Restoration 1 apparently paid an author to endorse its franchise opportunity as “amazing” and to add their promotional copy to his book – as if he had written it. CEO Gary Findley then sent out a press release stating that he was “honored” that Restoration 1… without disclosing that the accolades were bought, paid for and supplied by Restoration 1 itself. Now that the sham has been exposed, do you think Restoration 1 might try to restore its reputation? Think again… by Sean Kelly
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Now that we have exposed the BizCom Press and Dr. John Hayes “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities” books as a deceptive pay-for-play ploy designed to mislead prospective franchise investors, it’s interesting to look back at the pre-expose press releases and see how blatantly each company lied about its involvement with the deceptive “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities – Second Edition” program.
In February 21, 2018 Restoration 1 CEO Gary Findley was quoted in the company press release RESTORATION 1 FEATURED IN “12 AMAZING FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES – SECOND EDITION” BY DR. JOHN HAYES:
Restoration 1, one of the fastest-growing and most-trusted restoration franchises in North America, has been named an “Amazing Franchise Opportunity” by internationally recognized franchise speaker and author Dr. John Hayes in his new book: “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities – Second Edition.”
“Having Restoration 1 be recognized as one of the best franchise opportunities in the country is a real testament to the hard work our team has put in to create the best opportunity for success for our franchisees,” said Gary Findley, CEO of Restoration 1. “I’ve always known what an amazing opportunity Restoration 1 is but it’s great to have that validated by a leader in the franchise industry like Dr. John Hayes.”
In his latest book, Dr. Hayes explores the secrets of creating a one-of-a-kind franchise success story and then looks at 12 franchise brands, including Restoration 1, which Dr. Hayes considers to be an “amazing opportunity” for 2018. Restoration 1 was selected because of access franchisees have to the best suppliers and services, a professional online presence, recent and explosive growth, and a forward-thinking exit strategy.
Nowhere in the press release, in the book description on Amazon, or in the book itself did BizCom Press, Dr. John Hayes or Restoration 1 disclose that not only did Restoration 1 pay a fee to be endorsed as an “amazing” franchise, the company actually provided the text for the book chapter that heaped praise on Restoration 1 – as if written by Dr. John Hayes.
After UnhappyFranchisee.Com broke the story that Dr. John Hayes’ and BizCom’s “Amazing Franchise Opportunities” books were undisclosed pay-for-play advertising vehicles masquerading as the legitimate selection and analysis of an independent franchise expert, BizCom admitted that participants had paid to be included and had provided their own chapters.
Instead of retracting its press release and issuing a statement or apology for its role in a misleading (at best) marketing ploy, Restoration 1 and Gary Findley doubled down by releasing its own sloppily branded edition of the book on Amazon.
Restoration 1: Masters of (Marketing) Disaster
Having once headed the Curves franchise organization, Gary Findley is no stranger to franchise disaster.
Once news broke that he had publicly boasted about receiving recognition that his company had bought, paid for, and even authored, one might expect a shred of embarrassment.
I mean, does Restoration 1 distribute press releases every time they run a franchise sales ad?
(“Having Restoration 1 be recognized in a full page ad in Entrepreneur Magazine is a deep honor and a testament that our check cleared,” said Gary Findley, CEO of Restoration 1. “I’ve always known what an amazing opportunity Restoration 1 is but it’s great to see our praise for ourselves printed in such a reknowned & respected publication.”)
So how did Restoration 1 decide to proceed with publishing its own deceptive book instead of, say, demanding its money back from BizCom for putting it in such a publicly embarrassing situation with possible legal consequences?
Why Restoration 1 Decided to Look Dishonest AND Incompetent: One Possible Scenario
Now this is conjecture, but I imagine that when the embarrassing information leaked, Gary Findley got the senior franchise marketing team together and patched in Dr. John Hayes & BizCom’s Scott White and Monica Feid from their franchise sales booth on the beach at Spring Break in Palm Beach.
My imagined Gary Findley started the meeting: “Sure, our investment in ‘12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities’ has made us look deceptive and dishonest. And yes, we may have violated Federal Trade Commission rules regarding the disclosure of paid endorsements and, gasp, being truthful in franchise marketing (everyone laughs). But following the Curves franchisor model, dishonesty is not enough! We must establish ourselves as misguided and incompetent as well! Any ideas?”
“We could publish a stand-alone book on Amazon with little tiny disclaimers no one will notice!”
