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Quiznos Franchise Narrowly Avoids Bankruptcy

Through a last second deal with a deep-pocketed private equity investor, the once-celebrated Quiznos franchise has managed to narrowly avoid bankruptcy. The sandwich chain negotiated the extinguishing of some $300 million in obligations while securing a fresh $150 million in capital from NYC-based private equity backer Avenue Capital, a distressed investment fund with approximately $20 billion in assets under management.

Despite a bruising economy and brutal competition from sandwich rival Subway, Quiznos was able to stave off total collapse at the franchisor level for years, leaning on (some franchisees would contend crushing) its franchisees by imposing rising supply costs and promotional efforts on its franchisee network. That strategy kept the franchisor afloat, but brought about a rapid shuttering of units, with some 600 Quiznos restaurants faltering in 2010 alone.

With a second lease on life and control of the franchisor squarely in the hands of private equity professionals, will Quiznos be able to navigate a still-shaky economy, challenge Subway for supremacy, and win back the trust of its surviving franchisees?

Read more about the Quiznos deal with Avenue Capital on NPR.

Should Franchisors Consider Private Equity Investments?

How can you be sure it’s the right choice for you? We asked Glen Kaufman, Managing Director at American Securities, a private equity firm with a consistent track record in the industry. The middle-market firm invests in companies with revenues ranging from $100 million to $1 billion.

A Break Down of Franchise Royalty Fees

When you first start your franchise you typically pay a franchise fee upfront. This will cover a variety of things that depend on the franchise you're dealing with, but often it will go towards initial training, marketing, and the rights to use the franchises logos, names, systems, and products. But that's not the only fee that franchisees will pay to a franchise. In addition to the initial franchise fees, the vast majority of franchises will charge their franchisees royalties that can come in one form or another. These royalties will often go towards ongoing training, sales of goods directly from franchisor to franchisee, and advertising and marketing efforts. The exact terms for these royalties are set out in your franchise agreement, but they come in a few common forms.