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Looking for answers to pressing legal questions about franchising? What’s keeping you up at night? Federal, state, and local laws affecting everything from minimum wage to employee scheduling are critical to managing your business successfully. Find what you need to know about today’s legal issues from top franchise attorneys.

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Most prospective franchisees want financial performance information as part of their due diligence process when deciding whether or not to purchase a particular franchise. Prospective franchisees are understandably hesitant to invest thousands of dollars if they have no idea what kind of financial performance exists at the outlet or unit level. Financial performance information can be a powerful selling tool for franchisors because this information responds to a prospective franchisee's compelling need for information concerning the possible financial results of their investment.
  • Brian Schnell
  • 15,410 Reads 2,257 Shares
1. Should I make a financial performance representation (FPR)? Yes! Any type of representation, oral, written, or visual, that suggests or implies a specific level or range of actual or potential sales, income, gross or net profits qualifies as an FPR. You can't make an FPR unless it is in your franchise disclosure document (FDD). Between 20 and 30 percent of all franchisors make an FPR, which means some of your competitors share their numbers with your prospects. What impression do you leave if you don't share yours? If you have solid numbers, consider making an historical-based FPR. If you do, the law allows you to make specific written representations outside the FDD about a particular location or highlighting specific variables (e.g., a kiosk variation to a traditional retail format). Without an FPR, you may not make financial representations on your website (the first place prospects check in investigating a concept) or anywhere else.
  • Rochelle Spandorf
  • 5,709 Reads 195 Shares
About two years ago, at the behest of a friend, Nick Vojnovic, president of Beef 'O' Brady's, made his first foray into a nontraditional franchise location, opening a restaurant at the TradeWinds, a resort in St. Petersburg, Fla., with 1 million annual visitors. It wasn't exactly on his radar, but Vojnovic decided to give it a go.
  • Eddy Goldberg
  • 2,950 Reads 8 Shares
Franchise Update Media Group (FUMG) the leading industry resource for franchise development, today announced the launch of Franchise Law News, providing franchisors with a consistent source of quality legal information about the franchise industry. The print edition and eNewsletter are distributed quarterly, and online access is available anytime at www.FranchiseLawNews.com.
  • PRESS RELEASE
  • 2,612 Reads 16 Shares
It's been more than 40 years since I took my one and only psychology course. I can't say the course changed my life or showed me the light. It didn't. In fact, the only thing I really remember from it is that there are six interpretations of any two-party conversation: how Party A and Party B each perceives what they said and what they heard (that makes four); and two more, which are what I might label the truth (what Party A actually [i]did[/i] say to Party B, and vice versa). The point, of course, is that what we think we said is not necessarily what the other party thinks they heard--and further, that what we think we said may not have been what we actually said.
  • Rupert M. Barkoff
  • 3,841 Reads 359 Shares
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Danny Sonenshine quickly found himself working as a litigator and transactional attorney at major firms in Orange County.
  • Multi-Unit Franchisee
  • 6,703 Reads
As franchisors prepare for the upcoming renewal season, increased efficiency is likely a top priority for your franchise system. Our franchise team at Faegre & Benson has identified 12 tips to help you save time and money in preparing for a successful 2010 renewal season.
  • Brian Schnell
  • 2,156 Reads 2 Shares
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Danny Sonenshine quickly found himself working as a litigator and transactional attorney at major firms in Orange County. It didn't take long for the Laguna Beach native to realize a few things about himself--realities that led him to leave the practice of law after six years for the very different field of franchising and restaurants.
  • Debbie Selinsky
  • 12,079 Reads 1,305 Shares
Last issue we began the discussion of how buying assets out of bankruptcy court is time-consuming but usually easy - when done properly. But if you try to pick and choose, it can become more difficult. It's hard to determine a fair value for such assets. If you're not careful you could find yourself back in court fighting angry creditors who think you've cheated them.
  • Barry Kurtz and Nevin Sanli
  • 4,141 Reads 170 Shares
One of the most helpful services franchisors can provide to their franchisees is accounting direction and services. I am often astonished at how little guidance so many franchisors provide in this area. How will franchisees know if they are truly making money and operating effectively if they don't keep good books and receive information to help them run their businesses more effectively?
