Can Blenz Coffee Survive the Calgary Alberta Market?

Can Blenz Coffee Survive the Calgary Alberta Market?

Blenz Coffee has made the very interesting decision to attempt the Calgary, AB market.

This is following what appears to be a very serious focus on the Okanagan region.

But why are locations closing in their Vancouver lower mainland backyard?

Could it be that word has gotten out in their local market that things aren’t quite right?

This recent post with an updated list of a massive 49 entries with the BC Supreme court may shed some light.

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.

 

Shawn Pattison Replaces Mark West as President of Blenz Coffee

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.

Waves Coffee: 2016 Litigation List

Waves Coffee: 2016 Litigation List

Ever wondered who is suing who in the coffee franchise industry in Vancouver, BC, Canada?

For your convenience, we’ve put it all together for you into one convenient PDF file.

CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE 2016 WAVES COFFEE LITIGATION LIST

As of December, 2016, just click this link for a complete download of all the lawsuits filed in BC related to WAVES COFFEE, WAVES COFFEE INC,

As of December, 2016, there are 7 lawsuits filed.

BC Liberals Step Up Game on BC Franchise Legislation

BC Liberals Step Up Game on BC Franchise Legislation

There are rumours that the BC Liberals are taking action on a bill put forward by Carol James of the BC NDP. This is nothing but good news and has begun to restore confidence in the BC Liberals amongst the thousands of franchisees across the province.

Until now, the BC Liberals have remained silent on the topic, even though extensive research and consultation has gone into the topic and came back overwhelmingly in favour of the need to adopt the franchise legislation already in place in most Canadian provinces.

“I visited my MLS Scott Hamilton who displayed a genuine interest in the bill and has assured me that he will be following up on it.” reported Wayne Taylor, operator of Franchisepro.ca. “Most policitians and people in general have no idea how negatively the current justice system is affecting BC families. It’s something most people just can’t imagine is happening behind these friendly logos they see on the streets they walk.”

BC is one of the last remaining provinces to adopt the legislation which has left many wondering about the ethics governing the province. Comparisions have been made to the property disclosure statement in a real estate transaction. “As a listing realtor, if I know of something so serious that the purchase of a home could turn into a disaster, I’m required to disclose that on the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS). Everyone would agree not showing something material like this is wrong. So why then can franchisors be part of passing a knowingly bad deal without such disclosure?” continued Taylor. “I personally know two grown men who have contemplated suicide, one of which would have left behind a family. I know of one divorce and multiple bankruptcies. If I didn’t have the support of my wife and two loving parents, I seriously have no idea where I would be today psychologically. It’s brutal out there and I just keep meeting more victims with each passing day.”

The BC Franchise Legislation Bill was brought to the table back in December of 2014. Carol James and Adrian Dix took the initiative to bring the bill forward and question the BC Liberals about why this legislation is not tabled. “Scott Hamilton was unsure why the bill had not been dealt with but has assured me that he will look into it and follow it up for me which is great. I have renewed hope that 2015 will be the beginning of a more healthy franchise environment” Taylor concluded.

Mark West’s Last My Cup Coffee and Tea Location Shutters Door

Mark West’s Last My Cup Coffee and Tea Location Shutters Door

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?

You be the judge.

photo 1

 

 

 

Blenz Coffee Franchise Poster Child Example of Need for BC Franchise Legislation

BIV_BLENZ

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.

Until now.

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.

It’s time to level the playing field.

 

Is McDonald’s Franchise Business Model Starting to Lose?

It’s daily business to hear of smaller Vancouver franchises milking their Franchisees’ profits and doing funny business, but it has been rare if not non-existent to hear negative stories like this one about McDonald’s from a business perspective.

We are often asked, at the VCSFA, “Are there any good franchises out there?” to which we always reply “Yes, there are a few good ones out there and not all hope is lost.  The model remains a win-win model, in theory providing there is a leadership who cares.”

But sometimes leadership doesn’t care.

It seems that more often than not, the Franchisor views their Franchisees as slaves in their revenue-stream producing retirement plan.  Any noisy ones are quickly silenced by their pricy lawyers and no media seems to exist to expose the wickedness of their ways.

Until now.

The wide webs of the world have made it possible for the little guy to raise his or her voice.

Obviously things are not well at McDonald’s these days and we hope that the Franchisees will continue to stay noisy about it which will help prevent new stores from opening so fast and force leadership to start caring about the financial well-being of their number one partner – their Franchisees.

