Franchisees Sue KFC to Keep National Marketing Control

KFC National Council and Advertising Cooperative, Inc. (NCAC) filed a lawsuit last week against the world’s most popular fried chicken chain after KFC’s corporate office made a number of marketing blunders in promoting a new product, Kentucky Grilled Chicken, without authorization.

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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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Quiznos Could Pay Millions in Settlement

Alan J. Liddle reports at Nation’s Restaurant News that a judge has granted preliminary approval for the settlement of four class-action lawsuits filed by Quiznos Sub franchisees against their franchisor that could significantly alter the relationship of the feuding parties and cost the franchisor up to $100 million. The proposed settlement could impact more than 6,900 individuals now associated with the Denver-based Quiznos system “and several thousand who have closed their franchises,” attorneys for franchisees indicated in court documents.

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Franchisees Exert Pressure on Burger King Board

Elaine Walker reports in the Miami Herald that Burger King’s franchisees say they no longer “trust” or “have confidence” in current management, so they’re going directly to the company’s board of directors with their complaints. That was the message in a letter sent by the National Franchisee Association last week to Burger King’s board of directors. The board needs to take action to repair the relationship with franchisees, which has disintegrated to a level unheard of even for Burger King, the letter said. “Your management team has pushed the franchise community to the brink,” said the letter signed by 27 franchises, including the NFA board and the heads of 21 regional franchisee associations. “We are taking this extraordinary and historic action to communicate our concerns directly to the board.”

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Largest BK Franchisee Staying Loyal to the King

The Buffalo News Business Today reports that the Syracuse-based company that is the largest single owner of Burger King franchises is standing by the chain’s promotion of a cut-rate double cheeseburger, and is not participating in an uprising being mounted by many other franchisees. The National Franchisees Association, on behalf of 850 other Burger King operators around the country, has filed a lawsuit against the Miami-based Burger King Holdings Inc., protesting the corporation’s insistence that its franchisees offer double cheeseburgers for $1.

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Burger King’s $1 Double Cheeseburger Upsets Franchisees

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Burger King Corp. has aggressively pushed its $1 double cheeseburger to attract price-conscious consumers, but the chain’s franchisees say the value pricing is costing them money. The National Franchisee Association, a Kennesaw-based group that represents more than 80 percent of U.S. franchised Burger Kings, filed a lawsuit this week against Burger King, a Miami, Fla.,-based chain, over pricing issues. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, seeks to prevent Burger King from dictating maximum pricing for the franchisees.

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Peace Treaty Brews

Holly Sanders Ware and Josh Kosman report in the NY Post that Dunkin’ Brands is reaching out to angry franchisees they write: Dunkin’ Brands, accused of squeezing profits out of franchisees by suing them, is trying to make friends before it’s too late. Chief Executive Nigel Travis has been quietly meeting with angry franchise leaders in recent weeks, after a spate of unflattering reports about the doughnut chain’s litigious ways, sources with direct knowledge of the meetings saidTravis has told franchisees he is willing to take a fresh look at their contracts and would consider changes that give operators more say over their stores, sources said.

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Weighing in on Press Coverage

Op-Ed by Matt Ellis, DDIFO’s Communication Director. Response to the Boston Globe’s recent article “Franchisees say Dunkin’s brewing trouble” illustrates the differing opinions franchise owners have about seeing their issues discussed in the press. Some lauded Jenn Abelson’s article as an important discussion of an issue of interest to the entire Dunkin’ Donuts franchise community; others saw it as an improper public airing of dirty laundry. In either case, any news related to Dunkin’ Donuts strikes a chord because of the popularity and positive perception people have for Dunkin’ Donuts and its products.

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Chairman Purvin to Step Down from AAFD

Don Sniegowski reports at Blue MauMau that Robert Purvin, chairman and CEO of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers (AAFD), has announced while with lawyers attending the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising event in Toronto, Ontario that he will be stepping down within the next six months.

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Trial Date Set in Federal Court for Dunkin’ Donuts Suit

Paul Grimaldi reports in the Providence Journal that a Vermont businessman hopes to ring up perhaps the most important sale of his career in late 2009 when he tries to get a jury to side with him in a prolonged dispute with Dunkin’ Donuts. Irwin Barkan, of Waitsfield, Vt., will return here Dec. 2 as the dispute goes to trial in federal court –– four years after the coffee shop chain and its former franchisee became embroiled in the legal battle.

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