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March 14, 2007 3:03 AM   Subscribe

Ever considered buying or starting a franchised restaurant? Right now, Quiznos might be best avoided...... (You might also avoid the franchises sold by a company called Raving Brands.)
posted by metasonix (80 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Franchising might remain a bad idea, but Saladworks (the subject of the 4th link) is not a Raving Brand (the 5th link that ought to have been).
posted by grabbingsand at 3:22 AM on March 14, 2007


(Or rather, the 5th and 6th ... sneaky "be" link ...)
posted by grabbingsand at 3:23 AM on March 14, 2007


That's too bad. Quiznos' sandwiches are really good. I like them enough that I would be willing to buy a franchise. BUt not after reading that article.
posted by donkeymon at 3:39 AM on March 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


You mean apart from the filth food?
posted by pompomtom at 3:41 AM on March 14, 2007


That gave me an idea for a movie. Glengarry GlenToastie! Thanks!
posted by unSane at 3:44 AM on March 14, 2007


The defendants in the Wisconsin lawsuit — Quiznos Franchise LLC; Richard E. Schaden and Richard F. Schaden, the father-son owners of Quiznos...

A case of Schaden fraud?
posted by furtive at 3:44 AM on March 14, 2007 [41 favorites]


From the Times article:
Quiznos franchisees, for instance, are required to buy food from American Food Distributors, a company owned by the Quiznos corporation that acts as a middleman with food-manufacturing companies.
...
Today, Mr. Schodron estimates his food costs are running in the “mid- to upper 30 percent” range and some double-meat sandwiches top out at 40 percent of revenue. “I called a supplier and was quoted a price for the same type of cheese Quiznos uses that was 40 cents a pound cheaper than I am paying now,” Mr. Schodron said. He said he wants to sell the restaurant because rising costs are making it increasingly difficult to break even.
That sounds like a complete scam. Telling the owners that they can only buy from the company and then charging them hugely inflated prices?
posted by octothorpe at 3:50 AM on March 14, 2007


The failure rates of franchises is typically lower as you essentially purchase a complete solution to the problem of starting up a small business. There is not only a brand behind you, but also a support system helping you to succeed.

However what many people over look is the lock-in this article mentions. Other downsides that are rarely mentioned - many franchises are for a set period of time, and you actually must repurchase the business at expiration. Also the franchise seller guaranteed to make money while you are not. Finally, the franchise seller gets free startup capital and highly motivated management. So a franchise isn't the key to riches that many folks assume it is.

I seriously considered acquiring a Subway franchise back in 2002 when they first entered the UK market, even went so far as to NDA, visiting local stores and looking over their numbers, but I ended up passing on the opp.

In addition to the repurchase noting above - twenty years in this case and there was precisely zero clarity about terms - I was also concerned about territories. Subway, at least, won't give you an exclusive so there is the ever present danger of a better capitalised operator opening stores in your area.

Of course a Starbucks style cluster of Subways stores ultimately benefit nobody but, uhhh, Subway.
posted by Mutant at 3:53 AM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Telling the owners that they can only buy from the company and then charging them hugely inflated prices?

Sounds like a British tied pub. It's little better than being an employee, really.
posted by Leon at 3:54 AM on March 14, 2007


Frankly, from everything I've heard about them, I'm amazed anybody is willing to buy franchises of any business ever.
posted by Target Practice at 4:15 AM on March 14, 2007


shooting himself three times in the chest

ugh.
posted by squidfartz at 4:16 AM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


damn. This sucks.
They are the only big sandwich chain I'll go to due to the high quality of the food.

In fact, I could murder me an Ultimate Italian right now.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:19 AM on March 14, 2007


Quizno's subs are tasty, but they always make me suffer a couple hours later. I'll spare you the details. No other subs do that to me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:23 AM on March 14, 2007


That sounds like a complete scam. Telling the owners that they can only buy from the company and then charging them hugely inflated prices?

That sounds like a franchise.
posted by yerfatma at 4:26 AM on March 14, 2007


"I'm amazed anybody is willing to buy franchises of any business ever."

The companies selling franchises have very effective marketing campaigns and materials, and the image they push is of near effortless success. In the UK at least there are very large franchise fairs which are always fun to visit, talk to the sales people and look at the marketing material.

