One this is for sure. Whether or not a franchise has 1 location or 63 locations, every buyer must pay special attention to ongoing litigation as each filing can help paint a more clear picture of your future ‘partner’.
Get the right information *before* you buy – not after when it’s too late.
Mark West’s sidekick Shawn Pattison has reportedly replaced him as president of the Canadian coffee franchise in a very silent changing of the guard.
Shawn has a background of heavy involvement with Rasoee – an Indian fast food franchise that ended up suddenly disappearing and leaving its franchisees holding the bag. Their are five known lawsuits filed against the corporation.
Mark West is known to have been involved with Quiznos before he started his own coffee franchise called My Cup Coffee and Tea before most of those locations closed down.
It will be interesting to guess which franchise Mr. West will appear in next, and how Blenz will perform with Mr. Pattison as its new leader, especially with the heavy list of lawsuits filed in the courts.
As usual, we’ll keep you posted on the Vancouver Coffee Franchise world.
Today is a momentous day for victims current and past stuck in a broken franchise system in British Columbia. Today at 1:30pm the government of BC will put forward the long-awaited Franchise Act put forth by Carole James on May 13th, 2015 now gets its second reading.
Will this end the pain forever for franchisees? Of course not. Franchisees will always be in a lower position of power under their Franchisor, but that is more than acceptable if the Franchisor is ethical and gives a duty of fairness to their ‘partners’.
It is not by coincidence that almost every other Canadian province has enacted the legislation. It may have taken a long time and lot more victims along the way, but now, finally, a Franchisee will have a chance to right some wrongs as well as make a much better investment for his/her family.
What are the implications for current Franchisees stuck in the system? For some it will make their stores more difficult to sell, no doubt. They may have prospective buyers come across truths about the Franchisor during the disclosure process that will make them flee. But is that any worse than handing off the pain to yet another victim? Over the long term, this is the necessary change to stop the abuse.
What are the implications for current Franchisors? For those who are already operating in provinces like Ontario, this will be ‘business as usual’ with a few tweaks. For those who have been operating only in BC and under the dark cloak of invisibility and hiding behind their top lawyers and beating down their victims with unbeatable legal bills so they can continue their wicked ways – starting today their day will get very difficult and very uncomfortable.
But what is often not discussed in all of these positive changes is the trail of destruction that occurs leading up to these payouts. Depression, divorce, and bankruptcies are just some of the items in the list.
In the past, the game has been quite simple for the franchisor. They not only usually have deeper pockets than their franchisees, but they also often have their own ‘errors and omissions’ insurance which essentially allows them to pay a relatively small deductible and then let this insurance pay for a lawsuit that might be the result of an ‘error’ or an ‘omission’.
But the Franchisees do not have the liberty of purchasing ‘Protection Against Errors and Omissions Insurance’ insurance to level this field. The Franchisee is forced to fight the battle on their own. Yet the whole reason they are even trying to fight, is usually because they are losing or have already lost all their money!
The only option that a Franchisee can do is what the Dunkin’ Donuts team did – organize a group and/or class action lawsuit. This way they can split the costs at least and prove that it’s not just one noisy Franchisee that is upset but the majority.
Something stinks here and change cannot come soon enough.
A breakthrough moment has just occurred in BC franchising history as Wayne Taylor and Farah Golestaneh bring the need for franchise legislation to the parliament building yesterday. Read more about it here.
For serveral years the VCSFA has been covering Mark West’s interesting involvement in My Cup Coffee and Tea and Blenz Coffee. For anyone considering buying a Blenz Coffee franchise, this is crucial background information.
In this previous article we discussed how neither Mark West, nor Blenz Coffee thought there were any problems or conflict with Mr. West running his own competing coffee franchise while in a position of General Manager of Blenz Coffee. Surely if they did see any ethical issue they would have fixed the problem. Although at least one concerned franchisee brought the issue to leadership at the announcement of Mark West’s arrival to Blenz, the issue was promptly brushed off and subdued by the beats of an expensive African drum group at their annual conference.
In the same article, it describes how he is also the contact person for anyone interested in opening a new Look Organic Tea, which also competes directly with a Blenz franchised location, literally right next door at Library Square.
Although the direct competition between West’s My Cup and Look Tea stores and the Blenz stores he claims to be helping may be of concern to current or prospective Blenz buyers, of greater concern should be the fact that none of these My Cup locations have survived the test of time.
Perhaps multi-coloured paper feet glued to the street and fuzzy dice are no longer enough to win the dollars of the increasingly sophisticated Vancouver coffee drinker?
A Bailiff was reportedly seen ‘dealing with’ the Steamrollers franchised location at 693 West Broadway street at Heather. Steamrollers is also reportedly owned by Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company.
Earlier this week, further reports claimed that the entire staff had suddenly disappeared overnight and been replaced by new staff.
The previous owners were no where to be seen.
Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company has been facing notable challenges, specifically over the last 24 months including multiple lawsuit filings involving previous Franchisees as well as ex head office employees, not to mention multiple closures of prominent locations.
In this most recent Business in Vancouver article on the topic of the need for franchise legislation in BC, Wayne Taylor briefly describes his personal experience dealing with Blenz Coffee (Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company Ltd) and just some of the claims he and two other former Franchisees have against the Vancouver franchise and its directors Sarah Kate Moen, Geoffrey Hair and Brian Noble.
Blenz Coffee and many other local Franchisors have essentially been able to do whatever they like while they hide behind their weighty franchise agreements and the shield of their pricey lawyers.
Franchisees around BC have had enough and have figured out that the scales have not only been unbalanced but completely lop-sided in their Franchisor’s favour.
Typically what will occur is the Franchisee will enter into a binding legal agreement with the Franchisor and by the time he or she figures out that their investment is built on sand (or worse) they have no money left to fight the imbalance in court because government has been conveniently avoiding getting involved.
The result? Ruined marriages, unnecessary bankruptcies, lost homes, and serious cases of depression around our beautiful cities.
For some Franchisees there may be time to recover their financial house before retirement but for many others the clock has run out by the time the battle begins.
The government of BC needs to at least make a way for the small guy to have a fighting chance against companies that display sociopath and bully-like, in the same way that they have in other provinces.