Which shareholder enables the franchisee class-action game?

June 29, 2017

The informal franchisee leaders. The organizers. The “white knights”.

When the class-action fraud sausage explodes, You can’t really blame the lawyers for pandering to your lack of wholeness, wisdom, and confidence.

Can you?


3G Capital poises for accelerated growth in U.S. Tim Hortons by closing stores?

November 23, 2015

Number of closed stores and terminated Canadian franchisees is both unknown and unknowable because of lapdog disclosure rules.

20151123 Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons confirmed that stores across Maine and New York closed on Friday. RENE JOHNSTON / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

An interesting article in Canada’s largest daily newspaper, Tim Hortons closes locations in New York, Maine, (subheadline:
Coffee chain refuses to say if it has closed any Canadian outlets. It has reportedly closed more than 20 stores in the U.S.):

Tim Hortons has closed down many locations across New York and Maine, only a few weeks after reporting a profit of $49.6 million (U.S.).

The coffee chain would not confirm if any Canadian outlets had been closed or how many U.S. stores shut.

And also in a press release:

“As we build the foundation for accelerated growth in the U.S., we have decided to close some restaurants in New York and Maine.

Comment on article by reader “Relax”: Apparently, Tim Hortons has figured it out. The best way to “accelerate growth” in the US is to start by closing stores.

Canadian Franchise Industry Much More Secretive: Franchisors in the United States are required to report the number of stores and franchisees closed, terminated, etc. each year. There is even public access to their Franchise Disclosure Documents (see California’s search template: Tim Hortons USA Inc). In Canada, provincial ministries do not require franchisors to publish this data. So sad for investors or journalists or the captured franchisees’ billions of investment $.

Additional coverage:

Franchisors have traditionally sent signals to their franchisees on how they would be treated if they’re not seen to be “on the team”. Normally, the most vocal are out first.

Word from Canada is that the franchisees has it that their stores have never been more profitable.

The real prize is on the (surviving but fewer) CDN franchisees’ income statements.

 


If John Sotos would talk to me, what would we talk about after all these years?

July 7, 2015

I took John and Susan Kezios’s picture on the first day of the public hearings that resulted in the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000. EPSON scanner ImageWho knows…maybe one day our widows will will talk?


How frequently does Tim Hortons terminate their franchised stores in the United States?

February 24, 2015

Termination of a franchise agreement is the most financially devastating action a franchisor can take.

Terminations 2013

It is the “weapon of mass destruction” for mom-and-pop franchisee life savings and employment

Terminations 2012

 

Responsible franchisors avoid this too because it is such a red flag to the investment community.

Terminations 2011

It is only fair to compare it to their peer group and to best practices.

Terminations 2010ie. Tim Hortons terminated their U.S. franchisees 22.9, 1.1, 2.1, and 9.4 times more frequently than McDonald’s had done in the same year (2010 to 2013).

The frequency that the franchisor chooses to terminate a franchisee is a material fact to any buying or renewing franchisee.

Source: Information from Franchise Disclosure Documents (see for example Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions). Free download for U.S. filed documents. One of 4 online sources.

Canadian information is unavailable because no provincial law requires these CDN documents to be (1) publicly filed or (2) put online.

Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and soon-to-be British Columbia

Posted also on ConcernedTimHortonsFranchisees.ca.


Why is Lick’s Homeburgers & Ice Cream being killed off by its franchisor?

June 29, 2013

What franchisor sends this message to the retail market?

Licks valued customer

Is it in acting in bad faith by destroying all existing Lick’s franchisees’ equity?

  • Who would buy any of these outlets?

Licks

Media coverage:

The franchise bar, with perfect foreknowledge, will take what is left of their money in what will be (in the end) a hopelessly futile attempt at legal justice in Ontario. Talk to your premier and your small business loan provider not your a franchise lawyer.


Opportunity Knocks and Liars’ Loans: required reading to understand modern franchising

September 1, 2012

John Lorinc wrote the book on franchising from a franchisee’s investor viewpoint.

I’m glad to see it is still available to buy online and is in many Canadian libraries.

The hidden banking side is revealed in Chapter 4, The 90% Solution: Franchise Economics, some of which I excerpted in a WikiFranchise.org post.

