BEAUTIFUL BRANDS More Camille’s Sidewalk Café Franchisees Threatened Over Comments

More failed Camille’s Sidewalk Café franchise owners have requested that their comments be retracted after they received threatening letters from the law firm of Beautiful Brands Inc., franchisor of Camille’s Sidewalk Café, Freshberry, Rex’s Chicken and the now-defunct Coney Beach.

The comments were in response to our post regarding a Small Business Administration (SBA) report alleging that 58% of SBA loans awarded to Camille’s Sidewalk Café franchise owners ended in default (See CAMILLE’S SIDEWALK CAFE Franchise Complaints)

In another post (BEAUTIFUL BRANDS Franchise Complaints), we noted that, according to a Beautiful Brands Inc. disclosure document,  70 Camille’s Sidewalk Café franchises had been terminated, not renewed or ceased operation for other reasons between 2008 and 2011 .

We solicited opinions from franchisees, the company or customers:  What accounts for the high failure rate of Camille’s Sidewalk Café franchises?  What can Beautiful Brands do to help reduce the high failure rate?

Beautiful Brands Franchise Owners Alleged Lack of Support

Former franchisees cited a lack of franchisor support, inadequate supply distribution and the franchisor’s apparent indifference to their success as main factors in the failures of their Camille’s Sidewalk Café franchises.

Beautiful Brands has not yet commented on the SBA default rate, the seemingly high failure rate or what measures they have taken to increase support for their remaining franchisees.

Instead, they had their law firm send threatening letters to franchisees who posted with their real names, demanding that they retract their comments or face possible litigation for “defamation.”

Former Camille’s Franchise Owners Retract Their Comments

As we stated in our previous post (BEAUTIFUL BRANDS Former Camille’s Franchise Owner Retracts Comment After Legal Threat), does not remove comments, even when requested by the comment author.

We will, however, post a commenter’s retraction.

Former Camille’s Sidewalk Café franchise owners hereby retract the following comments:

The success of a franchisor is measured by the success of their franchisees. When a franchisor is succesful but his franchisee fail he to is a failure. When a franchisor becomes very wealthy and most of his franchisees lose everything, then exploits his original fabricated succuss to develop a business model to expand his fortune on the failure of his past and future franchisees, that is fraud.

This commenter retracts his statement that Beautiful Brands provides inadequate support and does not provide efficient food distribution to new markets:

Well I could on w this senerio for pages. Simply put Dave R should be tried and prisoned for the way he treated us and other franscises. We had purchased rights to 7 locations in MN and opened 2 one Waite park and one in rochester near the Mayo clinic. Dido prior comments. Although they helped in opening the sites that was it!

All support was gone when we continued to struggle with shitty and high priced food prices and losey support from us foods. We had to find our own vendor with very high prices , Cisco. Two other franchisers in Minneapolis opened 4 restraunts and despite long experiences in the restaurant business were unable to make a go of it.

The whole ordeal cost me millions,frustration, drove my to son to drink and leave the business, and a law suite and judgement for payment os a long term lease. All in all it comes down to lack of support and pricing that Camille’s couldn’t offer. Dave was interested in selling his francises collecting his money and and leaving town. I would like to some day see him on CNBC American greed after they lock him away.

These comments alleging lack of support and abandonment of established franchisees in favor of promoting new concepts are also hereby retracted:

Camille’s sidewalk cafe has a high default rate because there is no support. Franchisees cannot get a hold of them and they put no effort into helping them with support. The concept is ran by family that has no real restaurant or business experience other than watching the food channel.

*  *  *

Beautiful Brands which is Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe parent company. They have moved on from Camille’s and are doing the same thing with there other brands. They make most of their money from franchise fees and development deals.

“Control over people is an illusion that will bite you in the end.” – David Rutkauskas

“Control over people is an illusion that will bite you in the end,” writes Beautiful Brands Chairman & CEO David Rutkauskas in his blog.   “…if you live by the rigidity of structures and the inflexible rules you impose… then you’ll only suffer defeat at the hands of your own creation.”

