Cuppy's New CEO To Improve Operations and Meet Refund Obligations

Editor's note: After 18 days at the helm, Dale Nabors, new CEO of Cuppy's Coffee and affilliated companies, reports on next steps for the troubled chain. His post was originally written as a comment responding to posters who declared that more than new ownership was needed to lift the franchise chain from its current problems.

--

As much as I'd like to respond to each and every comment regarding Cuppy's I do not have the time, nor would it be wise to do so.  However, this is one which I'd like to provide a short response.

I can agree with some of both guest's comments.  I wholeheartedly agree that the company needs and must have more than just new ownership.  It has been approximately 20 business days since I acquired Cuppy's, and just 18 if you exclude the day of acquisition and today which has hardly begun.  In this relatively short period of time, numerous employees have been terminated and more than a million dollars per year has been cut from the company's operating expenses.  In the coming weeks and months there will be more cuts, a few new hires, and many new systems, processes and procedures implemented.

Not withstanding any of the above, the company has a very good product, both from a consumer perspective and an investment perspective.  The company has MANY employees who posses substantial knowledge, skills and abilities along with the interest and commitment to helping each and every franchisee to succeed, in their business.

I've stated our objectives very clearly, and quite simply.  We will curtail sales, we will focus on opening sold but unopened stores and help every store increase their bottom line profitability.  The cuts which have been made and that will be made, are being made in order to strengthen the company and to allow us to deal with mission critical issues like opening stores, improving systems, and providing refunds to those who are entitled to such.

The company did not get into it's current position overnight, and we will not resolve all issues overnight....however, I will tell you now, and my team will show you in the coming weeks and months that we are committed to resolving each and every issue which we are faced with, in a fair and equitable manner, and to building a brand that is both respected and trusted.

Believe & Succeed,Dale Nabors

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Comments

Blogger logic

Logic has never been a strong suit of most internet discussion boards, but BMM tends to have a higher level of discussion and people who actually know what they are talking about.

From what I have heard, the operating zees of this particular system are not disgruntled and several zees have praised Mr. Nabors' efforts to increase unit-level profitability, in particular a successful effort to reduce raw materials costs.

The complaints are coming from people who did not open stores, and the current problems therefore seem to be with the question of which of them are contractually entitled to be refunded monies and the promptness of said refunds.

What most bloviators have missed is the 800 pound gorilla: Intermediate and long-term structural issues which require immediate attention. Indeed, several AAFD attendees were more concerned with those issues than the dozen refund claimants, and their concerns are well-founded.

Ironically, Mr. Nabors' post is the first BMM post to deal with the fundamental issues facing the franchisor; a proactive approach which has been lacking in Morgan's management.

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

Not yet

A statement saying that they wil take care of the money refund issues is not a statement of anything positive. Those statements are usually total BS - and I will bet that this one is BS also.

If he had said that he has made arrangements that are signed off on to provide money for the refunds, and that they refunds will be provided on a date certain (very near term), then I would agree that the statement is pro active.

As it stands, it is sheer nonsense, as I predicted several weeks ago, and you all should know better.--

Richard Solomon, FranchiseRemedies.com,  has over 45 years experience with franchise litigation and crisis management. He is a graduate of The Citadel and The University of Michigan Law School

Webster report

As I understand, Webster is reviewing evidence that shows several people have been paid and several settlement agreements are pending execution. I agree with you that Dale Nabors must clean up this problem since it is now his company.

But let's read Webster's report and see what the facts are. 

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

Let's read the franchisee's report...

While I look forward to Webster's Revised Unabridged Report with an enthusiasm I reserve for the written documents of our esteemed franchise legal community, and while I can hardly wait to read the AAFD Cuppy's Commission report and listen to the companion DVD (with Doug Hibbing singing selections from the AAFD Accreditation Criteria a capella) when it's released next year, I first look forward to hearing from the depositing franchisees who have posted detailed complaints on FranchisePick.com , UnhappyFranchisee.com and Rip-offReport.com .

If my once feisty posters and email pals suddenly have changed email addresses, or appear as lobotomized and listless as R.P. McMurphy at the end of Cuckoo's Nest and can only repeat: "I have reached an amicable confidential agreement with Cuppy's Coffee... Cuppy's is not Java Jo'z.... I have reached an amicable confidential agreement with Cuppy's Coffee... Cuppy's is not Java Jo'z...." then we can assume that the bully-n-silence'm tactics of the old regime have not been abandoned, and the AAFD aversion to gag orders doesn't apply to highly volatile matters of national security, such as unreturned refunds.

