A group of Edible Arrangements Quebec franchisees have filed a lawsuit against the American based company claiming they failed to provide them with French language business materials.
The lead plaintiffs in the Edible Arrangements lawsuit include three franchise owners located in the French-speaking province, providing fruit and candy displays as an alternative to bouquets of flowers or other gifts. They are seeking $2.7 million in damages over allegations that the company enticed franchise owners into purchasing locations in Quebec, but failed to provide marketing materials and other “basic needs” of franchisees.
According to the Edible Arrangements website, the company was founded in 1999 by Tariq Farid in East Haven, Conn. Its first Canadian Franchise was opened in 2003 in Toronto. The Financial Times reports that the company raked in $442 million in sales in 2019.
Canadian Franchises Allegedly Treated as Just Another State
One of the franchise owners told Global News Canada that he feels Edible Arrangements has forgotten about Canada and Quebec in particular.
“They need to understand they can’t just jump into Canada thinking we’re another state,” he told reporters. “We are not. We are Canadians, we are Quebecers, we have our own culture our own tradition.”
Further, the Edible Arrangements lawsuit Canada reportedly contends that the company increased the total commission for online orders from 5.5% to 20%. The plaintiffs say that they have faced other forms of discrimination that have harmed their business, including being denied access to recent remote marketing presentations related to COVID-19 and otherwise being generally isolated from communicating with franchise owners outside of Quebec.
Edible Arrangements Quebec Franchises Left in the Cold
The Edible Arrangements lawsuit contends that Edible Arrangement franchises in Quebec, where the primary language is French, are provided only English marketing and business materials. One example noted in the Edible Arrangements lawsuit are online menus and receipts that are only available in English. In addition, the franchise owners say they are unable to access translated marketing materials, order processing and report software, and materials related to shipping and inventory.
One of the plaintiffs told Global News reporters that despite notifying Edible Arrangements of issues on a regular basis, the company often does not address problems for weeks at a time.
According to the Edible Arrangements Quebec franchise lawsuit, the failure of the company to provide these materials has had a substantial impact on their business. The complaint points out that franchises in Quebec make 50% less than other high performing stores in Canada.
“This data is even more appalling as the Montreal market has the best ratio of stores versus population and should therefore, proportionately, generate amongst the highest sales in the country,” contends the Edible Arrangements Quebec lawsuit.
The plaintiffs say that the failure to provide such materials in the primary language spoken in their market violates not only contractual agreements with the owners, but also Quebec’s French language laws.
Global News reports that the province’s office tasked with ensuring language requirements are met has not received a complaint about Edible Arrangements; however, a spokesperson for the issued the following statement:
“The Charter of the French language indicates that catalogues, brochures, pamphlets and all publications must be written in French. This includes online publications.”
Edible Arrangements Allegedly Forgets Canada
The Edible Arrangements lawsuit claims that the American-based company fails to properly serve its Canadian franchisees.
According to one Edible Arrangements Quebec franchise owner interviewed by Global News, the company forgot that Canada has a Thanksgiving holiday on a different date than the one in the United States.
Quebec franchises are additionally underserved, according to the lawsuit which points out that both the current and former Edible Arrangements’ Canada representatives “do not speak French and Edible simply does not have any adequate Quebec representative in charge of supporting its franchisees in that province.”
This is not the first Edible Arrangement franchise owner lawsuit to plague the novelty treat company. Earlier this year, a lawsuit was filed by U.S. Edible Arrangements franchise owners accusing the founder of self-dealing. Edible Arrangements declined to make a statement to the Franchise Times about that lawsuit, indicating that they do not comment on pending litigation.
The company has also reportedly been the subject of a class action lawsuit over failing to properly inform applicants and employees of background checks it conducted as a part of the hiring process.
The most recent lawsuit against Edible Arrangements is seeking damages for lost profits, loss of franchise owners’ initial investments, and moral damages.
Do you own an Edible Arrangements Quebec franchise? What do you think about this lawsuit? Tell us your story in the comment section below!
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