Nosestretcher alert, Barfblog and Maple Leaf Foods

January 23, 2011

BarfBlog: safe food from farm to fork is worth watching, as I have said before.

In Friday’s post, Nosestretcher alert: food safety is not simple, even if a $5 billion corporation says it is, Professor Doug Powell makes the following point about a key player in the Canadian grocery industry:

Memo to Michael McCain, CEO, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.:

You or your company, or both, really suck at this communication about food safety risk thing.

In the two years since your killer deli meats actually killed 23 Canadians with listeria and sickened another 50 o so, the best you can do is remind Canadians they should do more?

Prof. Powell, a transplanted Canadian microbiologist (and part-time goalie), goes on:

But if you really want to regain the trust of Canadians, like my parents, who were in Kansas the other day, and my father who said he’d never buy Maple Leaf again, here’s what you can actually do:

  • make listeria test results in Maple Leaf plants public;
  • add warning labels on deli meats for at-risk populations, like pregnant women and all those old people that unnecessarily died; and,
  • market Maple Leaf’s food safety efforts at retail so consumers can actually choose.

Trust, honesty and information sharing:  Critical for consumers and franchise investors.

~80% of all food goes through 2 wholesalers in Ontario, Canada

January 9, 2011

Grocery franchisees get hosed; for sure.

But can you imagine how Ontario farmers and consumers feel? Most economists get uptight when 40% of a market is controlled but 2 or 3 players. The Family Compact lives.


[Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Woman found guilty of planting rat in meal at Wisconsin restaurant

January 28, 2010

Barfblog is funny. I think, anyway.

Canada Bread franchisees deliver tremendous value

November 25, 2009

Who would have thought that the drivers of an enormous, transnational bakery concern would be franchised?

Not me.

But I have learned to be surprised in the +12 years of franchisee advocacy.

I remember getting a tour of their Toronto facilities in the late ’70s as an assistant manager for Temgo Inc., a McDonald’s restaurant franchisee. A good outfit then, I thought.

Now, there are +700 franchisees who deliver, merchandise and manage a 24/7 continuous bakery distribution system to the largest grocery stores, to the smallest volume C-store. This is not an easy task.

This is what Google Finance has to say about Canada Bread Company Limited, CBCL (TSE:CBY):

Canada Bread Company, Limited (Canada Bread) is a manufacturer and distributor of bakery products, frozen par-baked products and pasta and sauces. The Company operates in North America. As at December 31, 2008, Canada Bread was 89.8% owned by Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

As far as the fresh bakery franchisees guys go, the chain of command listed is as follows:

  • Michael H. McCain, Chairman of the Board
  • Richard A. Lan, President, Chief Executive Officer, Non – Independent Director
  • Michael H. Vels, Chief Financial Officer, Director
  • C. Barry McLean, President – Canada Bread Fresh Bakery

I have been working as a consultant to the franchisees for almost a year now.

Q: What will the grocers say to the politicians at the public hearings?

August 2, 2009


A: Whatever the fcuk I tell them to say.

This was my question to, and answer from, a Toronto, Canada lawyer before the hearings that lead up to the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000.

The real power behind established independent franchisee associations (IndFAs), is a handful of lawyers in North America.

All professionals will act so as to further and strengthen their current and future cash flows. This is not a huge insight.

But when the two objectives conflict (actually solving problems versus appearing to solve them) the professional’s needs are satisfied first because no one has the experience, knowledge or interest in challenging how the problem is framed.

Lawyers compel franchisees to deal with problems in the same way that denies the information/communication/internet revolution has ever happened. THINK: Would you want your doctor to treat you the same way the physicians did 100 years ago?

IndFAs never fulfill their potential because that would interfere with the dominant credence good providers’ interests (ie. the franchisee “Fixer” attorney). The credence good cheating problem is overcome by severing the attorney’s influence.

He is either allowed to do

  1. the diagnostic work (strategic planning) OR
  2. the proposed solution (actual litigation), BUT never both.

This helps to reduce the inherent conflict in being able to (1) frame the problem and (2) deliver the solution the the “problem”.

Any experienced IndFA executive knows that the lawyers have effectively captured almost all of the IndFAs. The litigation is a well-thought out puppet show between the industry’s legal titans.

  • This is the real reason that the American Franchisee Association is dormant: its attorney “supporters” want it that way.
  • Same why the AAFD so frequently put their foot into a warm pile of poo and lacks any credibility at all.

IndFAs are ineffective and usually deemed a “failure” because that  serves the most powerful stakeholders interests to do so.

The solution is to move toward a franchisee-centric model such as an Attorneyless franchisee network, AFN where no attorney can capture and disable the web-enabled massive power that franchisees have (Stewart’s Law of Group Power).

This is especially true when the franchisor is a publicly traded corporation in a mature industry that touches the public every day in a very intimate way in a rigid 24/7 product cycle.

The way out starts with one independent thinker asking for a 2nd opinion.

%d bloggers like this: