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Franchisees Food Feuding

When restaurant franchisees hire lawyers and a ‘communications specialist’ you can be sure that the undercurrents of discontent have surfaced. Franchisees believe that they are closer to the customer in many cases than employees working in the corporate office and often believe they have the pulse of the consumer—and that is a good thing.

Success does leave clues. When sales are up, customer counts are up, and profits are up all is well. However, discontent brews when there is disequilibrium between profits, customer counts, and sales within a franchise organization.

Several months ago Jack in the Box franchisees discussed on their own about putting together a group to edify their relationship with the parent company. They have now hired an attorney and a communications specialist to forge what they’re calling “a true partnership” with corporate to drive “better input” on strategic direction and investments.

The Jack in the Box Franchise Association used an “amicable tone" last night in announcing ratification of "a new purpose statement" on how the group could work with Jack in the Box’s management, according to Restaurant Business.

Anil Yadav, chairman of the group, stated: "The sum of these collective efforts will help our board to be more effective in serving our members as well as helping our franchisor build a stronger, more viable brand." He continued, “[We] look forward to working with the Jack in the Box leadership team as partners in our endeavors.”

Ah, but why? The franchise group Secretary Rabi Viswanath noted, “We have insights and understanding that our corporate partner needs. Therefore, we believe it is key to be certain that they have and understand our input in order to maximize the value of the brand.”

All foodservice retailers need to understand that at times they can be too close to their position, whether they are corporate leaders or franchisees. They can at times misread the undercurrents that are driving customer migration from one brand to another and misread consumer migration from one channel to another. If success does leave clues it is that outside eyes can help drive inside profits.

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