Which conveniently leaves out many of the finer details of running a business like, for example, if that toilet clogs up and you can't get a plumber to visit then more than likely as owner it will be your hands covered with shit at the end of the job.

Even if you decide to go the franchise route, the first rule of small businesses applies: You don't own a small business - it owns you.
posted by Mutant at 4:36 AM on March 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


So what, exactly, are these people doing in business when they apparently can't read a contract?
posted by pompomtom at 4:50 AM on March 14, 2007


mmmmmm.... Turkey Bacon Guacamole!!!!
posted by matty at 4:55 AM on March 14, 2007


That sounds like a complete scam. Telling the owners that they can only buy from the company and then charging them hugely inflated prices?

Sounds like a....yeah, what yerfatma said.

It's not like the franchise owner doesn't get anything out of the deal. Like a name brand, or free advertising, or all his market testing done for him or anything.

Most franchise owners are looking to semi-scam the public. If they really cared about quality and service, they'd start their own business and attend to every detail (either personally, or with a personally hired and managed expert). Instead, they "buy a package" and hope that they can nickel and dime the quality while making it up on volume. It's the MLM of the food world. If franchise owners are blinded by greed to the real mechanics of the business and end up with the short end of the stick, it only proves the adage I try to live by: You can't cheat an honest man.
posted by DU at 5:00 AM on March 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


The only franchise I have any direct knowledge of is Papa John's. I know one guy who owns 12 and another that owns 23.

They both do rather well.
posted by Mick at 5:10 AM on March 14, 2007


FranchiseFilter: nickel and dime the quality while making it up on volume
posted by furtive at 5:22 AM on March 14, 2007


know one guy who owns 12 and another that owns 23. They both do rather well.

And that's the rube. You might do well with one franchise, but from Quizno's HQ they hope you'll pull $10K profit from one franchise, so if you want to be "rich" then it makes sense that you'll need a dozen or more franchises.
posted by furtive at 5:25 AM on March 14, 2007


Most franchise owners..."buy a package" and hope that they can nickel and dime the quality while making it up on volume. It's the MLM of the food world.

Pretty much, yeah.

I know a family that owns 100+ local McDonald's franchises. They maintain an office in New Hampshire to run the "company," and they behave exactly as you'd expect from people who buy into a low-quality business that relies on illegal cheap labor to shave costs: The office "Christmas party" consists of spending a lunch hour decorating the cubicles, and the annual Christmas bonus is an envelope of McDonald's gift certificates.

DU is exactly right: Most franchisees aren't people who care about building or running a quality business. They just want a shortcut.
posted by cribcage at 5:40 AM on March 14, 2007


Quizno's subs are tasty, but they always make me suffer a couple hours later. I'll spare you the details. No other subs do that to me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:23 AM CST on March 14


Eponysterical! I have the same problem with almost *all* franchise food - Steak'n'Shake, BK, Penn Station...I like the food, almost despite myself, but they all make me shit like a rhinoceros a little while later.
posted by notsnot at 5:49 AM on March 14, 2007


"It's not like the franchise owner doesn't get anything out of the deal. Like a name brand, or free advertising, or all his market testing done for him or anything."

Subway, at least, charges fees of about 12.5% of gross revenue (less sales tax) as follows - 4.5% for advertising paid into a marketing fund, and 8% royalties paid directly to the corporation.

So every pound of revenue you generate is effectively haircut to 87.5 pence. Then you've got direct and indirect costs to consider.

This is off the top of my head, but I seem to recall their own marketing material mentioning the average gross profit margin of food being sold out of their stores was about 55% across the board.

So considering the cost of food, it would seem the franchise owner would have about 42.5 pence from every pound of revenue available to pay the remaining direct (labour, etc) and indirect costs (rent, equipment rental, utilities, etc). I've left out taxes as well, which would also take an amount comparable to Subways cut.

Hardly a way to get rich fast, on a single store at least, however if someone doesn't have a unique concept or a head for business a franchise might be an appropriate vehicle.

