Tim Hortons operators might listen to Bob Purvin’s sage advice about franchisee associations

April 28, 2017

Legal advice is necessary but it should not lead ANY franchisee group. Do not allow any lawyer to capture control.

AAFD chairman and founder Bob Purvin

In a conversation with BlueMauMau.org, AAFD Chairman Purvin: Power of Franchisees in Bargaining and Cooperatives in Reducing Costs:

SNIEGOWSKI: Some franchisee associations, frankly, seem banded together merely as an excuse for a class-action lawsuit against the franchisor to resolve a grievance, or at least the threat to the franchisor of one.

PURVIN: Sadly, that is too often the case.

If a lawsuit is the only reason for a franchisee association to exist, it will disappear five years after its startup or until the next round of franchise contract negotiations. The successful associations do more.

The Griswold Healthcare Franchise Association [GHFA] is an example. Franchisees created a fabulous task force on best practices that worked with the company to put on seminars each month. They have great turnouts for their seminars, which are done by webinar. They are now getting involved in lobbying, especially around the issue of caregiver wages. Their legal fund is dedicated to working with various state and local agencies over the rights of caregiver business owners.

Griswold created a products committee, where the franchisee association is now getting involved in the supplier side in a collaborative way. It is not just the franchisor that is cutting a deal with this supplier [getting kickbacks] and mandating that franchisees use that product to enrich the franchisor.

Associations can be more about the supply side than about renegotiating the franchise agreement.

Let me repeatAssociations can be more about the supply side than about renegotiating the franchise agreement.

American Association of Franchisees and Dealers

Rule of Thumb: add together what you’re paying for royalties and ad fund (ie. 4 and 3 = 7%). As a franchisee that does not have a franchisee-led and -owned buying co-operative, you’re putting an additional 7 per cent of hidden cash into your franchisor’s pocket via product and equipment costs.


Who is best to consult to a few Tim Hortons franchisees in their relationship with 3G Capital?

January 18, 2016

I did the franchising industry forensic accounting (diminishing gross margins) for the National Bread Network.

20160118 NBN card front

A membership program was developed and executed. The initial ROI leverage was impressive to 100% of the Canada Bread franchisees. See one of three direct mail pieces.

20160118 NBN card back

In the end, the few elite investors made much, much more.

My project work in franchising

April 28, 2011

There was no map or rule book in testing the limits of the industry.

By nature, these were all unreasonable actions from the conventional viewpoint.

To me, they were just taking one step ahead of the other.

Not bad.

[At Play]

Litigation group: Lawyer-led franchisee groups

August 2, 2009

TreasureChestI’ d like to discuss  an email I recieved this week.

Seems a Canadian restaurant franchise system (30 stores) is trying to organize themselves. I was emailed with the information that there is a meeting happening in 2 weeks and was wondering if I wanted to attend?

In a word: no.

The clincher was that the franchisee’s lawyer was “helping” them organize themselves, presumably under the pretense of affecting “change”.

The only change is usually what is left once the hat is passed to build a “war chest”.

I tend to leave these types of groups well enough alone.

The professional is most-likely creating a litigation group (a fundraising mechanism for a lawsuit) rather than a sustainable franchisee group like an IndFA, let along an Attorneyless Franchisee Network, AFN that harnesses the exponential group power in something like a buying group.

I sent along some links to this very nice lady that should show a +10 year history of predatory franchisor actions by her head office and that I knew what I was talking about.

  • Very few lawyers choose to work with me.
  • In 10 years of being available to help franchisee groups, make that 3 different ones.
  • I develop the case. Deliver it in a bow and soon: Thanks but “why is Les still around?”.

Maybe read what Canadian-born law and economics professor Gillian K. Hadfield has to say about the business of law before you hop into a much more difficult credence good relationship (than a franchisee:franchisor one)?

I wish the restaurant group all the best but I would suggest that they also write out their own narratives and consider submitting them to WikiFranchise.org. At least they could do is to send up a signal to the next wave of investors.

I tend to leave the door open but have learned to ask for payment in advance for 2nd opinions.

Really nice people in difficult times tend to choose the wrong people to trust.

I know. I did.

Acceptance: Are the bad old days of franchising over?

July 30, 2009

KublerRossI don’t know.

But there are grounds for real hope.

In the last 20 years or so, franchisees have been treated with an increasingly heavy hand:

  • communication between them is really discouraged,
  • informal leaders are penalized severely,
  • threats replaced any pretense of partnership and
  • most franchise lawyers treated ongoing franchisee-led groups with disinterest.

In short, many franchisees were bullied once they signed up.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross defined stages in grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

  • I think I’ve experienced and watched, up close, as a $100-billion Canadian franchise industry has gone through these stages.
  • Information flows have opened things up tremendously with the the new social technologies. Impossible to do, even 5 years ago (digital, decentralized,  real-time surveillance and digital archiving via Twitter and WikidFranchise.org, YouTube state-of-the-union addresses, anonymous if needed).

They’re not complete and there are dinosaur franchisors out there. But there is something different in the air.

If I were a franchisee these days, I would definitely talk to a competent industry business “coach” and join with peers to constructively work away at improving your core business. Don’t be small time cheap: think of 1/2 of your net worth going once you blow-off your current life partner. (perspective is everything)

Yes there are problems: but deal first with the 95% of the business concerns that have zero to do with what your franchisor does or fails to do.

The form I suggest that is most appropriate is an Attorneyless Franchisee Network, AFN.

Would franchisors behave differently if they thought any moment they could be on YouTube?

May 27, 2009

I think so.BigbrotherWould the threats stop (slow down) if they were posted on a weblog devoted to watching your franchisor? Would they be more likely to lose their careers if a little digital birdy was recording and archiving all of their behavior?


  1. Franchisors threaten franchisees because they can get away with it.
  2. Franchisors will continue to do it because it is an effective strategy when franchisees are disorganized.
  3. Predators will remain predators because they do not bear the full cost of their behavior.
  4. Nothing will change until franchisees demand a change in behavior.
  5. Technology can now accurately and inexpensively assign a more accurate behavior reputation.

Would it create disorder which is the first step toward a new order? ‘ think so.

The technology is here (WordPress.com weblogs, YouTube, broadcast emails, podcasts, etc.).

Right now. And it’s virtually free.

WikiFranchise.org publishes emails, threatening letters, franchisee’s stories (a narrative telling who, what when, where: all anonymously), etc. and sorts them by tradename.

You don’t need a majority of people: You only need one passionate, committed person per system.

And let everyone else in every other country make up their own minds: Are these the type of people I would want to be in bed with?

Every Breath You Take, The Police from their final album Synchronicity and the concept itself maybe.

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
Ill be watching you

Oh, can’t you see
You belong to me
How my poor heart aches
With every step you take

Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you

Since you’ve gone I been lost without a trace
I dream at night I can only see your face
I look around but it’s you I can’t replace
I feel so cold and I long for your embrace
I keep crying baby, baby, please…

Oh, can’t you see
You belong to me?
How my poor heart aches
With every breath you take

Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you

The track was written during the collapse of Sting’s marriage to Frances Tomelty; the lyrics are the words of a sinister, controlling character, who is watching “every breath you take / every move you make”.“

I woke up in the middle of the night with that line in my head, sat down at the piano and had written it in half an hour. The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn’t realise at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control. – Sting


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