Photo of Ashley Nielsen, CFE

As a member of the largest franchise practice in North Carolina, she regularly counsels start-up and early-stage franchisors in building their brands and navigating complex state and federal franchise regulations.   She also serves as general corporate counsel to these and other retail and restaurant clients and assists with transactions that range from routine to complex.  Ashley has extensive experience preparing franchise disclosure documents (“FDDs”), which benefits not only the franchisors who seek her strategic advice, but also the franchisees who hire her to evaluate FDDs and negotiate franchise agreements and leases.  Ashley speaks to franchisors and teaches other attorneys about franchising and related topics.   In 2019, she received the Certified Franchise Executive (“CFE”) designation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted business in 2020, from government stay at home orders that prevented operations to adjusted customer service capacity or additional safety procedures. Some of these changes to your franchise system may be what the FTC or states regard as “material”, meaning the change likely affects a prospective franchisee’s conduct or

Developing a Social Media Policy for Franchise Systems

Effective use of social media is challenging for any business, but creating a strategy that works for an entire franchise system can be even more difficult.  Once that strategy is developed, it needs to be supplemented with a social media policy that protects you and your franchisees.

Below are four things to consider as you develop a social media policy.
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You have worked hard to grow your business and brand.  The last thing you want to do is give it all away.  A carefully drafted non-competition agreement can protect your brand and trade secrets.

Well-drafted, enforceable non-compete agreements include the following elements:

Narrow List of Prohibited Activities

Courts are increasingly focusing on balancing former franchisees’