Dale's got a lot on the line, and he's got his work cut out for him. I'd love to see him turn this thing around and create a success story that validates proper franchising practices. He's got to send a bold message, and put an end to the hairsplitting. Paying some, not others, making confidentiality a condition of repayment, continued use of AAFD seal, leaving the franchise section of the website and portal listings active... these will be the signals that the lessons of the past year and a half have still not been understood, and the new boss has not distanced himself enough from the old boss.

Sean Kellyseankelly[at]ideafarm.net Franchise Pick Franchisor Marketing

Let's read the franchisee's report...

While I look forward to Webster's Revised Unabridged Report with an enthusiasm I reserve for the written documents of our esteemed franchise legal community, and while I can hardly wait to read the AAFD Cuppy's Commission report and listen to the companion DVD (with Doug Hibbing singing selections from the AAFD Accreditation Criteria a capella) when it's released next year, I first look forward to hearing from the depositing franchisees who have posted detailed complaints on FranchisePick.com , UnhappyFranchisee.com and Rip-offReport.com .

If my once feisty posters and email pals suddenly have changed email addresses, or appear as lobotomized and listless as R.P. McMurphy at the end of Cuckoo's Nest and can only repeat: "I have reached an amicable confidential agreement with Cuppy's Coffee... Cuppy's is not Java Jo'z.... I have reached an amicable confidential agreement with Cuppy's Coffee... Cuppy's is not Java Jo'z...." then we can assume that the bully-n-silence'm tactics of the old regime have not been abandoned, and the AAFD aversion to gag orders doesn't apply to highly volatile matters of national security, such as unreturned refunds.

Dale's got a lot on the line, and he's got his work cut out for him. I'd love to see him turn this thing around and create a success story that validates proper franchising practices. He's got to send a bold message, and put an end to the hairsplitting. Paying some, not others, making confidentiality a condition of repayment, continued use of AAFD seal, leaving the franchise section of the website and portal listings active... these will be the signals that the lessons of the past year and a half have still not been understood, and the new boss has not distanced himself enough from the old boss.

Sean Kellyseankelly[at]ideafarm.net Franchise Pick Franchisor Marketing

Webster on Gag Clause

Webster has stated publicly that one of the questions he will be asking the complainants is whether they have signed any confidentiality agreement, so I would assume that if he gets responses in the affirmative (or evasions indicitive of gagging) that will be set forth in the report.

And while his report may be lacking in witty repartee, I suspect that it will be the most heavily-downloaded report in the history of BMM. Hope Mr. MauMau beefs up the server. 

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

Do the AAFD negotiated refunds come with gags?

Without witty repartee, it's difficult to point out the painfully obvious without sounding blunt.

Painfully obvious, like:   "Why would we need a formal report to tell us all the intricacies of the AAFD's learned stand on gag orders, while the agreements the AAFD is "negotiating" and putting in their Successful Contracts Signed column all have gag orders in them?"

You guys are in the AAFD, right?  And you're against gag orders and keeping info on disputes and settlements hidden, right?  But you have no problem with your top negotiater requiring franchisees to clam up or they can't get their own money back? 

So, Cuppy's Coffee got contract accreditation, highest franchise fairness score, etc. because they don't have a gag order in their contract, but it's OK for them to require it to return a refund after jerking the recipient around for a year? 

It doesn't take Henry Kissinger to figure out that franchisees should retain the right to scream bloody murder if they don't receive the payments agreed to in the negotiated schedule.  In fact, if the original  crop of victims hadn't been gagged, there might not have BEEN a second crop.  They would have known enough to require proof of escrow... or to grab their checkbooks and run.

Sean Kellyseankelly[at]ideafarm.netFranchise  Pick Franchisor Marketing

Do the AAFD negotiated refunds come with gags?

Without witty repartee, it's difficult to point out the painfully obvious without sounding blunt.

Painfully obvious, like:   "Why would we need a formal report to tell us all the intricacies of the AAFD's learned stand on gag orders, while the agreements the AAFD is "negotiating" and putting in their Successful Contracts Signed column all have gag orders in them?"

