Economic sanctions

September 21, 2008

The single best defense against things that go bump in the night for franchisees, is a mature and well-financed independent franchisee association, IndFA [see todays Thought-terminating cliche post on Blue MauMau].

  1. Each franchise trademark system should have their own.
  2. You should never buy into a system that does not have one.

Don’t be fooled: Unless there is a lawyer that the IndFA retains to give independent advice, the salesmen are telling you lies. The franchisor very often creates their own advisory committee to give the illusion of franchisee input. Ask for the lawyer’s name and talk directly to him or her.

National Associations: Starting and running a trademark system is difficult at times.

In the U.S. there are about 5,000 franchise systems and 1,200 in Canada. In Canada, there are only a few dozen functioning IndFAs for one reason alone: The franchisors don’t franchisees talking together.

In the U.S. there is the American Franchisee Association, AFA and the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers, AAFD. In Canada, there isn’t one and Australia’s seems pretty inactive lately.

  • I started the Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators in 1998 and killed it off in 2005.

The only reason I stopped it was because others were using it to give the impression of strength that was not there. I approached all the major Canadian stakeholders (Big Franchising: franchisor association, 5 Canadian banks, product franchisors, law firms, salesmen, Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, Industry Canada etc.) for assistance or financial support.

Big Franchising’s position has been consistent ever since 1998 when I breached the sacristy of the CFA’s trade show at the CNE with a CBC film crew. Franchising holds it beliefs rigidly: Like some 2nd rate religion or cult.

The irony, of course, is that without their resistance as expressed in my brilliant 6 week banking career [see The Apprenticeship of Les Stewart] and my recent blackballing (RE: providing general and employee benefits to Canadian franchises),I wouldn’t have the time much less the need to be typing away here.

  • Funny how things work out, eh?
Advertisements

Susan Kezios: one tough cookie

September 1, 2008

I had the great fortune of meeting Susan Kezios, the president of the American Franchisee Association in 2000.

She was brought to Toronto from their Chicago, U.S. offices to give expert witness testimony to the Ontario legislature Standing Committee on Regulation and Private Bills on March 6, 2000.

As you can see, Susan knows her stuff and is fearless in speaking her truth.

The American Franchisee Association was very important to me establishing the Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators.

She is, however, not without a well-developed sense of black humour. As an example, this is how she left the 13 or so Canadian politicians and various industry hangers-on after her 45 minute “lively” chat about the state-of-the-union in North American franchising:

The Acting Chair: Thank you for your presentation. Safe trip home.

Ms Kezios: Thank you, especially with all the franchisors out there, right?


Dead Logos Walking

July 10, 2008

I founded the Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators, CAFO in 1998 and killed it off in September 2005. I used to run a website called cafo.net, too.

I still own the logo [left], the trademark and copyright.

Anyone that would like to use it, by all means, copy and reproduce as much as you want. You may choose to use it selectively but please report back as to its effects.

For some time, I had felt the need to compete with the Canadian Franchise Association, CFA which is the franchisor-only trade association. I guess it is the second oldest in the world, next to to the International Franchise Association in the U.S.

I stopped CAFO when it became apparent that it was being used to give false sense of a franchise investor voice. I’d rather be silent that feed into the misrepresentations, half-truths and silent lies. And these were from the people that claimed to be on the franchisee side [wolf in sheeps’ clothing lawyers].

Clever marketing. Useful for some time, I suppose.

  1. The death will never be acknowledged.
  2. It’ll start with single-unit investors.
  3. Liars believe everyone else lies (so they have lost the capacity to trust even someone who doesn’t).
  4. A hint of the desperation and that the law can only divide [not integrate] is shown when the main course fails to show [see 1 and 2].

Take a listen to St. Leonard of Montreal: Everyone Knows

  • But strictly on a good taste basis: Which logo do you like better?

Let me know.


The Apprenticeship of Les Stewart

May 17, 2008

Justice is one of the four Cardinal Virtues.

