Joey's Forcing Staff into Muu Muu's

Joey’s Restaurants announced a new uniform policy this week forcing staff at their Joey’s Urban locations to wear Muu Muu’s while at work. Ensuring that there is no confusion between the Calgary based chain and a similarly named chain from Vancouver.

At Urban, we are all about happy feet and no skin! Check out the press release here. 4816-1809-1470il_570xN.720545768_kaso2

Franchise Advice - What to look for in a franchise

Trust-Word-Cloud-300x300I have written on this topic many times with varying degrees of specific content. This time it is about trust in the franchise system. Not necessarily trust in the business model or trust in the brand although those are also of the utmost importance. Rather, today it is about trust in the Franchisor itself, trust in the franchisor’s people.

How can you tell if the franchisor can be trusted? Of course, there is disclosure documents and the letter of the law within the actual franchise agreement but what does your gut tell you.

I suggest two ways to determine ‘trust’ in a franchisor;

  1. Use that disclosure document to your advantage by calling as many of their franchise partners (franchisee’s in normal speak) as possible. Ask those franchisee’s point blank. Does the franchisor do what they so they are going to do, can you trust them in what they are saying?
  2. How does the franchisor act? Act with you when you are dealing with them, act with their franchisee’s?  This is where your instincts come into play. A franchisor that nurtures relationships with its partners or franchisee’s, builds trust.

So what does trust even mean in franchising? Trust enables you to execute on objectives that are beneficial to your business. Trust lets you open the door to the help and experience that a franchisor can provide.

Hospitality in Franchising is just SMARTICLE.


Yes, Smarticle is a word, another Urban Dictionary find! woot woot! Actually, Smarticle was made famous by Homer Simpson and the irony within is fantastic. Ironic because Homer is a very simple man and the idea of Joy or a.k.a. smarticle is also just so very simple.

I recently spoke in one of my posts about people and their impact on business (the people post). What I did not specifically say in that post about those particular people were that one of the key things that made all of them truly great at what they do is their hospitalitude. OK, that word I totally made up, do you see it? Hospitality/Attitude. It is what I would describe as their ability to bring Joy to every guest, the ability to check their problems at the door and focus on the task at hand. To make their guests experience a truly memorable one each and every time. Dare I say, treat them like family.

I had a manager many years ago that was as hospitable as they come, a well known GM in the city who bought every customer he met a drink, always a smile, always a hand shake and always a drink to be given out. He was well liked by all of our guests. But, so was I, and I barely bought a drink for anyone. Don Cooper says in this video that its theatre and he is right, so right. My manager was great at the theatre but what I learned from this manager was that it wasn’t only theatre but respect and joy to see our guests. My manager would use his promo tab for the month in under two months, where as I would not use 10% of it in the month. Why? Because it was my genuine interactions and the joy I had in dealing with them that kept them happy. I knew their birthdays, their anniversaries, their kids names, their friends and on and on…..Joy and respect are the value added items that no one can describe, its the ingredient that keeps people coming back without them even knowing why. Yet so many refuse to use it in dealing with their clients and guests.

I challenge you to be smarticle today, bring Joy to your clients, guests, friends and family. Be joyful, you’ll be amazed what you get in return.


  • Donald Cooper, MBA, has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. He speaks and coaches internationally on marketing, management and business excellence.

Donald can be reached at in Toronto, Canada.  To read more of his articles, go to and click on “Free Articles”.


The trick to successful franchises


One of our franchise partners forwarded me this article. I was ecstatic to have some feedback on the blog and he suggested I use this article as inspiration for my blog this week. I was excited about it for two reasons, one was that our franchise partner engaged with the blog and two was because this particular franchise partner is one of those “thinkers”. A multi-store operator with diverse experience who “gets it”.

Thinkers are a rare breed in our world of franchising. Franchisee’s often only ‘think’ about what the franchisor is doing for them but rarely do we hear feedback from franchisee’s about what they can do for the franchisor or themselves. In any franchise system you will find that the “thinkers” are the ones who excelerate (urban dictionary, look it up!) in the system. They are the ones who are the half-million dollar thinkers that are thinking outside and inside the box to excel in their business, to challenge themselves to hit the next level. The trick is to train the non-thinkers to become thinkers and utilizing the thinkers in the system to help do that. I find thinkers are also, all too often, leaders.