I agree with pompomtom above: you've got to read the fine print and ask lots of questions.
posted by Mutant at 5:58 AM on March 14, 2007


Really good? It's toasted shit.
posted by trondant at 6:07 AM on March 14, 2007


OMG! That's what happened to the Quiznos here and in Neenah. I'm really gonna miss...wait...wait...yeah I never went in either of them. Not Once. At least we've got a new useless empty storefront in town. Sweeeeeeet.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 6:09 AM on March 14, 2007


On nearby Chambers St. in Manhattan there were two sandwhich shops, Quizno's and another off-brand one that also used a similar conveyor belt toasting machine. The off-brand sandwiches were pretty much identical, if they weren't even better, and that's where I ate. However, that place closed in a year and the Quizno's is still there, so I guess all that branding does count for something.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:14 AM on March 14, 2007


> So what, exactly, are these people doing in business when they apparently can't read a contract?

The qrsweb article quotes an owner of nine Quiznos stores who says that Quiznos changed the contract several times after signing. Even if he wasn't blindsided by the changes, he would be forced to decide whether he could afford to close his businesses or keep them going with less profit.
posted by ardgedee at 6:16 AM on March 14, 2007


Quizno's refuses to divulge nutrition information also.
posted by sourwookie at 6:37 AM on March 14, 2007


A Quiznos spokesman says it does not know what the exact failure rate was in 2003, but that it was “far less” than that.

Either the Times copy editor let that first "it" slide by when a "he" or "she" would've made more sense, or Quizno's has no idea what's happening with their numbers.
posted by pax digita at 6:38 AM on March 14, 2007


Quizno's refuses to divulge nutrition information also.

I thought this was legally mandated.
posted by DU at 6:45 AM on March 14, 2007


I wanna Schlotzsky's now.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:54 AM on March 14, 2007


This is a common complaint among franchisees of many businesses, not just Quiznos. Yes, you have to buy from the parent because they want to control quality. With monopoly power over the franchisees the franchiser has no incentive to price the goods competitively.
posted by caddis at 7:01 AM on March 14, 2007


The one thing that disgusts me about franchises is that it confirms that Edward Bernays was right. It really sickens me that you cannot find one independent restaurant when you drive from one place to another on an interstate. This land has become homogenized and within 10 years the only culture left in the U.S. will be corporate culture. Sad.
posted by any major dude at 7:04 AM on March 14, 2007


That sounds like a complete scam. Telling the owners that they can only buy from the company and then charging them hugely inflated prices?

What's really weird is that this was almost exactly the plot of an episode of Columbo over 30 years ago, only it was a chain of health clubs instead of sandwich shops, and instead of a lawsuit the franchise owner killed the guy who discovered he was price-fixing. Also, something about catching the murderer because a light on his phone didn't work. Man, Columbo was an awesome detective. What were we talking about?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:11 AM on March 14, 2007


It really sickens me that you cannot find one independent restaurant when you drive from one place to another on an interstate.

Driving up I-77 from South Carolina to Ohio, I noticed a smattering of independent-sounding restaurants in rural areas, but by and large it's true that anyplace big enough to have any suburbs to it has largely succumbed to the "Generica" phenomenon. That said, chains like the Cracker Barrel and Bob Evans managed to have some prefab "comfort food" items as alternatives to burgers, but it was nothing at all like going to a small independent restaurant that emphasizes quality and variety over expediency, efficiency and marketing pizazz. Even truck stops, which used to be widely thought to have pretty good food, increasingly have franchise fast-food restaurants as opposed to the more familiar "diner" ones.
posted by pax digita at 7:21 AM on March 14, 2007


I thought this was legally mandated.

Yet they refuse. The info is not at any of their stores. Ask an employee for a sign or pamphlet and they'll just say "no."

A trip to their website will yield the info on their two lightest sandwiches only--but it's accesible the same way that the bypass plans for were accesible to Aurthur Dent.

Anecdotally (through web forums and discussion groups) this experience is universal. It's as is they know the percieved health benefit of picking a sandwich over a burger would be destroyed if people knew exactly how their product weighs in. It seems they would rather pay fines than divulge the truth.

As a fun exercise, I would like to see if anyone else has any luck finding this info.
posted by sourwookie at 7:34 AM on March 14, 2007


Senor Cardgage - In fact, I could murder me an Ultimate Italian right now.

Beware the Ides of March?
posted by fet at 7:35 AM on March 14, 2007 [12 favorites]


As any major dude would tell me, I went back and re-read Snow Crash this weekend and was somewhat mortified to realize that step by step, from Blackwater to Quizno's, we're headed right there.

