Jason Daley writes in Entrepreneur Magazine that legal issues could change franchising forever.
Franchising usually makes it into the mainstream press when Taco Bell jams a new snack chip into its burritos. But in the past year, franchising has been making front-page news for other reasons: Several issues that have been simmering for years came to a head, pitting franchisors against franchisees and labor advocates against both.
The results of those conflicts—and their ultimate consequences for franchising as a whole—aren’t at all clear, obscured by hyperbole, legalese and a lack of guidance from regulators. Whether these issues will reshape franchising for the better, as some argue, destroy franchising as we know it—or change nothing at all—remains to be seen. Whatever the case, the legal and political fights are worth watching.
I was interviewed for this article well over 8 months ago and forgot about the interview until it popped up in my google alerts.
At the time I was the Executive Director of the Maine Franchise Owners Association (MFOA) currently I serve as a member of the MFOA Board of Directors.
“What’s happened is that over the years, attorneys for franchisors have tightened franchise agreements to the point where franchisees don’t really own any equity in their business,” explains Jim Coen, executive director of the Maine Franchise Owners Association, which supported the bill in Maine. “When push comes to shove, in most franchise agreements franchisees don’t have anything but the equipment they buy. They have no right to the name, to their customer base, and because of noncompete clauses they can’t use the skills they’ve learned. Yet franchising sells units by telling people they can be in business for themselves.”
Later on in the article I was also quoted as saying:
Coen of the Maine franchise owners’ group agrees that the minimum-wage movement is about union power, but he believes it also ties into fair franchising legislation and helps explain why the SEIU supported SB 610 and other franchising acts that improve franchisee equity. “The unions realize that if they can help franchisees increase their margins, then the franchisees can pay their employees a higher wage,” he says. “And I really think franchisees will pay higher wages instead of pocketing that income. The customer service experience at the counter is so important, franchisees want the best people they can get. The ones making minimum wage are cleaning tables or in the back. Franchisees shouldn’t be afraid of unions. They should be worried about protecting their equity.”
In the last sentence of my quote what I meant to say or thought I said was “Franchisees shouldn’t be afraid of the minimum wage. They should be worried about protecting their equity”.
Not a big difference but an important one.