McDonald’s, Franchisees In Germany Wage Dispute

David Crawford and Julie Jargon at the Wall Street Journal write that McDonald’s Corp.’s German unit is engaged in a dispute with several franchise holders who accuse the world’s largest hamburger chain of using aggressive tactics to try to force them out of their contracts. Court records show McDonald’s hired a team of private detectives to dig up evidence of conflicts of interest against one of the franchisees.

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Bain to buy Domino’s Japanese franchisee

Bret Thorn at Nation’s Restaurant News reports that Bain Capital, the largest shareholder of Domino’s Pizza Inc., has signed an agreement to buy the chain’s master franchisee for Japan, Higa Industries Co. Ltd.

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Tim Hortons Heats up Battle over Breakfast

Hollie Shaw at the Canadian National Post reports that Tim Hortons has fired off another round in the breakfast war among Canada’s quick-service giants, introducing its own version of rival McDonald’s Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich.

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Delaware Moves to Require Menu Labeling

Paul Frumkin at Nation’s Restaurant News reports that Delaware became the latest state to weigh in on the menu-labeling issue when the Senate passed a measure requiring that restaurants post nutrition data on menus. The bill now moves to the House. Passed by a 15-5 vote, the measure, SB 81, would require chain restaurants with 20 or more locations nationwide to list the number of calories on menus and menu boards. The information must be provided adjacent to each item in a size and typeface similar to the price and other information.

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Honey Dew’s Doughnut War

Donna Goodison reports in the Boston Herald that Honey Dew Donuts is taking advantage of the weak economy to make its move against much bigger rivals Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. Honey Dew Associates Inc., the Plainville owner of the 150-location chain, has hired its first director of franchise development to orchestrate a significant expansion.

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Trouble Brewing at Starbucks

Vic Walter, Angela Hill and Brian Ross report at ABC News that an “alarmingly high” number of high school students are reporting sexual advances from their adult bosses and other supervisors at some of the country’s best known fast food operations, according to an official of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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McDonald’s Skinner Talks Profits, McCafe and Smoothies

It was more than two years ago when McDonald’s Corp. announced its McCafe initiative, a plan to bring better beverages into its stores. After the successful launch of its drip coffee and espresso drinks, the world’s largest burger chain is now setting its sights on the second phase of the plan — cold drinks like smoothies and frappes. CEO Jim Skinner updated investors on how the effort is progressing during an earnings conference call on Friday.

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IFA Pushes for New Health Care Bill

Paul Frumkin wrties in Nation’s Restaurant News that in the wake of Scott Brown’s upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race Tuesday, the International Franchise Association is urging federal lawmakers to forge new bipartisan legislation that will make health care insurance more affordable for small businesses.

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Top Franchise Legal Decisions to Watch

Ron Ruggless of Nation’s Restaurant News writes that decisions in franchise-related law in 2009 produced new frameworks under which franchisors and franchisees will be doing business in the year ahead, and beyond.

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Starbucks Customers Feel Burned by Surprise Price Hikes

Sarah Gilbert writes in Daily Finance that Starbucks (SBUX) customers in New York this week could no longer pay for their venti mochas with a five-dollar bill after a 20-cent price hike brought the cost with tax to $5.06. In Seattle, the company’s home, a grande mocha is now $3.91, up 10%. In Washington, D.C., an upgrade to new loose-leaf tea bags also meant an upgrade in prices

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