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Franny answers franchisee questions

Ask FrannyThis forum was created so that readers and members of Blue MauMau can post questions to Franny about issues of interest to small business and franchise owners. Franny sometimes invites world-class subject matter experts to answer tough questions

If your post is answered by Franny, it will be featured on the front page of this journal under the "Ask Franny" column.

In your post, please do not mention your franchisor's, vendor's or your own firm's name. The intent of this forum is not to give press to a brand name but rather to ask general questions that franchise owners within and outside one's brand might find of interest. (There are press release areas to sell what's great about a brand or other forums to tell tales of franchisee rip off.) Your question may be edited for clarity, brevity and frankly, some entertainment value.

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KFC removes Crispy Chicken in Austin Texas

Austin Texas KFC locations removed Extra crispy Chicken from their menu the week of January 25, 2010.
Responding to numerous complaints location managers stated that 11 menu items were removed including a core bone in chicken product Extra Crispy . According to local managers the change was made to provide customers a simplier menu allowing KFC to serve hotter and fresher foods.

ripped off by quiznos

how do i get in on suing quiznos,i made a three hundred thousand dollar investment and had to close 8 months later due to no profits numbers being falsely posted to make quiznos owners think there was a possibility to make profit but there is absolutely no chance of it.

You start by calling Richard Solomon

who will tell you how to handle this. Hiring the right lawyer now is extremely important.

I lost my life savings and then compounded the problem by hiring the wrong lawyer. Save yourself the downward spiral.

He'll start by letting you know exactly what you signed and why you probably are up shit's creek without a paddle.

Taco Del Mar

Lots of buzz about these guys on the forum here. Taco Del Mar declared bankruptcy.

Competition from franchisor

Both franchise agreements ("FA")require the ZEE to agree that the customer list and information developed by the ZEE becomes the property or the ZOR. Both FA's also allow the ZOR to compete directly with the ZEE, under a different name if in protected territory, and under the same name if outside the protected territory, even if the territories overlap. Seems to me that the ZOR's ability to use your customer list to compete directly against you is a recipe for disaster from the ZEE's perspective. The ZEE just put up an inital investment of ~$200K + their personal gurantee ("PG") on the real estate lease + their PG on the equipment lease + their PG on their obligations under the FA and the ZOR is legally permitted to drive them out of business under the FA. Has anyone figured out how to work around this situation?

The work around

The best work around is to never sign the agreement in the first place.

Franchise consultant?

Any recommendations on who to use as a franchise consultant? Or who NOT to use?


I am looking into buying Batteries Plus.Do you know what is the average sales for the stores.Or any use full information about the company's sales numbers or how much can I make with a 300k investment.

Granville_Bean's picture

clueless newbie

Or any use full information about the company's sales numbers or how much can I make with a 300k investment...

Poor guy doesn't have a clue.  Hey buddy, you can make maybe a coupla billion with a 300k investment in lottery tickets, as long as they all win.

The Bibby Group

Can anyone give me the pros & cons of working with The Bibby Group? Everything I read about franchising gives them glowing reviews. We are about to contract with them for a feasibility study. Has anyone out there (beyond those listed on their website) used them and was it a good investment? We would appreciate any feedback.

Should i opt out/in of this CAS?

How could Quiznos only return $475 for $20000 franchise fee that they had collected.
What should i do with this Class action settlement? This is like a slap on the victims' faces again.

Granville_Bean's picture


How could Quiznos only return $475 for $20000 franchise fee that they had collected.

Answer: They could do it very easily.  Do you think you have a way to do better?  Then don't take the settlement, and sue them individually.  Sounds like maybe you have this confused with a REFUND.  Obviously, they are NOT refunding the $20k franchise fee, they are paying the $475 to settle any possible claim.  So do ya want yer $475 or not?


Please read this article/press release carefully. These excerpts will be used from it for calculating SNAP SPIN.
"with about 250 members paying roughly $35 a month." "2008 revenue: $31,716,000" "The company has roughly 1,000 clubs open in 48 states, Canada, Mexico and India."

