If you live in Germany.....it's a better than fifty percent chance that you've heard about the Burger King episode of the past ten days. RTL's news team got within a Burger King franchise group...working at a couple of the franchise operations, and revealed a pretty lousy employee attitude, bad sanitary practices, and questionable sanitation standards.
Presently, clean-up is going on. What Burger King will admit in public within Germany...is that they've been hit hard on lack of customers for the past week or so. Revenues are down, and some Burger King operations are suffering a bit.
Burger King also generally says that the mass of Burger King franchises were up to standard....and they are being punished for the few who weren't. Unfair.....would be a good quote to make.
What's going on now? More coupons going out in mailings, which really hit hard on individual franchise operations....lessening profit. But the management guys think it's the only way to get customers to come back in.....in droves. There's an advertising campaign to start up.....talking about professional operations, and sanitary standards. This might help in some ways....but I suspect that BK has lost ten percent of their customer base on a permanent basis.
The odd piece that I found from yesterday's news (the Hamburg Abendblatt)....is that present and former BK employees have around 320 labor practices violations....residing in the court system (unsettled presently), with the one company who got into the whole BK mess (they own roughly eighty franchise operations). There's talk of 'bullying', extreme management practices, and violation of standard German labor rules.
Frankly, if I were BK Germany (the mother company).....I'd be in a fit presently because the court is going to look over at the RTL program, and start point a finger at incompetence or greed.....then fine the company. Thousands of Euro per episode? Yes. German courts rarely go to the extremes that you see in US courts. I doubt if any German employee would get more than 100,000 Euro for whatever they accused the franchise of doing. But you add up 320 employees, and let's say that eighty percent can prove their case....the franchise owner would be in dire consequences.
Considering the damage done, and damage left on the table with labor practices violations....it might be wise for BK to buy the eighty-odd franchises, and clean up the mess with some strong ethics-minded neutral guy looking at what was done. Maybe even admit that this is not the normal way that BK does business and insist on better way ahead.