“And we could mispell the word ‘opportunity’ in the table of contents!”
“That’s good!” said my imagined Gary Findley. “Anyone else?”
“We could leave a watermark from the freelance site FIVERR across the graphic on the front cover so all will know that in addition to being dishonest and incompetent, we don’t pay our vendors and, frankly, just don’t give a sh*t!”
“Excellent ideas, team!” said imaginary Gary Findley. “Now get out there and make us look bad!”
Honesty Remains Elusive in the Franchise Sector
Seriously, the idea of honesty and transparency seems to get rejected faster than a bad heart in some areas of the franchise sector.
Restoration 1 proceeded with the ideas proposed in the imaginary Gary Findley scenario.
Restoration 1 left the press release expressing Gary Findley’s delight at being “chosen” by Dr. John Hayes on its franchise propaganda blog.
BizCom proceeded to post the Restoration 1 branded excerpt of the “12 Dishonest Franchisors” book complete with a visible “fiverr” watermark on the front cover, the word “oportunity” in the table of contents, and the tiny disclaimer “Sponsored advertising content. Restoration 1 provided this chapter to tell its story.” clearly intended for anyone reading the book through an electron microscope.
Invitation for Gary Findley to Restore the Credibility of Restoration 1
Gary Findley and/or Restoration 1 marketing executives have an open opportunity to explain their side of the story, to explain how our assumptions are unfounded or incorrect, or to acknowledge that, perhaps, they messed up and should make things right.
Here are some questions that we are sending them in the hopes that they will engage in open and honest dialogue about this important subject:
1) Is Restoration 1 committed to complying with the FTC rules requiring the disclosure of payments, compensation or other significant business ties to those providing expert endorsements of companies? Do you agree that if being named an “Amazing Franchise Opportunity” was contingent upon the payment of a fee, that Restoration 1 is likely legally (or at least ethically) bound to clearly state that Dr. Hayes provided a paid endorsement?
2) Is Restoration 1 committed to transparency and honesty in its recruitment of franchise investors? Is publishing a chapter that is written as if an objective 3rd party heaped praise upon Restoration 1 (when, in fact, Restoration 1 was heaping praise upon itself) consistent with your commitment to not misleading or deceiving potential franchise investors?
3) In hindsight, does Restoration 1 regret participating in the “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities” venture and/or regret prominently posting the paid nature of the promotion? Was the hasty publication of the Restoration 1 branded e-book a good idea?
4) In deciding whether to buy a chapter in BizCom’s book, did you or the marketing team at Restoration 1 weigh the potential downsides if the financial arrangement was exposed? Did you worry that Restoration 1 could end up appearing to be engaged in deceptive marketing practices? Or appearing to lack sufficient credibility through its actual accomplishments that it must pay for fake badges of credibility?
5) Will Restoration 1 continue to promote its inclusion in Dr. John Hayes’ & BizCom’s “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities” publication and branded spin-off publication, or has our series prompted the notification of past, current and future readers that the publication is paid advertising, not objective selection and analysis by an industry expert?
We might be snarky when we are calling BS on deceptive representations, but we are gracious when companies respond in an open and transparent way.
In franchising, it just doesn’t happen very often.
NOTE: All companies and individuals discussed on Unhappy Franchisee are invited to submit corrections, clarifications, rebuttals or opinions by commenting on individual pages and/or by emailing us at UnhappyFranchisee[at]Gmail.com. Thank you in advance for engaging in open and honest debate, as is the American way.
READ The Series “Dr. John Hayes’ Franchise Fraud School & Pay-For-Praise Emporium!”:
Series Index & Overview: Dr. John Hayes’ Franchise Fraud School
Just published: LIME PAINTING Franchise Integrity Questioned
OTHER FRANCHISE DECEPTION-FOR-DOLLARS POSTS:
Dr. John Hayes Named Dickey’s Barbecue Pit one of the 12 Amazing Franchises for 2015. Here’s how things turned out:
ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE RESTORATION 1 FRANCHISE, GARY FINDLEY, DR. JOHN HAYES, & BIZCOM ASSOCIATES?
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TAGS: Restoration 1, Restoration 1 franchise, Gary Findley, Gary Findley Restoration 1, Restoration 1 franchise opportunity, BizCom Associates, BizCom Press, Dr. John Hayes, Dr. John Hayes franchise expert, Titus Center, Titus Chair, 12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities, Palm Beach Atlantic University Franchise Program, IFE, unhappy franchisee