You guys are in the AAFD, right?  And you're against gag orders and keeping info on disputes and settlements hidden, right?  But you have no problem with your top negotiater requiring franchisees to clam up or they can't get their own money back? 

So, Cuppy's Coffee got contract accreditation, highest franchise fairness score, etc. because they don't have a gag order in their contract, but it's OK for them to require it to return a refund after jerking the recipient around for a year? 

It doesn't take Henry Kissinger to figure out that franchisees should retain the right to scream bloody murder if they don't receive the payments agreed to in the negotiated schedule.  In fact, if the original  crop of victims hadn't been gagged, there might not have BEEN a second crop.  They would have known enough to require proof of escrow... or to grab their checkbooks and run.

Sean Kellyseankelly[at]ideafarm.netFranchise  Pick Franchisor Marketing

Gags

Sean writes: "In fact, if the original  crop of victims hadn't been gagged, there might not have BEEN a second crop.  They would have known enough to require proof of escrow... or to grab their checkbooks and run."

Uh, wouldn't that be something we would be looking into?  If there were franchisees, prior to the AAFD accreditation, that were effectively gagged and that was not disclosed to the subcommittee, don't you think the AAFD might be a little annoyed about that?  Just wondering. 

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Wondering

Wonder no more.

What matters is controversy. That drives web traffic and is how the site host can get more business clients.

Moved

General discussions about franchisor and franchisee relations do not fit under this blog. The comment has been moved here.

Confidentiality Agreements

The relevant Standard to consider here is:

STANDARD 15.3 FRANCHISEE GAG ORDERS 

Full disclosure of a franchisee’s experience, including franchisor/franchisee disputes, is encouraged. 

Nevertheless, while not favored, in order to encourage the settlement of disputes, the use of covenants not to disclose the specific terms of settlement may be appropriate, except where restricted by law. 

In its Uniform Franchise Offering Circular, the franchisor should inform prospective franchisees of the existence of so-called "gag clauses," or "covenants not to disclose”, if any were included in any type of agreement(s) within the last three (3) fiscal years. 

(Standard approved unanimously on June 6, 2002). 

Proposed Commentary (Not adopted): If such agreements exist, the franchisor should have an affirmative duty to bring to the attention of a prospective franchisee the fact that certain former and/or current franchisees may be unable to share certain information with the prospective franchisee.  Just as the proponents of the expanded Franchise Rule suggest, a franchisor may inform a prospective franchisee of the number and/or the percentage of its current and former franchisees whose ability to share information would be restricted in this fashion. This allows the franchisor who has seldom utilized "gag clauses" to inform a prospective franchisee of that fact. 

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Confidentiality Agreements

Many commentators, especially Sean Kelly are being ridiculous.

In many business relationships and business dealings, in America, it is common to request a confidentiality agreement. I would guess that most people that work in the corporate world, have be rquired to sign a confidentiality agreement more than once. Quite frankly, it is no one's business but the franchisee and Cuppy's what the terms of any refund agreement is.

As to the statement that "Cuppy's should pay ALL requested refunds, in full, immediately.", is also ridiculous.

Again, posters on this website or any other do NOT know all of the details of ANY refund due to ANY person. I am sure that some people do deserve to receive a refund, but I am just as sure that some don't.

If someone put down money to open a Cuppy's and the company went the effort and expense to assist them in doing this, but through the actions OR inactions of the franchisee has rendered them unable to get financing, should this be Cuppy's responsibility or fault? Cuppy's has, and should have, the right to deny that person a refund, or at a minimum take whatever expense out of the refund that Cuppy's deems appropriate.

Neither Cuppy's nor any company is in business for fun. Business is business, and a business must be paid for its efforts and expense in order to be profitable.

Next time break the prozacs in half.

quote:

I am sure that some people do deserve to receive a refund, but I am just as sure that some don't.

What tipped you off to this nugget of insight?  Was it the fact that these folks all (from what has been reported) had executed an agreement stipulating refundable deposits?   What part of that confuses you? 

Do not be afraid little one, I'm here to help you understand.

Are you the bizarro world version of Do Diligence? 

 

 

Next time break the prozacs in half.

quote:

I am sure that some people do deserve to receive a refund, but I am just as sure that some don't.

What tipped you off to this nugget of insight?  Was it the fact that these folks all (from what has been reported) had executed an agreement stipulating refundable deposits?   What part of that confuses you? 

Do not be afraid little one, I'm here to help you understand.

Are you the bizarro world version of Do Diligence? 

 

 

Facts

The Elite contract, if that is what the person signed, provides for a refund in the case that bank financing was not available.

But, in at least four complaints, it is claimed that the franchisee obtained financing but then tried to resile from the deal.  They are not entitled to the refund, although they may have other legal remedies.

In one case, the person accepted the financing, opened and then closed the store some time later - and is now asking for the refund. 

It is also claimed that several people who were not legally entitled to a refund nonetheless got it. 

There are also people complaining who never signed an agreement with Elite, but now want a refund.

I hope that this helps you understand. 

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Careful, Michael. You don't

Careful, Michael.

You don't want the facts to get in the way of a good story, do you?

Even worse

I went to public school in Queens. I don't even know what "resile" means, but I think that it's a felony in the bible belt.

 

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

My Coonass pal Boudreaux says its a frog word meaning

chicken out--

Richard Solomon, FranchiseRemedies.com,  has over 45 years experience with franchise litigation and crisis management. He is a graduate of The Citadel and The University of Michigan Law School

Resile

"Resile from the contract" means "to act is if the contractual obligations on you no longer applied".   In other words, I wish I hadn't bought this franchise now that I am committed to paying for it.

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

I have never used a dictionary more

than when I started posting on BMM. I like Richard's writing because it is down to earth.

Hoity-toity Words

"tried to resile from the deal" - Webster

I just love lawyers that make me crack open my dictionary during a long Monday at work. NOT!

resile (verb with an object) - to spring back; rebound; resume the original form or position, as an elastic body.

Show-off!

Have you talked

with all of us who are not getting a refund? I emailed you and I never got a response. I have all the supporting documentation, phone calls, etc to clearly state that I did NOT receive financing within 30 days and am entitled to a refund. What am I missing here, the disgruntle part?
Criston Menz

Information from Cuppy's

The information give to my by Cuppy's, several weeks ago, was that there was an outstanding offer to repay your refund.

Is that incorrect? 

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Cuppy's information

Michael

i'm just curious, are you getting copies of letters offering refunds from Cuppy's or are they just telling you verbally?

 

 

I think

Cuppys is paying off Bob Purvin and Michael Webster.

I think you are right

They have to be. I mean I can understand wanting to get better. But after reading all this- they really don't have any care for the "franchisees" I think they are in it for themselves, and do not believe they are professional by any means. They are making the coffee industry look bad!

Payment

Neither Cuppy's nor the AAFD is paying me.  Nor will I be accepting any money from any JJ or Cuppy's who get refunds.

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Exchange rate

That's because to you American dollars are monopoly money, and being a subject of the Queen you have tea instead of coffee.

I, on the other hand, will gladly accept small bills, loose change, and whole bean coffee from any donors.

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

Documents

I am sure that Cuppy's realizes that it is in their interest to provide as much documentation regarding these settlements as possible.  They can avail themselves of the confidentiality clause in the Standards, if so required.

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

outstanding offer

What is so outstanding about a company doing what they said they would do in the first place? An outstanding offer would be to pay these people back with interest. Somewhere I read that the offer was given to Ms. Menz and then pulled because she didn't respond in some limited time frame. Isn't this afterall HER money????? Shouldn't she have a reasonable expectation to recieve it without having to play all these games?
It appears that the fully refundable clause in the Elite contract is only an inducement to get you to sign the contract. What everyone forgets is that Cuppy's uses lies, fraud and bait and switch practices to induce people to become franchisees
ie: hurry if you wire us your downpayment Elite will pay half your franchise fee, you don't qualify for a cafe so how about a kiosk or cart?, Call the following locations-really company stores- and ask them about our business.
It appears to me Mr. Webster that you talk out of both sides of your mouth. You seem genuinely interested in these peoples cases, and once you get information from them you disappear. I wonder how much of these people's money has made it's way into your pockets.....

For the Stupid Brigade

The question was not regarding the subjective desirability of the offer, but the objective status of the offeree's capacity to accept.

Duh. 

Canucks have a lot more tolerance than New Yorkers. 

