Is the Taco Del Mar franchise a great opportunity to gain the support of a franchisor dedicated to franchise owner profitability… or is it an unmitigated disaster?
It depends on whom you ask.
Taco Del Mar: “great franchise partnerships create great successes.”
The Taco Del Mar franchise website states:
“Taco Del Mar believes that great franchise partnerships create great successes. We have built our organization in order to develop positive and profitable relationships with our franchisees… We begin each day focused on franchise profitability… We developed our system to return the highest ROI to the franchisee in the shortest time… We believe in you.”
Taco Del Mar: A franchise “disaster.”
Former Maryland Taco Del Mar franchise owner Suzanne Todd has a different opinion, calling her experience with the company a “disaster.”
According to a Wall Street Journal story, Todd claims she was recruited as a franchise owner by Master Developer and franchisee Thomas Murphy, who told her Taco Del Mar was the “next Subway.” She claims Taco Del Mar executives “lured her to join the team by predicting future positive financial returns,” and “‘placed a great deal of pressure” on her to sign a franchise agreement before the prices increased.”
She signed in April 2007, paid a $20,000 franchise fee and opened her Frostburg, MD restaurant in December 2007.
Claims her Master Developer “doomed her… restaurant to failure.”
Todd claims her own Master Developer Murphy doomed her restaurant to failure by his alleged “ineptitude” and non-compliance with the system he was representing:
She blamed Murphy’s “ineptitude” as a master developer, deeming his flagship restaurant a failure that then doomed her own restaurant to failure. Why’s that? Well, Todd said Murphy’s branch had food that “was not up to standard” because it didn’t rely on the chain’s recipes. The branch used supplies from the wrong brands, handing out Cinnabon cups, Subway paper products, and – gasp – Wal-Mart-brand tortilla chips. And customers had even filed health safety complaints regarding food poisoning alleged to have resulted from eating there.
Franchisee Todd contends that the franchisor provided inadequate sources for food and supplies, and poor support especially in advertising. The Maryland Attorney General’s office accused Taco Del Mar of violating Maryland law with regard to the offer and sale of the franchises. The state and the franchisor struck a deal in February 2009 that gave Todd the option of rescinding her franchise agreement. She jumped at the chance and her branch closed that same month.
Taco Del Mar bankruptcy halts arbitration proceeding.
Suzanne Todd initiated an arbitration proceeding against Taco Del Mar for $500,000. The proceeding was halted, along with all other “creditor actions,” when Taco Del Mar Franchising Corp. sought Chapter 11 protection in January, 2010.
According to the WSJ article, Taco Del Mar blamed its bankruptcy on “ several years of financial losses it experienced on poor expense management, lawsuit expenses and its selection of ‘poor franchisees and poor sites’ for its new restaurants.”
Despite its troubled past, Taco Del Mar and its Master Developers continue to promote the Taco Del Mar franchise opportunity on its franchise website.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS TACO DEL MAR A GREAT FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY DESIGNED FOR FRANCHISEE PROFITABILITY? OR IT A FRANCHISE “DISASTER”?
logo: Taco Del Mar