Just please, please, tell me Second Life isn't The Street. I need a better street.
posted by cavalier at 7:39 AM on March 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


I happen to know a guy who used to run a Quizno's franchise, and these accounts exactly fit what he was told me about their business practices when he finally decided to close the store and open a barbecue place instead. It's a shame the company are bastards; I like their sandwiches.
posted by infidelpants at 7:44 AM on March 14, 2007


The quiznos near my work sucks so bad. I really like their chicken caesar salad, but I refuse to go back. It takes 20 min to a half hour every time. The credit card machine rarely works; the employees don't seem to follow any kind of spec for the food they prepare; and they are always out of something. It's ridiculous. I've seen cars pull up outside with supplies obviously just procured from costco.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:44 AM on March 14, 2007


I ate at a Quiznos once a few years ago. I was trying to grab a quick lunch so I went into a Publix supermarket to get a sub and their deli counter was completely mobbed. So, I decided to try the Quiznos two doors down, which was basically empty (that should have told me something, since it *was* lunch time).

So, the sub I got was so-so, and I'm quite sure it made me sick. I felt like crap burping that sub back up the rest of the day. There's not many restaurants I won't try twice before giving up on them, but I've never been back to and will not go back into a Quiznos.

I do like Subway, though, and the Publix deli for that matter.
posted by lordrunningclam at 7:48 AM on March 14, 2007


That sounds like a complete scam. Telling the owners that they can only buy from the company and then charging them hugely inflated prices?

That sounds like a franchise.


I'm going to print that on my Epson printer once I save up for more ink.
posted by hal9k at 7:53 AM on March 14, 2007 [8 favorites]


This is why I'm opening a McDowell's.
posted by joseppi7 at 7:54 AM on March 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


A fire at Quiznos was responsible for the destruction of Terence McKenna's library.
posted by muckster at 7:56 AM on March 14, 2007


Why buy into a mind murdering franchise when you can just rip off the idea (IP lawsuits notwithstanding) and open your own original store instead?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:56 AM on March 14, 2007


joseppi7: you beat me to it, but at least I got in a youtube link!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:57 AM on March 14, 2007


It seems they would rather pay fines than divulge the truth.

W.T.F. This is so....mind-boggling that I googled it myself. The top hit for quizno's nutritional information is from Quizno's: Page Not Found
posted by DU at 7:58 AM on March 14, 2007


If you want to make a mint from a franchise, open up a Five Guys. They're a license to print money.
posted by empath at 8:04 AM on March 14, 2007


Interstate Culture != American Culture. No matter what Bucky Fuller and Rob Venturi want you to think, it's still a very small percentage of the American Landscapetm, albeit a highly visible one.

At least it's not yet, anyway

Eric Schlosser had a great dissection of this in Fast Food Nation, and yeah, the franchisers are getting soaked while the big companies live well, it's a particularly perverted version of the American Dream (a wholly owned subsidiary of the RAMJAC Corp).
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:04 AM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


W.T.F. This is so....mind-boggling that I googled it myself. The top hit for quizno's nutritional information is from Quizno's: Page Not Found

The second link in your Google search does have the information, though tellingly not hosted by Quiznos themselves. Wonder where the info came from?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:07 AM on March 14, 2007




...and who toasts the bread on a pastrami sandwich??

Dis-GUS-ting.
posted by wfc123 at 8:12 AM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


No wonder they're so secretive. They're regular (not large, mind you) subs (from Lentrohamsanin's link) with no dressing are ranging from 700-1000 calories a pop! No better for you than Hardee's! I'd be tempted to keep that crap under wraps too.
posted by sourwookie at 8:31 AM on March 14, 2007


...and who toasts the bread on a pastrami sandwich??

You don't toast your Reubens?? Dis-GUS-ting.
posted by sourwookie at 8:33 AM on March 14, 2007


shooting himself three times in the chest

They're going to have a lot of trouble in court if they try to argue that this guy lacked determination and persistence enough to succeed.
posted by jamjam at 8:43 AM on March 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


From the first article: Toasted Sub Franchisee Association. It always amazes me that there is a professional association and related publications for so many niche markets.
posted by ericb at 8:44 AM on March 14, 2007


I happen to know a guy who used to run a Quizno's franchise, and these accounts exactly fit what he was told me about their business practices when he finally decided to close the store and open a barbecue place instead. It's a shame the company are bastards; I like their sandwiches.

