IFA Board Member Perspectives: 2016 Outlook for Franchising
International Franchise Association members of the Board of Directors share their thoughts on the coming year and insights on the issues that could impact franchising during 2016.
1). What is your outlook for your business and the overall franchise industry heading into 2016?
2). What are the top issues facing your business and what, if anything, will you being doing differently in your business in 2016?
Jania Bailey, CFE
1). The outlook for FranNet is as strong as ever heading into 2016. We continue to expand our base FranNet business across North America adding more consultants on the ground to best serve our clients and our franchisor partners. We’re also seeing a lot of growth and excitement around our subsidiary brands -- Proven Match, FranchiseWorks.com -- as franchisors really hone in on and understand how to best target their ideal franchisee candidates. Throughout our organization, our focus has been on expanding our business portfolio across borders and services -- and we’ll see more of that growth in 2016. FranNet’s plate is filled with opportunities and we’re excited to continue to lead our industry into the New Year.
2). The political uncertainty surrounding the National Labor Relations Board’s “joint-employer” ruling has caused much confusion among our clients. But it’s also given us a great opportunity to do what we do best — educate our clients on the realities of the situation and what’s driving it.
In addition, as the unemployment rate stays relatively low, we’re finding our clients have more job options when considering business ownership. They’re taking a little more time to make sure the franchise they’re choosing is an absolute slam dunk for them individually. This reality gives our consultants an even better opportunity to showcase our unique, science-based matching process.
The overall negative public relations assault surrounding the NLRB ruling and the minimum wage battles across the country have put the franchise model under attack. The IFA has done an outstanding job stemming the tide of negative criticism, but everyone in our industry needs to go on the offensive to create and support a more positive image about our amazing business model.
Cheryl A. Bachelder
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.
1). I am optimistic about Popeyes business for the year ahead. We have sales and new unit momentum. We have gained significant market share in chicken QSR, growing from 14.7 percent of the segment in 2008 to 26 percent in third quarter 2015. To keep this momentum going, we must stay sharp — offering our guests hot, delicious Louisiana recipes, exciting new innovation, and a great service experience.
The overall industry will benefit from lower unemployment and generally better consumer confidence among our guests, but we will struggle to overcome the margin impact of steep wage increases. We will have to be very smart in labor scheduling and selective pricing actions. Those franchises with guest-traffic momentum and the strongest topline sales will be in the best position to navigate these times.
Given this is an election year in the United States, it is important for the franchise industry to participate fully in the process to encourage the election of a pro-business president. Today’s regulatory and tax burden on small business is holding back prosperity and growth for the entrepreneurs who fuel job creation in our economy.
2). At Popeyes, we are focused on continued food innovation, investing in the training of our people, and expanding around the globe. Food innovation is the life blood of this business. We are blessed with a brand that comes from Louisiana, a region with the most interesting recipes in America. Our culinary team does an exceptional job of finding the flavors and foods that resonate best with our quick-service guests — and they use a predictable research process to ensure these ideas drive traffic and sales to the restaurants.
We are making new investments in the development of our restaurant leaders. We want to help our managers create a work environment where people thrive and take great care of our guests. New technology will likely be the most important part of this initiative. One day, we want our employee and guest experience to rival the superior food experience we provide today.
We are also expanding the Popeyes brand around the globe. Our team has created strong brand-building advertising campaigns that tell the story of our superior food in growth markets. We have co-invested in media with our local franchisees to accelerate brand awareness and trial. Popeyes food travels well and our franchisees are excited to build out the footprint of this great brand internationally.
1). As Managing Director of Franworth, I can report that the company is experiencing tremendous growth in partnering with successful smaller franchisors by assisting them in their development efforts. The economic and lending environment today is beneficial to franchising. I believe this will continue as we proceed into the 2016 national elections. While sectors of the economy might be choppy from time to time, the critical factors to franchising of growing disposable income and improved lending availability should continue.
2). After enduring the global financial crisis, the top issues facing franchising today are more legislative and regulatory in nature. From discriminatory wage policies against franchisees to joint-employer regulatory fears, the industry has to maintain its vigilance in protecting the franchise business model that has successfully created millions of small businesses and as a result, millions of jobs.
Melanie Bergeron, CFE
Chairwoman of the Board
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK International, Inc.
