Coalition of Franchisee Associations

October 14, 2019

Control Freaks in Action

Tension reemerges between McDonald’s and its franchisees - Restaurant Business


Anonymous said...

Dear NOA Members,

We have reached an impasse with the company that will come to light in the near future. We want everyone to be aware of the situation. The company wants our owner leadership to sign non disclosure agreements (NDA’s) that significantly reduce their ability to work on your behalf. NDA’s were used against past leadership owners and we have all felt the effects. Our past leaders had no competent advisors and little connection with the field. They couldn’t support the authority of the majority because they had no way of knowing it. NDA’s are the company’s way of cutting off your owner leadership from the field. We must urge our operator leadership to say no to NDA’s.

The company will argue that they are just protecting the brand. That they must keep trade secrets away from our competitors. We do not disagree but we are under no illusion who the company really wants the secrets kept from. We are also under no illusion that NDA’s work in keeping trade secrets out of the press. NDA’s have been used for the past ten years with very little success. Our marketing plans have all been leaked, from the launch of D123 to the latest spicy barbecue launch. We shouldn’t telegraph our strategic moves but we should weigh what’s more important, producing great products, promotions, and service or keeping it a secret.

NDA’s sever the connection between the NFLA and the NOA. Our leadership owners were overwhelmingly elected because of your NOA support. It’s our support they now need to effectively do their jobs. They rely on it and are much more powerful because of it. We are more powerful together. We get to much better solutions because of this connection. Solutions that work in the field. Solutions that work for our teams and our customers. It’s our unity that must not be divided. NDA’s divide us.

Our founders, Dick, Mac, Ray, and Fred loved cleanliness. They were obsessed with it. The brand was built on it. We are squeaky clean and our customers love us for it. Sunlight is the ultimate disinfectant. The truth loves the light and lies abhor it. Secrets are the opposite of cleanliness. They are dirty which is different from messy. Messes are going to happen, especially in a restaurant. Milk is going to get spilt. But we don’t let it go sour. Secrets are the truth gone sour. NDA’s block the light and sour the milk. They also sour the relationship. Say no to NDA’s.

Your NOA Board

Anonymous said...

This is hardly the full story. I'm hearing a lot of movement from corporate these days

Anonymous said...

TENSIONS? You ain't seen nothing yet. Wait until the press finds out that MCD is trying to force Operators into signing NDAs! MCD has itself to blame!

Anonymous said...

Comment #2 probably from a MCD pajama boy.

Anonymous said...

MCD is playing the typical franchisor playbook when faced with an independent franchisee association that it has begun to fear blocking its agenda to transfer wealth from franchisees to itself.

One step is to starve the association of sponsorship money. NOA simply can't allow it. Other associations have overcome these tactics. NOA can, too.

NDAs are another play out of the same book. The overarching theme of that chapter is "divide and conquer." Split franchisees into silos and tamp them down separately by not allowing them to share information.

The NDA is, of course, backwards. The franchisees have MUCH more invested in the system than MCD employees do. They can jump to another job for more money, spilling their secrets along the way. Operators are literally married to the system and can never just get up and freely leave easily, if at all. There is ZERO upside for an operator to disclose any competitive secret. None.

There are multitude reasons that a MCD employee or agency or other vendor would be eager to do it.

Don't be fooled. NOA must ride this out and counter the strategy.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a real problem with NDAs for OPNAD,(although the vast majority of marketing planning leaks DO NOT come from Operators!). On the other hand, I have a real problem with NDAs on the NFLA.
It was NDAs that handcuffed the old NLC reps, resulting in a endorsement without field input of the disastrous BBV2020 contract which was ill conceived and VERY bad for Operators. Elected operator representatives should NEVER be forced to exclude the folks that they represent of information and plans. This is simply another dictatorial play by MCD to isolate operators from the basic facts needed to act in the operators own best interests.(Thanks Stock Price Steve & Clueless Chris K)

NFLA/NOA/ elected Operator leadership should refuse to sign NDAs at all costs.


Anonymous said...

Why have operator representatives if they are not allowed to talk to the operators? It makes no sense. I know the arguments about trade secret's but there are so many other sources of leaks. Agencies, for sure as has been pointed out. The other is the regional offices. Regional employee's want to appear important by knowing something others don't know so they will "confide" in other employee's, operators, suppliers, neighbors, to make themselves look important and on the real inside. Truth is anyone can find out anything they want to know. The company thinks that the new kitchen equipment is being held in great secrecy, not true. Same with technology. Siblings, cousins, best friends and others working in technology can find out anything anyone wants to know. The use of NDA's is a scare tactic. Try to fire someone for violating an NDA a good employment Attorney will make them look foolish.

Anonymous said...

Just maybe and you never know Chris K and Morgan F are leakers as they have many contacts outside McDonald's more than any NFLA Franchisee and if they leak say an OPNAD plan and the competition counters it with something which they always seem to do quicker and faster then we are forced to vote and pass their plan. Their goal is to drive TC's, it is all about the top-line revenue, O/O cash flow is just talking points for the field, FBP & OA's to work on.

Anonymous said...

We make a damn hamburger... what do you need a NDA for? Damn pizza company allows their customers to order with an emoji... it took MCD 8 years to combine the damn drink with an EVM on a receipt.

NDA is only a method of control, plain and simple. Corporation smells blood in the water, and now they are sending in the sharks. Operators have proprietary clauses in the franchise agreement, and their life savings invested; thats signatory enough!

So much playing Mr Nice NOA Guy... ready to slap the table yet?

Anonymous said...

If nobody signs an NDA, what can they possibly do? Act angry? Bwahahahaha.

It's vital that NO ONE signs. The management NEEDS to divide operators on this. Once a few people crack, it's over.

This is where NOA MUST come in and lead, strongly, without flinching and keep its members and non members alike holding the line.

The importance of unity cannot be over stated. Lose on this, then you should just bend over and do whatever your master tells you to do because that's how management sees it.

Anonymous said...

Will an NDA be attached to the re-write letter???

Anonymous said...

Has anyone even ever tried to refuse to sign an NDA?? Consequences?

Anonymous said...

"Has anyone even ever tried to refuse to sign an NDA?? Consequences?"

Yes. Other systems' franchisees have done this, most notably Burger King and Dunkin's franchisee associations. Consequences: management team was fired and completely replaced with a more franchisee friendly team (Dunkin) or the company was sold with a new, much smarter management team (BK).

in McDonalds' system, there really wasn't ever an historical need to defy the management team because they used to believe in the three-legged stool business model. That appears to no longer be the case. With the advent of such aggressive financial engineering (e.g. borrowing billion$ to do share buyback$) pressure to pay off the debt could keep them on this same non-franchisee friendly track.