en Two Franchisee Protection Bills Introduced in U.S. Congress! <!-- google_ad_section_start --><div class="photoright"><img alt="Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. by wbeem on Flickr" src="" style="width: 680px; height: 383px;" /> <div class="caption">Capitol Hill. Photo by <a href="" target="_blank">wbeem</a></div> </div> <p>WASHINGTON&mdash;This morning two bills to assist America&#39;s franchise owners were introduced in Congress. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) authored the Fair Franchise Act of 2015,&nbsp;a bill to protect franchisees from predatory franchising practices after a franchise is bought, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) Franchise Loan Transparency Act, which&nbsp;would help buyers to obtain more accurate financial information prior to investing in a franchise.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>Rep. Ellison said, &quot;The two bills introduced today will give small business owners more information and more say in the businesses they run. When we empower franchisees, we encourage small business owners to invest in their employees and our communities.&quot;</p> <p>According to his office, the Fair Franchise Act, <a href="{%22search%22%3A[%22\%22hr3196\%22%22]}" target="_blank">H.R. 3196</a>, aims to make it more difficult for misleading or false information to be used in the Franchise Disclosure Documents, which are issued to prospects before they buy a franchise. The bill prohibits mandatory arbitration in contracts. It provides franchisees the freedom to freely discuss their experiences in franchisee associations without franchisor retaliation. It also requires that franchisors act in good faith. The Representative says the bill protects the ability of the franchise owner to build equity in their business. These include renewal, transfer and termination protection for franchisees. The bill builds on one proposed by Representative Howard Coble (R-NC) sixteen years ago&mdash;H.R.3308, the Small Business Franchise Act of 1999.</p> <p>The second bill, the SBA Franchise Loan Transparency Act, <a href="" target="_blank">H.R. 3195</a>,&nbsp;takes another approach. It requires any franchise business receiving an SBA-guaranteed loan, and the loan&#39;s lender,&nbsp;to obtain average unit revenues from the franchisor&#39;s&nbsp;Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).&nbsp;These FDD numbers are&nbsp;additionally broken down in two ways. Average unit volume for&nbsp;first-year franchises would be reported going back in&nbsp;the system for five&nbsp;years. Secondly, franchisors&nbsp;would be required to report the average unit volume of all franchise locations, sorted into the top quarter of all franchises,&nbsp;the bottom quarter and the aggregate of the two quarters in the middle. These enable&nbsp;franchise buyers to be informed of the same revenue numbers that are known by the lender. Representative Ellison points out that this information would allow&nbsp;franchisees&nbsp;to obtain a much better grasp of the viability of franchises in the system that they are buying into. GAO and SBA Inspector General reports reveal&nbsp;that prospective franchisees are often unable to determine true gross revenues for a first-year franchisee even if they do excellent due diligence. These reports also spotlight high default rates for some brands. Since the SBA lending programs are self-funding, lower default rates will make more money available to viable brands, with&nbsp;reduced interest rates and fees improving&nbsp;franchisee&nbsp;bottom lines.</p> <p>The two acts are supported by the Coalition of Franchisee Associations and its various independent franchisee association members, but opposed by the International Franchise Association.</p> <p><strong>Advocates and opponents sound off</strong></p> <p>&quot;The Ellison bill, if enacted, would dry up SBA loans for franchising, cripple the U.S. economy, and crush a large portion of the economic job growth this post-recession economy has to offer,&quot; objects Steve Caldeira, CEO of the International Franchise Association. Nor does he think highly of the Fair Franchise Act of 2015. &quot;Representative Ellison&#39;s new legislation is a misguided attempt to &#39;protect&#39; franchisees by burdening them with new regulations and restrictions on how they run their businesses,&quot; says the head of the Washington-based lobbying group that was set up in 1960 by franchisors <a href="">to stop such franchisee-sourced legislation</a>. &quot;The legislation is superfluous because there are several layers of protection for franchisees already in place,&quot; protests Caldeira.</p> <p>Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) has a different take. &quot;Franchisees often invest their life savings in their franchise businesses, leaving many of these small business owners personally vulnerable to deceptive, unfair, or predatory practices,&quot; Huffman says. &quot;This bill simply guarantees franchisees across the country basic business protections&mdash;already afforded to most other businesses&mdash;to help avoid bankruptcy and ensure good faith in contracts. I am glad to be continuing the work I started in the California State Assembly,&quot; continues Huffman. While a state assembly member in California in 2012, Huffman <a href="">introduced franchise protection bill AB 2305</a>, which&nbsp;did not become law. &quot;I am grateful to Rep. Ellison for his leadership to support these small businesses.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We thank Rep. Ellison for his leadership in introducing these bills. The Fair Franchise Act addresses many of our key principles as stated in the <a href="">Universal Franchisee Bill of Rights</a>,&quot;&nbsp;said Keith Miller, chairman of the Coalition of Franchisee Associations. &quot;We also appreciate the support of initial co-sponsors&nbsp;Rep. Conyers, who worked closely with Rep. Coble on similar legislation in the late 1990&#39;s, and Rep. Huffman, who four years ago authored legislation in California to protect franchisees.&quot; Miller represents tens of thousands of franchise owners of major chains&nbsp;such as&nbsp;Burger King,&nbsp;Subway, Supercuts and Meineke Car Care. &quot;The CFA board looks forward to working on this legislation with stakeholders in the industry towards a solution that protects franchisee profitability and equity&quot;</p> <hr /> <p>A discussion by Rep. Ellison on structural issues that make it harder for franchisees to succeed in business can be found by clicking <a href="">here</a> or listening below.</p> <p><center><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></center></p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> franchisee rights fair franchise legislation franchise investment protection HR 3195 HR 3196 SBA legislation SBA loan transparency Fri, 24 Jul 2015 17:30:18 +0000 Don Sniegowski 14601 at Fast-food Coalition Hires Pit Bull Attorney to Fight Minimum Wage Hike <!