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.
What Happens When a Franchise Contract Ends? Obligations Upon Termination
The franchise agreement should also address who gets to use the franchisee’s phone numbers after the franchise agreement expires. Traditionally, this right has belonged to the franchisor, but with home-based businesses becoming the norm, franchisors that allowed franchisees to use their home phones or existing cell phone numbers might have an issue regaining control of this component of their former franchisees’ business presence.
Why I Have an Issue with the Forbes Franchise Rankings
The 5-Year Growth Rate and 5-Year Franchise Continuity are both great independent metrics of how a franchise is doing on average. As a potential franchisee both of these statistics are vital for selecting a franchise - you want to select a franchise that will provide you with a high return on investment and which will survive in the long run. I think these are, as FRANdata and Forbes suggested, two of the biggest (if not the two biggest) and most obvious metrics for whether or not a franchise is a “good” opportunity for a franchisee. But how do you use these to determine which franchise is BEST? This is the fundamental difficulty in coming up with a ranking system - it isn’t the difficulty in separating the good from the meh from the bad - it’s separating the great from the good and the best from the great. In the case of these rankings I found it to be pretty difficult to comprehend how they differentiated between the top ranked franchises. For instance, if you look at the difference between Discover Map (Forbes #4), Just Between Friends (Forbes #5), & Seniors Helping Seniors (Forbes #6) they all have extremely close continuity ratings and substantially different growth rates. In fact, in the case of these three, the overall rankings are opposite the growth rate rankings. Seniors Helping Seniors is ranked at the bottom of these three franchises despite having a growth rate that is 31 percentage points higher than Discovery Map and a continuity that is only 2 percentage points lower. This suggested to me that continuity was viewed as the dominant factor. But that logic didn’t hold for the rest on the “Economy Class” Top 10, as BrightStar Care (Forbes #7) had the same growth rate as Pop-a-Lock (Forbes #8) but a continuity rate that was 12 percentage points lower. These comparisons show that these were not the only two factors that went into the rankings, which is understandable, but no other factors that are explicitly listed in their results seem to be major factors.
Franchising as a Growth Vehicle—the Risks of Improper Classification
Should I franchise my business? Is it the right time? Is franchising the right growth vehicle for my business model? Does franchising fit with my ambitions, tendencies, preferences and general corporate culture?