1). My outlook for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and the franchise industry overall continues to be optimistic, yet highly guarded at the same time. Being an election year, the business community is faced with great uncertainty depending on the candidate chosen. I strongly advise everyone in franchising to study the candidates and encourage you to vote for the person who supports small business and the franchise business model.
2). The top issues we face could bring more regulation and joint-labor changes. Anything that effects the housing market will directly impact our business. I’m hoping and praying that the next U.S. president leads this wonderful country in the overall best direction possible. While there is great uncertainty, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK will keep its focus where it always is … exceeding customer expectations!
President, U.S. and Canada
Select Service and Extended Stay Lodging, and Owner and Franchise Services
1). We believe we are well positioned going into 2016. Recently, Marriott announced our intention to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The merger will increase Marriott’s global distribution and customer base, creating significant opportunities for economies of scale to reduce costs at the property level. The combined entity will have an expanded loyalty program, give customers more of what they want, and provide broader account coverage, which we anticipate will increase revenues and lead to greater profitability.
• We believe there is still considerable opportunity in the current cycle and Marriott continues to forecast healthy growth. Compared to past economic recoveries, hotel supply growth has been slower, implying a long cycle. The U.S. lodging industry has thus enjoyed a favorable combination of robust demand growth and low supply.
• Overall, we expect that the lodging industry will turn down when the broader economy turns down. Today’s pipeline of hotels under construction will gradually push supply growth back to the long-term average. In a downturn, the pace of new hotel development will decelerate, room rates will decline as macroeconomic fundamentals weaken, and hotel owners will face increased bottom line pressures.
• Despite the potential for market volatility, our hotel brands are well positioned to stay “off the discount rack” and Marriott is poised to gain share. During a downturn, owners look to optimize the positioning of their existing hotel assets by associating with strong revenue engines. Lenders endorse this “flight to quality” by restricting the brands they favor during a recession. We believe Marriott’s platforms, including recently launched brands, will benefit from conversion interest and other opportunities to gain share during an economic decline.
2). Maintaining Brand Relevance: Brand reinvestment and accelerating new growth platforms are critical steps for Marriott to remain competitive. In particular, the acquisition of the Delta conversion brand and the creation of the lifestyle focused Autograph Collection — among the six brands that Marriott has launched since 2010 — will allow us to increase market share and attract new and emerging Generation X/Y travelers.
Channel Distribution Challenges: Today, there is an increasing reliance on costly third-party distribution channels. Marriott has a robust strategy to drive preference for our low-cost direct channels (such as Marriott.com and our mobile app) and reduce dependency on intermediaries such as online travel agencies. We will continue to invest in this strategy in 2016.
Technology Infrastructure Risks: To mitigate infrastructure risks, Marriott continues to innovate through industry-leading partnerships. These strategic relationships allow us to be agile, flexing technology capacity as needed, and reduce our exposure by shifting risks to service providers, where possible.
Jerry Crawford, CFE
President and CEO
1). Our outlook for 2016 is positive. Most recently we’ve signed a number of high-profile accounts and we’re working to close out 2015 on a high note. We’re fortunate to be in the commercial cleaning sector, as demand for services continues to be characteristically strong, giving our franchisees opportunities to create local jobs and grow their businesses. Like many other franchisors, we are closely monitoring regulatory issues impacting our industry while moving forward with proven strategies that position our franchisees for success. We need to remain vigilant in the fight for the protection of our industry and franchisees while maintaining our focus on continued growth year after year. We certainly anticipate a terrific year in 2016.
2). The upcoming elections in the United States will have a major impact on businesses, especially those of us in the franchise industry. I’m hopeful that all presidential candidates’ agendas will include policies that allow entrepreneurs to create jobs. Franchising is a proven job creator; it can drive the economy in local markets and it’s critical that the industry is effectively represented in Washington, D.C. We’ve seen how legislation can impact business. Anti-franchising legislation exists and we must fight and win against policy proposals that can be harmful to our businesses. We all must understand the effect of specific rulings in every market and get involved in opposing anti-franchising bills whenever and wherever they may come up. We intend to continue to work diligently with the IFA, pro-free-enterprise legislators and industry lobbyists to pass positive franchise legislation that will protect our businesses.
