Unfortunately, this is not unusual. History is littered with franchise companies that have hit the skids, including Dial-A-Mattress, Benningan's and Bally's Total Fitness.
So what happens to the entrepreneur who is heavily invested in a failing franchise brand that's going broke? Often, the small-business owner feels the trickle-down effect right away but has to soldier on.
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A Quiznos franchisee that spoke to CNBC.com on the condition of anonymity summed up his experience: "There has been a decline in support. The corporate and field office support staff has shrunk. We are having a lot of issues with food quality and consistency."
But even as the operational help at Quiznos has taken a dive, the entrepreneur is still required to pay his royalties as usual. That is taking a toll on his bottom line, since sales are plummeting as Quiznos reduces its national marketing efforts. "I think it would be safe to say that the majority of the franchisees would like to leave if they had a decent exit strategy," the franchisee admitted.
For its part, Quiznos' corporate office told CNBC that it has moved to shore up franchises with various lifelines since emerging from bankruptcy, "and we've seen immediate results."
In a statement, Quiznos said that it was "pleased with the support and initiatives to date and look forward to more success as franchisees better realize results of these changes."
Franchise experts say that too many franchisees go into business without doing enough research into the company they're getting involved with. Here are some tips for avoiding franchise disaster.