Is Your Ops Manual Changing Your Franchise Agreement?
As franchisee owners, we all sign franchise agreements that set the terms and conditions of our business, and the relationship with our franchisor. Most of those franchise agreements contain a condition that you will follow the then current Operations Manual. While it is understandable that the Ops Manual must change, such as a new sandwich is introduced, the Ops Manual must include the directions for making that sandwich.
However, there has been an increase in franchisors taking advantage of Ops Manual changes. Those changes are not operational changes for the business, but rather to indirectly change the terms of your contract. An example would be adding an expensive remodel into the Ops Manual that wasn’t spelled out in the Franchise Agreement, nor disclosed in the Franchise Disclosure Document. Another example is the limiting of how many outlets you can sell to a buyer, which may require you to break up your company, which devalues your equity.
For all the franchise owners out there, if this is happening to you, send me your example. If you are afraid to post it yourself, send your example to my email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I will compile this information confidentially and will post, eliminating your name and brand (unless you tell me not to post at all). As I continue to work on advancing franchisee causes, this information will be valuable.