Frequently, commenters make the point that open discussions by unhappy franchisees on sites such as this just make matters worse and hurt those who are still struggling to survive.
The most recent of these commenters, posting as Alison, made this point about Kahala owned Cold Stone Creamery, making some points I agree with and others I don’t. Valid points can be made on both sides. What do you think? Share your opinion below.
Here are some of the points and my responses.
Alison said: For all those franchisees still hanging in there, this message board can do no good.
It allowed you to anonymously express your opinion to a number of other owners, prospective owners and even management. Isn’t that good?
Alison said:…the upsurge of negative talk and the lawsuits… it’s hurting those people who are hanging in there, trying to make it work.
In other words, shut up and die quietly? Don’t let the word out that you are really in business FOR yourself and BY yourself?
Alison said:To vent about blame is futile, it’s prohibiting franchisees who have profitable stores from selling.
Why would it prevent someone with solid financials to share from selling their store? Aren’t you really saying “It’s keeping us from passing these money pits on to some other unsuspecting sucker”?
Alison said:What we should be doing is telling customers that even though we are franchises and a % of the money goes to Kahala, it’s still a mom and pop ice cream shop…
I agree that locally that’s a good idea… raise the profile of the owner… get involved with community groups… stay in front of the media… use that local owner advantage over corporate-owned competitors… That’s a good idea to be doing all the time, not just troubled times.
However, Alison, your argument that everyone should just keep quiet and put on a happy face is troubling. I don’t think these complaints would be the same if franchisees perceived that Kahala and the Zees were “all in this together.” I’m sure that’s the message in their franchise marketing. If a franchisor knows that they are going to be discussed openly – including where future prospective franchisees are reading – they are going to be incentivised to respond to the franchisee’s need for assistance. If they are not committed to creating a win-win situation, people are going to know it. Franchisees should also be vocal about sharing things franchisors are doing right.
Alison, no one blames Kahala for the challenges of a tough economy, especially when lots of competitors are struggling as well. But this should be the time when franchisees are thinking “Man, I’m glad I paid a premium for this franchise, because I’ve got the brand, the buying power, the marketing expertise and the dedicated support behind me, just like they promised.”
If that’s not what franchisees are saying, I think it would be constructive for them to share what it is that Kahala could do to help them compete? What do you guys want?
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