Snap Actual 2008 Revenue - $31,716,000, Roughly 1,000 Clubs, Annual Revenue per Club = $31,716

Snap SPIN Revenue - Typical club has 250 members paying roughly $35 month, $35 x 12 = $420 annual dues per member, $420 annual dues x 250 members = $105,000, Annual Revenue per Club - $105,000

SPIN FITNESS DIFFERENCE: $105,000 - $31,716 = $73,284

Just for fun, lets say there were only 500 clubs with the same stated 2008 revenue instead of 1,000. The Annual Revenue per Club would be $63,432. SPIN FITNESS DIFFERENCE $105,000 - $63,432 = $41,568


Granville_Bean's picture

Zee vs. Zor?

Are those figures for the Zor or the Zees?  What's the royalty rate on a Snap?  How much does the Zor make in royalties and how much from franchise fees?

Bankrupt franchisors

Dear Franny:

I am conducting research on franchisors going bankrupt, and was wondering whether you or anyone else on this forum know of a single source listing the franchise systems (franchisors) going bankrupt, say since 2000?

Any leads would be greatly appreciated!


Hello, can someone contact me in regards to starting a franchise or teaming up to start a franchise. I own an investment & construction company; but the food industry is profitable. For example, Jimbo's Hamburger in NY is not a franchise but they have alot of locations. I am a born citizen & minority. I have experience working in the fast food industry. I would like an opportunity to start my own franchise. Please E-mail me an application to get me started. Thank You

Snap Fitness - The No Spin Zone

Dear Franny and Gentle Ones,

What is the percentage of Snap Fitness clubs making money? (Making money = At the end of each month having a dollar more revenue than expenses.) Closest answer given by a reader or Franny staffer wins a Snap Fitness t-shirt!

After being involved with Snap Fitness for a few months, I feel very comfortable sharing information with potential franchisees about the company. I have experience in the fitness industry previous to Snap Fitness.

1. Owners and management are required to sign legally binding and extensive non-disclosure agreements which restrict them from speaking openly about Snap Fitness corporate. This could have a detrimental effect on potential franchisees attempting to perform proper due diligence and acquiring honest and accurate information in regards to the ability of realizing a satisfactory return on investment.

2. Even if there were no profitable Snap Fitness franchises, it is still possible Snap Fitness corporate could continue to benefit financially, increase market share and continue to successfully recruit new franchisees.

3. There was always a constant flow of internal e-mails from Snap Fitness owners soliciting to sell their club and/or franchise license(s) for substantial discounts.

4. The emphasis, expertise and resources of the company are heavily invested in franchising and expanding both nationally and internationally. There were lots of discussion about new programs, technology, campaigns and support but only a small percentage of this was actually delivered effectively.

5. I advise you to research the Snap Fitness clubs throughout the country and you will see there are several that do not provide staff or have very limited hours for employees at the club. Minimal staffing is more prevalent as you investigate clubs closer to corporate headquarters. Remember this if you decide to pursue a franchise.

6. I do not believe their business model is sustainable. The reason for the expedited interest in developing international franchises is certainly motivated by the reality of the lack of success of so many of the individual franchisees here in the USA.

7. Snap Fitness franchise/business model enjoys the same benefits as MLM companies (multi level marketing). The people at the top (corporate) are financially successful while the little guy at the bottom is struggling but still subsidizing those at the top. The Snap Fitness corporate franchising business model is not set up to "share the pain" with their franchisees.

Recommendation: If you enjoy long hours, stress, cleaning, employee turnover, volunteer work and subsidizing your company every month, you will definitely enjoy Snap Fitness.

(Barbara, Keep pounding away! A lot of these people have thick skulls! You are providing a necessary service to the innocent and naive who think the fitness industry is a "piece of cake" or "a great investment". Keep up the great work!)

Franchise State Registration

On the Caleasi - it has this document for Candy Bouquet -
Internet Advertisement Exemption Notice which reads,

Uniform Resource Locator:

The franchisor and anyone acting with the franchisor's knowledge, agrees to comply with the California Franchise investment Law and Rules there under, when posting any Internet advertisement on a website.

The next part includes contact information for CBI.

The internet advertisement is not directed to any person in the State of California by or on behalf of the franchisor or anyone acting with the franchisor's knowledge.

What does this mean? Thank you!

Did you get an answer?

I am no attorney, but I do run a franchise system.  They are not registered to sell franchises in California, and they are warning you that if you see this website in California or wish to operate in California, you should not construe this website as an offer by them to sell you a franchise in California.

Hope that helps!

