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I am writing a book about my ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ 9-year battle with Dunkin’ Donuts, which exposes the dark underbelly of franchising and the civil justice system. My story is unique but the theme has been repeated with hundreds, no thousands of franchisees around the world, yet the media silence has been deafening. To learn more about my book read more...
About the Book:
Dunk’d tells the story of my involvement with Dunkin’ Donuts, from my acquisition of 5 franchises in Providence, RI which eventually leads to the loss of millions of dollars, bankruptcy court, and still ongoing litigation with Dunkin’ Donuts, now five years old and still on the clock. In between these events I experienced a myriad of franchise abuse which I will detail to the franchisee community so, hopefully, you will avoid the traps that were set for me and not make the same mistakes that I made. Dunk’d will expose how the two most recent owners, a “Big Multi-National ” (Allied Domecq) and “Big Private Equity” (Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners) have corrupted the iconic Dunkin’ Donuts franchise brand, how I continue to fight them in order to uncover the truth about how they worked to kill my business.
Read the INTRODUCTION.
The story will illustrate how ‘Big Business’ has manipulated the American free enterprise system and utilizes unlimited amounts of money and power to crush anyone in their path, in particularly the small ‘Main Street’ businessman. Dunk’d is a cautionary, humorous and true story that provides valuable insights into how franchising really works and, increasingly, how it benefits the franchisor over franchisees whose energy and money make this system work. It is a must read for franchisees, anyone considering buying a franchise, anyone contemplating a law suit and anyone who has ever bought a cup of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.
I am a serial entrepreneur who lives in New England and has always believed that Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the premier retail brands and franchise systems I had ever encountered. When I got the chance, I acquired a 5-store network in Providence, Rhode Island with big plans to turnaround the brand’s lagging image in this market and develop a large store network which I could pass down to my sons. Soon after completing the deal and much to my surprise, I found out how the franchising system really works.
The Dunkin’ Donuts franchise system, once considered the ‘gold standard’ had become a fiercely adversarial rivalry between the franchisor and franchisee with the new owners utilizing the leverage of a one-sided franchise agreement to increase their profits at the expense of the franchisees. I will detail how they forced franchisees to add newly acquired brands and concepts to their menu offerings which were designed to increase sales and royalties for the franchisor. When these ill-designed ventures failed miserably it’s the franchisees, myself included, who lost millions of dollars in the process.
I will detail how ownership launched an onslaught of lawsuits targeted at franchisees, over 350 within a two-year period, and used other techniques designed to intimidate franchisees and even snatch away the stores built by the franchisee’s money. While successfully transforming the Providence stores and increasing sales, I soon began losing money hand over fist, in part, because Dunkin’ Donuts has reneged on their original promises. When I got angry about being thrown into this money pit, Dunkin’ Donuts decided to crush me with all its power and money.
And when I took them to court, they tried to use the justice system to get away with it, and almost did. The first excerpt, the Introduction to the book is posted here; I will add excerpts over the next months, use this blog to tell my story and tell the stories of other franchisees. You can go to our website at Dunk-d.com to read more about my story and the ongoing litigation, United States District Court Civil Action No. 05-50 Irwin Barkan vs. Dunkin Donuts, Inc. You will also find others who have suffered at the hands of franchisor abuse and, most importantly, how we can turn the tide.