Pizza outlet owners to lobby for regulations

Senior management from the huge pizza company greeted about 80 individual operators at the door – a move operators say was meant to intimidate their association members, who are joining together to oppose a lack of access to the company’s finances, to…

The Toronto Star
January 20, 1993

Pizza outlet owners to lobby for regulations
Caroline Mallan

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Pizza Pizza franchise owners plan to lobby the provincial government to introduce laws aimed at regulating an industry they say is rife with abuse.

Pizza Pizza franchise owners plan to lobby the provincial government to introduce laws aimed at regulating an industry they say is rife with abuse.

The pizza outlet owners met at a Mississauga hotel Monday night to plan a strategy to save their failing businesses.

Senior management from the huge pizza company greeted about 80 individual operators at the door – a move operators say was meant to intimidate their association members, who are joining together to oppose a lack of access to the company’s finances, to which they contribute.

The Canadian Franchise Association is pushing for legislation which now exists only in Alberta, to ensure that both sides in a franchise agreement live up to their end of the bargain.

“Legislation is definitively needed in Ontario and must be looked at in the future,” said Dave Michael, who owns a Pizza Pizza store in Orillia. “They feel they can govern their own members, govern themselves.”

After Monday’s three-hour, closed door meeting, operators emerged calling for immediate access to records and an end to intimidation by the owners.

“We have a situation where Pizza Pizza has refused to provide us with financial information pursuant to our franchise agreement,” Michael said.

He said the presence of senior management, and telephone calls to operators before the newly formed association’s meeting, are scare tactics.

John Sotos, lawyer for the association, said legislation exists in 17 U.S. states, which goes a long way toward protecting both parties involved in the agreement.

“We believe there is a need to provide some sort of minimum standards of behavior for franchise owners,” he said, adding that legislation could outlaw certain practices and detail the conditions of mortgage and rent payments to head offices.

Lorn Austin, the company’s executive vice-president, who was standing at the hotel entrance before Monday’s meeting, stormed out the door and said he would not be making any comment when approached by The Star.

But Austin, accompanied by two other Pizza Pizza employees, returned a short while later to answer questions. He said he had been invited to attend the meeting and did not understand why he was turned away.

Austin said the real problem operators are facing is not the operating fees and food charges levied by Pizza Pizza’s head office, but the recession’s toll on the industry.


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