Quiznos terminates franchisees on heels of suicide

In a Dec. 8 letter from DLA Piper, Quiznos’ attorneys, the franchisor said it was terminating the franchise agreements of Toasted Subs’ eight board members, who represent 17 stores. The letter did not say the terminations were prompted by the posting of the suicide letter.

www.qsrweb.com/
December 13, 2006

Quiznos terminates franchisees on heels of suicide
Fred Minnick

Ratti Baber, Vhupinder’s wife, confirmed her husband wrote the suicide letter. She intends to make a sworn statement saying she found it on her home computer.

Baber said her husband fought Quiznos until the end.

“He was always trying to help franchisees,” Baber said. “We were just trying to make the franchise system better. Not just to break even. … Of course, he was sad and depressed that nobody was listening.”

Vhupinder was one of several franchisees suing Quiznos for fraud, exploitation, saturating geographies and violating the conditions of its Uniform Franchise Offering Circular.

A recent class-action suit against Quiznos was filed Nov. 21 by a group of Wisconsin franchisees. It accused the chain of systematically defrauding franchisees in a scheme designed to build the brand at their expense. A similar class-action suit was filed in New Jersey earlier this year.

In a separate legal matter, a single Maryland franchisee complained that Quiznos was not escrowing franchise fees as stated in the UFOC. In July, Quiznos entered into a Consent Decree with the Maryland Securities Commission to escrow initial franchise fees.*

Baber said her husband was frustrated with Quiznos’ lack of cooperation over multiple issues, and the letter detailed the toll the battle took on his life.

“I have been dragged through the legal system for over 18 months by the immensely superior financial might of the franchisor, which will continue to keep justice from coming to me, and to the hundreds and thousands of franchisees who are trapped similarly in the system and are slaving for this franchisor, those who have bought into the franchise agreement, and not yet become store operators,” the letter read. “I deeply regret getting into Quiznos. I wish I had never heard of them.”

In a Dec. 8 letter from DLA Piper, Quiznos’ attorneys, the franchisor said it was terminating the franchise agreements of Toasted Subs’ eight board members, who represent 17 stores. The letter did not say the terminations were prompted by the posting of the suicide letter.

Quiznos attorneys would not comment on the letter or on Vhupinder’s death, and calls to the company were not returned. But in a memo sent to franchise owners Dec. 14, Quiznos says the Toasted Subs group uses hostile efforts to publicly damage the goodwill and reputation of Quiznos.

According to Quiznos' termination letter, the franchisees failed to promote and operate their businesses in such a manner as to not detract from or adversely reflect upon the name and reputation of Quiznos. The letter said franchisees must cease to identify themselves as franchisees, return Quiznos signs, operations manuals and other materials, terminate telephone directory listings and pay all fees and royalties owed to Quiznos.

*Editor’s note: This matter is resolved and is not a part of an ongoing investigation.


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Risks: Retaliation, Misrepresentations, Independent franchisee association, Termination of franchisee, mass, Franchisee leader, Violence, Suicide, Health consequences, Suicide committed in franchised store, Independent franchisee association's directors terminated after franchisee’s suicide, Franchisor tries to break franchisee association "union", Lawsuits, class action, Bob “Bhupinder” Baber, Fraud, Encroachment (too many outlets put in territory), United States, 20061213 Quiznos terminates

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