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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.

Franchise Hurdles

The first point I made ties into this, but you need to make sure you’ve done your research before you go ahead and sign a franchising agreement. And that doesn’t just mean from a financial perspective. There are so many other aspects in running a franchise that you need to understand before you get started. Most of this information can be found in the Franchise Disclosure Documents. Some of the most important things you should take a look at would be any legal issues the franchisor might have and the churn rate of franchises. Both of those could potentially be pretty significant red flags that might make you want to reconsider whether or not you want to open that franchise.