SHONEY’S Rated a Worst Franchise by Forbes. Do You Agree?

The Shoney’s franchise was rated one of the worst franchise opportunities in America by Forbes magazine.

Do you agree that Shoney’s is one of the worst franchises? 

Why or why not?

Please share a comment below.

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(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  The June 16, 2014 issue of Forbes magazine features their picks for America’s Best And Worst Franchises.

The Shoney’s franchise made the Forbes list of the worst franchise opportunities in the $500,000+ investment range.

The Forbes ranking for Shoney’s included the following assessment:

No. 6 Shoney’s

Started out as a West Virginia drive-in; now a chain whose president used to lead Church’s Chicken.

Average Initial Investment: $1,325,550

Initial Training Hours: 239

Growth rate: –10%

Continuity: 75%

Franchisor Support: C

Here are the rest of Forbes worst franchises:

Forbes Worst Franchises with $500,000+ Investments

(With #1 being the worst)

#1 Country Kitchen International

Concept:  Restaurants specializes in comfort food like meat loaf, fried steaks and apple pie.

#2 It’s A Grind Coffee House

Concept:  Coffee shops that also sell tea and smoothies

#3 Tastee Freez

Concept:  Soft-serve ice cream shops with walk-up and fast-food locations.

#4 Atlanta Bread Company

Concept:  Fast casual restaurants selling soups, sandwiches and baked goods

#5 Bennigan’s

Concept: Full service restaurant & bar

#6 Shoney’s

Concept: Full service family restaurant

#7 Bonanza Steakhouse

Concept: Family restaurant serves chicken, seafood and sandwiches, as well as steaks

#8 Desert Sun Tanning Salons

Concept: Tanning salons with sunbeds and spray-tan options

#9 La Salsa

Concept: Quickservice Mexican restaurants with strip center, freestanding and downtown locations

#10 Ground Round Grille & Bar

Concept: Full service restaurant & bar, founded by Howard Johnson’s in 1969.

See all Forbes Worst Franchises here:

America’s Best And Worst Franchises



TAGS: Shoney’s, Shoney’s franchise, Shoney’s franchise complaints, Worst franchise, Forbes Worst franchises, franchise, franchising, Unhappy Franchisee

7 thoughts on “SHONEY’S Rated a Worst Franchise by Forbes. Do You Agree?

  • June 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Since buying the company and taking the reigns at Shoney’s in 2007, David Davoudpour has taken Shoney’s from a chain of 282 restaurants, with an average unit volume of $1.6 million dollars operating in 18 states down to around 160 restaurants in 16 states. Shoney’s won’t reveal AVU even to franchisees.

    Since his tenure began Shoney’s is or has been sued buy vendors, landlords and franchisees. A glance at the Shoney’s Facebook page shows complaint after complaint about poorly operated and poorly maintained restaurants…the majority of the issues are in company owned restaurants.

    Their method of dealing with problem franchisees is to drive them out of the system and then sue them. I certainly wouldn’t have given them a C for franchise support.

  • June 6, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Why does Shoney’s and David Davoudpour need a lawyer to respond if the allegations are not true? Google “Shoney’s North America Corp., Best American Hospitality Inc., Royal Capitol Corp., David Davoudpour LAWSUITS” and you will see for your self exactly what Mr. Davoudpour is good at…it’s not running restaurants!

    The Houston Chronicle quoted David Davoudpour in an August 13, 2012 article saying Shoney’s was planning on building 50 “Shoney’s on the go” restaurants in Houston in the next five years. There is not one Shoney’s restaurant of any type in Houston.

  • June 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Former Franchisee:

    We are committed to providing a free and anonymous forum for frank and constructive conversation and information-sharing. To that end, we don’t make many requests, but we ask that you comply when we do ask.

    1) Please post using only one screenname/persona. It doesn’t have to be your real name, but just use one. We will change all names posted with your IP address to “Former Franchisee.”

    2) Please post with your real email address. It does not appear publicly and we will not share it with anyone. But we need to be able to send you a message if we need to.

    3) Please refrain from ad hominem, personal attacks such as calling the CEO a “snake oil salesman,””liar and crook,” etc. It drags down the level of the conversation, hurts your credibility and, frankly, makes it easy for them to dismiss you simply as a disgruntled hothead. If nearly half of Shoney’s franchises failed, as you said, it would be much more powerful for you to provide some facts as to why that occurred, rather than name-calling.

    4) If Shoney’s is avoiding registration states, it would be interesting to know why. I doubt it is as simple as dodging states with additional protection since, frankly, most of those states simply require registering and filing the FDD with them – nothing more. There is a layer of paperwork and fees required, but nothing that tough. It may have to do with having to provide audited financials. Perhaps Mr. Davoudpour could shed some light on it if/when he takes us up on our invitation to rebut his critics directly.

    You can see Shoney’s request to take down one of Former Franchisee’s comments and our response here:

    SHONEY’S: Request to Remove Anonymous, Defamatory Posting on


    SHONEY’S: Our Response to the David Davoudpour Take-Down Request

  • June 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Here in wv where Shoneys started we have the best food in the world. I have eaten some of the of best meal in my life at Shoneys. But here in the South its awful. It does not do Shoneys justice. Their food is awful. GO to Shoneys in Wv where it started before you make judgement on all Shoneys.

  • June 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    What makes Shoney’s a “worst” franchiser? Here are some verifiable facts:

    The new owner has not accomplished anything at all if unit and sales growth are the measurements. Sales reported to Nation’s Restaurant News in July 2012 reflect a $ 200.000.00 drop in average unit volume from sales reported to the Nashville Tennessean in January 2007. I don’t find any record that Shoney’s has reported sales since then and they do not report sales to franchisees.

    Recent press releases claim there are 160 Shoney’s, again that number reflects a 122 unit drop from the 282 Shoney’s reported to be in operation when David Davoudpour took control in January 2007, a 43% drop. The number of franchisees who have left the system since 2007 would also approach 50%.

    The infrastructure at Shoney’s in January 2007 was much larger then the present management staff. In 2007 Dan Dahlen was VP of Marketing, when I left the Director of Marketing was Damon Davoudpour (no evidence was ever provided to show Damon has a marketing degree or any experience in a marketing role outside of Shoney’s). In many Shoney’s markets there were no marketing co-ops.


    A statement previously posted here has been ruled by a civil court to be defamatory.  We have removed the statement from here and posted it with the court ruling here:

    SHONEY’S Franchise Owner’s Statements Ruled Defamatory




    Not a single “New” company-owned prototype Shoney’s restaurant has been built (the Branson MO Shoney’s was replaced after a tornado). Some old buildings were turned into Shoney’s but nothing new from the ground up. The “new” franchisees in the system are individuals who bought existing franchised restaurants. No new franchisees building new restaurants.

    I think this kind of summarizes why Shoney’s landed on the Forbes list as the 6th worst. I would encourage anyone considering this brand to do lots of due diligence and talk to as many former franchisees as possible before signing a deal.

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