Another issue we should remain mindful of is the safety and security of our franchisees and customers. It is clear that acts of terrorism can affect all people and all types of businesses. At Jani-King, we intend to continue with our Workplace Awareness Program that was established in 2004 to help identify potential threats of terrorism in the buildings our franchisees service. Jani-King franchisees are in a unique position to be threat identifiers in stadiums, airports, hotels, financial institutions, and any other buildings that we service. We will continue to include that groundbreaking program as part of Jani-King’s ongoing training efforts.
IFA Vice Chairman
1). The current economic “recovery” is well into its seventh year. Rising interest rates, international pressures and other factors will create headwinds for the U.S. economy in 2016. Amid this uncertainty, franchising will, once again, show its resilience because it is a product of local businesses serving local customers and a part of the fabric of Main Street America. NRD is in the restaurant business and there is no “app” to replace eating or providing an inviting environment for families to purchase nourishment (at least not yet!). We’re confident that if we continue to serve great food, recruit, train and incentivize our staff effectively, and provide a good value to our customers, we will continue to outperform. In such times, business is a market-share battle and the best operators will win.
2). Human Resources: As the unemployment rate decreases, recruiting quality personnel continues to be a challenge. Options for part-time, flex-time employment such as Uber driving have created new HR competition. Going forward, NRD will continue a successful incentive program to attract and retain top talent.
Real Estate: Continued urbanization is changing site-selection methodologies. As both young and older people prefer to exchange traditional suburban life for city centers, new thought has to be given to business location. NRD will be looking at new ways to predict customer patterns to take into account the changing marketplace.
Regulation: Rampant and ever-increasing government regulation is increasing compliance costs and introducing complexities into the day-to-day operations of relatively simple retail businesses. Margin pressures do not allow for offsets of these costs through price increases so we will be looking at business simplification and out-sourcing of more processes to help ease the burden and allow us to keep the focus on serving customers.
Saunda Kitchen, CFE
Mr. Rooter Plumbing
1). Entrepreneurs are inherently positive thinkers. Those of us in the franchising industry still face uncertainty in the coming year, especially with government over-regulation and a limited supply of top talent.
2). The top two issues facing my local franchise are: lack of qualified labor and complying with the uncertainty of government over-regulation. We spend tens of thousands of dollars for compliance of all our local and federal laws. When the NLRB makes rulings that jeopardize my relationship with my franchisor, it causes great concern. I didn’t buy myself a job, I bought myself a business.
The image of franchising needs to change. We are a local, family-run business that offers entry level training to learn a fantastic trade that takes our team through successful lifetime careers. A fully employed economy makes the labor market scarce. We continue to work hard to earn our coveted Best Places to Work in the North Bay recognition and attract top talent to our family-run franchise. The reality is, we wait for the great and the great are already working. Our recruiting efforts will remain robust in 2016, as will our dialogue with lawmakers as we continue to work closely with our franchisor to navigate the changing business climate in the franchising industry.
1). What is your outlook for your business and the overall franchise industry heading into 2016?
2). What are the top issues facing your business and what, if anything, will you being doing differently in your business in 2016?
Gordon B. Logan
CEO and Founder
Sport Clips Haircuts
1). 2016 is shaping up to be one of our best years ever, based on pre-approved sites for new stores next year and same store sales increases that are continuing to set records. Sport Clips is well positioned to take advantage of improved real estate opportunities that are developing in many markets, and our recruiting and retention efforts are having a positive impact on our franchisees’ profitability. We have identified new opportunities in our industry and will be introducing a totally new concept in 2016. I believe that franchising will continue to lead the economy in job creation and economic growth, in spite of hostile governmental intervention. It is amazing to me that franchising (and the American economy in general) is doing so well with all the roadblocks that governments at all levels are putting in our way. It speaks well of the resiliency of franchising that franchisors and franchisees continue to create jobs under all this pressure.
2). Top issues remain excessive government regulation at all levels, especially the NLRB co-employer rulings and discriminatory minimum wage attacks. Due to the NLRB positions, we have reviewed all of our policies, procedures and operations manuals to minimize the impact of these rulings, but this creates a lot of uncertainty for us.
Real estate availabilities seem to be better than in recent years, although rents are escalating at a rapid pace. Restrictive local regulations often delay the start of construction, and therefore openings, delaying the positive impact new businesses will have on the local economies. All of this increases the cost of opening new locations, which is an impediment to growth.