-- google_ad_section_start --><div class="photoright"><img alt="Governor Cuomo says, &quot;NY state is going to lead the way.&quot;" src="" style="width: 330px; height: 220px;" /> <div class="caption">Gov. Cuomo: &quot;NY state is going to lead the way.&quot; Photo/<a href="" target="_blank">Fightfor15, Twitter</a></div> </div> <p>NEW YORK &ndash; Fast-food franchisees are not taking Governor Andrew Cuomo&#39;s latest movement to raise minimum wage lightly. The group has hired Randy Mastro, former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, to take on the governor and the state labor commissioner.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>Mastro, with Gibson Dunn, told Neil Cavuto this morning that Gov. Cuomo is unfairly targeting the fast-food industry in pushing minimum wage to $15 an hour in New York.</p> <p>The acclaimed attorney, sometimes dubbed as the &quot;maestro of mischief,&quot; has litigated many of the nation&#39;s biggest lawsuits, including representing the federal government to fight against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBEW). Today he is representing Gov. Chris Christie in his Bridgegate scandal, as well as Univision, the broadcast network that is fighting against Donald Trump&#39;s $500 million lawsuit. The multi-billionaire sued Univision after the Spanish-language television network announced it would no longer televise Trump&#39;s Miss America and Miss Universe pageants because of his remarks about Mexican immigration.</p> <p>The New York state commission voted Wednesday to recommend the state raise minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018. The rest of the state would have until 2021 to follow suit. If approved, New York would be the first state in the country to take this action. The governor is hoping others will follow.</p> <p>Approximately 180,000 fast food workers are currently under the statewide minimum wage of $8.75 an hour. The median hourly rate, according to the state Department of Labor, is $9.03.</p> <p>Attorney Mastro recently remarked, &quot;These businesses are franchises. They are locally owned, many of them minority- and women-owned businesses. These are small-business owners with low margins who are trying to survive. This literally puts their business in jeopardy.&quot;</p> <p>Mastro is expected to challenge the legality of raising wages through a wage board, rather than by state legislation, a source told Crain&#39;s New York Business this week. The attorney has not discussed specifics of his legal strategy or revealed the identities of his clients.</p> <p>Mastro also told Crain&#39;s, &quot;It would not only be irrational and discriminatory to single [fast food franchises] out, it also would literally mean in just a matter of a few years, their entry-level wages basically doubled.&quot; He asked, &quot;How can a small business owner survive under those circumstances? It&#39;s really a question more people should be asking, and really one we intend to make sure gets addressed.&quot;</p> <p>Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced this week a nine-store Papa John&#39;s franchisee in The Bronx was fined $800,000 and will spend time in jail for underpaying workers while trying to cover it up. The Labor Department&#39;s Wage and Hour Division, standing by the AG&#39;s side, said: &quot;This should be a wake-up call for all employers who think they can break the law, not pay their workers, cover it up and get away with it.</p> <p>The A.G. also stated that he had obtained other judgments this year against Papa John&#39;s franchisees, and against 12 Domino&#39;s store owners for almost $1.5 million. Two others, he touted, were against McDonald&#39;s and KFC franchisees, who reached settlements, all for wage and hour laws.</p> <p>Crain&#39;s news reports business owners have claimed paying a higher minimum wage would force them to close some of their stores. While the Business Council of New York State opposes the pay hike, it could not find a basis for a lawsuit.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Related Articles</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Labor Protest for $15/Hour Pay Off for LA, New York Workers</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Fast-food Franchisee Tap Ex-Deputy Mayor to Fight Wage Hike</a> Crain&#39;s NY Business</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Schneiderman Gives Papa John&#39;s CEO a &quot;Pizza&quot; His Mind</a>&nbsp;| NY Post</li> <li><a href=";sa=U&amp;ei=nA76VOC2IMaAygS-9IC4Ag&amp;ved=0CAwQFjAD&amp;client=internal-uds-cse&amp;usg=AFQjCNH-wLoJq8RMylIhEkUhAecWJH8dOQ" target="_blank">Papa John&#39;s CEO Says He Pays Above Minimum Wage</a></li> <li><a href=";sa=U&amp;ei=nA76VOC2IMaAygS-9IC4Ag&amp;ved=0CAYQFjAA&amp;client=internal-uds-cse&amp;usg=AFQjCNFcYep114cEd1Lj1XJmE48LiVzepQ" target="_blank">AG Suit against Papa John&#39;s Franchisee Could Mask Bigger Agenda</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Politics attorney Randy Mastro fast food coalition Governor Andrew Cuomo New York minimum wage increase Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:04:51 +0000 Janet Sparks 14599 at Labor Protests for $15/Hour Pay Off for LA and NY Workers <!-- google_ad_section_start --><div class="photoright"><img alt="Strike for higher wage" src="" style="height: 220px; width: 330px;" /> <div class="caption">NY worker protest to raise wage in front of McDonald&#39;s.&quot; Photo/<a href="" target="_blank">Fightfor15</a></div> </div> <p>BREAKING: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed a boisterous rally today following the Wage Board&#39;s historic recommendation to raise pay to $15 for the state&#39;s 200,000 fast-food workers. On the board&#39;s recommendations, the governor announced, &quot;This is going to help hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, but this is going to do something else. Because when New York acts, the rest of the states follow.&quot;</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>Cuomo then stated, &quot;This statement today is going to radiate all across the country . . . If it&#39;s right in New York, it&#39;s right in California, it&#39;s right in Michigan and it&#39;s right in Florida. If the Wage Board&#39;s recommendations are approved, New York City fast-food workers would be the first fast-food workers in the country to win $15 statewide.&quot;</p> <p>Governor Cuomo concluded: &quot;It is just the beginning&hellip;we will not stop until we reach true economic justice and we raise the minimum wage for every worker in every job in this state. Because the New York way is we believe the greatest success&hellip;and the greatest feast has the most number of people at the table. That&#39;s what we&#39;re doing today. That&#39;s the crusade we&#39;re on. We&#39;ll make it a reality in New York and they&#39;ll hear us all across this nation.