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Franny answers franchisee questions

Ask FrannyThis forum was created so that readers and members of Blue MauMau can post questions to Franny about issues of interest to small business and franchise owners. Franny sometimes invites world-class subject matter experts to answer tough questions

If your post is answered by Franny, it will be featured on the front page of this journal under the "Ask Franny" column.

In your post, please do not mention your franchisor's, vendor's or your own firm's name. The intent of this forum is not to give press to a brand name but rather to ask general questions that franchise owners within and outside one's brand might find of interest. (There are press release areas to sell what's great about a brand or other forums to tell tales of franchisee rip off.) Your question may be edited for clarity, brevity and frankly, some entertainment value.

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Fudgie Wudgie Fudge

Please do not support this company or even think about buying a franchise. They are a living nightmare with horrible management, disorganized, insolvent several times a year. They do not pay people that work 10 1/2 hour days on their roadshows, until months later, and I mean months. They commit contract fraud, violate interstate trade laws, and laugh at their temporary employees who beg to be paid over 100 days later. I worked for them for almost 7 weeks over the holiday and was one of their number one sales performers and they treated me like dirt.... Do not get involved with any of them they are baaaaad news and should be shutdown. They managed to sucker people into working for them for Easter shows and Valentines Day shows. You can trust they have not been paid and are in for a very long wait. They also seemd to delete every negative comment about their failure to pay Christmas roadshow employees of the web..

I was duped....

I was one of those idiot independent contractors that agreed to work for Fudgie Wudgie over Valentine's Day. I did a road show for them over Christmas that went really well, I was also told I was one of their top producers. I made a great check and even though it arrived a little later than I expected, I still got paid in full. When the opportunity rolled around to work for them again in February, I cautiously accepted. I guess I wasn't cautious enough. I worked one show and my fiance worked another for them. We also hauled their product from one location to another, they provided a rental truck. It's been over 6 months since then and we still have not been paid a dime. I started out dealing with Molly Pepper, I think she has since left the company. Chris Warman provided me with his personal cell number after I had some communication issues with another employee named Chris DiRubbo. I've called Chris Warman every month and more recently every week to find out about getting paid. He has a different sob story each time I speak with him and I am fed up. He has now passed the burden on to Tim Grzegorczyk from the accounting department. I left him a message yesterday morning and have heard nothing back so far.

Is anyone else in a similar situation? I know that Fudgie Wudgie is involved in multiple law suits (according to the story done back in July on Pittsburgh's Channel 4). Is anyone aware of a class action suit for temporary employees? I have called the news station to see if they are interested in a follow up story and to find out whether the folks on that segment have gotten paid since the story aired. I'd love to get in touch with anyone else who has been screwed by Chris Warman and his shady business practices.

The "sip and paint" industry???

I have recently come across several of these sip and paint studios where an artist leads a class of people to paint on canvas while they sip away their favorite wine, beer or whatever. Most are BYOB locations. I have seen several franchises: Painting with a Twist, Pinots Palette, Sips N Strokes, Wine and Design, etc. Is this a trend that will fade away in a few years. I love the concept!!!! Most franchises require a $25,000 franchise fee, and state that the initial investment is between $50,000 to $100,000.00 Then I came a cross and independent owner that is not a franchise, but they offer consultation services & partnering studio options with no royalties attached. According to them you can get into this type of business for a flat consultation fee of $15,000.00, another I found offers consultation for $6,000.00... Both said that you can open your studio for $16,000 to $40,000.00; so now I am so confused, franchise or independent consulting service. The consulting service type offers access to all paintings databases along with your own website, and own studio for 6 months, another unlimited support. One of these independent studios has opened 4 studios and own two of their own with more than 5,000 fans alone on FB, more fans than any other studio or franchise. Obviously they are doing something right...its hard to choose with who to go into business...??? Confused!

Granville_Bean's picture

been to any classes yet?

Yet another guest writes: "Obviously they are doing something right...its hard to choose with who to go into business...??? Confused! "       

So have you been to many classes yet?  Try a few different ones with various franchises and independants.  Then ask yourself what the value is that you would be getting by paying a franchise fee, a royalty, a monthly fee, etc. Are you the artist who would be conducting these, or will you be hiring artists?  (To me, sounds more like an art teacher than an artist. Or a baby sitter for drunk adults.)

