McDonald’s Operators Discuss Next Steps at Invitation of Caspers Co.
Carmen Caruso, a Chicago franchise attorney, said he presented before a meeting of McDonald's operators this week at the headquarters of Caspers Co. in Tampa, where they discussed next steps for forming an association.
An overflow crowd of about 380 people attended a meeting of McDonald’s franchisees this week in Tampa, Florida, hosted by Blake Casper, chairman and CEO of the Caspers Company, the third generation of McDonald’s restaurant owners with more than 53 locations in the area.
That’s according to Carmen Caruso, a 35-year franchise attorney based in Chicago who was invited to give a brief presentation at the meeting, referred to as the National Owners Meeting with operators invited by Casper to discuss forming McDonald’s first franchisee association.
The operators are seeking to work with McDonald’s to “positively impact the system, its shareholders and ultimately the customers,” an email from Caruso’s office said. When reached by phone Caruso declined to give details at the request of the meeting organizers. He emphasized he is not the association’s attorney nor does he know if the group will hire one.
Caspers Co. is a family business run by Blake Casper and his sister Allison Casper Adams and husband, Robby Adams, its website says, adding their grandfather Fritz Casper opened the first McDonald’s location in Tampa almost 60 years ago.
Caruso said the group plans to announce next steps for the association on its website, but is not wanting to be adversarial, unlike actions this week at another legacy system. Jack in the Box operators sent a letter and press release October 9 seeking the removal of CEO Lenny Comma and other leadership changes. Meanwhile, Tim Hortons operators in Canada and the U.S. are in contentious battles with their franchisor, owned by Restaurant Brands International, as detailed in Franchise Times and many other publications.
Speaking in general, Caruso said the reason for unrest at legacy systems is change. “I just think it’s that everything changes. Everyone remembers what their firm was like 30 years ago, and now it doesn’t seem like the same firm any more.
“Change itself is either good or it’s bad. But I think that management ignores viewpoints of its legacy owners at its peril, because they are the people who were there, or their fathers were, their grandparents were,”he said.
“They are the living, breathing brand. It’s wonderful when management shares the same history, but if you get new managers, you may get some resistance from legacy operators,” he said. “You can have a conflict between the people who are true believers in the original culture of the brand, and problems if they lose faith in current management.”