  • Rupert M. Barkoff
  • 21,259 Reads 4,809 Shares
Buying assets out of bankruptcy court is time-consuming but usually easy. But if your target is a franchisee and you get choosy - meaning, for example, that you want to buy only 10 outlets in a bankrupt 20-outlet franchise restaurant chain - things get dicey. Why? Because it's hard to determine a fair value for such assets, and if you fail to do so, you could find yourself back in court fighting angry creditors who think you've cheated them.
  • Barry Kurtz and Nevin Sanli
  • 3,047 Reads 57 Shares
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The franchise registration states require an updating of your FDD annually. This requirement necessitates the filing of a renewal application (including the revised FDD, current audited financial statements, and supplemental documents) with each registration state in which you plan to continue selling franchises.
  • Brian Schnell
  • 7,577 Reads 714 Shares
The constant theme of this column is Do It Effectively, Do It Legally, Make a Difference. How a franchisor addresses its sales promotional materials fits this theme. That is, a franchisor's sales promotional materials must effectively capture a candidate's attention and also must comply with the rules.
  • Brian Schnell
  • 3,402 Reads 188 Shares
In our July column we identified five common mistakes franchisors make in their franchise development activities. These mistakes were discussed by state regulators as part of the IFA 2009 Legal Symposium's "Ask the Regulators" session. This column identifies a second group of five mistakes, each addressing specific FDD disclosure requirements. Our objective here is to identify issues or best practices that will enable franchisors to more effectively address state registration/disclosure matters in connection with their franchise development efforts.
  • Franchise Update
  • 3,195 Reads 62 Shares
I was shocked recently while attending a workshop covering franchisee recruitment (formerly known as "franchise sales") by the participants' responses to the following situation: Assume that the franchisor says nothing in his Franchise Disclosure Document's Item 19 as to financial performance. Instead, the franchisor suggests that prospective franchisee prepare a business plan that would include a projection of revenues and costs for the proposed franchise.
  • Rupert M. Barkoff
  • 3,446 Reads 27 Shares
I have been a franchise lawyer my entire professional career. I still recall vividly my first project on my first day, September 8, 1987. International Dairy Queen had acquired Orange Julius of America (OJA) earlier that year, and we were updating the Orange Julius UFOC to enable OJA to continue to offer and sell franchises. We then also filed the revised UFOC in the various registration states.
  • Brian Schnell
  • 2,710 Reads 33 Shares
Our objective with this column is to identify issues and best practices that will enable franchisors to more effectively address state registration/disclosure matters in connection with their franchise development efforts. The IFA 2009 Legal Symposium's "Ask the Regulators" session provided insight on a number of those fronts. During this session, state regulators identified several common mistakes franchisors make during the registration process, many related to the Revised FTC Rule. We discuss five of those common mistakes, with another five to be discussed next month.
  • Brian Schnell, Partner, Faegre & Benson
  • 2,936 Reads 66 Shares
You've done your research, you've assessed your own strengths and weaknesses, you've thoroughly evaluated the franchise companies that were a potential match for you, you've got your financing lined up, you've even jumped through a few hoops along the way, now comes the moment of decision. When it's time to commit and move forward with a franchise, you will be required to officially sign on. It's a big day and is often - but not always - marked by a Discovery Day held by the franchisor. Discovery Days are often meant to serve as final meetings that are typically held at the franchisor's headquarters or other corporate facility. Often, the franchisor will cover some or all of the costs of the incoming franchisee. After all, at this point, you've both been in regular contact and things look pretty serious. These events are usually fun, informal, and characterized by high energy and positive words. It's a final chance to talk one-on-one and, if both sides are in agreement, sign on with the franchise. But keep in mind that you are not obligated to "come aboard" at this time, and the franchisor also reserves the right to not extend an invitation at the end of the day. As a matter of fact, you may even consider attending two or three different Discovery Days to help you make your final determination of a franchise concept. That being said, here are some things you should know and do to prepare for attending a Discovery Day signing.
  • Kerry Pipes
  • 12,191 Reads
Getting to know a little more about you as a prospect is one of the first things franchises are interested in. The initial franchise application process is a screening mechanism by which franchisors begin to determine your interest and qualifications. Today, it is common to find initial franchise application forms on franchisors' websites - but most will be happy to send you one as well. This is a good stepping off point for beginning the communication process. You should not only take this very seriously, but also expect to spend some time gathering the information and completing the application.