...I researched and some

...I researched and some studio owners teach their own classes, others have artist on a contract basis...usually teachers, graphic designers, illustrators...someone that has an art background to teach and recreate the painting of the night. I have been to 5 or 6 classes and its very addicting and classes are usually packed...the wine helps, but I am yet to see someone getting drunk with two glasses of!!! Still far I came across: Painting with a Twist, Pinot's Palette, Canvas & Cocktails, The Paint Bar, Arts N Spirits, Color-Me-Happy, Sip N Paint, Wine and Design, A Piece of Work, Sip n Swirls...and finally Paint & Wine.... interesting.

Franchise Sales Organizations


Could anyone tell me where to find a good list of franchise sales organizations?


Trends Research for Franchise Industry


I am Alex, working in the trends' research team of

We are running a research of the demand trends in the franchise industry.

And though the general trend of search interest to franchise business has been declining (we are talking about people searching for franchises in search engines), there are still some very interesting positive trends that have a great future.

These positive trends nicely correlate with what you are actually doing with your business model. That is why in this research we would like to quote your magazine as one of the examples of "riding the right trends" in this industry.

Do I have your permission to quote your business in this research? (of course, after I send you the completed report and you check/verify it)

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Trends' Research Team of


Rumor is they are getting bought out....can you investigate this?

And who ever is buying them

And who ever is buying them is going to need to do some cleaning up as Rick has left a major mess of the brand....even worse than any other time in it's history. I guess this would explain him stepping down as CEO and cutting half of their make the financials look pretty.

Cold Stone Creamery - bad investment?

Has this company cleaned up their act, is this still a dead-end investment. Reading all the blogs and feedback on these site gives me cold feet.

Can a franchisor be a good person?

My business is growing like crazy and it looks like the best thing for me to do is to actually franchise it. I have begun all of the technical steps to make this happen but as someone who has experienced the ugly side of franchising (I've been an abused franchisee) I feel strange about it. I know that I am not evil and that I would treat my franchisees as partners, but I still feel weird about the whole thing. Are there actually good franchises out there? Is there a way to learn best practices? What do you think?

Basically, how can I be a good franchisor and a good person at the same time?

Franchising Wannabee

Franny's picture

Dear Franny, Can a franchisor be a good person?

Dear Franny, Can a franchisor be a good person? - Franchising Wannabe

The answer to your question will appear in an Ask Franny column soon.

Good Guy Franchisors

Although you posted your question some time ago, the answer is an unqualified 'YES!" Visit our website at and learn about AAFD Accredited Franchisors, all of whom have met our significant criteria by the vote of their franchise owners!

Peter Birkeland's picture

re: Can a franchisor be a good person

The decision to franchise is a complex and significant one as you know from your experience as a franchisee. But you're getting ahead of yourself. The first question is, "what is your purpose, what are you trying to accomplish?" And the second question is, "what is the best way-to-market approach, strategically, for what I want to accomplish?" Only after you answer those two questions can you begin to think about best practices of franchisors. And, you should know that answering the strategic question involves detailed pro formas for both the franchisor and franchisee with a good bit of sensitivity analysis on various factors that might impact financial returns.

A franchise consultant will tell you that nearly every business is franchiseable, but that's a myth. The real questions are what you're trying to accomplish and what makes the most sense strategically.

Re: Can a franchisor be a good person?

What a stupid question.

You should not become a franchisor since you'd be a danger to yourself and others.

Franchise Agreements

7-Eleven has one of the most controlling and intrusive Franchise Agreements under the sun.  There is almost nothing left of the "independent contractor" status that once existed.  I would like Don or another writer do an analysis of the benchmark cases in California which defined the parameters which define that status of "independent contractor" and the many ways SEI is violating those definitions.  It appears more and more that 7-Eleven Franchisees are under so much SEI control, that they are actually less independent than actual employees.  Also do a comparitive with other Franchises like Subway and KFC, etc.  I wonder if Franchisees are really seperated employees with increased liability exposure without benefits.

Thanks for listening.    Keep up the good work...

Area Franchisee for UPS Stores

Given to understand that Area Franchisee Operations survives on the royalty earned from the stores under it. How this can be profitable? What are the key challenges of this business?

Ideas for a business?

When starting a business it's hard to have a great unique idea of what kind of business to start cause it seems that all are in the market. I dont want to be stuck as an employee, I want to have a business of my own.

Does anyone have an advice?

General Release - Cold Stone

A 2nd generation franchisee is buying my store. Cold Stone has a General Release clause in the transfer document. But they are not ready to execute a mutual general release. What is the drawback if I transfer without a mutual general release? Only other option is to close the store. But this does not get me a general release either. Has anybody out there been able to get a general release from Cold Stone? Any help or suggestion will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Facts Weekly's picture

I am NOT a franchise ...