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

Play on Words

The offer was rescinded.... by Cuppys because Ms. Menz did not respond in the 24 hour window they provided. It is therefore no longer outstanding. Am I correct Ms. Menz? Back off New York City hotshot. Are you to only one to get to have a little fun with the English language.

Resile

Guest writes:Back off New York City hotshot.

You probably live in fly-over land.

Hey guest, as they say in Canada:

Go resile yourself! 

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

Franchisees watch out for people who WILL mislead you

No need to call people stupid Paul- he has a point. Why the hell hurry a payment in for an offer? If they were a honest company they would make sure the time is right for the franchisee. Sell a cart? I have never even seen a Cuppy's cart- where are they? In someones back yard? Probably.

Exactly

Guest writes: Why the hell hurry a payment in for an offer? If they were a honest company they would make sure the time is right for the franchisee.

Exactly correct.

And that bit of common sense was lacking in anyone who hurried to send fat checks to such a company (and a construction company, at that--not the franchisor).

That's water under the bridge.

There are 2 distinct groups here: those who bought Java Joz and those who bought Cuppys. The value of any litigation claim is greatly dependent on which is the defendant. And as the first one to raise (a year and a half ago) the potential for a fraudulent conveyance claim and prospectively piercing the corporate veil, I am also aware of the difficulties in pursuing such a claim.

We have now veered off into bizarro world, with people ranting about how the federal government is going to attach personal assets of employees of a company where the company has breached a contract; hey, it says so on the FTC website.

People need to get a grip and find a good lawyer before they spout off such nonsense: What is possible in theory and what will happen in reality are different things.

On that note: A famous franchisor recently paid off the clients of a particular attorney, even where some of the claims would likely have failed in court. But that only encouraged the attorney, and the franchisor quickly realized there was no benefit to dealing with the attorney.

Much the same is happening here. I suspect that the only way in which people will get their money is if Dale Nabors manages to turn the ship around and enter into payment agreements. That may not be "fair" to the payees, but it is reality.

However, I equally suspect that no matter what Nabors does, there are going to be anonymous complaints (some legit, some fake) flooding blogsites for some time. I also suspect that people are going to continue to bash the AAFD and Webster.

So from Nabors' perspective, at this point it would make sense to pull out of the AAFD, pay off such claims and on such basis as a cost-benefit analysis of potential litigation would suggest, and tell everyone else to avail themselves of their remedies...at their own expense.

Hate to pour pragmatism on the parade. Now...back to the ranting of the Stupid Brigade.

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

Bizzaro world

SleepTight writes: Are you the bizarro world version of Do Diligence?

ST, that's a redundant sentence;)

 

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

Sleep Tight and Paul

What do you mean by this comment?

I do not

believe for one second that you want anything to turn around. What would you do then? No one t beat up. Give the company a chance. The new boss has distanced himself from the old and some of us franchisees do believe in him. Being on the inside we have already seen changes.

Silence is Golden. Or, an effective gag order.

Logic has never been a strong suit of most internet discussion boards...

I hate to meddle with tradition, but when you say From what I have heard, the operating zees of this particular system are not disgruntled, is it fair to deduce (or infer?) that the source of this information is the award-winning franchisor and/or the award-giving AAFD? Would it be correct to infer (deduce?) that the zees of this system are indeed happy based on their say-so?

One logical fallacy used quite frequently in these discussions, and not by the infidel class guests, is that silence = contentment. Or happiness. Or the satisfaction from basking in the warmth of franchise fairness. Silence from existing franchisees could also mean a lack of support for the franchisor. Or intimidation from non-disparagement clauses. Or being  weak from hunger or having slipped into unconsciousness. Or that lawyers have advised them against discussing upcoming litigation.

And when Uncle Bob tallies up all those successes in the "contracts accepted" column, silence indeed means negotiated settlements with gag orders, not happiness at partial payments or protracted repayment schedules, does it not?  In this instance, silence is about as golden as the AAFD's opposition to inhibiting franchisees' freedom of speech.

Sean Kellyseankelly[at]ideafarm.netFranchise Pick Franchisor Marketing

Silence is Golden. Or, an effective gag order.

Logic has never been a strong suit of most internet discussion boards...

I hate to meddle with tradition, but when you say From what I have heard, the operating zees of this particular system are not disgruntled, is it fair to deduce (or infer?) that the source of this information is the award-winning franchisor and/or the award-giving AAFD? Would it be correct to infer (deduce?) that the zees of this system are indeed happy based on their say-so?

