Dinner by Design, closing the doors in 4 days

In mere days, September 1st to be exact, Dinner by Design will exist in name only and even that is somewhat debatable at this stage. To celebrate the year anniversary of buying out the franchise business from Julie Duffy, Dinner by Design will close shop, have the owners sign an agreement to mutually let each other off the hook and go their separate ways.

The promised growth never became a reality and the expansion through the Midwest, as touted in the multitude of press releases never came to fruition. Such grand plans and innovative measures just didn’t put Dinner by Design on the map. And now the head office is going to walk away. It’s hard to image how much they paid and how much they’ve lost on this business deal over the course of the year. I guess we’ll a few more million to the running total of debt that meal assembly has caused.

Next Monday is D-Day, but with the clock ticking down there seems to be surprisingly little information coming out of HQ about how the owners will proceed on their own. They don’t seem to have all the paperwork, calls aren’t being answered and if things don’t get moving forward who’s going to get left holding the bag?

Has the corporate office already checked out? Did they just throw up their hands and turn off the lights? I’m sure it’s a terribly frustrating time since they spend all that money to buy into the franchise and have yet to see a return on their investment. Again, welcome to the table of reality, since it’s the same story owners have been facing for nearly two years now.

But it looks like Julie is living the charmed life, just like Marcia, since she managed to get rid of the ticking time bomb of meal assembly before it went off.

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12 Responses to “Dinner by Design, closing the doors in 4 days”

  • Sounds like HQ is trying to secretly sell the franchise again to squeeze out anything they can before they jump ship. No other explanation for the eerie silence. August will probably see nothing happen. “D-Day” will come and go while franchisees wait for information, any information. Royalties will still be collected until the pending deal happens or falls through. This month, next month?

    Franchisees should rightfully be very upset. What is the benefit of having yet another HQ “umbrella”? Royalties do not equal protection as history has so clearly shown.

    Don’t stand idly by and let your fate be decided by someone else. It is not someone else’s … A ‘Fare. Franchise buyer beware. You’re likely stepping on a big hornet’s nest.

  • guest:

    The site is still up and running. Does this mean that zees were able to make a deal?

  • guest:

    What happened to the original store in Grayslake – just called and it is Gone.

  • guest:

    Don’t know about a deal, but the website is maintained by a consultant that was paid by corporate to continue service until October 1st. If the stores wish to continue service beyond October 1st they will have to pony up the fee directly to the consulant.

    Looks like the Grayslake (corporate) store is directing customers to Libertyville, McHenry, or Lake Zurich locations.

  • Can’t the owners do anything about it…they paid big bucks to get a franchise work thru all of the corporate sales, ops, etc…follow specific orders…and then corporate bails.
    Isn’t corporate liable for anything? What are all the stores going to do? They have to walk away and go bankrupt to satisfy the leases?

  • Unfortunately, the way these agreements are written the franchisor is holding all the cards and can do just about anything they want and the owner pretty much just has to go along for the ride. This is probably one of the grossest cases of franchise mismanagement I have ever heard about, but unless there is something radically different in the contract I doubt the owners will have too many choices. I really wish there was some legal recourse, perhaps if enough people banded together they might find some way to handle it.

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