Funding These Franchises? Read This First

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subway store

United States Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is concerned with the abilities of four major franchises to repay business loans, according to a letter penned to the Small Business Administration. They include Subway, Complete Nutrition, Dickey’s Barbecue, and Experimac. The issues raised should be on the radar of every provider of capital.

For Subway, Cortez Masto cites a New York Post article that alleged Subway Restaurants is plotting to put its own franchisees out of business through the enforcement of minor handbook violations. A whopping 1,108 Subway stores closed last year alone.

For Complete Nutrition, the franchisor is reportedly dismantling its own franchise. Cortez Masto says it first raised the prices of goods, wiping out franchisee profit margins. Following that, it eliminated its franchise model altogether, took away their franchisees’ POS systems, removed their locations from the Complete Nutrition website, and informed Complete Nutrition customers that the stores had been sold and to order online going forward instead of from the stores. At least 12% of SBA loans made to Complete Nutrition locations have been charged off.

For Dickey’s Barbecue, the franchise is experiencing more stores closing than opening. Cortez Masto suspects that the franchisor is providing misleading and inaccurate information to potential franchisees, resulting in failed stores and bankrupt business owners. A franchise blogger says, “The Dickey’s business model seems odd, continually selling new franchises to replace closed units, but seemingly doing little to fix the profit structure so existing franchisees survive.”

For Experimac, Cortez Masto says that most of the SBA loans made to Experimac were originated by Celtic Bank and that to-date 23% of these loans have failed.

Read the full letter here.

Last modified: May 29, 2019

Category: Business Lending

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