Photo of Ritchie Taylor, CFE

Ritchie founded and leads the firm’s franchise practice where for 20 years he has served as the primary franchise counsel to hundreds of franchisors, franchisees, and dealer networks in their franchise and business matters. He has decades of experience helping domestic and international franchisors design and grow their franchise systems with innovative, but compliant, franchise disclosure documents, franchise agreements, area development agreements, and master franchise agreements.  Ritchie’s clients benefit from his wealth of experience representing both sector leading franchisors as well as innovating emerging concepts.  He has substantial experience representing franchise systems operating in the hospitality, restaurant, retail, and home services industries.

As the leader of the largest franchise law practice in the Carolinas, Ritchie represents franchisor clients as their strategic advisor through all phases of growing and protecting their brand including franchise compliance, advertising fund administration, and state enforcement actions.

Ritchie guides franchise clients through mission-critical transactions including equity and debt transactions as well as mergers and acquisitions. He has served as the member of deal teams conducting merger, acquisition, and joint venture transactions in almost all 50 states and internationally, with aggregate transaction value exceeding $3 billion.  Private equity funds retain him to both advise them on franchise due diligence during a transaction and to represent their franchisor portfolio companies post-transaction.

Ritchie is a recognized thought leader in franchising across the Carolinas and nationally. He supports franchising through his active involvement in the International Franchise Association (“IFA”) as a long-time member of the IFA Membership and Legal/Legislative Committees. Ritchie also serves on the IFA Supplier Forum’s Board of Directors and as a member of the IFA’s Emerging Franchisor Task Force. Additionally, he is the first North Carolina attorney to receive the Certified Franchise Executive (“CFE”) designation awarded by the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives (“ICFE”). For the last 6 years, Ritchie served on the ICFE’s Board of Governors, which develops the CFE curriculum as the premier training program for franchise executives.

He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association Business Law Section Council and is the founding chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Committee on Franchising. For the last decade, Ritchie has been the course planner and taught continuing education programs on franchise law for other North Carolina attorneys.  Ritchie’s peers chose him as the first North Carolina attorney ever listed in both Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America for his work in franchise law.

Franchise disclosure obligations and registration can carry significant costs of compliance and can be an administrative burden. Initially drafting a compliant Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) is a time-intensive process. Then the franchisor must update the FDD annually for as long as it wishes to sell franchises. State registration of the franchisor and review of the FDD can further delay franchise sales. Additionally, an FDD contains confidential information that the franchisor may not wish to make public, especially if the business is a particularly sensitive to competition. Franchise laws restrict otherwise legal sales practices, such as making financial performance representations outside of Item 19, which can be another frustration for franchisors.

Exemptions to the franchise disclosure and registration laws provide both seasoned and start up franchisors the opportunity to reduce these burdens and costs by either (1) avoiding registration in a state or (2) avoiding drafting an FDD at all.
Continue Reading FTC Franchise Exemptions: Leased Departments, Petroleum Sellers, and Oral Contracts

Franchise disclosure obligations and registration can carry significant costs of compliance and can be an administrative burden. Initially drafting a compliant Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) is a time-intensive process. Then the franchisor must update the FDD annually for as long as it wishes to sell franchises. State registration of the franchisor and review of the FDD can further delay franchise sales. Additionally, an FDD contains confidential information that the franchisor may not wish to make public, especially if the business is a particularly sensitive to competition. Franchise laws restrict otherwise legal sales practices, such as making financial performance representations outside of Item 19, which can be another frustration for franchisors.

Exemptions to the franchise disclosure and registration laws provide both seasoned and start up franchisors the opportunity to reduce these burdens and costs by either (1) avoiding registration in a state or (2) avoiding drafting an FDD at all.
Continue Reading FTC Franchise Exemptions: Fractional Franchises

Franchise disclosure obligations and registration can carry significant costs of compliance and can be an administrative burden. Initially drafting a compliant Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) is a time-intensive process. Then the franchisor must update the FDD annually for as long as it wishes to sell franchises. State registration of the franchisor and review of the FDD can further delay franchise sales. Additionally, an FDD contains confidential information that the franchisor may not wish to make public, especially if the business is a particularly sensitive to competition. Franchise laws restrict otherwise legal sales practices, such as making financial performance representations outside of Item 19, which can be another frustration for franchisors.

