Controversies Last Long in Franchising, Panelist Says
The CEO running your franchise system is all-important, says Jim Shipman, a Jersey Mike’s Subs franchisee in Chicago.
He spoke at the Franchise Times-sponsored education sessions at the National Restaurant Association Show May 18-21, about the pros and cons of being a restaurant franchisee.
A former Domino’s franchisee, Shipman advised researching franchisors before selecting a brand. “You have to understand how old it is, how well established, and who’s running it,” he said.
At Domino’s, led by founder Tom Monaghan at the time, “the owner was very vocal in regards to abortion and religion. Franchisees didn’t necessarily share his feelings, but nonetheless had picket lines” in front of their stores, he said.
Domino’s still sometimes feels the sting, even though Monaghan, a devout Catholic, sold the company in 2008. This blogger reported in April the latest controversy, after Monaghan, through his company Domino’s Farms, sued the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for private employers to cover contraceptives.
Domino’s created a Facebook page emphasizing that Monaghan is long gone. “We are not a political company; we are not a religious company. We are a pizza company, plain and simple,” it said.
Shipman advised attendees to talk with many current franchisees before selecting a brand, as he did, but warned they don’t always tell the truth. Before joining Jersey Mike’s, where he says he’s satisfied and successful, he bought a home-maintenance franchise.
“I relied on the franchisees, and they lied to me because it’s in their best interests to have more people come into the system,” he said.