Friday, November 13, 2009

Dollar Burgers

I saw this on Yahoo when I signed on and didn't see it in the paper. BK has a $1 double cheeseburger that costs the average owner $1.10 to make and serve. So, a big group of franchisees are suing BK to not make them participate in the dollar double cheeseburger promotion.
This is a telling quote out of the article: the litigation is "without merit," particularly after an earlier appeals court ruling this year showing the company had a right to require franchise owners to participate in its value menu promotions.
I'm not up on that paticular case, but it seems to me that you cannot force non employees to do much of anything. Of course if the franchise agreement says you have to participate, then I guess you're screwed. But to be forced to take a loss leader as an independent businessperson, well, I'd be suing too.
When I was a paperboy, the cost of the Daily Review went from $3.35 to $4 a month. One of the carriers started charging $4.25 and when he quit I took over that route. The paper wasn't really happy with me charging over the suggested retail price, but as an independent businessperson, I could charge whatever the hell I felt like. I should have had the balls to charge $4.25 on all my routes. Only one person had a hissy and she quit. Good, she didn't tip anyway. I can still remember the house, 35 years later. It was on Abbey St.
In fact, I was such an ass, I didn't put a lot of the inserts in the paper. We weren't getting paid extra for them and nowhere in the contract did it say we had to do it. Hell, for the first two years of the three I had a route, I wasn't even under contract at all. I would toss the inserts in the back of the closet and wait for the paper drive (and isn't that an idea out of the past) to come. Or, when Kurt would have a hiss about the lack of room in the closet, I would sneak them out of the house and toss them in the storm drain. Once, my mom saw all the inserts I had stashed and she insisted I deliver them all. Of course I took them down to the storm drain and tossed months of them down the drain.
Finally, the paper changed the contract and paid us for the inserts. That continues to this day. And, they finally got me under contract. Took them long enough.
So, even though there's a court case that says the franchisees have to obey the $1 promotion, I wonder if that wouldn't get overturned. It just doesn't seem right. Imagine the car dealers having to have their prices set by the company.

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