Below is Harold Kestenbaum’s response to last night’s episode of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight show.
While I am a huge fan of John Oliver and his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, I feel that last night he went a little too far on his main topic, which was Subway, the sandwich franchisor. He blasted the company for many reasons, some, I will admit were justified, but many were not.
Fred DeLuca was a franchising pioneer, in the same mold as Ray Kroc and Dave Thomas, but Oliver was not bashful about trying to discredit Deluca and his accomplishments. His legacy is one that is revered in franchise history and not one that should be marred. Sure, many Subway franchisees buy a job and may not make the same money that McDonald’s franchisees do, but many of the Subway franchisees have done quite well over the years.
He made a point in saying that their franchise agreement was one-sided, well, I guess he has not read other major franchisors’ franchise agreements. They are all one-sided and should never be signed. But franchisees sign them and most know precisely what they are getting into. As for not having an Item 19 Financial Performance Representation, many major franchisors do not, and to criticize them for not having one is unfair. I think that Oliver owes the DeLuca family an apology for what he said and what he implied.