Actually, that’s a pretty poignant quote.

The attempt to control negative comments about Beautiful Brands via legal threats and intimidation makes Beautiful Brands and David Rutkauskas look like bullies.  And no one likes bullies.

Claiming that personal opinions and/or factually verifiable statements are legally defamatory (they’re not) makes both David Rutkauskas and his law firm look silly.

Preaching transparency and open dialogue on his blog then trying to shut down the 1st Amendment rights of those who believed in and invested in his brand, in our opinion, makes CEO David Rutkauskas seem a tad hypocritical and, in the end, ineffective. (Where will he send the threatening letters when the comments are anonymous?)

Whether their complaints are valid or not, Beautiful Brands has created a number of unhappy and vocal franchisees.

The SBA report and the failed locations reported in the Beautiful Brands disclosure documents cannot be ignored-away.

So we again invite David and Camille Rutkauskas and Beautiful Brands to take us up on our offer to join the conversation…

To provide clarification as to the reasons for the seemingly high default rate and franchise closures of their franchises…

To dispute the allegations made by their ex-franchisees, if they wish…

And to explain what initiatives they are implementing to help their surviving and future franchisees.

As David Rutkauskas writes in his blog, “Believe me, you don’t want to be known for using people and then tossing them aside.”

Also read:  BEAUTIFUL BRANDS Franchise Complaints

CAMILLE’S SIDEWALK CAFE Franchise Complaints


BEAUTIFUL BRANDS: Another Camille’s Sidewalk Café Franchise Closes



One thought on “BEAUTIFUL BRANDS More Camille’s Sidewalk Café Franchisees Threatened Over Comments

  • October 31, 2012 at 2:42 am

    I am an ex employee of Camilles, and I must say it was a horrible job. Everything’s kind of “pretend”. The owner told me he should have never gotten into the business, which his just closed. Basically, it’s a huge soup and salad kitchen. So throw in first off, the huge percentage rate taken off the top which I don’t exactly remember what is what, maybe 15, and paid monthly, there was little and I do mean a very little profit margin.
    After all the food costs were paid, the rent from the mall, utilities, franchise fees, I was told nothing was left for the owner. The computer system was rented per month, the Point of Sale, or POS system that is. Even the music supplied was almost a racquet, I think it was a rented system, or at least the songs were fashioned for the franchise, and news discs could be bought, for a price. That’s the kicker with Camille’s, everything for a price. Even Camille herself would chime in every other song with a pre recorded message and give a public service announcement pertaining to “California fusion” concepts. It was beyond annoying, hearing her over and over all day, so much the owner paid money to the business in league with Camille’s to get music without her talking.
    Basically, so many middle men are involved in the franchise, nothing is left over, and remember, we’re talking about selling wraps, soup and salads to pay off what was supposed to be a 80 – 90 thousand dollar start up cost, but ballooned into a middle man payoff scheme with Camille’s getting the monthly dividend.
    Franchise fees, U.S. Foods (VERY high priced food), POS rent, Audio System Music Rental Rights, Space Lease, Employee Costs, Taxes, Security Systems with Video Feed, Paper Supplies, the desk computers on and on, hawking colored chips and smoothies just can’t pay all the bills in this economy.
    The business model is like that of Kirby, hire people to sell the vacuums, you make the money, they eventually go broke, move to another area, start over. Camille’s is like a legal Pyramid Scheme, leaving a path of heartache and sorrow in it’s wake. Rinse and Repeat business model, meanwhile the Camille and Dave lose nothing with the sweat and money of others.
    I now work in a different restaurant that much, much more busy than the Camille’s Sammy Slop Shop, and it still takes a lot of hard work to turn a profit with foods like steaks, salmon, etc, so Camille’s was doomed from the start.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *