Archive for October, 2009

Top 15 Franchise Failures

Don’t tell me you’re actually surprised by this news? Maybe a complete failure of Super Suppers coming in 2010 was a bit generous. We might have to up the timetable on that one. I don’t think they have the staying power to make it too much longer.

3.Super Suppers
At the height of the market, working families expanded their spending to include luxuries such as cleaning services, lawn services and even assemble-your-own dinner services. Super Suppers jumped on the concept and its franchise growth was exponential between 2005 (40), to 2006 (152), and 2007 (206). However, the growth stalled with no new franchise owners coming on board in 2008, and existing owners with SBA loans began failing at a quick pace – 42%, to be exact, in 2008.

Top 15 Franchise Failures

It’s The Beginning Of The End

We’re heading into the final days with only three short months left in this year. To me, Halloween basically marks the end of the year. After that you have all the planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas which makes the days seem to fly by. It’s also the time when corporate offices bring all their projects to an end. People are planning to be out in November and December so hardly anything gets done until the start of the new year.

For the office I’m in we’re already pushing back projects to January and figuring out who’s going to be gone so we know what we can work on and what has to wait.

But as far as the meal prep business goes, how is it going to fair during this holiday season? It really didn’t seem to make a dent last year and most people opted to take care of the cooking themselves. There was some scaling back on how much was spent and how much travel was involved, but having a meal assembly store make the meal didn’t seem to be in the cards. Is there some indicator that says this end of year is going to be different?

The summer didn’t hold any mysteries and like the Great Pumpkin, the back to school rush never did materialize. We had a lot of high hopes and there was a lot of expectation, but in the end it just didn’t happen.

Now with the year winding down, will meal assembly be called on to help with the family cooking? Has there been enough advertising to entice people to come in? Are the prices low enough to convince people it’s cheaper to go to a meal prep store rather than do it themselves? Have there been enough initiatives to draw in a big enough crowd to keep owners from going broke at the end of the year? Have these new blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter ramblings grabbed the attention of enough new and lifelong customers?

In a bit of an ironic twist a lot of new articles and research shows that men take on the challenge of making the holiday meals. And if that’s true, they are the least likely to visit a meal prep store. If you combine those two it pretty much seems meal assembly is not only targeting the wrong audience at this time of year, but that audience isn’t all that interested in their goods and services. Third times a charm for not being invited to the party. Regardless of the season, meal assembly is always on the outside looking in.

Now seems like as good a time as any to start thinking about what to do in 2010. A new year awaits and in a lot of respects it’s not going to be a whole lot better than what we just went through.

As they say, the clock is ticking…

Franchisor Attorney Lawsuits Evolve

As Dexter points out, this is an interesting read. Unfortunately it takes lawsuits like this to get people to do their due diligence when looking for a business to invest in. Jumping too quickly, false promises and the lure of easy money with little work have created an industry that simply can’t live up to the hype. It was a shaky foundation to begin with, then pile on association vultures who are trolling for a quick dollar and you have an industry that only survives because it is feeding on itself. When those owners can’t sustain themselves the whole thing comes tumbling down like a house of cards. In many respects this industry is nothing more than a shell game; move the money, move the marketing, cut the employees, don’t pay too close attention to what’s going on and hope you can fool enough people long enough to make some money then disappear before the cops show up.

But where will all these lawsuits lead us? Heaven only knows at this point. The lawsuit against Dream Dinners has been dragging on for years. The evidence seems to continue to mount against them, but no move has actually been made. Other stores like Make and Take Gourmet have crumbled under the weight of their lawsuits and other franchises have disappeared before litigation could latch on. In the long run however, it seems this industry will shut down before the lawsuits are ever settled.

Presently, we are hearing about lawsuits involving Peaberry Coffee and its law firm, the case is now on appeal; Forza Coffee and its outside counsel; two cases against Dream Dinners and its attorneys and law firms, including the renowned Holland & Knight; and South Beach Franchising and its Francorp development firm and in-house counsel. A case against The Coffee Beanery and its outside attorney and law firm was dismissed, so far with no further action.

Franchisor Attorney Lawsuits Evolve

Recession Spells End for Many Family Businesses

It’s not just meal prep that’s in the lurch because of th economy, all businesses are suffering. However, if established stores aren’t able to make it through this downturn, I don’t see how short lived ventures like meal assembly even stand a chance? One thing that still strikes a cord with me is how customers “can’t believe” a store is closing when the haven’t visited for the last six months or more. If you, and hundreds more like you, aren’t offering your business to an owner, what do you expect will happen? It seems like the epitaph of meal assembly will be, “But I was planning on coming in next month”.

After months of slow sales, family businesses are being forced to close, ending legacies and leaving behind a wake of sad customers and loyal employees. “Some family businesses that were just hanging on have said it’s time to get out,” says Dann Van Der Vliet, director of the Vermont Family Business Initiative at the University of Vermont.

Recession Spells End for Many Family Businesses

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