McDonald’s Franchisees Rebel as Chain Raises Store Fees

McDonald's Franchisees Rebel as Chain Raises Store FeesMcDonald’s Corp., already struggling to sell burgers in the U.S., now must contend with a brewing franchisee revolt.

Store operators say the company, looking to improve its bottom line, is increasingly charging them too much to operate their restaurants – including rent, remodeling and fees for training and software. The rising costs are making franchisees, who operate almost 90 percent of the chain’s more than 14,100 U.S. locations, less likely to open new restaurants and refurbish them, potentially constraining sales.

McDonald’s is “doing everything they can to shift costs to operators,” said Kathryn Slater-Carter, who in June joined other franchisees in Stockton, California, to brainstorm ways of getting the chain to lessen the cost burden. “Putting too much focus on Wall Street is not a good thing in the long run.

‘‘It is not as profitable a business as it used to be,’’ said Slater-Carter, who owns two McDonald’s stores and backs California legislation that would require good faith and fair dealing between parties in a franchise contract. It would also allow franchisees to associate freely with fellow store owners.

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