Janet Holman

Janet is incorrect

CBI may or may not be currently registered to offer franchises in California. The disclaimer is for Internet Advertising Exemption.



I'm looking for franchisees for my company. Could you help me by advertising or posting a short article about our medical franchise?

Thanks in advance.

Daniela Szczygiel
Pro-Bionica Europe


I would like to know how inflatable playgrounds franchises compare to other franchises. There is none on the SBA's Default List.
I have a lender that is concerned about this industry, but I don't think they should be, but I have no official proof.
Can you assist in providing factual information on these franchises compared to others, especially Monkey Joes and Jumpzone?

Thank you

Jimmy John's

Would love to know anything about Jimmy John's.  Profitability?  Happiness of franchisee's?  Working with corporate?  Thanks in advance.

Coffee News vs. Tidbits and FunFacts

Dear Franny,

I am considering a Coffee News franchise (  Coffee News has this statement on their website under "Coffee News is Popular":

3) It's virtually competitor-proof! Naturally, when any new idea in
advertising is introduced and has the overnight success of Coffee News
there will be copycat publications. However, due to trade marking and
copyright laws, Coffee News offers a higher level of protection to
franchisees. Those that have tried so far have been ordered by the
court to "cease and desist" and pay average damages to Coffee News of
over $85,000. per settlement. All others not in litigation, have gone
out of business on their own as of this printing.

Do you know if there is proof to support their statement?  Do you know of other mini-papers that have gone out of
business because either Coffee House is that much better or they were ordered to?  What about Tidbits and FunFacts?  Will they too eventually go out of business?

Thanks for any input you can provide me.

Coffee News

I was wondering the same thing about Coffee News' claim to be the only ones to have the right to this type of advertising newspaper. Has anyone got any further info about their claim to have court orders to "cease and desist" and pay damages or put others out of business? How can they lay claim to owning the concept? Info anyone?


Question... What happens to the SBA Loans CIT has in its default loan porfolio (i.e. non-performing assets) if it goes bankrupt?  I'm a former franchisee.

Granville_Bean's picture

meet the new owner

Typically somebody buys all of the assets (loans owed to it) in a package for pennies on the dollar.

In bankruptcy, it is the bankrupt (that is, CIT in this case) who might get some of their debts discharged.  NOT people who owe money TO the bankrupt.

Transferring lease to Zor? Any way to avoid it?

I am 3 years into a 10 year franchise agreement with a sandwich type franchise.  I'm actually making decent money and paid off the place in a little over 2 years.  The thing is, I'm just tired and bored with following somebody else's orders and regs and would like to change the place over to a burger joint.  I love the location and want to keep it - I found it and it wasn't a cheap buildout.  Looking through the UFOC, it says that in the event of a termination, the zor could come in and remove anything that made the place look like one of their franchises.  Fair enough.  It then goes on to say that I would be required to sign the lease over to them.  Is this standard and is it legal?  The lease is between me and my landlord; is it even legal to sign a lease over to somebody else?  I have a pretty good relationship with my landlord - what if they refused to agree to a transfer of the lease and insisted that I keep the lease?  Any advice on how to get out of my franchise so I can keep my location?

Granville_Bean's picture

3 years into 10

You signed a contract.  What if was the other way around, you got a good business going and in Year 3 the Zor came to you and said "Hey you are doing okay, but we are kind of bored with you, we want to put someone else in here".  Would you just walk away?  Odds are this is gonna cost you.  You are the one who signed up for 10 years.

You could talk to your Zee and tell them you'd like to terminate.  Maybe they'll offer you a buyout you can live with, as long as you agree not to replace it with a similar "concept".

follow up

What if I wanted to sell the business to somebody who was only interested in the location and the equipment, not in continuing on as a franchisee?  Would I be able to get out this way?  I figure I could sell it to a close friend or family member and then continue with the change-over to the burgers.  I realize that a contract was signed, but I feel like I've been successful despite the franchise, not because of them.  They didn't do squat to locate the location which is the most important part - I did all the legwork and negotiated the lease.  They don't really help me in any way except lightening my bank account.  I don't feel they've done enough to earn my loyalty so I'm not going to be loyal to them assuming I can escape the contract.  Thanks for the advice.

Granville_Bean's picture

what's not to understand?