So, like the author of the article asked, What kind of ‘thinker’ are you?

  • Donald Cooper, MBA, has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. He speaks and coaches internationally on marketing, management and business excellence.

Donald can be reached at in Toronto, Canada.  To read more of his articles, go to and click on “Free Articles”.


I have a friend who uses this motto, literally religiously. So when I saw a posting about being ALL IN on Linkedin I thought it would be appropriate to use my friend Michael Chiasson as my inspiration for today’s blog. Check out his amazing story here All Access Ministries.

Franchising to franchisors is about consistency in the brand and product but its also about finding that franchisee that is ALL IN.  It is hard to see success as a franchisee if you believe the franchise is the only reason people come in. Franchises drive the brand and the product, the franchisee drives the service and the atmosphere and if you are ALL In, your guest see it, hear it and support it!

At JFG were are ALL IN in supporting our partners and their success. How about you? Are you ALL IN?

Longevity & Joe Fortes - It's all in the people

This article from the Georgia Straight, Joe Fortes Golden Plates Winner’s Circle – Georgia Straight, came into my Inbox today forwarded from a colleague. He thought I’d enjoy it given my families involvement in Joe Fortes.

Reading this short blurb literally brought a tear to my eye as a flood of memories about this Vancouver institution and its people entered my mind. My father was a very minority partner in the restaurant and I clearly remember November 1985 when my father brought us to this magnificent place that he had a part of. I was proud, very proud, and of course at 11 not understanding corporate structure, thought it was all ours! I was fortunate enough to start working at Joe Fortes in 1995 and throughout the next couple of years forged my ideologies of what a restaurant was and how its people are truly the #1 factor in its success.

You see, what makes Joe Fortes truly unique isn’t just the structure, the atmosphere or the food but the people that work so hard within its four walls (ok and maybe the patio!). I am now twice the age of when I worked at Fortes and yet I can probably still tell you every table number, the names on the ownership placard on the grand staircase, the names of all the regulars with nameplates on the bar, eg. Todd Hilditch, he spent way too much time there! However, I can also tell you the names of so many people who forged my attitude in service, who I call friends to this day and to whom I call experts in their fields. It is those people who drove and continue to drive the success of this restaurant.

I had a few GM’s and managers that formed my ideologies and that I considered mentors, a couple of them I followed to other restaurants and bars as I carved my career path in this great industry. I followed Thane Campbell to Steamworks, Bennie Graydon and Lou Mihailides to Century Grill. I had impactful mentors like Pino Falbo, Michael Paulhus, Shaw Pemberton, Gerald Tritt, Gilbert Marino, Oyster Bob and Terry Multhauf. It is indeed a family, a brotherhood and sisterhood of forged friendships that last forever, between both staff and guests (you all know who you are). A family led by none other than the famous Robert Gagne, aka ‘Frenchy’, a unique personality that never forgets a face and treats every guest like his family. This is how he and the others taught me to work, to believe and to carve a career path in this industry.

It is rather ironic that my path would lead me to another “Joe’s”, Joey’s Franchise Group, a company that is led by another “frenchy” in our namesake, Joe Klassen. We instill the same attitudes towards service and the treatment of our partners and guests at Joey’s Franchise Group that have become synonymous of Joe Fortes. I like to think I landed at home, from one Joe’s to another and it is this family and relationships with people that are so integral to how we run our restaurants today.

The family that this restaurant has built envelopes me to the point that even though I do not know every staff member at Fortes right now, I feel their pain in their recent loss of Emily Sheane to a tragic car accident. This is what creates the restaurants success and its longevity, it’s people, its family. May Emily rest in peace not only as part of her own and extended family but as part of the Joe Fortes family.


I preface this blog posting this week by saying that I am going to steal a few tidbits from my mentors and from an item/posting I saw on LinkedIn today.

All too often our attitudes get in the way of our success. There are many, many reasons are attitudes change our mindsets but I believe the number one way that you can adjust your attitude is by surrounding yourself with people with generally positive attitudes. Take a look at this picture, can you think of either of these tycoons that you haven’t always seen in a positive light, with a good attitude?

