Quiznos' Reaction to Tragedy: Termination Notices
“It’s unfortunate that this is the way Quiznos has reacted to this tragedy,” that according to Justin Klein, Marks & Klein, attorney for the Toasted Sub Franchisee Association (TSFA). In response to the association’s web posting honoring Bob Baber, a fellow franchisee who committed suicide November 27, Quiznos sent termination notices (pdf file) to all ten TSFA board members, representing approximately 17 units, on Monday. The tribute had included the suicide note, which was directed at the mainstream media, in a plea for an investigation by the government into the franchisor’s business practices.
The notices state that the franchisees’ rights under the Agreement are “terminated, effective 30 days following the receipt of the notices, for engaging in conduct that, in the sole judgment of Quiznos, materially impairs the goodwill associated with the Marks.” According to a letter from Quiznos’ attorney, Fredric Cohen, DLA Piper of Chicago, franchisees are required, among other things, to pay all royalties, fees and other amounts owed Quiznos and its affiliates. They are also advised to cease identifying themselves as Quiznos franchisees, and to stop using all marks, trade secrets, signs, trade names and other material.
In closing Cohen states that if franchisees require further information with respect to curing their companies’ conduct within the 30-day period or ending their franchise operations, they should contact him.
Quiznos response, or lack thereof
In response to franchise owners concerns about the passing of Baber, Quiznos sent out a memo (pdf file) on December 8, stating the company was deeply saddened by Mr. Baber’s death and that it had expressed its condolences to the family and took steps to provide comfort and support to its franchisee community who were directly affected by the situation.
But in a conversation today with Ratti Baber, his widow, she said as of today she had not heard anything from Quiznos headquarters. But she said, “Forget about the condolences. For the company to retaliate against the [franchisee] association for honoring the passing of a fellow franchisee, what is that all about?” What are they hiding?”
In regards to the lawsuit Quiznos filed against the Baber family, she said they had been involved in it for the past 18 months, and that had really taken a toll on them, mentally and physically. She said, “When the case was moved to Colorado that really crushed us.” Now she is weighing all her options to continue on with the legal action.
Mrs. Baber said she was monitoring the discussion on the bluemaumau web site. She wants the franchise community to know that Quiznos’ approach is wrong. She said, “We are supposed to be investing in the system, we are suppose to have equity and partnership. We are not their employees, their hired hands that they can rule by intimidation."
Quiznos did not respond to requests for comments on the passing of Bob Baber or the Notice of Terminations sent to TSFA board members.