U.S. Department of Education regulations are starting to have a negative impact on cosmetology and barber schools, which provide us with a significant percentage of our new hires each year. We have been working with the schools to try to influence legislators to minimize the impact of overly aggressive regulations, although introducing change through legislation is a very difficult process.
Robert McDevitt, CFE
Senior Vice President Domestic/International Franchise Development & Quality Assurance
Golden Corral Buffet & Grill
1). The outlook for the franchise industry for 2016 is encouraging. With a growing economy, continued employment growth, low gas prices, little or no inflation and low interest rates there is reason for optimism. As the year progresses the current low interest rates will be at risk but that alone is not likely to take much momentum out of this trend.
2). Unfortunately, the franchise industry’s biggest challenges include the current external threats to the franchising business model in general. Chief among them are minimum wage legislation, state by state franchise legislation and the NLRB joint employer ruling. So, while the economy bodes well for industry growth, it is the responsibility of every business in the industry to take part in our IFA’s efforts to fight back on these misguided, anti-business and anti-job initiatives.
The restaurant industry has experienced modest growth (3 percent) in the past year. However, for the sixth consecutive year, almost all that industry growth is the result of higher prices. In an industry where success has always been the result of fresh new ideas and new ways of presenting old ones, the share battle will only intensify along these lines.
At Golden Corral, we are no exception. Our biggest internal challenges revolve around our ability to attract new customers and to inspire current customer loyalty in the face of constant new product and price pressures from our direct and indirect competitors. This calls for a sharper focus on execution of our concept enhanced by exciting new product ideas that motivate trial and frequency.
Catherine Monson, CFE
President and CEO
1). FASTSIGNS just concluded another record year in almost every metric: franchise sales, new center openings, center count, average center volume, network sales and franchisee satisfaction. We are confident we will continue on this strong trajectory in 2016. Our growth continues to be based on our exceptional franchisees, strong strategic positioning, expanded products and services, robust marketing and advertising, outstanding training, and ongoing focus on superior customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The franchise industry, as we know, is under attack at the federal, state and local levels. It is critical that every franchise executive, their corporate team, and their franchisees actively participate with the IFA’s government relations and grassroots advocacy efforts. I encourage every franchise CEO to actively inform their franchisees on these important issues and motivate them to get involved; our elected representatives want to hear from the business owners — the franchisees themselves -- and not from the franchisor. We need a coordinated effort to combat the forces working against us. Politics is a contact sport! We have an uphill battle against the NLRB’s joint-employer ruling, discriminatory minimum wage laws, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime rule changes. With all of us working together, we can make a difference and protect the franchise business model.
2). We will continue to focus on excellent execution of our strategic plan. As all businesses, we face the typical challenges of competition, finding and keeping the best employees, dealing with the tepid economy and the challenges posed by governmental interference. Specifically in response to the new NLRB definition of joint employer, we are modifying our operations manuals, re-training our staff on the risks of joint employer liability and how to modify how they conduct their business with our franchisees, reducing our interactions with franchisees’ employees, ensuring the franchisees’ employees understand that any training they take from us is optional, and working with our legal counsel to ensure we are doing all we can to protect our company from joint employer claims.
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels - Double P Corp.
1). I am bullish on our brands, which I believe have strong appeal to the consumer in almost any economic setting. I’m also optimistic about the franchise industry as a whole in the year ahead. Despite uncertainty surrounding the economy and world-wide events, consumers are still out there buying, and the franchise industry is strong.
2). My greatest concerns are with rising costs and regulatory overreach. In regards to costs, increasing wages, insurance, and related expenses may require us to increase prices, and adjust how we staff our stores. We always want the best people, and never want to compromise our consumer experience, so it's important that we address these issues carefully. In terms of regulatory over-reach, changes to the NLRB's definition of joint employer, along with numerous other regulatory initiatives, will disproportionately harm small business in general, and franchising in particular. This is grossly unfair, and will negatively impact both our employees and our customers. We will work hard in the year ahead to educate our elected officials on the negative ramifications of these rulings to have them reversed.
President and CEO
Sun Holdings, Inc.