&quot;</p> <p class="rtecenter"><strong>--------</strong></p> <p>NEW YORK - Organized labor leading the charge on fast-food and other low-paid worker protests across the country for the past three years has now paid off in LA County, California and New York City in raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.</p> <p>Yesterday&nbsp;the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted for the increase, although it now faces a bigger challenge in convincing other local governments to join in. The Los Angeles Times reported that the &quot;widely anticipated move by the nation&#39;s largest local government applies to unincorporated areas and hundreds of thousands of employees, mirroring a similar action by the city of Los Angeles.&quot; The news report predicts, &quot;Within a few years, more than half of the countywide workforce will be guaranteed a base income more than 60% higher than the current state-mandated $9 an hour.</p> <p>Roberto Balanzar, a Burger King employee from Los&nbsp;Angeles County and a member of the Fight for $15 expressed that he was elated with the latest development. &quot;We won $15 for tens of thousands of workers in America&#39;s largest county because workers joined together and spoke out for a better future. This raise wouldn&#39;t have happened without the county&#39;s brave underpaid workers standing up, going on strike and demanding $15 an hour,&quot; he declared. He is currently making $9 an hour.</p> <p>Balanzar said he is going to a community college and lives with his mother in order to make a better life for himself. &quot;But on $9 an hour, it&#39;s a constant struggle just to stay afloat, let alone get ahead.&quot; The fast food worker says he&#39;s excited about what&#39;s in store for tomorrow.</p> <p>While some cities like Santa Monica and West Hollywood are considering the wage increase, others are not. Some are still recovering from the recession and cannot afford the raise. According to the LA Times,&nbsp;&quot;Some economists, business owners and public officials warn that a patchwork of local pay policies could set off economically disruptive competition for workers and job-producing employers.&quot;</p> <p>Chris Tilly, director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, said LA County&#39;s move puts &quot;both economic and political pressure&quot; on smaller cities in Los Angeles County. Those areas will now attract the most talented of the low end of the work force away from lower wage areas. Some manufacturing operations could move to areas with cheaper labor costs, but restaurant and retail businesses that choose sites based on customer demand aren&#39;t likely to relocate.</p> <p>Under the county&#39;s plan, approved with two Republican board members opposed, all workers would reach at least a $15 an hour wage by 2021.</p> <p>Burger King worker Balanzar is optimistic, even though there is plenty of opposition. He said, &quot; . . . today,&nbsp;I&#39;m excited about what&#39;s in store for tomorrow. I&#39;m excited about what this means for my future, and I&#39;m excited about our Fight for $15 that&#39;s making history.&nbsp;We didn&#39;t stop in our city, we didn&#39;t stop in our county, and we aren&#39;t stopping now. We&#39;ve sparked a global movement that has made $15 the new baseline for service jobs in all kinds of industries all over the United States.&quot;</p> <p><strong>New York Moves Forward on $15 increase</strong></p> <p>Today&nbsp;fast-food workers from the Bronx to Buffalo cheered the recommendation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo&#39;s Wage Board to raise pay to $15 an hour for the state&#39;s 200,000 fast-food workers. Wages would first be raised in New York City, then the rest of the state.</p> <p>When the board&#39;s three members announced their $15 decision to a packed hearing in lower Manhattan, workers erupted in cheers, chanting, &quot;We work, we sweat, put $15 in our check.&quot; They spilled out into the streets, kicking off a boisterous rally applauding the governor for convening the Wage Board and calling on him to accept its $15 recommendation.</p> <p>If approved, New York City fast-food workers would be paid $15 by 2018, matching the timeline set in San Francisco, and workers outside New York City would be paid $15 by 2021, making them the first fast-food workers in the country to win $15 statewide.</p> <p>&quot;For the first time in a really long time, I have hope for tomorrow,&quot; said Flavia Cabral, a 53-year-old McDonald&#39;s worker from the Bronx. &quot;Tomorrow for me has always meant more bills. More stress. More night shifts. And more struggling. Now, with $15, it means something better. I can actually buy groceries and be there for my kids and grandkids.&quot;</p> <p>Cabral said the $15 recommendation shows that the Wage Board heard workers&nbsp;voices, saying, &quot;When workers stand up and speak out, we win life-changing victories. We thank Governor Cuomo for giving us this historic opportunity to make our voices matter and urge him to accept the board&#39;s $15 recommendation.&quot;</p> <p>The decision by the Wage Board to recommend $15 comes two-and-a-half years after workers at McDonald&#39;s, Burger King and Wendy&#39;s walked off their jobs in New York City, sparking a movement for $15 and union rights that has spread to all corners of the state, around the country and across the underpaid service economy. At the time of the strike, fast-food workers made the state&#39;s minimum wage of $7.25, or just above it, and most observers gave them no shot at winning $15. But 10 strikes later, cities, states, elected leaders and corporations across the country are racing to raise pay, and workers in New York&mdash;where the Fight for $15 started&mdash;have had their voices heard.</p> <p>The board&#39;s recommendation follows weeks of public hearings at which workers testified of being paid so little that they are frequently forced to rely on public assistance to feed their families,&nbsp;of squeezing into crowded apartments &mdash; often with strangers, and of being unable to buy clothing or school supplies for their children, or to take them to the movies. Experts spoke about how low pay in the state&#39;s thriving fast-food industry drags down the local economy and costs taxpayers $700 million a year.</p> <p>&quot;We need $15 not just in New York, but in Tampa and Tempe too,&quot; said Bleu Rainer, who has worked in fast food for eight years, but makes only $8.05 an hour at a Tampa, Florida McDonald&#39;s and has to rely on food stamps to eat. &quot;And we&#39;re going to get it just like the workers in New York got their $15&mdash;by joining together and speaking out.