Too Many FOAs Is A Serious Problem
I’ve been in the 7-Eleven system for a very long time and I’ve seen my share of ups and downs.
As the Vice President of the FOAC and Vice Chairman of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF), I am very aware of the activities of other 7-Eleven FOAs throughout the country and how they run their associations. I can honestly say that most of them, without a doubt, truly care about their franchisees and want to do what’s best to help them succeed.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true for all 7-Eleven FOAs.
In recent years, I’ve seen first-hand what can happen when franchisees decide to break away from their existing FOA to start their own association. I can tell you it’s not good. It’s not good for the original FOA, it’s not good for the newly formed FOA, and it’s definitely not good for the franchisees. Not only does it create fragmentation and division on a local level, but the ripple effect is felt nationally, as well.
Then why do they do it?
I’ll tell you why. In most cases, these are individuals who, for one reason or another, believe that they have been wronged or mistreated by the FOA that they belonged to. Typically, their feelings somehow got hurt, and for their own selfish reasons, they decide to form an association of their own so they can have complete control and power.
Believe me, these individuals don’t care at all about the franchisees or the negative impact of their decisions. All they want to do is satisfy their self-serving motives and extremely large egos. It’s a very sad and unfortunate situation.
From my personal experience, things escalate quickly and get very ugly when an existing FOA breaks up and the two groups get into dirty politics and finger pointing. Not only is it upsetting and disruptive to the franchisees, but it also effects the vendors.
Our vendor partners want to support all FOAs, but there’s only so much they can do with their limited funds. The formation of new FOAs creates frustration for the vendors and unnecessary financial challenges. They’re not happy having to choose one FOA over another. It’s simply not fair to put them in this position, but that’s what the leaders of these newly formed FOAs are doing.
Having seen this time and time again, there is growing concern about the requirements necessary to form a new franchise owners association. In my opinion, there is an immediate need to revise our by-laws to stop, or at the very least, slow down the creation of new FOAs. They seem to be popping up all over, and to be honest it’s getting out of hand and absolutely ridiculous, especially due to the self-serving reasons behind them.
Now to be fair, not all FOAs are formed by disgruntled franchisees. In some cases, franchisees have complained that meetings are too far away and that it’s difficult to participate. But, rather than starting a new FOA to accommodate these individuals, a smarter solution would be for the FOA leadership to plan meetings in various locations each month, making it easier for all members to attend; exactly like SEI does for market meetings. Distance alone should not be a reason to form a new FOA!
I firmly believe that now is the time for the NCASEF leaders to take a stand and do what’s right for the sake of our NCASEF and the franchisees it represents.
Our current leadership is fully aware of the urgent need to send a powerful and clear message that unity is a priority! We must put an end to the formation of new breakaway FOAs and put stronger policies in place to discourage franchisees from doing so. The cycle of division and fragmentation needs to end now. The best interests of the franchisee community must come first.