Vera’s Burgershack – Port Moody Franchise Sells for Staggering Loss

“What? Me worry?” – This could have been the caption on Gerald Tritt’s recent Instagram upload that portrays him living it up with a smile that would put Alfred E Neumann of Mad Magazine to shame.  Mr.Tritt appears not to have a care in the world as he tools about in a loaner Ferrari for the weekend, living the dream as he weekends in Chicago and hangs out with the Boss Man himself, Bruce Springsteen – champagne dreams and caviar fairy tales indeed!
Alas, it is a lifestyle that many Vera’s Burger Shack Franchisees can only aspire to after investing in the Gerald Tritt Franchise system.

In September 2014, the original Port Moody Franchisee managed to escape The System after having his store on the market for over a year.  That particular Franchisee purchased a brand new location on Newport Drive and opened in or about September 2012 at a cost rumoured to be in the range of $375,000.00 to $400,000.00.   Initially, the location recorded robust sales as it consistently ranked among the top of Vera’s locations in monthly sales and $2,000 daily sales were often recorded.  However, the good times were not to last as the Port Moody location began a descent down the sales rankings by location.  By June 2013 a scant nine months after opening, the Franchisee had had enough and listed the location for $379,000.00, but, like the Broadway location, the Franchisee could not find any takers.  The location remained on the market as sales continued to decline pushing it ever downward on the Vera’s sales rankings by location.  In September 2014, the news broke that the location had sold but at a price far far below the Franchisee’s investment.  Reports suggested the location, less than two years old, had sold for a price between $215,000 – $200,000.00 representing a loss in excess of $150,000.00 to the Franchisee who had bought into the Vera’s Burger Shack brand.

It was the second location within three months that had sold at a loss in excess of $100,000.00 to its selling Franchisee.  Unfortunately, it appears that unlike Gerald Tritt, neither the Port Moody nor the Broadway Franchisees will be driving Ferraris anytime soon.

Style Over Substance: A Nightmare Recipe for Vera’s Franchisees

veras-wink

It was the best of times for Gerald Tritt and Noah Cantor, co-founders of the Vera’s Burger Shack franchise, as the summer of 2011, saw Vera’s Burger Shack ink a deal to expand the Vera’s franchise to the United States Pacific Northwest.  Vera’s was flushed with a run of several years growth and had grown from a seasonal concession stand in West Vancouver to a flourishing franchise with sixteen locations.  However, it wasn’t to last – without an underlying business model that went beyond depending upon the personalities of individual Franchisees and a cartoon logo – it could not last.

A clue to the coming debacle for many of the Vera’s franchisees can be found in Gerald’s choice of individuals to expand the Vera’s brand in the USA.  The purchaser, Paul Brown, a promoter, who promoted such sport luminaries as Tonya Harding, figure skater turned boxer, appeared, at least according to Vera’s own press release,  to have no experience in operating a single restaurant, let alone operating/managing several restaurants within a cohesive franchise system. On the face of it, Gerald and Noah seemed to want someone to promote the brand as oppose to having someone with strong restaurant experience to screen and assist prospective franchisees in opening Vera’s franchises in the Portland area.

Up to the time of the signing of the U.S. expansion deal, Vera’ s Head Office had often emphasized style over substance when managing the growth of the Vera’s franchise system.   A failure to establish a head office training system for new Franchisees, a comprehensive training manual, regular inspections, and even one method of cooking the burgers had led to an absence of standardized behaviour across the Vera’s franchise system.  All the while, Gerald Tritt was fond of telling Franchisees he had spent over a $100,000.00 on branding the Vera’s name.

By the spring of 2013, Gerald Tritt had found himself rid of his most troublesome Franchisee who had made the painful business decision to lose six figures as oppose to continue being a participant in a franchise system that was failing to maintain standardized behaviour amongst its Franchisees.  However, it was clear that franchise’s troubles were just beginning.

By August 2013, eight of the thirteen franchises were listed for sale (and this was excluding the two that were sold at the beginning of the year) – a stunning indictment of the Vera’s franchise system for the stampede of Franchisees wanting out was nearly as crowded as the last train rolling out of Paris in June 1940 before the Nazi advance.

It is now over a year since the Franchisee stampede began and with the exception of North Vancouver and Broadway (which sold at a loss of at least six figures to its franchisee – see A Poor Broadway Performance), the remaining six Franchisees continue to list their stores for sale – albeit some at substantially reduced listing prices.  It was rumoured that others were listed for sale but these cannot be substantiated at the time of this article.  The U.S. expansion plans remain exactly just that – plans.

To date, Vera’s is limited to being a Lower Mainland franchise with half of the franchisees wanting to sell and with its head office having no immediate plans to open locations elsewhere in Canada or the USA.  As Gerald Tritt’s plans for a thousand store empire slowly fade to oblivion, the Vera’s nightmare lives on for its Franchisees.

veras-wink