Bogus Horn & Hardart franchise ads, which disappeared after being flagged as suspicious by UnhappyFranchisee.Com, were not placed or authorized by Horn & Hardart Franchise Group, according to the company. The Craig’s List ads appear to have been possibly placed by NJ-based franchise seller Dennis Mason.
(UnhappyFranchisee.com) More than a dozen Horn & Hardart franchise ads on Craig’s List announced a great opportunity to “own a piece of history” for only $25,000… by owning your very own Hard & Hardart franchise business.
Unhappy Franchisee.com raised a number of red flags, questioning the authenticity of the ad in the blog post HORN & HARDART Franchise: Legit? Or Scam?
One of our red flags was that the number (888) 550-8020 is associated with controversial franchise broker Dennis K. Mason, and the name “David Malin” is similar to an alias he used in other franchise ads (Mr. Malinsky). Clicking on the “Other ads by the same user” button revealed that the author of the Horn & Hardart franchise ads was also running ads for NY Bagel Café franchises – both franchise opportunities Mason is believed to be promoting.
Almost immediately after the blog post appeared, all of the Horn & Hardart ads disappeared from Craig’s List.
The ads were quickly replaced with the generic message “This posting has been deleted by its author.”
Here’s an example of a now-deleted Horn & Hardart franchise ad:
Horn & Hardart Says Franchise Ads Were Unauthorized.
In response to the blog post, Horn & Hardart Coffee (@HH_Coffee) replied through its Twitter account:
@UnhappyZ [that’s us] We do not use outside parties to market our franchise and did not authorize the craigslist ad you reference. TY [thank you] for the notice.
Mr. Mazzone wrote:
NO, THEY ARE NOT OUR ADS. WE ARE NOT CURRENTLY USING AN OUTSIDE COMPANY FOR SALES.
When asked if he was familiar with franchise broker Dennis Mason and his company Franchise Ventures, Inc., and whether Mason was a sales representative for Horn & Hardart, Mr. Mazzone wrote:
I AM FAMILIAR WITH MR. MASON. HE DOES NOT REPRESENT US AND ANY ACTIVITY HE MAY HAVE ENGAGED IN WAS NOT WITH OUR APPROVAL.
We have emailed Dennis Mason and asked him if he would confirm or deny placing the Horn & Hardart franchise ads, but have not received a response.
Dennis Mason Sold Ill-Fated Horn & Hardart Franchises in 2000s
It appears that franchise broker Dennis Mason sold Horn & Hardart franchises during the last unsuccessful H&H franchising attempt.
According to a PR professional who worked with Horn & Hardart during this period, Harold Katz and his son launched a Horn and Hardart franchise chain in early 2000. After selling and opening a number of franchised locations, and after the elder Katz’ death, the chain became mired in “ugly” franchisee disputes, failures and lawsuits.
Our crack research team located this 2002 classified franchise ad [pictured here] for the Horn & Hardart franchise opportunity. The phone number is the same as that used for many years by Dennis Mason.
The bottom line: Be very careful to make sure the ads you are answering are legitimate, and that you know who you are speaking to… Especially when you are dealing with one of these companies or other opportunities on Craig’s List.
HAVE YOU HAD EXPERIENCE WITH DENNIS MASON, DAVID MALIN, HORN & HARDART FRANCHISE ADS?
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TAGS: Dennis Mason, Dennis K. Mason, Franchise Ventures, Anthony Stewart, David Malin, Horn & Hardart, Horn & Hardart franchise, Horn & Hardart franchise group, Albert Mazzone, Craig’s List, Franchises on Craig’s List