huts, 2 Domino's, 2 Papa John's 1 Stevie B's Pizza Buffet, as well as 3 independents. Further out in Warner Robins, I count two more chains, Marco's and Mellow Mushroom as well as a few more mom-and-pops.
When I started trying to clone Shakey's Pizza, Warner Robins was the nearest location to where I lived. I never thought I would learn so much about why the chain fizzled out, and about how it is successful mostly in California. They may be forcing the remaining stores out to protect the brand in California. I can't remember the exact figure right now, but the owner of the new built-from-the-ground-up Shakey's in Auburn, Alabama spent over a million dollars. Consequently, very few new franchises are selling. Old locations, surrounded by industrial junk pizza chains, can't afford to upgrade. These old franchisees also can't get the prices for pies that a lot of locations in California are getting.
I recently found a classified newspaper ad in Google Books from a newspaper called the Daily Herald (city unknown) of October 15, 1972. The text reads:
Own your own Shakey's Pizza Parlor. $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 annual income possible from a well managed parlor. Become part of the 400-plus successful Shakey's Pizza Parlors. Investment of $18,000.00 to $35,000.00 cash. Franchises available in both Carolinas. If interested, send for free brochure." In includes a PO box number. Maybe one day someone will publish what the balance sheets of these franchises looked like starting in the early 80's.