&quot;</p> <p>Protests on Thursday will take place at McDonald&#39;s in Tampa and dozens of other cities from coast to coast. They come as the Fight for $15 is racking up victories across the country, including $15 minimum wages in Seattle, SeaTac, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as $15 for home care workers in Massachusetts. Last week&nbsp;Kansas City officials approved a $13 minimum wage and yesterday&nbsp;the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved $15 for the nation&#39;s largest county, matching the $15 approved in the city of Los Angeles earlier this year.</p> <p>Today there was other related activity. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The University of California, the third largest employer in California, also <a href="">announced it will raise base pay for all direct and contract workers to $15 an hour by 2017</a>.</p> <p>&quot;Our movement is unstoppable,&quot;&nbsp;said LeTonya Wilson, 41, who works at McDonald&#39;s in Richmond, Virginia and is paid $8.25 an hour. &quot;Fifteen dollars is sweeping the country and we&#39;re going to build off of this victory in New York to win $15 in Richmond and all across the country. Everyone said we had no chance, but we&#39;ve shown when we stick together, we get results that let us afford the basics like food and rent and lift up our families and communities.&quot;</p> <p>Fast food workers are not the only ones supporting the $15 an hour cause. &nbsp;Lizabeth Bollina, a Las Vegas home care worker who is paid $10 an hour, said, &quot;Fast-food workers started this movement for $15&nbsp;and home care workers are proud to carry the banner, too. We know that when workers stick together, we can win life-changing victories.&quot;</p> <p>Venetta Strickland, a child care teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina, paid $11.25 an hour, agrees. &quot;The Fight for $15 is about building a strong future for ourselves. We&#39;re winning in New York because we are standing together. Child care workers and all underpaid workers need $15 so we can afford things like rent and electricity and get the respect we deserve on the job.&quot;</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Politics $15 minimum wage minimum wage Wed, 22 Jul 2015 22:10:22 +0000 Janet Sparks 14596 at Papa John’s Franchisee Arrested; To Pay $800K for Stealing Worker Pay <!-- google_ad_section_start --><div class="photoright"><img alt="New York Attorney General applies criminal charges to Papa John&#039;s franchisee" src="" style="width: 340px; height: 190px;" width="340" height="190" /> <div class="caption">NY AG announces criminal charges against Papa John&#39;s franchisee. Photo:<a href="">YouTube</a></div> </div> <p>NEW YORK &ndash; The New York Attorney General&#39;s Office and the Department of Labor&#39;s Wage and Hour division have announced last week charges against a nine-store Papa John&#39;s franchisee in The Bronx. They have ordered him to pay $800,000 for back wages and overtime owed to current and former workers, and serve time in jail.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>Court documents show that Abdul Jamil Khokhar and his company BMY Foods, Inc. created fictitious identities to conceal overtime worked by employees, and filed fraudulent quarterly tax returns with New York State in order to cover up their alleged wage theft from 300 employees. Charges filed by the Attorney General&#39;s Office seek jail time and $230,000 in back wages, while the Labor Department announced the filing of a consent judgment whereby Khokhar would pay an additional $230,000 in liquidated damages to employees and $50,000 in civil monetary penalties. Eric T. Schneiderman stated:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;My office will not hesitate to criminally prosecute any employer who underpays workers and then tries to cover it up by creating fake names and filing fraudulent tax returns,&quot; said Attorney General Schneiderman. &quot;We will continue to be relentless in pursuing the widespread labor law violations, large and small, which we have found in the fast food industry.&nbsp; And I call on franchisors to stand up and stop the widespread lawlessness plaguing your businesses and harming your hardworking employees.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Dr. David Weil, administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor&#39;s Wage and Hour Division, agreed. &quot;This judgment should be a wake-up call for all employers who think they can break the law, not pay their workers, cover it up and get away with it. Weil added, &quot;Workers in the fast food and other low-wage industries are vulnerable to wage violations, but by working with Attorney General Schneiderman and other partners in New York and across the country we are protecting them from abuse. It is part of our commitment to ensure that employers who play by the rules aren&#39;t unfairly undercut by competitors who cheat, and that workers are guaranteed a fair day&#39;s pay for a fair day&#39;s work.&quot;</p> <p>Both New York and federal law require employers to pay workers at least the minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime at one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty in any given workweek.&nbsp; New York&#39;s current minimum wage is $8.75 per hour, and the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour; employers in New York must pay the higher rate.</p> <p>Pursuant to Labor Department&#39;s consent judgment, Khokhar and BMY Foods, Inc. are now expected designate and create procedures for an internal compliance officer and will be subjected to independent auditing of the franchisee&#39;s practices.</p> <p>In February and March of this year, Attorney General Schneiderman obtained judgments against two other Papa John&#39;s franchisees, Emstar Pizza and New Majority Holdings, for violating wage laws. Those judgments totaled almost $3 million. A.G. Schneiderman has also secured settlements with 12 separate Domino&#39;s franchisees for almost $1.5 million, as well as settlements with McDonald&#39;s and KFC franchisees. All of these cases addressed violations of wage and hour laws.</p> <p><strong>AG responds to media questions</strong></p> <p>Following last week&#39;s press conference, AG Schneiderman answered questions from the media. One he responded to, prompted this statement regarding Papa John&#39;s corporate:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;We believe the parent company should take responsibility and be concerned about these violations. It has been difficult for prosecutors to establish legal liability for the franchisor in this area, but it is something we are looking hard at.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>The AG also explained:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;There is a higher and higher level of sophisticated interaction and control by franchisors through the computer systems they require franchises to operate. This is something we take very seriously and are looking at hard. They [franchisors] should take an interest in this, if for no other reason than the fact that they care about their brands, and they should care about the idea that people do not like it when you are stealing wages from low wage workers who are living on the edge to begin with. It&#39;s really despicable to try and beat them out of even the paltry minimum wage we try to provide them.