Pizza Pizza franchisees protest

Complaints from Pizza Pizza franchisees cover such issues as the way the company accounts for fees paid by stores to cover rent and advertising charges. A group of 34 franchisees are taking the company to court to get an accounting of how it has spent $14 million in pooled rent and advertising fees over the past five years.

National Post
May 11, 1993

Pizza Pizza franchisees protest
Rob Carrick

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ROSS MacKINNON’S Pizza Pizza franchise in Scarborough was a money-loser last year even though it cleared more than half a million dollars in sales.

A man who identified himself only as Tony for fear of reprisals from Pizza Pizza head office says he took home $380 per week from his franchise at its peak a few years ago. Now, if he’s lucky, he may take home $100.

Darlene Thiele, Aileen Collins and Roy Brown were partners in a Pizza Pizza store in Oshawa that fell behind on payments to head office of fees for rent, advertising and pizza ingredients. They say Pizza Pizza management took over the store and kicked them out.

These five people were among the 25 or so Pizza Pizza franchisees who demonstrated yesterday at the company’s head office to demand the resignation of executive vice-president Lorn Austin.

Austin has been at the centre of a growing rift between franchisees and Pizza Pizza head office over the terms of the franchise agreements under which the two groups do business with each other.

Pizza Pizza was started in 1967 by entrepreneur Michael Overs. Riding the success of an advertising jingle based on its central order-taking phone number, the company has grown to 242 franchises throughout Ontario.

Complaints from Pizza Pizza franchisees cover such issues as the way the company accounts for fees paid by stores to cover rent and advertising charges.

A group of 34 franchisees are taking the company to court to get an accounting of how it has spent $14 million in pooled rent and advertising fees over the past five years.

Pizza Pizza made no public statements about the disagreement with franchisees until yesterday, when Overs released a statement saying Austin would not be asked to resign.

Overs also said the views of the minority of franchise holders at the demonstrations do not represent the feelings of the majority.

He said most franchisees have been shown an independent five-year audit of the funds managed by Pizza Pizza for its franchise holders.

Differences between the company and the franchisees taking it to court should be settled in those proceedings, he added.


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