You seem to be talking about "feelings", you don't "feel" they've done enough.  (Are you a woman?  Or maybe a gay guy?  LOL of course.)  So basiclly, in hindsight you don't like the deal you ended up with.  Now, in what way (if any) is the deal you ended up with, different from the deal you signed up for?

Did the Zor fail to do something that was required of them by contract, and was it a serious enough breach to potentially void the contract?  Or did they merely do what was required (like let you use their brand name and recipes) and nothing more?  Were they required to find a location for you?  If not, how can you hold that against them?

This is a matter of CONTRACT.   What, other than your feeling that you'd like to, causes you to believe you can get out of it?  And now youa re proposing a bad-faith straw man related party purchaser come in to make the transaction look like something it isn't, so that you can silently remain in control behind the scenes. 

See everyone, bad faith schemes are not jsut among the bad  Zors!

Guest, you have convinced yourself, rationalized, that you somehow deserve to ditch the Zor due to whatever.  But if it's not in the contract, you're likely SOL.  Maybe your franchise is indeed a poor value for the Zee, but there's that little matter of being only 3 into a 10 year contract....

Joe Caruso's picture

Contracts mean something

You made a commitment and now you don't like it. Your plan to circumvent your obligation is unwise. You need a franchise attorney to give you actual legal advice before you do great harm to yourself.

Barbara Jorgensen's picture

Yes contracts mean something

To be honest and ethical a FDD should have in bold print, "A Franchise Agreement is a contractual relationship.  Anything said outside of the FDD is not binding. "  Words that the common layman can understand.  If more people understood this they would not listen to the bs and pay attention to the agreement.   

Joe Caruso's picture

It is unlikely you can

It is unlikely you can unilaterally terminate, de-indentify and reopen as a new independent concept without significant consequences if at all.  In order to fully explore breaking away and going independent you should seek the advice of an experienced franchise attorney and have both your franchise agreement and lease reviewed with your objective in mind.

Furthermore most franchisors would not enjoy seeing one of their branded locations put to an alternate use and lose their royalty revenue that was agreed to by the parties to the agreement.

Finally, I don't personally know Mr. Solomon but from reading his posts and website he would be worth at a minimum an initial consult. 


selling of franchise

When a traditional franchisee sells his business to someone else, does the franchisor get a fee for this such as an additional franchise fee like was paid by the original franchisee?  I ask this for the PMD franchisees?  Could you please post this answer to that ongoing thread?  PMD is asking franchisees that sell their existing business to pay PMD $50,000. for this when it was already paid once by the original franchisee. 


Also, do you have another site that deals in license agreements?  We are originally under the PMD license agreement and would like to have someone's advise about our current license agreement.



Granville_Bean's picture

fee from new franchisee

1) What does your contract say?

2) You paid a fee to be a Zee.  Now someone else wants to be the Zee.  They don't have to pay too?

3) Is this a franchise fee which would be the new Zee's responsibility, or is it some kind of "let me out" or approval fee that you the existing Zee has to pay? 

It is a fee that pmd wants

It is a fee that pmd wants from the original franchisee after selling the existing franscise to the second owner.  The money pmd would want is the first $50,000 from the sale of the business to the second franchisee.  After they got the first $50,000. the rest of the money would belong to the orignal franchisee.  Is this customary to keep paying franchise fees when another person buys the same business? 

How much for a small print business?

How much does it cost to operate a small printing business? I was hoping to get a few hints as to what I should be looking for and what to avoid. Please help.

Thank you very much.

Don Sniegowski's picture

Re: How much for a small print business?


A small print business can go for as low as $150,000 in total investment. Think of $500,000 for the large quick print shops that offer offset press services on premise. Conventional wisdom in this sector is that you should plan to have enough in savings to pay your living expenses for at least two years. And buyer beware: There is no certainty that you will make a profit.

Printing is a very mature industry. It is going through a prolong period of consolidation.

There are many ways to go into printing. You could go for a specialized service, such as FastSigns - one of Blue MauMau's advertisers. Or you could go for a traditional print shop like PIP. Or a large quick print shop like Alphagraphics. One of the perks of the print industry, is that franchisees have typical business hours. Although there may be major jobs that pull you and your staff into working late, many quick print shops are able to close early in the evening and for part of the weekend.

There are a number of Blue MauMau members with a print industry background that can provide considerably more insight into the industry, should you want to ask more specific questions.

Where is the Tim Hortons coverage?

