A Timbit of Trouble

570 News in Toronto reports that Tim Horton’s franchise owners have launched a near $2-billion lawsuit claiming lost profits since the iconic Canadian company switched from fresh-baked to frozen donuts. The $1.95-billion suit is scheduled to go to court in November and it has even divided franchisees, as a large group of store owners is trying to stop a smaller group from following through on the lawsuit.

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Support the Arbitration Fairness Act

Binding arbitration clauses are increasingly being inserted by businesses when entering into contacts with other parties. These clauses, which often provide businesses with an advantage and go unnoticed by the signer, drastically limit the legal options available to the signing party. The Arbitration Fairness Act bans mandatory binding arbitration clauses in consumer and employment contracts, including franchise agreements. Specifically acknowledging the disparate economic power between the parties, the bill invalidates the enforceability of pre-dispute arbitration agreements in franchise disputes

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How Franchisees Fire Franchisor CEOs and Boards

Don Sniegowski writes at BlueMauMau that Experts say that well organized franchisees can make profound changes in a franchisor’s behavior. Some have even been able to fire wayward CEOs, replace a franchisor’s board of directors, and spearhead a new strategy that lifts store profits and the brand.

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The Case for More, Not Less, Franchisee Protection

Current franchise laws and regulations do not go far enough to protect the interests of franchisees against often times overreaching franchisors according to an article published in Franchise Law Journal, Volume 29, Number 3, Winter 2010, by Lagarias & Boulter.

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Dunkin’ Donuts Announces 15 New Restaurants in Atlanta, Ga With Two Franchisees

Steve Silva and Derek Weilbaecher are founders of Yellow Mountain, LLC. They have been involved in the quick service restaurant business for over six years and together own and operate eight Zaxby’s restaurants, two in Douglas County, GA and six in Jefferson County, AL. James Laskaris, president of Ioan Donuts, LLC and Stephen Attard, director of operations of Ioan Donuts, LLC have been Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees since 2000 and currently have 16 open locations in Atlanta.

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A Look at Restaurant Industry Same-Store Sales

Mike Dempsey reports at Nation’s Restaurant News that nearly all public restaurant companies reported fourth-quarter same-store sales results this month, and winter storms and lingering economic pressures pushed most into negative territory. Some, mainly because of value messaging, moved in a positive direction.

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U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on 1st Circuit franchise case

The RI Lawyers Weekly Sidebar Blog has posted that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld in part and overturned in part a decision of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a case stemming from a dispute between an oil company and eight gas station operators who claimed the oil company tried to drive them out of business.

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DDIFO Members: Attend the Second Annual CFA Day Forum in Washington DC

As the year comes to a close and the New Year is almost upon us, it’s a good time to reflect on the challenges we face as small business owners. Legislatively, 2009 has been a difficult year for business owners. There is more to come, legislators in Washington DC are preparing to enact new laws that will have a dramatic impact on your bottom line. As the Legislative Affairs Coordinator for DDIFO, I can assure you that DDIFO is not sitting idly by as legislators continue to pry into your business. As a founding member of the Coalition of Franchisee Associations (CFA) we have been working together with other franchisee associations to make sure that all of our voices are heard on Capital Hill.

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DDIFO Releases AAFD Grading Report to Members and Takes the Clock Down

Over a year ago DDIFO commissioned the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers (AAFD) to review and grade the Dunkin Brands franchise agreement. The AAFD thru a group of executives, entrepreneurs and attorneys have worked for over 15 years to set standards for franchise agreements to make them more fair and equitable. The ultimate goal was to make franchising work better for everyone, believing that a spirit of communication and mediation led to better relations and business results. The AAFD set of standards are referred to as the “Fair Franchising Standards”, In the fall of 2008 DDIFO felt that the existing franchise agreement was causing excess friction and litigation between Dunkin Brands and the franchisees. DDIIFO felt this situation was caused in part by an inequitable franchise agreement, and that the litigation had not been good for the Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee community.

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