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Mr. Schneiderman also responded to a question regarding franchisee Abdul Khokhar. He said he had been arrested, that he turned himself in. He also stressed, &quot;We haven&#39;t shut down any restaurants. The jobs are still there. He [Khokhar] just has to pay fines and spend some time in jail. This is nothing that is going to cost anyone their job.&quot;</p> <p>The AG further explained that franchising was a complicated industry, referring to some questions in general regarding legislation introduced recently, and anti-trust concerns when it comes to competition. But he said he has not really been immersed in those issues.</p> <p><center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="383" src="" width="680"></iframe></center></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Related Articles</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Schneiderman Gives Papa John&#39;s CEO a &quot;Pizza&quot; His Mind</a> | NY Post</li> <li><a href=";sa=U&amp;ei=nA76VOC2IMaAygS-9IC4Ag&amp;ved=0CAwQFjAD&amp;client=internal-uds-cse&amp;usg=AFQjCNH-wLoJq8RMylIhEkUhAecWJH8dOQ" target="_blank">Papa John&#39;s CEO Says He Pays Above Minimum Wage</a></li> <li><a href=";sa=U&amp;ei=nA76VOC2IMaAygS-9IC4Ag&amp;ved=0CAYQFjAA&amp;client=internal-uds-cse&amp;usg=AFQjCNFcYep114cEd1Lj1XJmE48LiVzepQ" target="_blank">AG Suit against Papa John&#39;s Franchisee Could Mask Bigger Agenda</a></li> </ul> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Legal judgment & dispute resolution department of labor Dr. David Weil fissured workplaces franchises NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman Wed, 22 Jul 2015 18:06:06 +0000 Janet Sparks 14594 at Hardee’s Introduces Grass-fed Beef Burger, Joins Carl's Jr. <!-- google_ad_section_start --><div class="photoright"><img alt="Charlotte McKinney" src="" style="height: 186px; width: 330px;" width="330" height="186" /> <div class="caption">Hardee&#39;s&nbsp;to use&nbsp;Carl&#39;s Jr. &quot;All Natural&quot; ad with Charlotte McKinney. Image:<a href="">YouTube</a></div> </div> <p>CARPINTERIA, Calif. &ndash; CKE Restaurants, franchisor to Carl&#39;s Jr. and Hardee&#39;s brands, announced today that it is rolling out a burger at Hardee&#39;s restaurants that is a grass-fed, free-range beef with no added hormones, antibiotics, or steroids. With the &quot;All-Natural&quot; burger first introduced at sister chain Carl&#39;s Jr. last December, CKE says it is&nbsp;the first major burger chain to roll out such a healthy burger.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>The Hardee&#39;s All-Natural Burger will feature a charbroiled, all-natural beef patty topped with a slice of natural cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, red onion, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and dill pickles, all served on the brand&#39;s signature Fresh Baked Buns.</p> <p>Brad Haley, chief marketing officer of Carl&#39;s Jr. and Hardee&#39;s, says that the natural burger seems to have brought back old customers. &quot;They simply couldn&#39;t get food like this,&quot; he says of his major burger competitors.</p> <p>&quot;Carl&#39;s Jr. had great success with the industry-first, All-Natural Burger that launched late last year,&quot; says Brad Haley, chief marketing officer of Carl&#39;s Jr. and Hardee&#39;s.</p> <p>In fact, the commercial received buzz. AdWeek had rated Carl&#39;s Jr. &quot;All-Natural&quot; commercial with model and actress Charlotte McKinney as <a href="">one of the top three social media winners</a> of football&#39;s Super Bowl back in February.</p> <p>&quot;Given its tremendous popularity, the &#39;Au Naturel&#39; ad campaign starring the pop culture phenomenon Charlotte McKinney will be coming back. Not to be outdone, the ad campaign for Carl&#39;s Jr. new Mushroom &amp; Swiss All-Natural Burger will reveal a hot new way to go &#39;au naturel&#39;,&quot; Haley adds.</p> <p>In conjuction with Hardee&#39;s roll out of the natural grass-fed beef burger, Carl&#39;s Jr. will add a Mushroom burger to the line. Featuring saut&eacute;ed mushrooms, natural Swiss cheese, charbroiled all-natural beef patty as the original, vine-ripened tomatoes, mayonnaise, lettuce and red onion on a fresh baked bun. Its new menu offering will be supported with a provocative new ad campaign titled &quot;Natural Beauties.&quot; Created by Los Angeles-, New York- and Amsterdam-based advertising agency, 72andSunny, the TV spot will debut on July 27, featuring the smooth curves of the newest, not-yet-revealed, Carl&#39;s Jr. advertising star.</p> <p>&quot;Our own research has found that Millennials, as well as Gen Z and Gen Y customers, love mushrooms because of their natural, meaty flavor and are looking for menu items that incorporate better-for-you ingredients that taste great--especially in this segment,&quot; says Bart Minor, president and CEO of the Mushroom Council. &quot;Mushrooms are the perfect pairing and the &#39;natural&#39; choice for this all-natural burger,&quot; adds Minor.</p> <p>The new All-Natural Burger at Hardee&#39;s is available at participating franchises as a single burger for $4.49, or as a double patty for $6.99. The new Mushroom &amp; Swiss All-Natural Burger is available as a single patty for $5.39, or as a double for $7.89. Guests may also substitute the all-natural patty on any burger on the menu for an additional charge</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Marketing Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:18:47 +0000 BMM 14593 at Burger King Franchisee Buys 60 Restaurants in Michigan <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p>ATLANTA&mdash;Burger King franchise owner GPS Hospitality announced on Tuesday that it has purchased 60 Burger King branded restaurants from Team Schostak Family Restaurants for an undisclosed amount. The acquired quick service restaurants stretch from Detroit to Ann Arbor of Michigan&#39;s Lower Peninsula.</p> <p>The Michigan multi-franchise acquisition marks the largest single market purchase to date for Atlanta-based GPS Hospitality. It brings franchisee GPS&#39; total number of locations to 196. It is the third acquisition made in partnership with Nonami Investments and the Cynosure Group.</p> <p>&quot;These new restaurants mark continued growth for GPS Hospitality in the Midwest, and we look forward to bringing our brand of service and guest experience to the people of Michigan,&quot; says GPS&#39; CEO, Tom Garrett. &quot;TEAM Schostak is a very established and highly regarded company, and we&#39;ll continue their tradition of excellence,&quot; says Garrett. &quot;They have a great team in place.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Fortunately, we found a very qualified buyer in GPS Hospitality,&quot; says Team Schostak&#39;s executive chairman Mark Schostak, whose family has owned the Burger King restaurants for the last 34 years. Schostak owns franchises in Applebee&#39;s, Del Taco and MOD PIzza. &quot;The GPS leadership team shares the same values and operational philosophies, and we are confident in their ability to continue to successfully grow and operate the Burger King brand, making this transition as seamless as possible for everyone involved.&quot;</p> <p>GPS Hospitality says that by focusing on goals and bringing in strong talent in its franchise management approach, it has been able to achieve rapid growth. The firm cites that it was recognized by the Atlanta chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth as one of Georgia&#39;s fastest growing firms in 2014.</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Mergers & Acquisitions franchisee acquisition Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:49:26 +0000 BMM 14591 at Millennials Shift to Eating Fresh <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="" src="" style="height: 227px; width: 330px; margin-left: 4px; margin-right: 4px; float: right;" width="330" height="227" />CHICAGO &ndash;Young Americans, including the Millennial generation, are eating more fresh foods and beverages. Over the past decade, adults, ages 18 to 34, have increased their consumption of fresh food the most out of all age groups.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p> The element of surprise with this consumption trend is that Millennials are in a life stage when people typically consume lower quantities of fresh items in favor of more time-saving and convenient options.</p> <p>Millennials&#39; increased interest in fresh may be explained in part by their reactions to the Great Recession when it was in full grip, says NPD&#39;s Food and Beverage Industry Analyst, Darren Seifer. Younger adults were hit hardest by unemployment. Although this age group is considered the heaviest restaurant users, they pulled back the most from eating out at restaurants. It seems these adults still wanted many of the properties that restaurants provided &ndash; among them, freshness with speed.</p> <p>&quot;As Millennials returned to their homes to source more of their meals, they spent a little more time in the kitchen to make dishes like eggs/omelets, pancakes, vegetables/legumes, and rice,&quot; says Seifer. &quot;This doesn&#39;t mean they are becoming chefs or that they even enjoy spending time in the kitchen. In fact, Millennials account for more than their fair share of rice cooker sales, meaning they want fresh rice with their meals without having to hover over a saucepan for 30 minutes.&quot;</p> <p>The notion of convenience for the younger generations seems to be focused on freshness, while at the same time, getting out of the kitchen quickly, he says. In contrast, previous generations considered frozen options to be convenient.</p> <p>&quot;As Millennials recover in the job market, there are predictions that they will return to lower levels of fresh consumption in order to manage their increase time pressures. But there&#39;s also evidence that fresh actually may be here to stay,&quot; says Seifer. &quot;When looking at typical behaviors of Americans across the past 30 years, the consumption of fresh foods and beverages increases with age as consumers gain more cooking skills and confidence in the kitchen. It would seem Millennials&#39; heightened levels of fresh consumption could represent a sizeable shift in the way consumers prepare foods for decades to come.&quot;</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> food Wed, 22 Jul 2015 05:02:35 +0000 BMM 14590 at Steak ‘n Shake Granted Summary Judgment in Colorado <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="" src="" style="float: right; height: 330px; width: 330px; margin-left: 4px; margin-right: 4px;" width="330" height="330" />DENVER &ndash; Last month a Colorado district court granted Steak &#39;n Shake&#39;s motion for summary judgment on claims of breach of contract, trademark infringement, unfair competition, and injunctive relief against two terminated franchisees&#39; counterclaims for breach of contract and fraud.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>The legal battle began over two years ago when franchisees Kathryn and Larry Baerns, and son Christopher purchased the shops in 2012. They had high hopes of opening eleven additional restaurants by 2022. When the Baerns realized their business could not survive financially under the franchisor&#39;s set pricing, including $4 meal promotions, they contacted Steak &#39;n Shake in November. Asking if they could raise their menu prices to increase store profitability, the Baerns received no response from corporate headquarters. When the Baerns decided to raise their menu prices, Steak &#39;n Shake eventually stepped in and terminated their franchise license and development agreement. The company asserted the franchisees had breached their contract.</p> <p>Thomas Caruso, the previous owner of the two Colorado restaurants, said in court documents that the Indiana-based eatery intentionally blocked negotiations for the sale of his stores to the Baerns. At that time he asserted &quot;this allows the company to buy two well-established locations at far below their market value.&quot;</p> <p>After the Baerns continued to operate their restaurants under the Steak &#39;n Shake name, the franchisor filed its lawsuit demanding they &quot;de-identify&quot; from the company trade name. In their counterclaims, the franchisees stated Steak &#39;n Shake had pushed them to the brink of failure with its &quot;iron-fisted requirement of uniform pricing.&quot; The Baerns stated that they were fraudulently induced by company officials to invest more than $350,000 into the business.</p> <p>In granting summary judgment on the breach of contract claims, the court concluded that there was plain and uncontroverted evidence establishing that the franchisees had failed to participate in Steak &#39;n Shake&#39;s promotions and marketing campaigns. It also showed that the store owners were also charging more than their agreements allowed for menu items.</p> <p>The court decision also stated the record amply demonstrated that the franchisees were well aware that their actions were in contravention of the franchise agreement, and thus were committed &quot;knowingly&quot; for purposes of the termination. With regard to the franchisees&#39; counterclaim for fraud, the court agreed with Steak &#39;n Shake that the claim failed as a matter of law because the franchise agreement contained an integration clause that preempted any claim based on statements made prior to the agreement.</p> <p>As an alternative ground for its decision, the court took the position the alleged misrepresentations were &quot;mere puffery&quot; regarding future events, and thus were not actionable. Finally, the court held that the franchisees had presented insufficient evidence to show that the franchisor&#39;s projections in the FDD were false or misleading or that the franchisees had justifiably relied on the financial representations in Item 19.</p> <p><strong>Last Week&#39;s Status conference</strong></p> <p>Attorney Robert Salkowski of Zarco Einhorn Salkowski &amp; Brito, representing the Colorado franchisees, said the court hearing on July 16 was to determine how Steak &#39;n Shake was going to proceed on damages and attorney fees.</p> <p>&quot;The preliminary injunction was issued very early on and was not handled by our law firm. It was handled by local counsel. The Miami attorney explained that unfortunately for the franchisees, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore essentially affirmed in the summary judgment his findings that took place in the preliminary injunction.</p> <p>Salkowski said the lengthy decision hits on a hot topic issue in franchising today, the ability of the franchisor to dictate the prices charged by its franchisees. But in this case, he explained, the franchise agreement was revised in 2010 and the rights that are now afforded Steak n&#39; Shake with respect to pricing are very strongly written in the franchisor&#39;s favor. &quot;So, while this decision is interesting, I don&#39;t know what impact it is going to have overall because the terms in the Steak n&#39; Shake franchise agreement are not necessarily included in other franchise agreements in a vast array of different franchise systems.&quot;</p> <p>One source knowledgeable about the case, who asked not to be identified, affirmed that Steak &#39;n Shake had changed its practices on &quot;uniform pricing and marketing&quot; in late 2010. &quot;Therefore,&quot; he said, &quot;the franchise disclosure documents (FDDs) and franchise agreements from that time on reflected the decrease in prices. And the FDD Item 19 itself represents Steak &#39;n Shake&#39;s use of the uniform pricing policy from 2011 on, with the new pricing.</p> <p>He further explained that while the company&#39;s core markets are in the Midwest, the Item 19 wasn&#39;t representative of new markets, and perhaps one of the year&#39;s data was on the old format. &quot;If so, that would show a muddled picture to new franchisees,&quot; he said.</p> <p>Salkowski said his clients didn&#39;t have the benefit of that. He explained, &quot;When they signed the franchise agreement back in 2012, the Item 19 FDD was based on 2008, so they did not have the benefit of knowing how the new pricing structure impacted the financials.&quot;</p> <p>The bench trial set for July 20, 2015 has now been vacated. Steak &#39;n Shake is represented by Fredric &quot;Ric&quot; Cohen of Cheng Cohen.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Related Articles</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Cracker Barrel Again Rejects Biglari Holdings Bid</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Denver Steak &#39;n Shakes to Re-open As Company Stores</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Steak &#39;n Shake Buys Franchisee Stores after Shutting Them Down</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Customers Sad and Confused Seeing Denver Steak &#39;n Shakes Closed</a></li> <li><a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=17&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDwQFjAGOApqFQoTCOnJvbXn2MYCFUpaiAodSk8AiQ&amp;;ei=9AykVen_JMq0oQTKnoHICA&amp;usg=AFQjCNFtTt8rHEYFiNl2Lek6UyqSbMdXWA" target="_blank">Settlement reached in Steak n Shake franchisee suit | 2014</a></li> <li><a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=3&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CCsQFjACahUKEwi9g_CJ5tjGAhUJLYgKHWAGAb4&amp;;ei=jAukVb2NLInaoATgjITwCw&amp;usg=AFQjCNHh_Qa7Z76fj40ISbMaJySqy-mAGw&amp;bvm=bv.97653015,d.aWw" target="_blank">Denver Steak &#39;n Shakes to Re-open As Company Stores</a></li> <li><a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CB4QFjAAahUKEwi9g_CJ5tjGAhUJLYgKHWAGAb4&amp;;ei=jAukVb2NLInaoATgjITwCw&amp;usg=AFQjCNH4tvt37M6aRd_ZGSHeUDxF9LSBXw&amp;bvm=bv.97653015,d.aWw" target="_blank">Super-Sized Legal Woes Eat into Steak &#39;n Shake&#39;s Owner.</a></li> <li><a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CCUQFjABahUKEwi9g_CJ5tjGAhUJLYgKHWAGAb4&amp;;ei=jAukVb2NLInaoATgjITwCw&amp;usg=AFQjCNFvSBbIkdHWf7I-iLadyCIva6aaYg&amp;bvm=bv.97653015,d.aWw" target="_blank">Steak &#39;n Shake Clashes with Denver Franchisees over Price Control</a></li> <li><a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=5&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDcQFjAEahUKEwi9g_CJ5tjGAhUJLYgKHWAGAb4&amp;;ei=jAukVb2NLInaoATgjITwCw&amp;usg=AFQjCNEuwto4baDNPqrbrArxtLA_AAubTQ&amp;bvm=bv.97653015,d.aWw" target="_blank">Federal Judge Grants Steak &#39;n Shake Motion to Stay</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Past Owner: Steak-n-Shake Kept Him from Collecting on Sale of Store</a></li> </ul> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Legal judgment & dispute resolution Biglari Holdings Steak 'n Shake litigation summary judgment Tue, 21 Jul 2015 01:05:31 +0000 Janet Sparks 14588 at NCR Releases Tablet POS System <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="NCR Silver Register for Android and Apple Tablets" src="" style="height: 428px; width: 330px; float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" width="330" height="428" />DULUTH, Ga. &ndash; NCR this morning announced the launch of a tablet point-of-sale system for small business merchants. It runs on Android and Apple devices.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>The mobile POS is touted as being plug-n-play so that an operator of a small business can turn on the product and begin accepting payments. The company says that the solid-state NCR Silver Register terminal is suitable for not only franchisees but even franchisees with large multi-unit ownership, who want a complete POS system that is easy to maintain.</p> <p>&quot;NCR Silver Register is designed to help small businesses and franchises to easily focus on what&#39;s important &ndash; delivering a higher level of customer service and modernizing their stores,&quot; said Chris Poelma, president and general manager of NCR Small Business. &quot;The bundled solution is affordable and scalable, yet helps business owners power their businesses without the typical implementation challenges associated with many enterprise-level technology solutions.&quot;</p> <p>The cloud-based platform allows small business operators to choose from available payment card processor. It eliminates some manual processes associated with inventory management.</p> <p>Maritza Pichon, co-owner of Georgia-based chocolate store, M Chocolat, says the NCR Silver Register&#39;s interface provided more functionality than the server-based POS she used previously.