One logical fallacy used quite frequently in these discussions, and not by the infidel class guests, is that silence = contentment. Or happiness. Or the satisfaction from basking in the warmth of franchise fairness. Silence from existing franchisees could also mean a lack of support for the franchisor. Or intimidation from non-disparagement clauses. Or being  weak from hunger or having slipped into unconsciousness. Or that lawyers have advised them against discussing upcoming litigation.

And when Uncle Bob tallies up all those successes in the "contracts accepted" column, silence indeed means negotiated settlements with gag orders, not happiness at partial payments or protracted repayment schedules, does it not?  In this instance, silence is about as golden as the AAFD's opposition to inhibiting franchisees' freedom of speech.

Sean Kellyseankelly[at]ideafarm.netFranchise Pick Franchisor Marketing

Tally up

1. Complaining zees are not content.
2. Silent zees are not content.

Ergo, all zees are not content.

AAFD should be exposed for "inhibiting franchisees' freedom of speech."

Expose them. Here. Now.

Who at AAFD has done this inhibiting and what are the facts? Michael Webster asked for more speech, but we all know that he's in on the scam. Glad to see that you have exposed the Canadian Conspiracy.

IFA's new mini me?

 AAFD should be exposed for "inhibiting franchisees' freedom of speech."

What's that term for exaggerating a valid point to the absurd and then attacking the exaggeration?  Unfortunately, guest didn't get absurd enough.

That's exactly what the AAFD - through Bob Purvin - is doing by supposedly "negotiating" contracts that require gag orders in order for people to get their own money back.  Don't drag Canada into this conspiracy... the rat pack crooners are clearly on U.S. soil. 

Why are all those that the AAFD helped not speaking out, thanking Uncle Bob for his invaluable assistance?  Because they are afraid to discuss it.  Because the AAFD is not standing up for the franchisees in this matter.  If they wer, they would not be suggesting that they give up their only bargaining tool:  their freedom of speech.

Anyone who thinks people got their money back because of the AAFD has been drinking their own koolaid. The only reason anyone got paid... all the way back to Scoble... was because of their public participation in the blogsosphere.  Period.  The AAFD should be advising franchisees to hang onto that leverage because that's all they got.

The AAFD should be advocating for the best interest of franchisees, even those they may never see again.  Otherwise, the AAFD is just the IFAs mini-me.

Sean [email protected]Franchise  Pick Franchisor Marketing

IFA's new mini me?

 AAFD should be exposed for "inhibiting franchisees' freedom of speech."

What's that term for exaggerating a valid point to the absurd and then attacking the exaggeration?  Unfortunately, guest didn't get absurd enough.

That's exactly what the AAFD - through Bob Purvin - is doing by supposedly "negotiating" contracts that require gag orders in order for people to get their own money back.  Don't drag Canada into this conspiracy... the rat pack crooners are clearly on U.S. soil. 

Why are all those that the AAFD helped not speaking out, thanking Uncle Bob for his invaluable assistance?  Because they are afraid to discuss it.  Because the AAFD is not standing up for the franchisees in this matter.  If they wer, they would not be suggesting that they give up their only bargaining tool:  their freedom of speech.

Anyone who thinks people got their money back because of the AAFD has been drinking their own koolaid. The only reason anyone got paid... all the way back to Scoble... was because of their public participation in the blogsosphere.  Period.  The AAFD should be advising franchisees to hang onto that leverage because that's all they got.

The AAFD should be advocating for the best interest of franchisees, even those they may never see again.  Otherwise, the AAFD is just the IFAs mini-me.

Sean [email protected]Franchise  Pick Franchisor Marketing

Re: IFA's new mini me?

AAFD in league with the IFA. Sean you are out of your mind. There are precious few IFA members that would agree with the AAFD view of franchising.

The Truth Shall Set You Free!

TIF

Re: IFA's new mini me?

AAFD in league with the IFA. Sean you are out of your mind. There are precious few IFA members that would agree with the AAFD view of franchising.

The Truth Shall Set You Free!

TIF

half right

I didn't mean literally in league... I doubt precious few IFA members know - or care - what the AAFD's view of franchising is.  Heck, I can't figure it out and I've been working real hard at it.  Something about having a fair contract but not having to act fairly... that's as far as I got...

