Franchise owners say PRO law threatens their American dream


July 21, 2021

6 minutes to read

Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.

This story is part of the Entrepreneurs for Our Careers Campaign, an effort to raise awareness of the harmful effects of the PRO Act. To learn more about the campaign, click here.

Carolyn Thurston has heard many lawmakers say they want to help “close the racial wealth gap” with policies that create “generational wealth.”

If lawmakers are serious about achieving these goals, Thurston says, they must ditch the Right to Organize Protection Act, or PRO Act. Two of the bill’s provisions – the ABC test and the co-employer standard – would be a double whammy against franchising, the very business model that helps it build generational wealth for the first time in the world. history of his family.

“It will be the biggest harm if this PRO law is passed,” Thurston said. “The people who will be affected are here, women and people of color. “

Thurston, who is black, spent years working as a nurse before starting his own Wisdom Senior Care business. She became so respected that when her home state of North Carolina began requiring classes to teach the rules of running a home care business, she was chosen as an instructor. Thurston has helped hundreds of people get their licenses and found that while many understood how to take care of people, most did not understand how to run a business.

That’s why, in 2017, she started offering Wisdom Senior Care franchises. As with any franchise model, his provides a model that franchisees can follow to be successful in business.

“Our very first franchisee was a couple from China. Our second is two black gentlemen. We also have franchisees who are single mothers, black women who now own their own businesses. We have veterans, ”she said. “In franchising, there are more people of color who have successful businesses than those who are not. You have more support systems around you.

This is true with all types of franchises, according to the International Franchise Association. The IFA wrote to Congress in March 2021, explaining how the PRO law would disproportionately harm minority communities: While only 18% of unfranchised businesses are owned by minorities, over 30% of franchises are owned by minorities.

“If you want to talk about equal opportunity, a lot of people are not going to participate in this wealth creation,” Thurston said of the PRO Act. “It will prevent that, especially people who are female or black. They will now have more to overcome.

Having a lot to overcome is something Ajay Patel knows well. He immigrated to the United States from India in 1978 when he was 18 years old. Patel ended up in Lafayette, Louisiana, where the only place that would give him a job was McDonald’s. He worked in the kitchen, making money to pay for his education while figuring out how to communicate with all the Americans around him.

“I learned most of my English at McDonald’s, not at school,” he says. “I was earning minimum wage and had to work as much as possible to get the $ 445 to pay for tuition for the next semester.”

After five and a half years, Patel obtained a diploma in business administration. In 1984, he was a manager at McDonald’s. About 18 months later, he was running two sites. A year or two later it was three. Then it was five. In the early 1990s, his wife and family helped him secure the funding to increase his own savings and purchase his own McDonald’s franchise. “When we bought this, I had about $ 480 left in my bank account,” says Patel.

A little over a year later, Patel sold this franchise for a profit of $ 400,000. He reinvested and purchased three more McDonald’s franchises, which he built for even greater franchise success while raising three sons.

“The oldest went to NYU, the second son went to LSU, and my youngest went to the same school as me, in Lafayette – I had always told them to work two days a week at a McDonald’s, wherever I was. ‘they be,’ Patel says. “I wanted them to learn the value of money, to learn ethics, to learn to work with others and to have relationships.”

Today, Patel and his three sons together own 35 McDonald’s franchises, showing how generational wealth creation through franchising changes the lives of entire families.

Ricky Patel is the second son, now 27, and owner of a McDonald’s franchise since 2018. He says that without his father’s experience, he probably wouldn’t have imagined that franchise ownership could be. a possibility for him. “The franchises are predominantly owned by Caucasians,” says Ricky. “It would have been one thing that would have made it harder to understand the idea.”

Mikesh Patel, the youngest of Patel’s sons, became the owner of a McDonald’s franchise this year at the age of 25.

“Franchising is the ability to build generational wealth,” Mikesh says. “It wouldn’t be possible without the franchise as it is. “

Thurston says the same is true for black families like his, with franchising providing opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist. She sees the PRO law as a danger not only to her future, but also that of her children and grandchildren. The bill would bring her to her knees just as she begins to create wealth that she can pass on to subsequent generations so that they can benefit from it.

“Franchising can help us be on a level playing field,” says Thurston. “Nobody asks that we give anything. We just want the same opportunities, and this bill would destroy that path. “

Here’s how to contact your senator and Representative of the United States House and tell them to vote no on the PRO law.


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