It’s unusual to see a crowd of people toting signs and celebrating that a local restaurant has closed. The people outside the Dairy Queen in Zion, IL, had originally planned a protest urging people to boycott after the franchisee reportedly called at a customer and her children by a racial slur, but Dairy Queen pulled his franchise and the restaurant closed in the interim. [More]
If there are fewer places around where you can buy a Cadillac, will that make the brand seem more luxurious and precious? That’s not really why General Motors has offered to buy out the franchises of 400 of its dealers that sell Cadillacs, but maybe it will help make the brand seem more exclusive, like its weird brand experience café/art gallery in Manhattan. [More]
It seems selling fast food restaurants to franchisees is somewhat de rigueur these days: After McDonald’s recently said it’s using that plan to steer its big turnaround plan, Wendy’s announced today that it’ll be selling a total of 640 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada this year as well as its baking operation in Zanesville, OH.
During the last few years and under new ownership, Burger King has changed its business model slightly. The company once owned some restaurants as well as franchising its brand, but now has mostly left the restaurant-running business. Instead, they extract franchise royalties and send “field coaches” to look over the literal and metaphorical shoulders of their franchisees. [More]
Franchising is the business model behind the massive homogenization of the American foodscape. A local entrepreneur licenses a larger brand, often buying supplies and other necessities for running a restaurant as well. This has worked very well for many fast food and quick-serve chains, so why isn’t popular burrito eatery Chipotle interested in opening franchises? [More]
When that Quiznos sandwich shop you always drove by but never visited closed, you probably didn’t even notice. Or maybe you were a little bit disappointed during your last trip to the mall when you found out the Cold Stone Creamery had shuttered. But what you probably didn’t know is that those failed franchises have left taxpayers on the hook for $72.5 million over the last decade. [More]
Want carrots on your Subway sandwich? How about parmesan oregano bread, sliced avocados, or blue cheese sauce? Not all Subway topping offerings are mandatory, and some offerings vary by region or even from franchisee to franchisee. Over at Brand Eating, here’s a guide to breads and toppings that you just might find at your local Subway. Or might not. [Brand Eating]
No one expects four-star service at a fast-food joint, but at the same time you expect service to be, well, fast. And somewhat competent. McDonald’s currently faces falling sales, and 20% of the complaints they receive are about customer service. Customers complain about “chaotic” service and “unprofessional” employees. Logical conclusion: time to work on their customer service. The chain is overhauling their ordering system in an attempt to make fewer mistakes and speed things along. Will it work? Maybe.
Reader M. is currently (under-) employed at a Subway franchise. M. has a college degree, and is bright enough to be able to see the economic indicators that show they’ll still be working at Subway for a while yet. Fortunately, we like to give employees a soapbox to educate the public about the things we might not understand about their jobs. That way, Consumerist readers are less likely to act like entitled jerks, treat front-line employees better, and the world is a happier place. In theory. [More]
Fast-food restaurant promotions exist to get customers in the door and to keep them coming back. When Steve and his wife showed up at their regular Burger King for a tasty dinner of Whoppers, they brought along a coupon they had printed from Burger King’s website. It turned out that their local franchise couldn’t accept that coupon. Okay. They could deal with that. It was when the cashier talked up a different promotion, then explained that the restaurant was actually out of game pieces for that promotion, that Steve became annoyed enough to write to Burger King corporate.
“Torpedoing.” “Toasted.” The food that Quiznos is having trouble selling is full of metaphors for how its business is going. Crunched by the recession, its own policies towards franchise owners, competitors adding toasters, and an “everyday value” strategy that ran counter to its position as a purveyor of premium sandwiches, Quiznos is on the edge of violating its loan terms and could go into default.
Al Yeganeh, the man who inspired Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi character, closed up shop six years ago, but this week he re-opened his business at the same location on 55th Street in NYC under the name “The Original Soup Man.” The company is now a franchise with locations in nine states and Washington, D.C., and unfortunately (for us, but probably not for him) Yeganeh doesn’t actually do any counterwork–he’s just the brand at this point.
Like Quizno’s and KFC before them, Papa John’s went and set up a cute promotion without making sure that all of their franchisees have signed on. Papa John’s founder John Schnatter was reunited with his long-lost 1971 Camaro, and to celebrate, promised free pizza to anyone who drove up to a Papa John’s restaurant in a Camaro. Except, you guessed it, not at all Papa John’s locations.
Mandatory binding arbitration, which corporations use to dodge accountability for their discrimination, negligence, or harassment, is a caricature of justice that offers no protection to consumers or employees. It’s also terrible for small business owners, as one couple found out.