My research clearly concludes that the last place for franchisee family investors to find justice is via any franchise bar/legal system.

franchising

Background and unique qualifications:

  • Franchise Industry in Ontario (Canada): franchisee families 40,000 (76,000), employees 400,000 to 600,000 (760,000 to 1,140,000), investments $2 to 8 billion ($3.8 to 15.2 billion), and annual sales $45 to 50 billion ($90 billion), Source
  • twice a franchisee (Arjay Painting and Nutri-Lawn, Midhurst, ON),
  • a franchisee’s crew Barrie and 1st assistant manager, Orillia 3254, McDonald’s Canada (B.O.C., Silver Hat, & AAA, 1972-80),
  • general BA, 1983, Western University and MBA, 1987, Ivey Business School, London, ON,
  • Budget analyst, Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario, (acute care regional teaching hospital, 3,500 FTEs, 1988-92),
  • founded the Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators, CAFO, Canada’s 1st national franchisee association, Midhurst, ON 1998-present,
  • SLAPP 1.0 (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation): sued to silence: Nutri-Lawn‘s then owner, The Franchise Company (FirstService Corporation), represented by David Sterns and John Sotos,
  • SLAPP 2.0 sued for faxing 150 U.S. Tupperware distributors a website invitation and Toronto Star article while representing 7 former CDN Tupperware distributors, (Tupperware Canada Inc.), TupperWarsSLAPP, represented by Brian Macleod Rogers,
  • took my franchised lawn care business independent in 1998 (Lawn Depot),
  • represented myself at an injunction hearing, franchisor unsuccessfully sought to enforce their non-compete clause, Barrie, ON, 1999 (Justice Paul Herminston, Barrie), favourable outcome,
  • 5 day civil trial, (Justice Katherine Swinton, Toronto,  May 1999) and lost $134,000 unfavourable outcome,
  • unpaid policy analyst for Mr. Tony Martin, NDP MPP, Sault Ste. Marie, ON 1998 to 2001 (provincial, federal politician),
  • expert witness at public hearing which lead to Ontario’s first franchise law, Toronto, ON (Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000),
  • created the Information Sharing Project and submitted unsuccessful project proposal to the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Affairs in 2003 (digital teaching, due diligence and business risk assessment tool; early form of WikiFranchise.org),
  • identified and wrote a paper on Predatory Franchise Lending to Industry Canada, 2005 (18 month investigation: bank, consultant, franchisor, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Minister of Finance, RCMP Commercial Crime Unit, OBSI, FCAC, PMO, etc.),
  • case preparation for a +$6-million civil law suit based on predatory lending principles (2005, Oudovikine),
  • Stewart has been featured in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, CBC, PORFIT magazine, Continental Franchise Review, and Wall Street Journal, media contributor, 1997 – present,
  • contributed to the Prince Edward Island, Ontario, West and South Australian franchise inquires,
  • Blue MauMau contributor: 459 posts (since Oct 2007),
  • founded and editor of FranchiseFool.com weblog: 1200 posts, 277,713 views & 777 comments (since Feb 2008, Accessed April 26, 2018),
  • founded and co-editor of WikiFranchise.org: a no-charge wiki that assigns corporate and personal reputations more accurately and durably via indexed already-published articles and documents: 208,821 unique visitors, 331,676 visitors, 1,283,386 pages, 2,229,354 hits and 65.8 GB bandwith (since Feb 2009, same),
  • endorsed Bill 102, An Act to amend the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), September 23, 2010,  Legislative Assembly of Ontario (start @ 1440),
  • attended the International Association of Franchisees and Dealers annual conference, Indianapolis, 2010,
  • pre-trial development of large-scale group and class action legal actions,
  • independent franchisee association: leadership development, creation, training, pre-trial case legal case development (National Bread Network: Maple Leaf Foods/Canada Bread 1,000 CDN Dempster’s franchisees, leader’s blog, case preparation for a +$300-million class action law suit based on good faith, right to associate and mental distress ($50,000 award for one franchisee, 2008-2012),
  • FranchiseGrade.com: The Authority on Franchising, developed data collection methods and hierachy structure and custom reports based on U. S. Franchise Disclosure Documents, FDDs, Les Paul Stewart Consulting: work has been featured in Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Inc., and the Wall Street Journal. 2004 – 2005,
  • Dr. Gillian K. Hadfield: Problematic Relations: Franchising and the Law of Incomplete Contracts, The Price of Law: How the Market for Lawyers Distorts the Justice Systemand
  • LinkedIn

%d bloggers like this: