Leaving the Q
I've been looking at closing my Q and re-opening it as a private deli. Legally, it would be in the name of a trusted, but distant relative. My landlord has no personal guarantee on the lease and so will switch it into the name of my distant relative. At first the deli would serve essentially the same food (that sells) minus Q's name, royalty, fines, neglect and stupidity. Initially, I would try to stay out of the business and have someone I trust run it and work for the relative. I would take profits out as payments for the purchase of the store. I've talked with customers and they don't even notice our sign. If one Monday we are no longer Q the customers will keep on coming in - not that there are so many of them. We are an average store and with a lot of marketing effort of our own could get to $8,500 a week. We could use some of the saved royalty money to actually advertise, something the Q does very, very little of lately and we would not have to deal with harvest chicken salads and sandwiches which even BreadCo has a hard time selling. My biggest concern is litigation by Q, but I have yet to see an ROM this year and there are no other Q's withing 5 miles of me. I hate to change my phone number, but that might be a wise precaution. I already closed one Q and there was absolutely no fuss out of corporate - I guess mostly because they got the last penny of their royalty due. The franchise agreement says I might have to pay 8% royalty to them and a franchise fee equal to my initial fee which was considerably less than $25,000, but that's only if the Q catches and proves I'm competing. Have any of you considered this type of alternative. What do you see as the risks and how would you go about preventing them? I foresee worse sales in case of a long bankruptcy. This alternative puts full responsibility on me and my trusted, though inactive relative, to make future profits. This is not the vision I had when I bought into the brand, but I did not do nearly enough homework and so before I make this move I am trying to do as much research as possible. (I will spend money on a good franchise attorney.) The Q is so bad at branding and marketing and so engaged in a never-ending fight with franchisees that this alternative seems worth the risk. Your thoughts?