Same here. A friend of mine has one. Hasn't closed it down yet, but he's not doing too well.

and sidenote:

If you want to make a mint from a franchise, open up a Five Guys. They're a license to print money.

Five Guys is delicious
posted by poppo at 8:56 AM on March 14, 2007


Some of their chicken and turkey subs are under 400 calories.
posted by aerotive at 8:58 AM on March 14, 2007


If you want to make a mint from a franchise, open up a Five Guys. They're a license to print money.

I'm blessed to live in Washington DC in that the city has both Five Guys and Potbelly Sandwich Works, which beats Quiznos in both taste and price by miles.

Nothing, of course, beats In-N-Out, which I actually ensure is on my itenerary any time I head out to the west coast.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:07 AM on March 14, 2007


Just an anecdote, this isn't just a feature of lower-level franchises like Quizno's. The restaurant chain Trader Vic's operates on the same principle - individual locations have to purchase every single supply from corporate. If you've ever been to a Trader Vic's you know what a boon that could be for corporate based on the incredible variety of glassware and tiki ware and garnishes they use. My buddy who is a manager there says they overpay for supplies to the tune of "several thousands of dollars per month".
posted by vito90 at 9:10 AM on March 14, 2007




I've never even heard of "5 Guys", but apparently one is opeining up in my neighborhood so I'll check it out.
posted by JBennett at 9:25 AM on March 14, 2007


I've seen Quiznos do seemingly silly things like putting a corporate owned location nearby a franchised one. (For the Bay Area locals) There's a Quiznos franchise almost across the street from the Pleasant Hill BART station, and corporate Quiznos put a location just across Hwy 680 near Walgreens on North Main & Treat Blvd. Less than 1/2 mile separates the two locations.

It also seems that the quality of the food at Quiznos has declined over the past couple of years. I used to love them but my last few trips there have left me feeling kinda queasy.
posted by drstein at 9:40 AM on March 14, 2007


Last year on an annual hiking trip, I spotted a new Quiznos in absolutely the middle of nowhere ... I mean nowhere, even by backwoods standards. My first thought was ... why the hell would the corporate offices approve this place ?... there is no way it could have enough traffic to be profitable. This explains alot. For the sake of the family that seemed to own it, I hope I was wrong.


But this ... Christmas bonus is an envelope of McDonald's gift certificates... is just evil.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:48 AM on March 14, 2007


tragicomic Quiznos story on This American Life
posted by serazin at 9:56 AM on March 14, 2007


"I have the same problem with almost *all* franchise food - Steak'n'Shake, BK, Penn Station...I like the food, almost despite myself, but they all make me shit like a rhinoceros a little while later."

Probably because virtually all fast food is loaded with MSG and preservatives.
posted by metasonix at 10:12 AM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


That sounds like a franchise.
Not all franchisees require that you buy all the food from them. In the case of Pizza Hut, there are certain items you can only get from "their" distributor (pizza dough, sauce mix, etc), but as far as the more expensive stuff, like cheese and toppings, you can buy them anywhere you like.

Daylight Donuts, on the other hand, makes you buy everything from them, but then, where else are you going to get a donut mix that tastes the same?

Other than a few specialty items, I don't see why Quiznos has to be that way, though, aside from greed, as if the franchise fees weren't enough.
posted by wierdo at 10:55 AM on March 14, 2007


'franchisees are usually forced to sign contracts that allow the company to make changes to the agreement even if it harms the franchisee...'
Forced¿ Someone put a gun to their heads to sign¿

How many of these franchise owners have any experience in the food service industry. The profits are slim if you haven't got a sharp pencil.

Here in Toronto, they had Don Cherry doing their radio spots. ouch. He doesn't come cheap.
I had the opportunity to quote redecorating a Quiz-noes franchise. New vinyl wall covering. The owner had a permanent furrow on his brow, he had to spring for the lighting too, which was expensive, apparently. His location wasn't the greatest, tucked away and the signage was limited, probably because of property rental agreements, barely noticeable from the main thoroughfare. Now I see why.