1). We are optimistic about our business prospects. Our continued expansion allows us to benefit from economies of scale and helps us gain the financing of new construction and extensive remodeling efforts. I have less optimism for the franchise industry. The EEOC and NRLB rulings that greatly expand joint-employer status, among other things, have caused a paradigm shift to the franchise business model. It adversely affects both the franchisor and the franchisee. For one thing, franchisors may take be forced to drastically rewrite their franchise agreements to minimize the impact of these perverse rulings. It also creates more opportunity for employee lawsuits that are very expensive to defend regardless of whether the employer did anything wrong.
2). Wage Costs: A tightening labor market for lower wage employees, increases in the minimum wage, and possible immigration reform will raise labor costs that we cannot fully pass to the consumer. We are increasing our production output per employee by training employees to be more efficient and adopting new technology.
Healthcare Costs: The Affordable Care Act’s complexity has frustrated us, the employer, as much as our employees. For example, employees are complaining about the increases in premiums that they have to pay and are looking to us for answers. We are beefing up our HR department to find solutions.
New Laws: Laws seem to grow in number daily regulating what we may and may not do as employers and business owners. This makes planning and overall operations nearly impossible. We try to stay abreast of matters through organizations such as the IFA and adapt to the constant changes.
Karen Powell, CFE
Founder and CEO
Decor & You
1). Every year brings with it the climate for opportunity along with challenges — it is just that each year those possibilities and challenges vary, and 2016 is no different. I often say to my clients and franchisees that “I see possibility where others (you perhaps) do not.”
My personal perspective is that we are embarking on a great time as 2016 unfolds. The products and services offered by Decor & You and other franchises are all value providers to our customers. People today are very strapped for time. There is so much to do, both personally and professionally, that the more we streamline life, the more there seems to be to do. We provide the opportunity for our customers through our systems and tools to do more through experiencing life with us. We can assist with a project or take it on to a level and quality that brings a smile to their face. Just when they were overwhelmed and frustrated.
Our biggest challenge is communicating with our customers about what we do and how we can help. How did we know we needed a new iPad or iPhone? At D&Y, we do not have the communications budget of an Apple, so how do we help people understand the depth of how we can bring delight into their lives? That is the challenge for 2016 for all of us in business with the desire to provide value and grow our businesses.
2). Communication with clients and potential clients about deeper value: Our focus is to communicate the value we bring to a client. For us, it is not just about a product sale of a window treatment or piece of furniture or providing a room arrangement plan to utilize the space to a greater degree. It is all about creating space to love. It not only must look good, it must also feel good and function for those living in the space. And, that may not happen with the purchase of an item. We will be creating new tools for our clients and our Styleprint DecorDesigners.
Focusing in on the ROI for business investment: We will be laser focused on pulling resources together and utilizing them for our franchisees and our clients. This will encompass taking a strategic look at the unit (and how each unit has evolved in different areas) economics and plan to enhance those economics through a variety of methodologies to increase the results.
Education of franchisees to continually provide leading-edge design knowledge and application: Education is a constant theme at D&Y. We provide and encourage education in all areas of decorating design with practical application to the trends, style, health and safety, and preferences of our clients. We continually go deeper with respect to trends and application of design principles and the products available to fulfill.
Michael Seid, CFE
Managing Director, MSA Worldwide
Chief Concept Officer, CFWshops
1). The recent focus on joint employment has caused some companies to think twice about becoming franchisors, but it has also created an uptick in clients asking us to review how they are supporting their franchisees and the types of information they are providing to potential and existing franchisees. The NLRB discussion has also created challenges with some of the vicarious liability strategies being advanced by litigation counsel. This has resulted in an expansion in the number of franchisors requesting that we review and recommend changes to how they go to market, including to their offering documents, recruitment materials and programs, manuals, training, field and other support and services. Compliance audits, while once a luxury, are now a necessity.
The short-term implications regarding joint employer may appear significant but the issues that have surfaced appear mostly manageable and oddly long-term beneficial. Franchisors are better focused on structural and support issues and most of the changes being adopted will improve system performance for both the franchisor and franchisee. Challenges will be present for franchising during 2016, including those remaining from the recession, minimum wage laws, the joint-employer rule and a misunderstanding of NLRB by some.