Success has so much to to do with NOT giving up, to keep on striving for your goals and therefore having a good attitude. After all, how do you overcome your failures if you can’t keep a good attitude on the outcomes.

At Joey’s Franchise Group, we stole a mantra from Simon Sinek that we try to live by and instill Values into our franchise community to keep great attitudes;

  1. Take an unconventional perspective
  2. Keep it simple
  3. Make long term progress
  4. Share………and,
  5. Silver Line it!

The goal is not necessarily to fix thing that are broken but to amplify the things that work!

Siomn Sinek | Values Video


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In the world of franchising, accountability seems to be used as a catch phrase these days for franchisee’s. However, accountability in franchising is a two way street. Both the Franchisee (or in our case Franchise Partners) and the Franchisor need to be accountable to each other.

When a franchisee buys into a brand and opens their franchise there is obligations for both parties, the franchisee must; open their franchise in a timely manner, adhere to the standards an procedures outlined by the franchisor, etc etc., the franchisor must; provide the systems and standards, coach and train the franchisee’s on the those systems and standards etc..

So there is obligations? But what about the accountability?  The accountability the franchisor should have to ensure the success of its franchisee’s, taking responsibility for its system. On the flip side, what about the accountability of the franchisee to fulfill its obligation and make an effort in its business and not solely rely on the franchisor to do so.

Far too often the disconnect between the franchisor/franchisee is about full time and attention by the franchisee and the “lack of support” that the franchisee feels they get. How do we connect these two groups again? How do we get franchisee’s to understand that as a franchisor you can provide the systems, the knowledge, the advertising but if the franchisee does not execute on their end when a customer uses their franchise, then there is nothing the franchisor can do?

Both parties have to start with being accountable to the other. Both have to fulfill their obligations to the other and hold each other ‘accountable’ from the very start. Both need to build and nurture the franchise relationship. As a franchisor if you have a franchisee who can’t or won’t do this, then you’ve got the wrong partner. As a franchisee, if you aren’t willing to adhere to the system and give it full time and attention, then you’ve probably chosen the wrong platform to do business. Franchises are great because your buying into a proven business system, many have tried and possibly failed before you to help improve your success rate. The system is in place but it still takes the individual(s) franchisee to execute it.

At Joey’s Franchise Group, we have proven the success of all of our systems and we pride ourselves in our open and honest role in our accountability to help our franchise partners execute their systems. Make sure the franchisor you choose can do the same!

Joey's Franchise Group in the press!

It was an honor to be chosen this year to be featured in not one but two Business Magazines to talk about our experience and our brands in franchising.

We are very proud of the brands we have established and believe that our success is a direct correlation to our franchise partners. We have a great group of people that we get to work with everyday, we are humbled by that.

Check out our feature articles here by clicking on the pictures to expand them.

Rob Hilditch – Joeys Franchise Group

How we all should do business - The John Scott Story

A Guy Like Me
JAN 28 2016


“Hey, John, can we talk for a second?”
I guess I should have known.
But I have absolutely no idea what’s coming.
I’m in the weight room, hanging out with the guys, when my GM asks me to take a walk. I’ve been gone for a couple of days — but now I’m back in Phoenix, at the Coyotes practice facility, catching up with the boys. We’re getting some stretches in, and passing around my new gloves.
My All-Star gloves.
I’ve seen my name in the news, on the press release, on the official rosters. But even still: there’s just something about gear, you know? I, John Scott, from Michigan Tech, at 33 years old … have All-Star gloves.
The guys are all genuinely happy for me, and they’re letting me know it. They’re giving me some crap about it, too (of course), but it’s all in good fun. Everyone’s taking their turn, trying my gloves on. We’re laughing. It’s a cool moment.
As this is happening, I see our GM open the door.
He’s not smiling.
“Hey, John, can we talk for a second?”
We head down the hall a few steps, into the stick room of all places, and he shuts the door.
And then he tells me point blank.
“You just got traded.”
Nope. No way.
“You’re shitting me.”
I hear him perfectly the first time, but I need him to say it again.
“We just traded you to Montreal. Yeah.”
My mind is racing a mile a minute. I know exactly what’s happened.
Still, I can’t help myself.
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
Enforcers don’t get traded midseason when their team is winning. If you know the league, you know that it just doesn’t happen.
“I’m not sure what to say, John. This is how it goes. We’re trying to make our team better. We had a chance to get a player, and we took it.”
I’ll keep the rest of the conversation private, because I’m a professional. But you can fill in the blanks. It is, as we say in this business, emotional.
When I get to my car, I immediately call my wife.
“What’s wrong?” she asks.
I almost laugh. It’s all I can do.
“I just got traded.”
I can sense her mind racing a mile a minute, just like mine had.
“Nope. No. No way.”
She hears me perfectly the first time, but needs to hear it again.
“Yeah. Montreal. Well, actually … they already sent me down to the minors. So, Newfoundland.”
Newfoundland. Can you even get a flight from Phoenix to Newfoundland?
I pack up my stuff: my sticks, my skates, my gear. I walk back down to the gym, and grab my gloves — still sitting there, brand new, where the guys and I had been. John Scott, All-Star. I throw them in my bag, then place it in the trunk of my car, and begin the long drive home.