The comments are full of Tim Hortons comment on ousting Dunkin' Donut from NYC. Where is the Blue MauMAu article or post?

Mr. Blue MauMau's picture

Re:Tim Hortons Coverage

Dear NYC Guest,

You can find any story by putting the term into the Search field. The search function is the orange button on top of all of Blue MauMau's web pages. You can also search news by company, which has a pull down menu of company names that have been featured in news stories on the website. That is the orange block in the right column titled "Search by Company".

Just a few days ago a news clipping from the New York Post was published here about a Dunkin' Donuts franchisee who converted 12 New York City stores to Tim Horton. That can be found here, Tim Hortons Inherits NY Flunkin' Donuts.

Can I terminate my Quiznosfranchise agmnt and go independent?

My Quiznos store loses money every month. I think I can make a profit if I can get free of the overhead costs and operating constraints of Quiznos. Does the panel of experts know if I can terminate my Quiznos franchise agreement, take down the Q signs, and convert my restaurant to an independent operation? If Quiznos wanted to stop me from doing this, wouldnt they have to buy me out?

Any and all suggestions appreciated. I cannot stay open much longer without a profit.

just do two or three breaches

just do two or three breaches and it should help you.. they will take away their store from u..

Granville_Bean's picture

I think you got it backwards, buddy

You have a contract with Q.  You are required to pay them every month.  You think that if you want to quit, THEY are going to buy YOU out????  Why should THEY pay YOU to give up their royalties?  They'll collect royalities until you go bust, then sue you for the unpaid future royalioes, and then sell your defaulted franchise again (new franchise fee!) to some other sucker.  Sorry, I mean investor.

Barbara Jorgensen's picture

I would consult a good franchise attorney

that will help you make this decision.

I know of one lady who broke away from her franchise.  I believe it cost her $12,000.  Still there is no quarantee that you will make it.  She didn't.  It was not a Quiznos but was a franchise that was started by people from Quiznos.  If possible make sure you have a year of living expenses and legal fees before you go out.   

Employee Engagement Survey

Employee Engagement Survey Johnson & Thomas Consulting Group, LLC is conducting research into Employer and Employee Workforce Relationships and has created an Employee Engagement Survey. Because the questions determine only your interests; there are no right or wrong answers.

The purpose of this survey is to collect and establish actual data about interests regarding workplace productivity and employee engagement; to identify and determine relevant causes and responses regarding the workforce potential and factors of employee motivation in connection to the business vision amongst workplace employees.

 In conducting this research, we are looking to create practical, realistic, and innovative solutions to empower the talent of small businesses and ultimately maximize people performance.

The survey will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. Thank you for your time and input! Digital survey instructions: Survey Monkey:

What should I do??

I am a franchisee in a very small franchise which is in pretty serious trouble. The Zor is trying to sell her own operation to someone I think is either very stupid or is being kept in the dark. This buyer has not called most of the other franchisees that I know to ask any questions at all. I asked the franchisor if it was a fact that the sale was happening and was told No. That would appear to be a bit of a lie. Do we contact the buyer ourselves and let them know what WE know and risk the ire of the franchisor?

Barbara Jorgensen's picture

If you know your franchise is in pretty serious trouble

and you know the zor is going to sell.  I would seek the advice of a franchise attorney.  Get your FDD out and see what your options are.  You are the asset of the zor therefore your zor will be selling your franchise agreement to the new zor.

If you meet the new franchise wannabee suggest they call other zees.  Your zor if selling his own operation may be getting ready to sell the troubled franchise. 

any lab test now

Hi--does anyone have any vability information on "any lab test now" I have been looking into opening a franchise for a couple of ears but have been put off b all the horror stories. I am looking into this as something. Someone please advise me before I potentially get suckered....


any lab test now

I too would like to hear more about this franchise. Right now is seems that the revnue from royalties is only 3%. Therfore, most revenue is coming from franchise purchses.

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About Franny

Franny's picture

Public Profile

Franny is a columnist for Blue MauMau who answers questions about running and owning a franchised business establishment. Those who have questions can post them under the Ask Franny forum. Readers may comment on the questions there. If the post is answered by Franny, it will be featured on the frontpage of Blue MauMau under the "Ask Franny" column. Franny sometimes invites Subject Matter Experts to answer. Please do not mention your franchisor, vendor or your own firm's name in your question.