Exemptions to the franchise disclosure and registration laws provide both seasoned and start up franchisors the opportunity to reduce these burdens and costs by either (1) avoiding registration in a state or (2) avoiding drafting an FDD at all.
Continue Reading FTC Franchise Exemptions: Large Investment Exemption

Franchise disclosure obligations and registration can carry significant costs of compliance and can be an administrative burden. Initially drafting a compliant Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) is a time-intensive process. Then the franchisor must update the FDD annually for as long as it wishes to sell franchises. State registration of the franchisor and review of the FDD can further delay franchise sales.

Continue Reading FTC Franchise Exemptions: Insiders Exemption

Franchise disclosure obligations and registration can carry significant costs of compliance and can be an administrative burden. Initially drafting a compliant Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) is a time-intensive process. Then the franchisor must update the FDD annually for as long as it wishes to sell franchises. State registration of the franchisor and review of the FDD can further delay franchise sales. Additionally, an FDD contains confidential information that the franchisor may not wish to make public, especially if the business is particularly sensitive to competition. Franchise laws restrict otherwise legal sales practices, such as making financial performance representations outside of Item 19, which can be another frustration for franchisors.

Exemptions to the franchise disclosure and registration laws provide both seasoned and start up franchisors the opportunity to reduce these burdens and costs by either (1) avoiding registration in a state or (2) avoiding drafting an FDD at all.

In this blog post series, we summarize the exemptions available under the Federal Trade Commission Franchise Rule (“Rule”), which allow a franchisor to sell a franchise without an FDD. Any analysis of what exemptions apply to your brand is incomplete if you do not also consider the application of state law. States may not recognize the federal exemptions and may offer different exemptions to their registration requirements.


Continue Reading FTC Franchise Exemptions: Minimum Payment Exemption

Franchise disclosure obligations and registration can carry significant costs of compliance and can be an administrative burden. Initially drafting a compliant Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) is a time-intensive process. Then the franchisor must update the FDD annually for as long as it wishes to sell franchises. State registration of the franchisor and review of the FDD can further delay franchise sales. Additionally, an FDD contains confidential information that the franchisor may not wish to make public, especially if the business is a particularly sensitive to competition. Franchise laws restrict otherwise legal sales practices, such as making financial performance representations outside of Item 19, which can be another frustration for franchisors.

Exemptions to the franchise disclosure and registration laws provide both seasoned and start up franchisors the opportunity to reduce these burdens and costs by either (1) avoiding registration in a state or (2) avoiding drafting an FDD at all.

In this blog post series, we summarize the exemptions available under the Federal Trade Commission Franchise Rule (“Rule”), which allow a franchisor to sell a franchise without an FDD. Any analysis of what exemptions apply to your brand is incomplete if you do not also consider the application of state law. States may not recognize the federal exemptions and may offer different exemptions to their registration requirements.


Continue Reading FTC Franchise Exemptions: Large Franchisee Exemption

In 2020, most franchises experienced unprecedented disruptions in both franchise operations and development.  Franchisors should consider how to use their FDD update process to position their brand for success with both prospective and existing franchisees.  In this webinar, leading franchise attorney Ritchie Taylor shares actionable strategies to maximize success as we enter the new

Despite the challenges of COVID-19 for many franchise systems, franchisors can still be successful in supporting their current franchisees and recruiting new franchisees. In this webinar, Steve Beagelman, President & CEO of SMB Franchise Advisors, discusses the best practices for improved franchise development during the COVID-19 “new normal.”

Franchisors must begin by ensuring that

In 2020, banks had to contend with general new underwriting guidance in SOPs, COVID-19 specific underwriting guidance, and the rules about the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). All of these circumstances impacted the availability of funding for franchisors and franchisees. Despite the uncertainties about the economy and trend towards more conservative lending, the good news is

How to Avoid Litigation in Franchising

There is a host of issues that can arise in a relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee. If not properly addressed, some of these issues can mushroom into legal sparring or even full-blown litigation.

Common issues include the enforcing of system standards, franchisees performing below their and/or the franchisor’s expectations, adapting to changes in the marketplace, diverging values and principles, or compliance with federal and state laws that regulate the franchise relationship.

No matter what the particular catalyst, there are several critical steps a franchisor can take to help assuage – or even avoid – legal issues.
Continue Reading How to Avoid Litigation in Franchising