I try not to think about how young my daughters are, and how much they’ll hate the move. Or about the stress it will place on my wife, who is nine months pregnant with twins. Or about the fondness I feel for the guys in Phoenix — our group that no one believed in — and the pride I feel for what we’ve accomplished together. I try not to think about how I don’t want to leave.
And I try not to think about how I should have known.
Or about how my teammate called it — literally called it — way back before all of this got crazy.
How he texted me, “Dude, you’re 30th in the All-Star fan vote,” one night, out of the blue.
And then, how he added:
“They’ll never let you play, John. They’re never going to let you be there.
Not a guy like you.”
A guy like me.
You probably think you know me. Or at least the stereotype of John Scott. Well, let me tell you something that might surprise you: I never wanted to be a fighter. Growing up, I always made sure I had the Sherwood TP-70 stick.
Why? That was Ray Bourque’s stick. I was all about Ray Bourque, even though I lived in St. Catharines, Ontario. I guess I’ve always been a bit of a contrarian. All my buddies loved the Leafs and Canadiens. So I picked the Bruins. I thought the logo was cool. I remember being so mad that they wouldn’t let us pick numbers past 30 in Squirt hockey. I wanted 77, so I could be like Ray.
Look, I get it. I’m 6-foot-8. Everybody’s first question is always, “Were you beating kids up back in youth hockey?”
No. Of course not. I was a stay-at-home defenseman. Never the best player. I got cut from every Junior B team I tried out for. The coaches kept saying, “Too big. Too slow.”
I was like, too big? What the hell am I supposed to do about that?
So I got faster. And I did just enough to get myself a scholarship to play hockey at Michigan Tech University. The way I saw it, I would never make the NHL, but I’d have an engineering degree. By 30, I’d be sitting in an office at GM back in sleepy Ontario, in my suit, and happy as hell about it.
This was the old Western Collegiate Hockey Association — home of the 10-hour bus ride to road games in Minnesota and North Dakota. We even played Alaska-Anchorage. I remember being on these 10-hour bus rides — down single-lane roads in rural Minnesota, snow flying around everywhere, heater broken — and all the Business majors are watching movies and goofing around.
And I’m sitting there propping my engineering book up on my knees, taking a thermodynamics test. These knuckleheads are watching Billy Madison, and I’m trying to answer:
Question 5: A gun fires a bullet at the velocity of X, through a stack of five mattresses with a thickness of X. Please calculate the terminal velocity of ….
The bus is cold and dark bumping up and down. I’ve got equations scrawled everywhere. My buddies are yelling out Sandler lines. So the last thought in my mind was, Some day, you’re going to be an NHL All-Star.
If you think this is like Joke Athlete Engineering — no. Freshman year, 50 percent of the students would fail out of the intro chemistry course. They literally used to set up a boombox as you walked into the final that blared Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”
But, somehow, I made it through. I got my degree. I got engaged. I was ready for my cubicle at GM.