What did the business press have to say about Lorinc’s work?:

  1. National PostOpportunity Knocks: The Truth about Canada’s Franchise Industry, is an impressively researched look at the myriad of franchises that mushroomed across the country in the past decade. An award-winning magazine journalist, Lorinc has produced an engaging account that charts both the spectacular successes of some franchisers and the utter failure of some franchisees. How franchises seduce those with the most to lose, Jennifer Lanthier, November 2, 1997
  2. Globe and Mail: At its worst, Lorinc says, franchising is a haven for the unscrupulous who prey on the unwary – typically recent immigrants willing to labour long hours in dreary businesses, unaware that those operations have little chance of prospering – using them as pawns in a shadowy real estate game. Rather than reflecting an insatiable consumer demand, he inquires acidly, is it possible that all those new doughnut shops may reflect a quiet understanding between landlords and franchisors that the best way to fill fallow commercial property is to sell franchises to credulous investors? Franchise book of interest to anyone who pays taxes, Ann Finlayson, November 1, 1997

Finlayson strikes a cautionary note, specifically about the hinted at misuse of the Canada Small Business Financing programCSBFP:

Does all this matter to you? Yes, it does. In 1993, in the wake of vigorous complaints by small-business owners that Canadian banks were reluctant to finance them, Ottawa raised the ceiling on loans guaranteed by the Small Business Loans Administration to $250,000 and its guarantee rate from 85 per cent to 90 per cent, sparking a bank lending rush to franchisees and shifting the risk of franchise investments onto taxpayers’ (your) shoulders.

The Risk: Only a fraction of the Liars’ Loans are ever claimed by the banks, thereby grossly understating Industry Canada’s default statistics (Franchised v. Non-Franchised loan performance). The franchisee thinks he signed a government-backed loan but it never gets registered as such. As their bankruptcy, loss of life savings, marital and family breakdown escalate over the life of their 12 to 18 month franchise career, the franchisee NEVER looks to Box 9 of the CSBFP loan application form (Projected Sales ) as the source of their trouble; where the lie is put into the “Liars’ Loan”. The proceeds of these engineered-to-fail loans is split upfront by the franchise banker with the bank, banker, franchisor and sales agent. If questioned, the bank shreds the paperwork and waits for the lawsuit.

And, seriously, how many of these Immigrants as prey losers could or would ever sue a Schedule 1 chartered bank?

The Return: Smashing quarterly earnings goals, record profits, high turnover in the small business division of each of the banks, and making franchise lending the most lucrative form of commercial lending in Canada. Private gain/public loss enabled by a criminogenic environment, moral hazard, regulatory capture…

Lorinc carefully mentions the “windfall profits” in this arrangement of churning:

What’s more, some banks and franchisors have put the SBLA program [predecessor government guaranteed loan program] to questionable use during foreclosure actions against franchisees, says one former owner who has been through the process. When a bank calls a loan against a non-performing franchisee, the 90% guarantee effectively relieves the bank’s receiver from trying to get the best possible value while disposing of the owner’s assets. With most of the loan covered by the Canadian taxpayer, the assets – fixtures, kitchen equipment, inventory, etc. – can be sold quickly at a deep discount, possibly below market value. This allows the franchisor too step in and buy back the property at better-than-firesale prices, thus generating windfall profit when the store is later re-sold to another franchisee.

An important work that, depressingly, is as relevant in 2012 as it was in 1995.

______

Disclosure: My lol pecuniary interest here and here. Cross posted on FranchiseBanker.ca.


What is the purpose of an Advisory Council?

October 21, 2011

It is a very useful surveillance tool.

It an extremely cost-effective way to:

  • confuse and distract,
  • identify monitor and delete independent thinkers (ie. trouble-makers),
  • distract by talking about everything but $ (If it doesn’t jingle, it doesn’t count),
  • encourage individual and group despair, passivity and division,
  • “vampirize” the genuine credibility of franchisee members,
  • use a Good cop/Bad cop trick to avoid cash flow issues,
  • create a paper trail that is false (control of minutes, broadcast emails), and
  • debase, degrade and whore-out language and pervert/invert reality via lies and bullshit.

These elite-based techniques are centuries old and have been effective.

With some creativity, email and smart phones, the 1% is frozen in fear.


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