Monthly Archives: August 2020

International Franchise Association (IFA) Encourages Franchisors to Support Franchisees During the COVID-19 Crisis

Aug 31, 2020 - Blog by |

With the novel coronavirus pandemic affecting businesses across the United States in unprecedented ways, franchisors’ responses have largely fallen into two categories: There are franchisors that have stepped up to help their franchisees survive, and there are those that have chosen to aggressively enforce franchisees’ standard contractual obligations—even knowing that their inability to meet their financial obligations is a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis. Franchisors Need to Support Their Franchisees During the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic In a recent blog article, the International Franchise Association (IFA) writes that it is now more important than ever for franchisors to support their franchisees. As the author, Lauren Moorman, writes: “[M]any of the most vulnerable franchise systems will be looking to mitigate those losses by scaling back spending and imposing new austerity measures for franchisees. “This is a mistake. “While budget-tightening will be unavoidable for most franchise systems, franchisors should be careful not to create new burdens or restrictions on franchisees. . . . Instead, franchisors in every segment should focus on fortifying their front lines, ensuring that franchisees have everything they need to stay afloat now and recover quickly later . . . .” In order to help their franchisees weather the storm and ensure that their brands remain as strong as possible, the article recommends that franchisors take several steps during the COVID-19 crisis. Some of these steps include: Listening to Franchisees’ Concerns – Franchisees are on the front lines; and, while franchisors are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis […]

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Should You Accept Coronavirus Relief from Your Franchisor?

Aug 24, 2020 - Blog by |

As discussed in a recent article published by Nation’s Restaurant News (NLN), some franchisors have begun offering financial relief packages to their franchisees during the COVID-19 crisis. According to NLN, major restaurant franchisors including Yum Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell), Subway, McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and Qdoba are offering relief ranging from, “deferring all 2020 capital obligations for remodels and new unit development through the end of this year,” to deferral of royalty and rent payment obligations. These relief packages come as these (and other) franchisors are requiring franchisors to severely limit their operations in order to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. In many franchise systems, franchisees have the option to implement social distancing and other safety protocols consistent with local practices as well. Regardless of the impetus, many franchisees are struggling as a result of the economic impacts of COVID-19, and this makes financial relief packages an attractive option for franchisees to whom they are available. Do Franchisor Relief Packages Come with Strings Attached? Before accepting financial relief packages from their franchisors, however, franchisees need to make sure that the relief being offered does not come with strings attached. Or, if it does come with strings attached, then franchisees need to know what these strings are, and they need to decide if the associated costs and risks are worth it. If royalty payments are being deferred, are they being deferred with interest? Will past-due royalties eventually be due in a lump sum; and, if so, when? […]

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5 Reasons Why Franchises Fail

Aug 17, 2020 - Blog by |

While buying a franchise is generally considered to be less risky than starting an independent business in the same industry with the same start-up costs, many franchisees still fail. There are several reasons why, and these reasons are not necessarily consistent across industries or franchise systems, or even within individual franchisors’ ranks. The risk of failure is one of the primary reasons why all prospective franchisees need to work with an experienced franchise attorney before buying, and it is why active franchisees should engage legal counsel promptly if they run into issues or have a dispute with their franchisor. While the question, “Why do franchisees fail?” does not have one single straightforward answer, there are a number of possible reasons for franchisee failure. Some of these reasons include: 1. The Franchise System Isn’t Sound Like anything else, some franchise systems are simply better than others. If a franchise system isn’t sound – if the brand doesn’t resonate with customers, if the products or services are subpar, or if the marketing plan just doesn’t work – then franchisees are going to struggle. If Item 20 of the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) shows a high volume of franchisee turnover (including a large number of franchisees leaving the system “for other reasons”), this may be a sign that there issues with the system as a whole. 2. The Franchisor Doesn’t Provide Adequate Training or Support Lack of training can be an issue in systems where (i) there are a significant number of complex […]

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Should You Shop for a Franchise By Price Point?

Aug 10, 2020 - Blog by |

When researching franchise opportunities online, you will come across several lists with names like, “Top Franchises Under $30,000” and “Cheap Franchises Under $10k”. While these make for good headlines, does it really make sense to shop for a franchise by price point? Here, national franchise lawyer Jeffrey M. Goldstein shares his thoughts. 1. What is the “Price Point”? When talking about franchise price points, it is important to ask: What “price point” are we talking about? Generally speaking, there are three options: The Initial Investment Fee disclosed in Item 5 of the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) The total estimated initial investment disclosed in Item 7 of the FDD The total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the franchise Most online lists focus only on the Initial Investment Fee. There are a couple of reasons why. First, this number is easy to find, and this makes it easy to compile a list. Second, this is the lowest number that can reasonably be characterized as the “price point” for a franchise. So, while this number ultimately only reflects a small fraction of the cost of franchise ownership, it is a good choice for marketers seeking to get clicks from prospective franchisees. 2. Price Point is Only One of Several Factors to Be Considered While the amount of money you have available to invest in a franchise is certainly a factor to be considered, it is not the only factor that should drive your franchise buying decision. From brand recognition and franchisor […]

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Checklist: What Do You Need to Do Before Buying Franchise?

Aug 3, 2020 - Blog by |

Buying a franchise is not a simple process. There are several steps involved, and you need to do everything you can to make sure you feel as confident as possible that you will be able to succeed as a franchisee. Too often, prospective franchisees rush the buying process—either because they are excited about the franchise opportunity, or because the franchisor’s sales reps encourage them to sign quickly without doing their full due diligence. When buying a franchise, there is no substitute for hiring an experienced franchise attorney to guide you through the process. With that said, as a prospective franchisee, there are several steps you can take on your own, and it is important to be aware of the overall timeline of the franchise buying process. Here is a checklist you can follow: 10 Steps in the Franchise Buying Process 1. Compare Franchise Opportunities Before settling on one particular franchise opportunity to pursue, it is important to consider the competition. How are the franchised brands similar? How are they different? 2. Choose a Franchise Opportunity to Pursue Next, it is time to choose the franchise opportunity you are going to target. From this point forward, you will be devoting a lot of time and effort to your chosen opportunity, so you will want to choose wisely. 3. Meet with the Franchisor Once you choose a franchise opportunity to target, it is time to meet with the franchisor. Schedule an appointment via videoconference or in person, and be prepared with a […]

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