29 CFR § 779.232 - Franchise or other arrangements which create a larger enterprise.

§ 779.232 Franchise or other arrangements which create a larger enterprise.

(a) In other instances, franchise arrangements do result in bringing a dealer's business into a larger enterprise with the one granting the franchise. Where the franchise arrangement results in vesting control over the operations of the dealer's business in the one granting the franchise, the result is to place the dealer in a larger enterprise with the one granting the franchise. Where there are multiple units to which such franchises have been granted, the several dealers are considered to be subject to the common control of the one granting the franchise and all would be included in the same larger enterprise.

(b) It is not possible to lay down specific rules to determine whether a franchise or other agreement is such that a single enterprise results because all the facts and circumstances must be examined in the light of the definition of the term “enterprise” as discussed above in this subpart. However, the following example illustrates a franchising company and independently owned retail establishments which would constitute a single enterprise:

(1) The franchisor had developed a system of retail food store operations, built up a large volume of buying power, formulated rules and regulations for the successful operation of stores together constituting a system which for many years proved in practice to be of commercial value to the separate stores; and

(2) The franchisor desired to extend its business through the operation of associated franchise stores, by responsible persons in various localities to act as limited agents, and to be parts of the system, to the end that the advantages of and the profits from the business could be enjoyed by those so associated as well as by the franchisor; and

(3) The stores were operated under the franchise as part of the general system and connected with the home office of the franchisor from which general administrative jurisdiction was exercised over all franchised stores, wherever located; and

(4) The stores operated under the franchise agreement were always subject to the general administrative jurisdiction of the franchisor and agreed to comply with it; and

(5) The stores operated under the franchise agreed to install appliances, fixtures, signs, etc. according to plans and specifications provided by the franchisor and to purchase their merchandise through the franchisor except to the extent that the latter may authorize local purchase of certain items; and

(6) The stores operated under the franchise agreed to participate in special promotions, sales and advertising as directed by the franchisor, to attend meetings of franchise store operators and to pay a fee to the franchisor at the rate of one-half of 1 percent of total gross sales each month for the privileges to them and the advantages and profits derived from operating a local unit of the franchisor's system; and

(7) The franchisor under the franchise agreement had the right to place on a prohibited list any merchandise which it considered undesirable for sale in a franchise store, and the stores operated pursuant to the franchise agreed to immediately discontinue sale of any such blacklisted merchandise.

(c) It is clear from the facts and circumstances surrounding this franchise arrangement described in paragraph (b) of this section that the operators of the franchised establishments are denied the essential prerogatives of the ordinary independent businessman because of restrictions as to products, prices, profits and management. The last paragraph of the Senate Report quoted in § 779.229 makes clear that in such cases the franchised establishment, dealer, or concessionaire will be considered an integral part of the related activities of the enterprise which grants the franchise, right, or concession.