A number of current and former franchisees with the US pizza chain Papa Johns are taking the Dutch franchise company to court, arguing they have been misled by the organisation and are now thousands of euros in debt.
The group, a total of 19 former and current franchisees, are attempting to sequester €4m in assets owned by the Papa John’s Nederland’ headquarters.
The franchisees claim they were promised a ‘golden future’ with the company but say the terms and conditions are so tight that it is impossible to make money. Some now owe hundreds of thousands of euros.
‘I have never come across a franchise operation which has made such as mess as Papa John’s and left such a trail of destruction in its wake,’ lawyer Herman Knotter, who represents the franchisees, told broadcaster NOS.
Remy Albers, lawyer for the Dutch franchise operation, told the Financieele Dagblad that the legal documents are not substantiated but declined to make any further comments.
According to the Financieele Dagblad, there are currently 28 Papa Johns restaurants in the Netherlands, four of which are empty. Most have changed hands at least once. The franchise operation was set up in the Netherlands in 2016 with ambitious plans to open at least 100 shops.
A spokesman for Papa John’s International told DutchNews.nl it is the responsibility of the master franchisee in the Netherlands to provide support and services to its sub-franchisees.
‘Papa John’s International is not a party to the agreements between the master franchisee and sub-franchisees. We hope the parties bring their dispute to an amicable resolution,’ the spokesman said.
The lower house of parliament is currently working on legislation which would toughen up the laws governing franchise operations, particularly the provision of information to potential recruits.
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