To those who are interested in franchising a food cart, please beware and make sure of the following:
1. LESSON 1: If itís a promo or the franchise is cheap, check if there's a catch.
I recently purchased a promo (2 streetcarts with the equipment for the price of around P/ 55,000) last Sept 2, 2006 from ALL U NEED Enterprises. I thought the company was/is rep*table because it was offering many products(siopao, siomai, fries, hotdog, etc). But unfortunately, my experience with them so far has been HORRIBLE.
Aside from the many delays before they actually delivered the food cart, the equipment were delivered at a later date and most of them were either rusty or defective! The siopao steamer was leaking, the griddles were rusty, the glass juicer was leaking, the light for the food cart was not working . .. .
The supposed trainor merely asked my sister (who received the equipment) for sandpaper to remove the rust from the griddle. Then when he used the griddle, the table top of the food cart got burnt! And to make matters more irritating, he merely suggested that the cart needs repainting (at our expense and inconvenience).
Now, we texted and called the company's representative to complain and they sent an electrician to check the equipment and he said the griddle was defective and dangerous to use. The company promised to have someone sent over to repaint the damaged and burnt food cart (caused by their trainor). They sent somebody to replace the steamer, the juicer but not the griddle.
When I called last Friday (Oct 20) and asked their representative why most of the equipment they sent were defective, she just kept apologizing. I asked why they didnít check the equipment before delivering them to us and her reply was: because WE (us) were in a hurry, and because they wanted to get the equipment first thing in the morning to us, they NO LONGER GOT the chance to check the equipment!
My husband also called them that Friday and he was promised that the defective griddle would be replaced. He also asked for a meeting with the owners of the company.
Last Monday (Oct 23) we met with the owners to complain about their lousy service. After so many excuses,(they were "clueless" about our case, problems with the supplier , it was the first time it happened to them -- one damaged equipment, we can say its a lemon or a fluke BUT MOST OF THE EQUIPMENT WERE DEFECTIVE etc) they eventually promised to replace the griddle. We told them that the new juicer that they sent us was again leaking. And they promised again to replace it as well as the damaged cart.
2. LESSON 2: Before signing a contract, first make sure that it is stipulated there how things will be delivered, setup and commissioned. Check if they have performance requirements in the delivery of the biz project to its full operation on time as well as it's penalty for its delay and failure including insurance to your operational loses with the facility rental (quoting from the advice of an Entreplink member, Mr. Ohrlie)
Part II of my nightmare story: Oct 24, holiday, I get a text message from the company's representatives informing me that they are at our shop and ready to replace the damaged food cart. I sent my sister to accommodate them since I was in a meeting.
I get another text message from my sister that one of the companyís guys brought sand paper and was starting to remove (again!) the rust from the two griddles. I called and asked to talk to the representative. I told her their owners have promised to replace the griddles.
The representative was insisting that the two griddles were working fine, all we had to do was place something underneath it so as the table top of the food cart wont burn again! I told them THEIR electrician told us that it was defective. I asked them point blank: Will u replace the griddles or not, and she said "NO".
Now in my head I was thinking: Are these people actually taking us for fools - first their electrician says its defective, and now these two people are insisting the griddles are working fine when one of them was the one who actually burnt the table top in the first place! First the owners say they would replace it, now they are saying they wont,. . .)
I rushed to the shop and on the way spoke to the representative again, she asked me who was the electrician who told us that the griddle was defective. I told her - why is she asking me, donít u have records of people you send to your customers?!
Then she told me that the electrician who came and told us that the griddle was defective WAS NOT QUALIFIED to say so because he is only the electrician for the food cart light (apparently, she knew who the electrician was in the first place!). She said they already reprimanded him - I asked her, was he a representative of your company, and she said yes but only for the food cart light. .. . I told her the owners promised that they would replace the griddle and they should have informed us about this new information in our previous meeting: The electrician we sent wasnít qualified to say the griddle was defective, we will send a new one to check the equipment and see if they need replacing or not.
(And ASSUMING, the griddles were not defective as they insist, we will be cooking food on it so the RUST that they have been trying to remove for two sessions already, is not a good sign either)
When I got to the shop, they started saying they would replace the griddles already. She said she was not advised by their owners about it because she left early the day before. I told her - your company seems to have internal communication problems. And they have been wasting our time with their delays and now this - I had to rush to meet them and leave my meeting because they said they wont replace the griddles and they are just removing the rust with sandpaper!
Anyway, that was the final straw for me and I decided I didn't want to be part of their company anymore. It was the culmination of all their inefficiencies and lousy service and poor quality control and poor management style (communication, miscommunication, the bosses being "CLUELESS". . . ).I asked them to leave all the damaged cart/equipment (whatever was left from the ones they have already replaced) and sent them a letter asking for a refund and then, by all means they can take their food carts and equipment (damaged and sub-standard as they are)
Remember, I paid Sept 2 and until now, have not been able to start operations because of delays in getting the food cart, then delays in getting the complete equipment, and then delays again because most were defective. Despite the meeting with the owners on Monday (Oct 23) and their promises, the following day (Oct 24), they were again singing a different tune!
I sent my letter asking for a refund last Oct 24 and I have not heard anything from their company. But just imagine the stress and inconvenience this company has caused me. But I figured, I have been through so much headaches with this company already when I havenít even started the business - what's the point of continuing the franchise agreement?! What's the point of promoting a company that you have had horrible experiences from? I have lost my trust in that company and my personal experience so far is that it is bad business and bad service.
As for getting our money back. . . . I remember what the owners said to us in our Oct 23rd meeting when we were complaining of their bad service: that they . . . "only earned P/ 8,000 from the money we paid for the promo". I donít know what that's supposed to mean and why exactly they had to tell us that when we are their customers who HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANY OF OUR MONEY'S WORTH (P/ 55,000 (almost)) - promo or not promo.
Hope others can learn from my experience. . .