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John Scott – NHL ALL Star

And then …
“Hey babe … I got an offer to play in the American Hockey League … in Houston.”
“No. No. No way.”
She thought it was insane. I made her a promise: give me three years. Three years, and then I’ll go back to the real world. I mean, I have my degree. What could happen?
In your mind right now, you’re probably thinking: classic. Big goon tries to fight his way all through the AHL to get a chance at The Show.
Well, here’s another thing about me you might not know: by 23, I had never been in a real hockey fight. Sure, I’d wrestled around in PeeWee and Juniors with a cage on, but that’s not real. I didn’t know the first thing about how to fight.
My first couple games in the AHL with the Houston Aeros, I heard this four, five times a game:
“Hey, ya big bastard, y’wanna go?”
“Let’s go. Right now.”
“We’re going.”
I kept saying, “Uh, no. No, I’m good.”
Then it happened. I’ll never forget being in the locker room before a game against Peoria.
We’re ready to go out onto the ice, and my coach looks around the room. Then he looks right at me, dead in the eyes.
“Scott. Do. Not. Fight. D.J. King.”
I’m like, “Who the hell is D.J. King?”
His eyes are bulging now, like, “D.J. King is a billed heavyweight. D.J. King is a freaking animal.”
So what I did was … I fought D.J. King.
And what he did was … he busted me right in the jaw.
At that moment, I realized, Oh, okay. Wow. This is what it feels like to get really hit. But somehow, I was able to keep my feet and kind of win the fight. My teammates went nuts.
And then I realized another thing: Oh, okay. Wow. This feels good. Not my face. That feels bad. But it feels good to make my teammates go nuts.

So that’s how it went. I embraced it, because it was my way forward, not because it was my nature. Fighting, no matter how big you are, is not easy. By my third year in the AHL (and final year of my promise to my fiance, now my wife), we were on a road trip when I got a call I never saw coming.
“Hey, the Wild want you in Calgary. Tonight.”
The Minnesota Wild. Wanted me to play in Calgary. I called everybody in my phone, told them I was playing in the NHL. Tonight. I think it was even a Hockey Night in Canada game.
I get to the airport, thinking about pulling on the sweater, skating out in front of 20,000 people.
“Sir, your passport?”
My passport?
My fucking passport! No.
Back then, the only guys who took their passports on the road were the hotshots who thought they might get called to play a game in the NHL. In Canada. I was not one of those hotshots. (Because of me, they now make guys take their passports everywhere).
I begged the airport attendant. I showed her my driver’s license. I showed her pictures of me in my hockey jersey. I laid the Canadian accent on thick.
“Ma’am, I’m a Canadian citizen! I need to get on that flight. I’m suppose to play in the NHL tonight, eh?”
Nope. She wouldn’t budge. I was crushed. I mean, that’s not an easy call to make to an NHL team. “Hey, crazy story, uh … I don’t have my passport.”
I thought I was done. But, yet again, somehow things just worked out, and I got another chance a few weeks later. Against the Detroit Red Wings, of all teams. I hopped over the boards for my first shift, and I’m out against Pavel Datsyuk and Nick Lidstrom.
That’s a holy shit moment for ya. That’s a long way from the GM cubicle.

