The attorney for Shoney’s North America, LLC (“Shoney’s”), Mark S. VanderBroek of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, sent us the cease and desist request (below) via email about 3:00 this afternoon.
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) We get a lot of cease and desist letters. Most are not worded as respectfully as Mr. VanderBroek’s.
It was nice to get one that didn’t have a bullying tone and harsh, unrealistic threats.
We appreciate that Mr. VanderBroek spent some time on the site, read our guidelines, and did not mistake us for publishers who respond well to threats..
We will issue a response shortly – though probably not as shortly as he requests.
Shoney’s is Definitely Having a Bad Week
First, Shoney’s was named one of the worst franchises in America by Forbes magazine.
Then some unflattering comments regarding Shoney’s owner and CEO David Davoudpour were posted on our Shoney’s discussion page.
Here is Mark S. VanderBroek’s request to take down one of the angry comments:
To Website Administrator at UnhappyFranchisee.com:
I represent Shoney’s North America, LLC (“Shoney’s”). I write pursuant to the guidelines on the “Franchise Discussions by Company” page of your website, to request that UnhappyFranchisee.com remove a June 4, 2014 posting, made at 6:27 p.m., by someone identifying himself as a former franchisee. This posting states: “I wouldn’t deal with David Davoudpour again if franchises were free. Shoney’s is a dead brand. He is a crook and a liar. Run from this guy as fast as you can!”
This post purportedly was made by an anonymous former Shoney’s franchisee, is defamatory of Shoney’s and of Shoney’s owner and CEO, and does nothing to serve your website’s stated purpose of educating prospective franchisees.
Your website guidelines provide that posts on the website should “refrain from ad hominem, personal attacks.” There is no question that this June 4 post is an ad hominem, personal attack on Mr. Davoudpour. Mr. Davoudpour is the owner and CEO of Shoney’s and a respected restaurant entrepreneur with a successful 30 year plus career in the restaurant business. In fact, the statement is false and defamatory towards both Mr. Davoudpour and Shoney’s. Shoney’s is clearly not a “dead brand,” as evidenced by its more than 160 restaurants (most of them franchised) operated in 16 states.
Furthermore, this boorish and defamatory post does not in any way seek to “educate prospective franchisees on the reality of the franchise opportunity they are considering, and the questions they should ask in determining whether it’s right for them” – which per your guidelines is what your website seeks to encourage.
Accordingly, on behalf of Shoney’s I respectfully request that you delete this June 4 post, by the close of business tomorrow, June 6. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss.
Mark S. VanderBroek
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
201 17th Street NW, Suite 1700
Atlanta, GA 30363
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TAGS: Shoney’s, Shoney’s franchise, Shoney’s franchise complaints, Shoney’s North America, David Davoudpour, attorney Mark VanderBroek, Worst franchise, Forbes Worst franchises, franchise, franchising, Unhappy Franchisee