</p> <p>&quot;The solution we had wasn&#39;t in the cloud, which meant updating the system was cumbersome and expensive because we had to hire a part-time IT person,&quot; Pinchon said. &quot;As we began to grow, we needed a faster POS system that had more functionality, but was intuitive enough to use without any IT expertise. The NCR Silver Register has been a perfect match for our needs.&quot;</p> <p>NCR Silver Register is a tablet and an integrated stand. Optional hardware includes a customer display, cash drawer, wireless printer and scanner.</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> manage manage a store by tablet point of sales POS Mon, 20 Jul 2015 19:23:38 +0000 BMM 14587 at COSI Chain Shrinks in Q2, Franchise Sales Slide <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="Cosi Chicago" src="" style="width: 330px; height: 330px; float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" />BOSTON &ndash; Cosi&nbsp;Inc. (NASDAQ:COSI) reported same-restaurant sales for its 32 fast-casual franchises was down 5.5 percent in the second quarter of 2015. However, its company-owned stores rose 2.1 percent in same-restaurant sales for the quarter. </p> <!--break--><!--break--><p> Altogether, its estimated system-wide comparable restaurant sales for the second quarter of 2015, as measured for restaurants in operation for more than 15 months, recorded an aggregate decline of 0.4 percent compared to the second quarter of 2014.</p> <p>&quot;Same-store sales needs to be greater than a 3 percent increase at this point to cover food and wage inflation,&quot; says restaurant analyst John Gordon, principal of San Diego-based Pacific Management Consulting Group.</p> <p>Last quarter, Cosi&#39;s president and CEO R.J. Dourney expounded on his franchise development plans for 2015. &quot;We will open seven franchise restaurants. And those seven franchise restaurants have either already opened or the shovels are in the dirt. So we are in a very good place,&quot; he told analysts in a May earnings call.</p> <div class="photoright"><img alt="Cosi 2015 2nd Quarter Results" src="" style="height: 352px; width: 400px;" width="400" height="352" /> <div class="caption">Changed from original graphic. <a href="" target="_blank">See note</a></div> </div> <p>&quot;Seven franchise openings does not seem realistic,&quot; says Gordon, a franchise specialist and a restaurant unit economist.</p> <p>But even seven new franchise openings, if it could be done, will not make up for this chain&#39;s hemorrhaging. The Cosi chain has shrunk by 11 percent during this past quarter alone &ndash; from 123 units to&nbsp;110. It misleadingly lost nearly a third of its franchises, a massive 17 of its 49 franchises, during the last quarter. But CEO Dourney explained to Blue MauMau this morning that <a href="" target="_blank">13 stores* </a>went from one part of the chain to another. Dourney, a franchisee himself, sold all of his Boston-based Hearthstone Associates LLC franchises to&nbsp;Cosi, turning them into company-owned units. Dourney was Cosi&#39;s largest franchisee when he became CEO in March of 2014. If his converted units are taken out, that makes the chain&#39;s shrinkage in franchised outlets a less alarming percentage than being down by 35 percent in the quarter. Despite what should be a huge rise of units previously owned by Dourney, Cosi only managed to increase by a net of 4 company-owned outlets, bringing the total to 78, since the end of last quarter.</p> <p>The CEO of the fast-casual chain gave this insight last quarter on outlet economics that he thought met the bar for being healthy for both franchisees and the franchisor: &quot;If franchisees are paying you [Cosi] 5% royalties and they can average north of $1.5 million, it&#39;s a beautiful equation.&quot;</p> <div class="photoright"> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-top: solid #c0504d 1.0pt; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid #c0504d 1.0pt; border-right: none"><span style="color:#943634"><strong>Cosi in 2015</strong></span></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-top: solid #c0504d 1.0pt; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid #c0504d 1.0pt; border-right: none"><span style="color:#943634"><strong>Q1</strong></span></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-top: solid #c0504d 1.0pt; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid #c0504d 1.0pt; border-right: none"><span style="color:#943634"><strong>Q2</strong></span></td> </tr> <tr style="background: #efd3d2"> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-left: none; border-right: none"><span style="color:#943634"><strong>Franchises</strong></span></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-left: none; border-right: none"><span style="color:#943634">49</span></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-left: none; border-right: none"><span style="color:#943634">32</span></td> </tr> <tr> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px"><span style="color:#943634"><strong>Company-owned</strong></span></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px"><span style="color:#943634">74</span></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px"><span style="color:#943634">78</span></td> </tr> <tr style="background: #efd3d2"> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid #c0504d 1.0pt; border-right: none"><span style="color:#943634"><strong>Total restaurants</strong></span></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid #c0504d 1.0pt; border-right: none"><span style="color:#943634">123</span></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid #c0504d 1.0pt; border-right: none"><span style="color:#943634">110</span></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <p>Cosi&#39;s CEO addressed the depressed comparative sales of the system&#39;s present 32 franchises, stating: &quot;I also remain confident in the progress we have made to improve the profitability of our franchise system. At the same time, we have put a full court press on the three outlier units to address the unique circumstances surrounding the performance of these locations.&quot; Embedded in the quickly growing fast-casual sector, Cosi has had a tough go of it. The franchising firm declared a net loss of nearly $17 million for 2014 and a net loss of $3 million during its first quarter of this year. At the time of this writing, Cosi has not yet filed its second quarter 10-Q report for 2015 at the Securities and Exchange Commission.</p> <p>The CEO is adhering to Cosi&#39;s turnaround efforts: &quot;We are staying the course and being relentless in the rollout of our strategy system-wide.&quot; He&nbsp;added that&nbsp;&quot;We remain confident in our ability to deliver our plan in the second half of the year.&quot;</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> food earnings call fast casual NASDAQ:COSI restaurant Fri, 17 Jul 2015 15:51:50 +0000 Don Sniegowski 14580 at