Orlando headquarters closes, founder resigns
Chris Kaufman of the Orlando Business Journal reports that the Orlando corporate headquarters of Breakfast Club of America, shut down last week and the founder resigned — leaving investors, franchisees and noteholders saying they are owed in excess of $1 million.
Even though a last-minute deal may be in the works with an undisclosed local party to buy the high-end networking/business development company, the dispute already has produced one federal lawsuit and a lot of finger-pointing, say the people involved.
Nevertheless, says Lyn Patrick, co-owner of Florida Business Interiors in Lake Mary and an investor/board member of the Breakfast Club, “A positive conclusion is still a possibility. If that happens, the whole organization could go forward.”
The idea behind the Breakfast Club concept is to bring top-flight companies together to develop business in a monthly breakfast setting that combines trade show elements with a high-end speaker. The franchise, says some, is not quite dead yet.
One of the first Breakfast Club franchisees, the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce — which paid $100,000 a year for three years for the local rights — recently ended its franchise relationship a few weeks ago, but “had a spectacular run for three years, and our members were very happy with the club,” says President Jacob Stuart.
Stuart says the chamber decided to move in a new direction and has other products and services that compete with the Breakfast Club.
Meanwhile, other franchisees, such as Tracy Bailey, president of the Atlanta Breakfast Club, say they’re pulling together and working to keep their individual franchises running.
Bailey, who bought her franchise rights two years ago, had the initial kickoff event last week, which she described as phenomenal. She adds, “We’re all moving forward, with or without the headquarters.”
Could it be that once franchisees like the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce learn their secrets, they don’t need the franchisor anymore?
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