I want to make sure that it is ok for me to use the website/forums even though I dont fit the definition of a franchise. Many of the people that contact me are looking for a franchise opportunity so I typically have to explain the difference between what I offer and a how a franchise functions.

I enjoy your website and have used it in the past.  I decided it was time I make it official and sign up for an account.


Laws for Canadian Publicly Traded Companies

Can anyone tell me what are the governing laws for a Canadian Franchisor that is accepting money from franchisees under the table in order for them to become multi unit franchisees. These funds are above and beyond the monthly Royalties that are being collected?

Dunkin and K cups

What does everyone think of Dunkin Donuts selling K cups for Keurig machines for a comeptetitor (Green Mountain)?

Isn't that a problem? Does BK sell McDonalds fries?

Dunkin and K cups

What does everyone think of Dunkin Donuts selling K cups for Keurig machines for a comeptetitor (Green Mountain)?

Isn't that a problem? Does BK sell McDonalds fries?

Dunkin' Single Serve K-Cup

I think it's going to be a home run product once they open up all distribution channels. Although Dunkin is only going to offer the K-Cup thru participating f'ee stores only, it'll be a temporary test market until Dunkin lifts the exclusive arrangement for the optional K-Cup product.

I think Dunkin is going to be very happy with the new K-Cup sales.

Granville_Bean's picture

Zor v. Zee

K-Cup says: "I think Dunkin is going to be very happy with the new K-Cup sales."

Yup, I think so.  How could Dunkin give up such a market. 

Now as for how the Zees feel about this? Unless there is something in the FA that pertains, it doesn't much matter does it?  Or their Zee Assoc can try to negotiate a role. But Zees merely griping to each other won't change a thing.

Re: Dunkin and K cups

I think it's absolutely fine for Dunkin to offer Keurig K-Cups to the millions of consumers and offices that have Keurig Single Serve Systems. Especially since Dunkin locations can't serve this market.

Re: Dunkin and K cups

It is going to touch the franchise market. If I buy a box on 12 DK k-cup that mean I will go at least 12 times less to DK to get coffee I can get it at home. It has hurt the franchise.


My zor went public a few years ago and everything changed. They are now making huge profits while our margins go down consistently. How can a company just change the business model and get away with it?

Stratus of Nashville

Hi, I've run into a business selling cleaning franchises called Stratus. Do you have any background info from your own opinions?

Franchisee Defaults; Can I Get Paid?

I am a former franchise owner who sold the business. Part of the sale price was paid in cash at the time, and I financed the rest, to be paid back over time. The owner incorporated, and the promissory note was signed by the corporation. The new owner has defaulted on the loan, says he no money, and says that he will likely opt to file bankruptcy if I file suit or seek a judgment. I suspect this is the truth: He's broke, and the business has struggled in the three years he's had it. Because the loan is with the corporation, I can't go after the owner personally.

Any suggestions on how I might be able to get paid? The only asset the corporation probably has that has any value is the value of the turfs, the terretories the franchisor would resell if they returned to the franchisor. Virgin turfs in this system sell for $50,000 each; the owner has two of them. Do I have any leverage with the franchisor? Can I get a lien? What is my best approach?

Lesson to future sellers: Get your money up front, and get a personal guarantee!

Re Franchisee Defaults; Can I Get Paid?

Find a time machine and go back and get a personal guarantee or stop being cheap and foolish by looking for free advice when it's obvious you need an attorney to look carefully at your options and rights.

Food franchise

Fresh Healthy Vending products usually dictates that operators visit and restock,Fresh Vending machines have succeeded in a host of common areas across the country,Fresh Healthy Vending is committed to assisting locations across the US provide healthy snacks conveniently through state of the art vending systems.

Survival rates for non-franchise startups

Are there any recent, non-biased studies that indicate the multi-year survival rates for non-franchised startup businesses that provide either new products or new services within the "Green Economy"?

Looking for information for franchise Dixie Cream Donuts

Looking for information for franchise Dixie Cream Donuts. Having hard time finding solid data on this opportunity. Is there a web site that will provided free financial and realistic growth projections?

Granville_Bean's picture

ha ha ha

"Is there a web site that will provided free financial and realistic growth projections? "

Yeah right!