On a positive note, capital is once again readily available for franchisees, and despite the push for an increase in minimum wages, investing in becoming a franchisee is still a very attractive option. These market dynamics will create opportunities for MSA as a consulting firm. For our firm and for franchising as a whole, I expect 2016 — while having some challenges — to be exceptional.
2). Recruiting professional staff with the capabilities and experience to properly advise our clients, given the number of industries in which we consult, will always be a challenge. Brand performance is closely aligned with meeting your brand promise and in a professional services firm like ours selectively recruiting the right professional staff to meet our clients’ needs and the growth of the practice is always a key focus.
Differentiating our practice from other consultants based on performance is easier with experienced franchisors that know us by reputation, but it can still be a bit of a challenge in the emerging franchisor market, where consulting services seem more fungible. Becoming a franchisor has few, if any, legal hurdles. Ensuring that a company should franchise before incurring the cost and risk of developing a franchise system is difficult, but we believe essential, and is part of why we have grown as well as we have.
MSA, as all companies in franchising, relies to a great extent on the performance of the IFA, its government relations support and how it portrays franchising in the media. I am proud of the performance of our association's professional staff and confident in the leadership style and direction that Robert Cresanti will bring to us. With two years remaining on my board tenure, providing any assistance I may be asked to deliver to the association will be an important part of my focus during 2016.
Shelly Sun, CFE
CEO and Co-Founder
BrightStar Group Holdings, Inc.
1). We expect double-digit, same-store-sales growth in 2016 for the 15th straight year, as well as acceleration in unit growth, coming off of our strongest franchise development run in five years. Our growth continues based upon key factors including demographic trends, maintaining the highest quality standards in the industry, delivering the highest quality service to our clients and their families, Joint Commission accreditation differentiation, national TV advertising, and investments in technology and talent. Also, we continue the expansion of our BrightStar Senior Living brand with the planned construction of five new properties.
The outlook for the franchise industry overall depends heavily on the IFA’s Government Relations Department, and the critical role it will play in defending the franchise model and protecting the unit economics of franchisees’ businesses against additional regulation. The franchise industry — both franchisors and franchisees — will be distracted by the NLRB joint-employer ruling, the Department of Labor’s exempt threshold changes, the ACA full implementation, and other new regulations and costs. Each leader and the industry in general must actively advocate and support the election of a U.S. president and members of Congress who will create an environment that better enables businesses to create more jobs and serve more customers.
2). We are preparing for the NLRB joint-employer ruling by moving from a centralized, hosted applicant tracking software solution to a decentralized franchisee-hosted and franchisee-funded solution, reviewing our agreements and operations manuals, and consulting with legal counsel to reduce the risk of joint-employer claims while protecting our brand.
We are looking forward to the exciting phase of growth of our newest brand launch, BrightStar Senior Living. In 2016, we will begin leveraging REITs and developers to assist us and our franchisees with expansion alternatives.
The healthcare industry is evolving as payers and providers focus on reducing costs by improving clinical outcomes. BrightStar Care has invested in technology to capture our clinical outcomes. In 2016, we will begin publishing our superior outcomes to demonstrate the value we can bring to our clients and partners.
BrightStar Care, BrightStar Senior Living and Mr. Handyman
1). The outlook in the senior care markets continues to be positive going into 2016.
2). Regulatory uncertainty of the NRLB joint-employer ruling, the exempt status of our Customer Care Managers and healthcare coverage costs are the largest issues external to our specific business. Within our business, the shortage of qualified care employees is our largest issue. We need to find creative ways to recruit and retain employees within small margins and a limited ability to raise customer billing rates.
Larry Weinberg, CFE
Cassels Brock LLP, Toronto
1). Notwithstanding the tumultuous times in which we live, I continue to see international expansion of franchise systems as a continually growing trend. And it is not just from the United States into other markets. Franchise systems from around the world are looking beyond their own borders. The reality, however, is that those from the United States are often the best equipped to do this right, and because of demand, they will continue to do so.
2). While the issue of franchisee-as-independent-contractor vs. employee is front and center in the United States, it is also an issue outside the states. There has always been a tension between the amount of control that a franchisor exerts, and the traditional legal definition of an employee and independent contractor. But with focused attention in the United States, franchisors in other countries can expect some renewed attention on the issue. It is certainly an issue here in Canada, so we are reviewing client franchise agreements in order to improve them regarding this concern.