Franchising in Food Industry and New Challenges in Times of Pandemic. Dark Stores and Mobile Delivery Applications
2020 was, without a doubt, a year of challenges at the global level. For the Lerman & Szlak franchise team, led by our partner Cecilia Brazzola, it was no exception.
The social distancing measures provided by the Government to mitigate the risks of the health system collapse prevented the opening of gastronomic establishments to the public for a large part of the year. Even at the time of writing, there are limits on the number of people admitted to bars and restaurants throughout the country, which are reduced to 30% of their pre-pandemic capacity.
In this context, from our place of legal advice, we have assisted different clients of the industry in the implementation of alternatives that not only manage to maintain their businesses, but also the whole chain of franchisees, suppliers and employees. In these months we have designed the legal structures for businesses that were previously unheard of in our country, adapting them to the particularities of the Argentine regulatory regime. Among them we can highlight the following:
- Dark Stores: Through this modality proper premises or those owned by franchisees are used as storage, pick-up and distribution centers for products of other brands. In this way, one part manages to take advantage of the physical and private space of a bar or restaurant with low or null affluence of public, obtaining a percentage of sales. Meanwhile, a new partner achieves a greater range of coverage without the need to open new premises (substantially reducing the costs of expanding that coverage) or over-demanding those already in operation.
- New mobile delivery and take away applications: In parallel, some clients have chosen to develop their own delivery and/or take away applications as an alternative to the delivery applications already installed prior to the pandemic. At Lerman & Szlak we have accompanied the entire process of implementing agreements with franchisees and third parties that work as partners in this operation, always with the aim of protecting the brand and complying with consumer rights. In this sense, the legal advice provided should include the review of the terms and conditions and privacy policies of the applications.
Although these have been very difficult months for different sectors of the global and national economy, we believe that this year has opened up endless opportunities for the development of innovative business models. From our place, we are happy to be able to support and provide solutions that allow to guide these opportunities into successful operations from an economic and social point of view.