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I’ve talked before about this continuum where you’ve got franchise advisory councils who are oftentimes selected by the franchisor and are rubber stamps for whatever the franchisor wants to do, and then the independent franchisee association who frequently wants to burn down the castle. And it’s frequent that what happens is the reason that the franchisee association forms is because they don’t feel like the people that are representing them on the franchise advisory council are doing what they need to do to speak truth to power, to not be the rubber stamp. And so frequently when associations are formed in a system where there already is a council there is some inherit friction that exists there.
But in our experience the very best outcomes are systems that have really vibrant both advisory councils and franchisee associations or ideally an association that finds its way into being a resource for the franchisor, in other words, acts both as an advisory council and at the same time advocates independently without any dependents on the franchisor for the interest of the franchisee. So yes, they can exist, it takes some work. Frankly, franchisors will frequently use the existence of a franchise advisory council to ignore the franchisee association, to pretend like they don’t exist and you have to break through that wall and there various strategies that people can use to do that. But they can coexist and frankly, they can augment each other, complement each other rather than be competitive if people work together and sort of figure out that we’re in this together.
Minneapolis franchisee lawyer Ron Gardner describes how a Franchisee Association and a Franchise Advisory Council exist in the same system.