Status of Mrs Fields & TCBY

Hello, we are looking to buy a Mrs Fields/TCBY established store. I've read the stories about bankruptcy, etc. Can you tell me the current financial condition of this company and if we should take the leap with our retirement funds?

Thank you!

Franchise right to cap pricing

Is it legal for a franchisor to cap your pricing to what you sell your items for and then charge you extra for your goods to shrink your margin.They are calling it maximum price. When this went into effect we have lost an estimated 4% in food cost. Are food cost was 25% know it averages 29% to 30% depending on volume.

Granville_Bean's picture

Burger King

Wasn't this settled in the Burger King litigation?

Maximum Pricing is Legal

It may not be fair, you might not like it, but it is legal.

Franchise right to cap pricing

Is it legal for a franchisor to cap your pricing to what you sell your items for and then charge you extra for your goods to shrink your margin.They are calling it maximum price. When this went into effect we have lost an estimated 4% in food cost. Are food cost was 25% know it averages 29% to 30% depending on volume.

Opinions concerning Yoshinoya franchise opportunities

Hello all - I am interested in learning more about the "viability" of a small Japanese-oriented franchise fast food chain called "Yoshinoya." I am completely new to this site (and franchising generally) but, having lived in Japan for a few years, I am well aware of this restaurant and just recently learned of its franchise expansion inside the US.

I would be grateful for any information/guidance on how to properly evaluate this franchise as a potential investment. Thanks so much for any advice/thoughts/comments.

Naturals 2 Go Vending

Do you have any background information or success rate information Naturals 2 Go vending opportunities?  thanks

The Original Pancake House

I would appreciate any information (good or bad) about The Original Pancake House franchise. I am considering purchasing an existing operation.

Granville_Bean's picture

never heard of 'em

Never heard of 'em until you mentioned 'em.  Around for a while, not many units.  So - buying an existing location - WHAT DO THE NUMBERS LOOK LIKE.  Cuz that's what it's all about.

craters and freighters

Do you have any numbers on Craters and Freighters?

American in Europe

Hi Franny.

Really like your web page and articles. I am an international manager and business leader that have specialized in many areas of high tech. I would ultimately like to remain here in France. My concentration has been in Customer Support, BPO, and project management.

I would like to look into franchising but I must say I am overwhelmed with the options and the more I pull back the curtain the more it looks like a VERY high risk investment.

Would you or your community be able to help me evaluate the best/right path forward for myself? I need to understand how to find the right variables to make a sound decision.

Rob Baker

Golden openings

Have you ever heard of this company as far as franchisee goes?

Kumon Math & Reading Center

Any advice on owning and operating a Kumon Center?

Looking for franchisees in the UK and US Market

Dear Sir or Madam!

We are a publishing house situated in Austria and try to enter the UK market via franchising!
It would be great, if you can support us in this case and write about us in your blog.

Below find a kind of press release.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me!

Austrian innovative business concept would like to enter the market of UK/ United States!

The Austrian publishing house novum publishing is since 13 in business and covers the whole German-speaking market, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Since 2007 the publishing house is also situated in Hungary and since 2010 there is also a novum publishing branch in Spain. The next step in expansion is planned in the UK via franchising. The concept of the company is based on the fact that many authors cannot find traditional publishers, because these are snowed under with thousands of manuscripts and so most new authors are ignored. Therefore novum publishing offers a wide range of services beginning from the book design to the authors own marketing plan. It seems to be a very lucrative business. In the German speaking market about 3000 manuscripts per year are received. Out of them, about 600 new releases are generated each year. The publishing house also reacted on the ebook hype. Every released book will be also available as ebook. The big advantage of a franchisee would be that the most authors come into contact with the company via the internet. As a result no active acquisition is needed. The investment of a prospect franchisee would be between 75 000 and 125 000 euros. For this investment the franchisee gets a to his needs adapted ERP-System, content management system, training, franchise manual and also ongoing support. Interested persons can contact the franchise manager of the company directly via email:

Cruise One

Great Show last night “Behind the Counter”- I was interested in purchasing a Cruise One franchise and I wanted to know if there’s any addition information you might have on this company.

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About Franny

Franny's picture

Public Profile

Franny is a columnist for Blue MauMau who answers questions about running and owning a franchised business establishment. Those who have questions can post them under the Ask Franny forum. Readers may comment on the questions there. If the post is answered by Franny, it will be featured on the frontpage of Blue MauMau under the "Ask Franny" column. Franny sometimes invites Subject Matter Experts to answer. Please do not mention your franchisor, vendor or your own firm's name in your question.