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WASHINGTON – A trade group of franchisees from some of the country's major franchise chains announced today that the nation's largest group of hotel franchisees has joined the coalition. The addition greatly expands the group's influence and resources.
Business consultant, franchise expert and author of several books on the hotel industry, Stan Turkel thinks this could be a critical development for the industry because the combined clout of AAHOA and the Coalition of Franchisee Associations can help level the playing field on which the fair franchising game is played. "Franchisors have always monopolized the game and have controlled the outcome. It remains to be seen just how powerful the new Coalition will be. It may well depend on how well it is managed," states Turkel.
Formed in 2007, the D.C.-based Coalition of Franchisee Associations consists of franchisees of the nation's largest chains — Subway, Burger King, Hardee's, Dunkin' Donuts, Little Caesars, Buffalo Wild Wings, Meineke Car Care and now most of the large hotel chains.
Dave Glodowski, chairman of the Coalition of Franchisee Associations (CFA) and a Hardee's multi-unit owner himself, announced that AAHOA will take a seat on the board of directors. "We look forward to their role as part of the leadership of the CFA, especially with so many issues facing all of us in the franchise community," says Glodowski. The chairman says that he plans to work closely with AAHOA to establish a Fair Franchising Bill of Rights, which aims to better balance the franchisor-franchisee relationship.
Formed in 1989, the Atlanta-based Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) has over 10,000 members who own 20,000 hotels, employing 578,000 employees in 2010. But until now AAHOA has focused its efforts exclusively on hotel franchisees, largely Asian American owners. AAHOA chairman Chandrakant "C.K." Patel thinks that it makes sense for AAHOA to join the efforts of the CFA because AAHOA members face the same franchising and business issues that other sectors are facing. "We need to work together that our hard earned money gives us a better return," he states.
AAHOA president Fred Schwartz elaborates that it makes good sense for the two associations to work together. "The experience and strength of AAHOA combined with the large numbers of franchisees from CFA who have varied backgrounds and who come from diverse industries will allow us to make a difference that will benefit all."
Glodowski agrees. "As individual associations, we can only accomplish so much," says Glodowski. "But when we all join together under the CFA banner, our combined voices become much louder, and we can make a difference for all of our members."
Patel, a Motel 6 multiunit owner, explains that the Coalition of Independent Franchisee Associations is already formed so AAHOA, who had been considering an expansion outside of hoteling, does not have to create an association that reaches out to non-hotel franchisees from scratch. "Independent franchisee associations have similar small business concerns and objectives in dealing with franchisors, legislators and bankers as AAHOA does," states the former banker. Patel elaborates that banks are not lending money to small businesses because of the strict rules and regulations set by state banking departments and the FDIC. "That causes a lot of small business owners to file Chapter 11. If all the small business owners come together with the same concerns, the combined group can have a bigger and better voice," he says.
Patel sums up what will be a central focus of the new relationship. "AAHOA will work together with the CFA to develop a universal franchisee bill of rights, which can serve as a model for all franchisors, no matter what sector, in dealing fairly with franchisees," he declares.