World of Franchising - SUBWAY & NAASF

A discussion of issues affecting franchisee operators in the Subway franchise system and how the system may be improved. If you have any comments and wish to contribute to this web page; feel free to email the author.

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Location: Canada

My background is in Research and Development (Science) as well as Economic Development (Business). Currently managing my own businesses. My degree; B.Comm, Finance Major.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I just received the latest, Vol. 1, No. 19, publication of the Newswire. There is no doubt that the Board Members are working hard for the Subway franchisee. They are our tireless and non-paid, not even a per diem, representatives to DAI.

In the newsletter (Newswire) we are asked to discuss a variety of topics in our Discussion Board. I am an active participant and often view the various posts as well as make my own comments. My concern is the lack of input by the Board Members. Questions are asked by the franchise community but sometime they are never answered, or if they are answered it is not in a timely fashion. Surely there should be some assigned 'moderators' who can review the posts, answer questions or get answers. The few times I have seen a post by a Board Member it is, some times, to put down some person who has vented. This is unfortunate. It would be so much more conductive to a discussion if the concerns were looked at and a solution offered. We are not looking for what NAASF has or is doing; please, you don't have to justify your actions. Some times there is no short term solution and we all know this but we need to have empathy for the distress of our fellow franchisee who may be in serious trouble or who may just be fed up with the current situation.

I was reviewing some of the statistics for this web site and it is interesting to note that we have had viewers from as far away as Europe and as close as DAI. I'm happy that DAI has noted this site and has taken the time to read it, more than once ;-) . Hopefully they will understand that we are not attacking the Subway brand but are actively trying to find a better way for it to operate.

North America is one of the most democratic places in the world. People in our countries have grown up with a belief in our system; the belief in freedom and equality for all. We also believe that we should not be subjugated but allowed to express our views and opinions freely. In our system the press is free and independent to express just about any opinion it has about the government and the politicians. There are entrenched checks and balances on power and the control by the government of its citizens. (Sure, sometimes we wonder but compared to many places in the world we are very lucky!) We should never take this for granted as there is a natural tendency for people in power to want more control and they are always looking for ways to achieve their ends.

In our Subway system what checks and balances do we have? We have SAC, System Advisory Council, which has as its members, representatives from all the various Subway family members: NAASF has representatives on this council as does DAI, SFTAF, DAAC and IPC. I'm not forgetting the international representatives. However, there is no binding power on DAI to implement any recommendations of SAC. It would be nice if there was. It would go a long way to resolve the problems of too much centralized control and little check on bad, or ill advised, decisions.

Another way that there could be some control of the power of DAI is by allowing the franchisee to vote at annual general meeting, much as in a publicly held corporation. Not likely, unless Fred and Pete decide to list the corporation and the franchisee were allowed to buy shares.

Another, but less effective way, is by way of an independent newspaper. NAASF and IPC can't do this as they have their own agendas to promote. How can you get an independent and free review of NAASF if they control the press? I'm not saying that NAASF is a problem. They really believe in what they are doing and they probably represent the view of the franchisee in their area. They are however possibly too committed to a negotiated agreement with DAI and as such can't get into a legal fight or even encourage a franchisee boycott of some mandated policy by DAI.

Last thought for tonight: We really, really need a fully independent audit process, not just for the financial stuff but also for encroachment issues and terminations. Only with such an independent body can the franchisee and DAI have full confidence that decision which have been made are fair and unbiased.


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