The National Jack in the Box Franchisee Association (NFA) today reiterates its call for new ownership and a change in CEO following participation in recent corporate Road Shows. Franchisees assert that there is no improvement in brand management or communication with the franchise community and that in fact, the situation has deteriorated to retaliation evidenced most recently by the formation of the Franchisee Advisory Council (FAC). The FAC is a new organization that appears to replace the Strategic Leadership Council (SLC), a body that was created by an agreement made between the NFA and Jack in the Box CEO, Lenny Comma.
The SLC is comprised of five NFA members and two at-large members appointed by Jack in the Box, and the NFA believes that was an appropriate balance to make sure that all franchise concerns were being addressed.
Changes to the agreement require NFA approval; however, no approvals were sought or given.
“We had a signed agreement and our understanding is that it cannot be unilaterally changed,” said Michael Norwich, Chairman of the Board, National Jack in the Box Franchisee Association. “NFA members did not participate in the formation of the FAC and as a result, it is comprised primarily of non-NFA members. Non-NFA members make up less than 15% of the system. We see the formation of the FAC as an act of retaliation intended to silence the NFA membership which represents close to 89% of Jack in the Box franchised restaurants.”
Jack in the Box leadership recently shared with The Street that the Road Show franchisee attendance was high, seemingly implying a successful resolution to franchisee concerns.
“We are desperate for leadership that understands the depth of concerns in the franchise community,” said Norwich. “We are in a people business. We depend on people to patronize our restaurants, to operate our restaurants, and to lead our brand. That said, good relationships and trust are critical. We are disappointed in the lack of effort by the board of directors to address the relationship issues and our franchisee concerns.”
The NFA cites the FAC as Jack in the Box’s latest attempt to minimize the organization and believes it highlights the board of director’s lack of engagement amidst the discord.
“We believe in the Jack in the Box brand and it is our sole desire to grow the brand,” said Norwich. “At this point, we are hoping for a credible buyer that brings with them changes in management that will cultivate the business and foster robust franchisee relationships. If that happens, the brand will thrive, and all stakeholders win. Our franchisees have passion, ideas and resources -- we who have seen Jack in its greatest days know that restoring the brand’s prominence is well within reach if we can make some positive changes.”
The National Jack in the Box Franchisee Association is comprised of franchise owners in the Jack in the Box, Inc. system. Its Board of Directors consists of 16 franchise owners with a combined ownership experience of 163 years. Any franchise owner in the Jack in the Box system may join the JIB-NFA. Currently the association represents 95 franchise owners with approximately 2,000 restaurants. The association was formed in 1995, and its mission is to provide a pathway for franchise owners to offer ground level input to Jack in the Box on initiatives and issues to benefit both franchise owners and the corporation. It is the organization’s stated intent to have a seat at the table as a partner with Jack in the Box with a role in major decisions that affect franchise owners.
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