You know what? I stuck around. My wife and I had to move all across the country, year after year. But I stayed in the NHL, by any means necessary.
It is not easy. People think enforcers skate out there for two minutes a night, take a few pops and call it a night. What a life, right?
But I’ll be honest. You can never shut it off. It’s a 24/7 job. When you know a fight is coming up, you can never shut off your brain. You can be the toughest, baddest guy in the NHL, and there’s still that fear.
My first few years in the NHL, it was so bad that I wouldn’t sleep. I’d stay up all night on and YouTube, researching the tendencies of the next enforcer on the schedule. Steve Macintyre. Eric Godard. I could go on and on. You’d see these monsters on the schedule weeks in advance, and your mind would already start racing.
This is the job we sign up for. One day, my wife couldn’t take it anymore, and she said, “John, you know those guys you’re so worried about? They’re probably sitting at home on their laptop right now, watching you beat somebody up. They have the same fear.”
That was a breakthrough.
When I had my daughters, that helped, too. For some reason, it helped me shut off my brain when I came home. I became a hockey player that I hoped they could be proud of. I even scored three goals with the Sharks last season. They loved that.
“Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?”
That was it, right there. That was the moment they lost me.
At first, when it became clear that I was going to win the All-Star fan vote, I understood the league’s position. They didn’t mince words — This is not a game for you, John — but I understood all the same. Honestly, on some level, I agreed.
In the beginning, at least, I just wanted the entire thing to go away. We were on a really fun run in Phoenix, and I was starting to feel like I was part of something. The Coyotes had been picked to finish dead last — but in the first half of the season, we’d surprised a lot of people. We were this strange collection of underdogs, and I fit right in. And I fit right in by doing what I do best: being a locker room guy, a no-nonsense guy, and a quiet yet effective enforcer.
I’ve gotten texts from so many guys saying the same thing: “You should go.”
One of the reasons I’ve made it as long as I have in the league is because I specifically know I’m not an All-Star.
So when they asked me to make a statement — nudging the fan vote in another direction and denouncing the John Scott “movement” — I did it without hesitation. I told the fans, “Listen. I don’t deserve this. Vote for my teammates.” And I was telling the truth.
But while I don’t deserve to be an All-Star, I also don’t think I deserve to be treated like I’ve been by the league throughout this saga. I’m an NHL player — and, whatever my set of skills may be, that I’m an NHL player is no accident. I genuinely believe that when I’m on the ice, or even just the bench, I make my teammates feel safe to do what they do best.
Does that make me an elite player? God, no. Am I going to be nervous as hell when I step onto the ice on Sunday — and I’m playing three-on-three, with Tarasenko whizzing by over one shoulder, and Toews putting the moves on me over the other? Of course. Will I be the worst skater in the game? I mean, probably.
But at the same time: this isn’t Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’m not some random person off the str

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John Scott – NHL All Star, with daughter

eet, and I didn’t win a golden ticket to “play hockey with the stars.” I won an internet fan vote, sure. And at some point, without question, it was a joke. It might even finish as a joke. But it didn’t start as one. It started with a very small pool, out of a very small pool, out of the very, very smallest pool of hockey players in the world: NHLers. That was the vote. A fan vote, an internet vote — but a vote from among the 700 or so best hockey players in North American professional sports.
And I’m one of them.
If the league thought this was an embarrassment, pretty much all of the players I’ve encountered have thought otherwise. I’ve gotten texts from so many guys saying the same thing: “You should go.”
And that didn’t happen because of the internet. I busted my ass to be one of them. I’ve skated every day since I was three years old to be one of them. I’ve persevered through Juniors roster cuts, Alaskan bus rides, Advanced Dynamics exams, and — yes — fights, to be one of them.
But I’m one of them. And that means a lot to me.
It means a lot to my family.
So when someone from the NHL calls me and says, “Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?”
… That’s when they lost me.
That was it, right there. That was the moment.
Because, while I may not deserve to be an NHL All-Star, I know I deserve to be the judge of what my kids will — and won’t — be proud of me for.
The irony is that my daughters are two of the biggest NHL fans around. My oldest, Eva, loves hockey. Loves watching me play. Loves following my teams. And, yeah, she’s super-pumped about All-Star. My youngest, Gabriella, is a little too young to “follow” it — but she loves it all the same. She has all of my jerseys — from the Blackhawks, to the Wild, to the Rangers, to the Sharks — and she wears them constantly. And, in Phoenix, whenever Daddy would leave for a big game … she’d be right on cue:ahhh-oooooh. (That’s a coyote howling.)
When they see me on the ice on Sunday, will my girls be proud of me? Who knows. I like to think so. But I know they’ll be there for me — for their big, goofy dad — no matter what. They’ll be there, in the stands, cheering me on — wearing their Scott jerseys, and watching me try my best, have some fun and fulfill a dream I’ve had since I was, well, their age.

Eventually, when they’re old enough, I’m sure I’ll tell them the whole story. About that one crazy January, when they were younger: when our family moved all of a sudden; when we stopped howling,ahhh-oooooh; when the twins were born; and when their father made the news and played that weird game in Nashville.
It’ll be a pretty good story, I hope.
I imagine they’ll give me some crap, while I tell it — though (of course) in good fun.
Then I imagine we’ll catch up for a little, rinkside. We’ll get some stretches in. And maybe, if they have time before practice, they’ll even try on my old gloves.
My All-Star gloves.

JOHN SCOTT / CONTRIBUTOR[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]