DENVER A group of more than 40 Quiznos Sub franchisees has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the operators of nearly 5,000 domestic franchised branches of the sandwich chain, alleging that the company has systematically defrauded franchisees in order to build the brand.
The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Denver, contends that the Denver-based Quiznos forces franchisees to purchase food, supplies and other services from the company or its affiliates at inflated prices, while setting artificially low retail prices for its products, making it difficult for franchisees to make a profit. The suit — whose specific complaints substantially mirror accusations against the franchisor made in at least one previous lawsuit — also accuses Quiznos of misrepresenting key facts about the stores’ operations to sell franchises. The lawsuit seeks damages for franchisees’ lost investments and a court order that would halt Quiznos’ allegedly improper actions.
Quiznos chief legal officer Rich Emmett said he was unimpressed with the substance of the lawsuit and was disappointed to see the action filed at a time when the sandwich chain been focused on improving store operations for its franchisees.
“Quiznos’ management is working extremely hard and with a tremendous degree of due diligence to improve profitability and communication with our franchisees,” Emmett said. “And for this plaintiff’s attorney to file the same case again, with a press release portending it to be something fresh and new, is a distraction from everything we and our franchisees are trying to do.”
The franchisees are represented by the Red Bank, N.J., law firm of Marks & Klein, which also is representing Quiznos franchisees in lawsuits in four other states.
The Toasted Subs Franchise Association, an independent group that represents disgruntled Quiznos franchisees, helped file the class-action lawsuit.
Earlier this week, Quiznos settled a legal dispute with former TSFA president Chris Bray, who owns two Quiznos units in Killeen, Texas. Bray would not comment on the settlement but has agreed to sell his stores.