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State Legislature Puts Customers At Risk

By John Quintanilla

In the business world, there are many paths to success. For some, that road is through a college education or apprenticeship. For others, it is pursuing an entrepreneurial goal through persistence and hard work.

From a young age, my dream had always been to run my own small business. I wanted to work for myself; to be my own boss; set my own hours; and be the one making the decisions.

After years of working and saving, I finally got the opportunity to own my business – Golden Rose Florist, a member of FTD and Teleflora Network. My family and I put in long hours working seven days a week. I was thrilled to finally be the boss. I wanted the family business to be a success.

I didn’t stop there. I went on to invest and operate a Fatburger restaurant and Photo Booth businesses.

As a small business owner, I have always welcomed and relied upon the franchisor for the strength of the brand. This system allowed me to focus on running my businesses the right way according to a well tested system that provides quality goods and services for my customers.

There are a lot of rules on running any business, especially under the umbrella of a franchising company. Having operated franchises, I not only understand the need for uniformity in the brand and the structures we have in place – I embrace them.

The contract of owning a franchise is very specific in terms of what needs to be done to protect and promote the company brand, we all know that going into the agreement. The quality and level of service a customer gets at one location is expected at another. This is especially important when you deal with mechanical equipment and food service.

Amazingly, some members of the California state legislature – most with zero franchise business experience – are now trying to change the franchise relationship by pushing Assembly Bill 525 which will undermine the entire franchise small business model in our state. This proposed measure seeks to give more freedoms to poor performing franchisee owner, making it more difficult for the franchisor to sever ties with a franchisee for violating guidelines in the contract, which would drag down our entire brand.

AB 525 would also put customers at risk and lead to more litigation, as certain franchisee owners would seek to cut corners and operate within the grey areas of the their contracts.

I signed my franchise agreement because I felt comfortable with the terms of the contract and the ways in which the system operated. Having vague and ambiguous language in a contract of what is expected from each franchise owner would irresponsibly put customers at risk and create a litigious situation where no one wins.

It would be a shame if California lawmakers undermine a system that works by rewarding bad behavior at the expense of the vast majority of franchisees who value the importance of our business model that is working and growing in our state

John Quintanilla was the owner of Golden Rose Florist in the San Gabriel Valley, Fatburger in Panorama City, and is currently the owner of Photo Q Booth in Southern California.