As for being crazy, I can only say I wasn't til I got involved in this debacle. 

Sean [email protected]Franchise  Pick Franchisor Marketing

half right

I didn't mean literally in league... I doubt precious few IFA members know - or care - what the AAFD's view of franchising is.  Heck, I can't figure it out and I've been working real hard at it.  Something about having a fair contract but not having to act fairly... that's as far as I got...

As for being crazy, I can only say I wasn't til I got involved in this debacle. 

Sean [email protected]Franchise  Pick Franchisor Marketing

IFA doesn't know or care?

Sean, 

1. If you think the IFA doesn't know or care about the AAFD, you are sadly mistaken.

2.  If you have been "working real hard" at figuring out what the AAFD's view of franchising is, and still don't know, you have either not visited the AAFD website or you are a functional illiterate. 

I don't think you're crazy and I know you're not illiterate, but your recent postings have been ignorant.

The IFA is quite content with the status quo.  Any individual or organization that looks to alter that status quo is considered a serious threat.  The AAFD exists to  promote standards that result in fairer AND more prosperous franchising.  A very small percentage of forward-thinking franchisors recognize this paradigm shift as a potentially positive one, while most refuse to accept even the concept of change, and are prepared to fight to keep everything on the playing field exactly as it is today.  While the IFA and AAFD undoubtedly share some common ground on issues that have an impact on business in general, the core missions of the two groups are most often at odds.

It is certainly true that the IFA and AAFD are not in the same league.  One is a firmly established and entrenched organization, with a singlemindedness of purpose and a complete tool box and war chest to actively lobby legislators and apply pressure anywhere necessary to protect and defend their interests.  The other is a fledgling organization that starts with a noble premise but is handicapped by any number of factors, not the least of which is harsh resistance from the IFA.  The AAFD has no clear path to progress in promoting its ideals, but must constantly look for incremental gains one small step at a time. 

Perhaps it is foolish and idealistic and naive to believe that any significant material changes to the franchising world can ever be affected, but those that tilt at those windmills should be applauded, not ridiculed.

Tilting at windmills

Mufflerman: I strongly agree with you on a couple of important points you made, and would urge you to revisit and reconsider a couple of others.

You write: " The IFA is quite content with the status quo. Any individual or organization that looks to alter that status quo is considered a serious threat."

Absolutely. In fact, one could argue (and have) that the true mission of the IFA is to preserve the status quo. There is an industrywide aversion to any negative press about any franchise company, or any study that is not 100% positive. This helps hide bad franchisors and bad franchise practices, and impedes analysis, problem solving and improvements. It supports a little industry that depends on the continuous wave of catchy but obviously doomed concepts like eBay drop-off stores, meal prep, cereal cafes, 30 minute fitness, etc. This micro-industry depends on the status quo - and fears rabble rousers who might tip off the unsuspecting prey or rile up the sheep.

If I didn't think this industry desperately needs some counterweight to restore some balance, I would be annoying people for money rather than annoying people pro bono.

We agree on the importance of someone standing up for fair franchising and franchisees. But is the AAFD increasing in effectiveness or fading away into irrelevance? Think about two other statements you made:

"The [AAFD] is a fledgling organization that starts with a noble premise but is handicapped by any number of factors, not the least of which is harsh resistance from the IFA"

17 years is beyond fledgling. Read the "AAFD story" on the website, then Bob's defense of Cuppy's Coffee and it's clear that the biggest threat to the AAFD is internal. The AAFD should be advocating for the franchisees, not singing on stage and representing the interests of a sponsoring franchisor. The AAFD should not be submitting franchisor contracts to franchisees that require their silence or punish them for speaking out just so they can get their own money back. The biggest threat to the AAFD is a defective product and a diluted, unclear brand.

"...those that tilt at those windmills should be applauded, not ridiculed." Really? Don Quixote is a comic, delusional figure whose tilting at windmills was meant to induce laughter. His intentions may have been noble, even admirable, but he slayed no dragons and defeated no bad guys. If that's the purpose of the AAFD, so be it.

If tilting at windmills is your mission, my apologies. You're on the right track. Carry on.

Sean Kellyseankelly[at]ideafarm.netFranchise Pick Franchisor Marketing