You'd think those with the cash to drop on a franchise would do due diligence on the company before signing. Yes a franchise specialist lawyer would come to mind, as well as crossing out clauses that just wouldn't suit you. Makes one think.
posted by alicesshoe at 11:15 AM on March 14, 2007


Rather than posting hearsay, why not post the facts: there is only one corporate Quiznos store. Located in downtown Denver - there is not one in San Fran (although I can speculate a corporation owns the one in San Fran, just not Quiznos Corporate).

As for prices, food quality means a lot to the corporation. They gentleman that complained about getting 40 cent cheaper cheese - well, maybe his brother or neighbor has some cows and can get cheese cheaper - but think from a large scale - how do you maintain consistency across all stores? You can't have some tom, dick, or harry picking up cheese at the local bargain bin and throwing it on the subs. The target market isn't low end like Subway - it is aimed at the higher end consumer.

I also think its funny that they say their stores are all losing money - has anyone thought that maybe these franchise owners just suck at business? If Quiznos is *so* bad, then why is it an international brand and still growing (albiet at a slower rate than under public ownership management)?

Caveat: Even though I don't work there, one of my close friends works at corporate.
posted by meanie at 11:18 AM on March 14, 2007


Five Guys rules.

There's no pastrami in a reuben sandwich.
posted by breezeway at 11:20 AM on March 14, 2007


Mutant

The companies selling franchises have very effective marketing campaigns and materials, and the image they push is of near effortless success.

I'm sure they do, but I'm not sure why anyone would take them at their word, nor why they would fail to do even the most basic of independent research.

I realize plenty of people are like that, mind.

pax digita

by and large it's true that anyplace big enough to have any suburbs to it has largely succumbed to the "Generica" phenomenon.

Really?

There's plenty of locally-owned restaurants in the Phoenix area. Practically a glut of them. Offhand, I can think of Monti's (They used to have two or three locations, but it looks like they now only have the place at "La Casa Vieja", a late 19th-century residence of the Hayden family), Guedo's (Mexican, two or three places), Red Devil (Italian, also three locations), El Taco de Chandler (place up the street from me that's been there since my family moved here in 1989), some Mexican restaurant I can't remember the name of that has two locations with 24-hour drive-thrus (that's why I remember them at all; I recall being very surprised that a local place was open all night), Venezia's Pizzeria (actually, they started in New Mexico, but they're apparently separately owned), and plenty I can't think of, including innumerable ethnic restaurants surrounding the campus of ASU: Korean, Thai, Pakistani, Ethiopian, Indian, Vietnamese, Lebanese, and (again) probably plenty more I'm forgetting. Not to mention several inter-state chains which you largely don't see west of the Rockies, like In-N-Out (which I personally think is extremely overrated, but anyway), Rubio's Mexican Grill, Fatburger, Taco Del Mar (Actually, those last two have a number of eastern locations, but still relatively few overall, it seems), and so on and so forth.

...I'm not trying to argue with you, incidentally; I'm just saying that your experience doesn't seem to agree with mine. Then again, I've never been in Ohio or South Carolina; the only trip I've made to the east side of the country was as a little kid to go to my grandmother's funeral in Philadelphia.
posted by Target Practice at 11:22 AM on March 14, 2007


"Most franchise owners are looking to semi-scam the public. "
Not only that, they pollute the landscape with more strip mall clutter. I know this guy that's always looking for something like this to get into, and no matter what the pipe dream is that he's going on about, it's always about how he's going to sit back and let the cash roll in. In other words, he's a moron.
Case in point - he'll throw out the cost of the product and the price sold, and say that the difference is "PROFIT".
posted by 2sheets at 12:33 PM on March 14, 2007


To DU: You very well can cheat an honest man. Like, duh.

Statesboro, GA, a small college town, must be a fast food franchiser's paradise. There are no less than five Subways, in addition to two Larry's Giant Subs, two Quizno's and a Blimpie. I have no idea how they all remain profitable; I suspect they aren't, and that some will close before long.

My own experience with Quizno's has been great food as far a subs go, but too expensive. Their price for 8-inch sandwiches are similar to the price Subway and Blimpie charges for 12-inch, and they charge even more for cheese than Blimpie does. If this is because of their overcharging franchises then that explains their prices.
posted by JHarris at 12:57 PM on March 14, 2007


All this is just another reason I like little local joints better. Last night we hit up El Tango Taqueria, which we call the "craqueria," 'cause it's just that good. No Taco Bell bleargh crap can compare.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:58 PM on March 14, 2007


Every sub I've ever had from Quizno's tasted the same - it was like they were all doused in the same weird, slightly-peppery sauce. I say "boo." Gimme a Blimpie.
posted by hypocritical ross at 1:07 PM on March 14, 2007


There's a reason why Quiznos is notorious: it's franchise agreements and support are terrible.

