Archive for October, 2008

All the meal prep deals are trash

Richard Solomon of had this interesting comment to make about the meal prep business. (As left of

Over a dozen meal prep victims have called me. None has money to pay for representation. They’re all broke. Unfortunately, the franchisors are apparently judgment proof, so it’s not likely anyone will represent them on a contingent fee.

And ti think that they could all have avoided the losses for about $ 3,500 a piece had they only hired me to help them vet the deal before they bet the farm.

FranWads never learn! You don’t have to lose everything you have in the world on stupid investments if you get the right representation before you sign on to the scam.—

Which leads me into this little gem left by Darin about the Dream Dinner’s attorneys being sued for helping Dream Dinners perpetuate their false claims.

“The current litigation involves less than 10% of our franchisees”. So clearly being sued by only 10% of your owners is something to be proud of, perhaps it’s even something you should just shrug off and not worry about. It’s likely that 50 to even 60% of the owners have lost their life’s savings and everything they own, but since only 10% can actually do something about it, then it’s nothing to worry, just business as usual. Glorifying God through the sales of Dream Dinners franchises is much more important.

But, as Richard suggests, would that number be exponentially higher if those bankrupt owners actually had the money to take action? Should Darin and Dream Dinners feel lucky that owners have lost their life savings and simply can’t afford to seek action?

And if Dream Dinners looks forward to vigorously defending themselves again these claims, why has this case been dragging on for nearly a year now? Get on with the defending and vindicate yourselves! Put to rest these allegations that you have repeatedly lied about earnings and scammed people out of millions of dollars. Set the record straight and prove that those owners have no merit in making their outrageous claims that you are charlatans and snake oil salesmen. Let everyone know that owning a Dream Dinners franchise is buying into a system that has been proven to make money and following the model will not only reap financial rewards but community involved and perhaps even spiritual enlightenment. Show us all the Dream Dinners is a company that can stand up to the competition and that you are heavily invested in marketing and promoting each and every store in every city you have them. Don’t be shy in defending your stance that when you list a store as temporarily closed you have a method and process for finding a new anxious owner quickly and efficiently.

Considering how fiscally responsible the company is, and they only have the best and brightest in their field working within the ranks of the corporate office you should be demanding to go into court and put to rest all these claims.

I know we’re all anxious to see it!

By the way, has anyone truly investigated that whole borrowing money from the charity affair? Taking money from charities, that’s doing God’s work, right?

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Dream Dinners CEO comments on updated lawsuit

There is certainly nothing unexpected in this comment, but the one thing to note is the number of stores Dream Dinners claims they currently open. Their 180 stores figure is certainly down from the nearly 240 stores they have previously said are open.

And I wonder how many of those supposed 180 store owners enjoy an excellent relationship with Dream Dinners?

Dream Dinners is proud of the excellent relationship it enjoys with its 180 franchisees. We are the industry leader because they are hard-working, innovative and loyal. The current litigation involves less than 10% of our franchisees and we obviously cannot comment on the specifics of the allegations of a few disgruntled former franchisees. We look forward to vigorously defending against their allegations in a court of law and expect to prevail on the merits.

Dream Dinners CEO Responds to Latest Litigation

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Dream Dinners, Attorneys Sued for Illegal Earnings Claims, Violation of Washington Franchise Act

Dream Dinners may have really stepped in it this time! From the way I read this, the UFOC and other documentation regarding earnings and financial claims were misleading and those involved both for Dream Dinners and the attorneys who approved the documents knew it. It sort of makes you think that Stephanie and Tina knew the idea wouldn’t work out in the long run, but decided to sell franchises anyway.

“The lawsuit claims that Bender knew or should have known that prospective franchisees were receiving materially false, incomplete and misleading information regarding the franchise opportunity, and that he was a “person in act of control of the activities” of the franchisor.

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (Blue MauMau) – In building a meal preparation business on the notion of making life easier for families, founders Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna proclaim on their Dream Dinners’ website, “To glorify God, we help people enjoy wholesome, nutritious, quality meals they prepare while having fun.” But two franchisees in Springfield, Ohio have had anything but fun since buying their franchise in 2005. They are suing the franchisor and now its attorneys for violation of the Washington Franchise Investment Protection Act and breach of contract.

Dream Dinners, Attorneys Sued for Illegal Earnings Claims, Violation of Washington Franchise Act

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Entrée Vous is Sold to Super Suppers

Let the confusion and bewilderment begin! It is indeed a done deal and Super Suppers has bought up Entrée Vous (for reasons that may become clear sometime in the future).

I do have to disagree with a few statements made in this article such as Super Suppers being the largest franchisor. Unless something has dramatically changed they are still in a distant second place to Dream Dinners. But considering both stores are suffering some pretty heavy losses that may change at any moment.

Although it was apparently a smooth process to sell the store it makes no mention as to why and what strategic plans Super Suppers has for the future.

I still can’t understand where Super Suppers got the money for this deal and if they did have extra capital to invest why did they choose to spend it this way?

Entrée Vous Franchising LLC has been sold to The Culinary School of Fort Worth LLC, which does business as Super Suppers, the largest franchisor in the home meal replacement industry in the United States.

The terms of the sale, structured and brokered by Corner Capital Partners LLC, were not disclosed. Before the close of this transaction, Super Suppers had 165 locations in 38 states.

Entrée Vous is Sold to Super Suppers

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Super Suppers to buy Entree Vous?

The rumors have surfaced and there is some confirmation that Super Suppers is going to or has already bought up one of their competitors, Entrée Vous.

I have to admit that is surprising and quite unexpected. The previous attempt at merging franchises doesn’t seem to be going all that well with the struggling stores still closing out and new owners brought into the fold looking to define their identity.

And this merger doesn’t seem to have the makings of a meal assembly coup. Entrée Vous has in the neighborhood of 40-50 stores of which I’m sure plenty are biting nails and saying prayers to try and make it through Christmas. If Super Suppers is lucky they will get to keep 30 of those stores operating into the New Year. With the current track record of 5 or so stores closing each month, Super Suppers is likely to have just over 100 stores of their own still in operation by the end of the year.

Under the best scenario, Super Suppers will jump back up to having 130 stores open which they can try and squeeze out some royalty monies. It will be interesting to see how they plan to pay for this merger because from all accounts Super Suppers just doesn’t have the cash flow to make this work. And if they do have sacks of cash stuffed in the attic (or maybe they borrowed it from a charity), why aren’t they spending the money on their current owners to keep their current stores open, rather than bringing a new crowd into the fold? Where is the advertising to help ramp up for Thanksgiving and Christmas?

With just over two months left in this year a merger/buyout seems a foolhardy move at best. Rather, it seems a tremendous waste of money and considering Super Suppers hasn’t been able to stop the loss of their own stores how do they plan on saving these new owners their snatching up?

As commented in the MGFK – Dinner A’fare discussion, you can’t save all the stores and some of those owners may be past the point of saving. Many of those owners will have to admit defeat regardless, so I still have to ask, what does this sort of merger gain?

In a sad correlation it’s this type of odd financial decision making that brought up the disastrous economic circumstances we are all facing. Buying “bad paper” isn’t really a good business decision.

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