  • Kerry Pipes
  • 55,344 Reads 7 Shares
Let's look at some recent trends. The stock market: trending downward. Franchise system sales: flat or downward in well over the majority of cases. Sales of new franchises: definitely on the downturn, almost dormant. How depressing!
  • Rupert M. Barkoff
  • 2,899 Reads 4 Shares
Let's play Jeopardy. The answer: "Document!" The question: "What is the most effective way to minimize risk in the franchise sales process?" To be honest, my answer is a form of shorthand, but it succinctly makes my point.
  • Rupert M. Barkoff
  • 4,960 Reads 144 Shares
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We now have all of the requirements of the FTC's Amended Franchise Rule being implemented. All franchisors should be complying with the Amended Rule's disclosure requirements, and most franchisors who have sales activities in the registration states are now doing battle with the state examiners, as they test the procedures and borders of the revised disclosure requirements. That brings to mind two topics of discussion, one of which I will address below, and the other (a look at the overall system for regulating franchise sales disclosure) I will save for another column.
  • Rupert M. Barkoff
  • 4,832 Reads 20 Shares
As revenue for the state's revised franchise tax continues to add up, several bills have been introduced to the state legislature to change the tax and give business owners some breathing room.
  • Fort Worth Business Press
  • 2,115 Reads 2 Shares
Ontario is one of three provinces that have legislation to regulate franchises. The act that governs franchises in Ontario is the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 (the "Act"). Any franchise business located partly or wholly in Ontario must comply with the Act. Compliance is mandatory even if both the franchisor and franchisee reside outside of Ontario.
  • Ottawa Business Journal
  • 2,790 Reads 24 Shares
Local governments and video providers should find out by Nov. 3 if a Louisiana state court judge will accept language in the state's new franchising law that allows incumbent operators to opt out of current local contracts.
  • Multichannel News
  • 2,195 Reads 14 Shares
The current economic climate remains high in the minds of both state Senate candidates for District 14. Democrat Bob Williams and Republican Gary Howell are both vying for the seat that would represent Barbour, Mineral, Preston, Taylor and Tucker counties as well as part of Grant and Monongalia counties.
  • Cumberland Times-News
  • 2,141 Reads 1 Shares
It is a quiet Saturday morning. If you are the average American, the downturn in the economy has started you to think about how it will impact your career and the opportunities for your children as they enter the workforce. Articles about Enron and Tyco and Global Crossing and other corporate scandals abound and some of the most respected brand names internationally are talking about layoffs and bankruptcy.
  • By: Michael H. Seid, founder and managing director of MSA - Michael H. Seid & Associates
  • 14,597 Reads 1,160 Shares
There has been a growing trend in the world of franchising to tell candidates more about their earnings potential. Item 19 in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is the section that provides details on earnings, costs, and other factors likely to affect future financial performance after a candidate signs on to become a franchisee.
  • Eddy Goldberg and Kerry Pipes
  • 18,668 Reads 3,489 Shares
The Government of Afghanistan is currently reviewing a bill that would reform and modernize the country's contract law. Afghanistan is a civil code jurisdiction and, currently, contracts are governed by sections of the country's Civil Code (dating from 1976) and Commercial Code (dating from 1955). Both the 1976 Civil Code and the 1955 Commercial Code are based on the laws of Egypt, which in turn are based on French civil law. During the period following the Soviet invasion, and the subsequent civil war in Afghanistan, little attention was paid to updating or modernizing these Afghanistan statutes.
  • Herbert S. Wolfson
  • 7,517 Reads 457 Shares
Korea's first franchise law, the Fair Franchise Transactions Act (the "FFTA") was adopted May 2002, effective Nov. 2002. Its Presidential Enforcement Decree - setting forth detailed information to be provided in the franchise information disclosure statement and a description of concrete types of unfair transactions broadly prohibited under FFTA - was promulgated Nov. 2002 (last amended June 2003). In the Korean system, Enforcement Decrees provide detailed instructions for statutory compliance; therefore, it is to be expected that 2004's changes to applicable law will be found in future amendments to the Enforcement Decree.
  • Hyun-Sang Youn & Brendon Carr
  • 4,094 Reads 31 Shares
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