But the reason why anyone cares is because that's not typical. Well-structured franchises can be great for a very specific kind of person: namely, someone who doesn't earn much income but managed to save up some dough.

Consider someone who can make $40,000 a year working for someone else who has $200,000 saved up to invest. That person can buy a franchise and set up a location which, if successful, could enable him to take out $80,000 or $90,000 a year pre-tax if he works there full time as manager. In other words, he replaces his $40,000 income and gets to be his own boss and gets an initial $40,000 or $50,000 return (20% to 25%) on his investment and has a shot at capital appreciation if the franchise really takes off or he can get additional locations.
posted by MattD at 1:21 PM on March 14, 2007


who says that Quiznos changed the contract several times after signing

Which means the original contract contained a clause allowing them to do that. Should've just handed over their wallets and been done with it.
posted by pompomtom at 1:34 PM on March 14, 2007


The quiznos near my work sucks so bad. I really like their chicken caesar salad, but I refuse to go back. It takes 20 min to a half hour every time. The credit card machine rarely works; the employees don't seem to follow any kind of spec for the food they prepare; and they are always out of something. It's ridiculous. I've seen cars pull up outside with supplies obviously just procured from costco.

I like a few of their sandwiches, but I have similar complaints about them being out and providing glacially slow service. One doesn't appreciate the science of designing the Subway "Sandwich Artist" system until you see a place that ... can't do it as well.

For the record, the king of the industry, McDonald's, was in service free-fall a few years back. Too many menu items, the everything-made-fresh rule, the dominance of the drive-through line -- I saw several outright "service meltdowns" at McDonald's then. But then they purged the menu and reorganized the stores and came back impressively brand-wide.

I don't have the same confidence that Quizno's can pull off a fix. They obviously succeeded for a while based on novelty and being first in many areas in the high-end sub niche, but now there's more competition. (Watch out for Potbelly!)

meanie, you do make a good point about quality control, which is a key reason that franchisors insist on these sorts of distribution arrangements. Yet you say:

I also think its funny that they say their stores are all losing money - has anyone thought that maybe these franchise owners just suck at business?

Um, isn't it the responsibility of the franchisor to vet its franchisees for capital and business acumen, and then train them to make the stores work? You'd think that would be high on their agenda.

My uncle ran an auto-repair franchise in Florida several years ago. He found that the brand required 10-15% of his profits to dump into the regional marketing fund, and believed it did not benefit him as much. It all ended in lawsuits and counter-lawsuits. Running a franchise is not just about running a business, you are managing a relationship with headquarters that can make or break you.
posted by dhartung at 3:07 PM on March 14, 2007


[groan] Bad pun. No cookie.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:15 PM on March 14, 2007


I said: I also think its funny that they say their stores are all losing money - has anyone thought that maybe these franchise owners just suck at business?

dhartung said: Um, isn't it the responsibility of the franchisor to vet its franchisees for capital and business acumen, and then train them to make the stores work? You'd think that would be high on their agenda.

It *is* the responsibility of the franchisor, and they probably did a horrific job during after their IPO quite a few years ago. The media and financial pressure from the IPO to expand quickly forced their hand to make some bad decisions. Luckily they returned to private equity and may have an opportunity to "bring it back in" and regroup. Their new CEO was the head of BK and did the same turnaround with that org. Hopefully it happens here - Quiznos is a pretty good employer on the corp. level and houses many jobs in the Denver area.
posted by meanie at 8:38 PM on March 14, 2007



It also seems that the quality of the food at Quiznos has declined over the past couple of years. I used to love them but my last few trips there have left me feeling kinda queasy.


If the NYT article is right, the quality of the food is going to continue to decline, as the easiest way for them to increase profits would be to cut the costs on the ingredients.

Personally, every Quiznos I've been in has been poorly-cared for, in less than ideal locations, and with prices too high for fast food.
posted by drezdn at 7:52 AM on March 15, 2007


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