Thoughts on 7-15 7-Eleven ZBA meeting

Last night was a mostly heartwarming evening. For those not aware, the ZBA unanimously recommended against 24 hour operation. Jeff Smith gave a wonderful presentation, as did Eb Moran. All the neighbors who spoke were eloquent in opposing the proposal. The board was on the same page throughout, and I especially appreciated board members Fox and Wilson, who probed the 7-11 owner Mr. Patel to consider withdrawing his petition (as they said "if you care so much about your neighborhood and you see the entire room here- 40 neighbors - against your position, wouldn't you want to withdraw it?".
Patel did not. Most who I spoke to felt for Patel and that he had no choice as a franchisee but to push for 24/7 hours.
I for one don't see things that way. I thought Patel's comments (I don't care about making money, just to be there for the neighborhood) were ridiculous, his forcing the neighborhood to spend their evening "proving their case" to him, only to insist that the matter goes to the city council (where we will again have to spend time and energy) shows that his motives are not in sync with what we expect from him.
I would think it wise to send him a letter from this organization telling him that if he persists on going to the council, we will consider it an unfriendly business decision and spread that opinion to our members. Just an idea, I'm open to any other thoughts or suggestions.
Steve Morton


I've represented some franchisees and, without seeing the agreement, would guess that 7-11's is pretty onerous and requires the franchisee to at least "try" to get 24-hour operation, and probably requires "best efforts" or Corporate can yank. You could see the wheels spinning when the Board asked Mr. Patel if he wanted to withdraw his app. His heart wasn't in pushing it, that was clear, but I think legally he had little choice. And, heck, Corporate was standing right next to him!

Franchise agreements are pretty one-sided and often the franchisor won't negotiate at all. If you read the agreement thoroughly you might be be terrified and, if you're a lawyer, never let your client enter into it.

The fellow seems like a nice guy and I am inclined to first try and educate him (and corporate) on what worked for White Hen.

I agree with you that it was, overall, a heartwarming evening. Actually it was useful that the application was not withdrawn, otherwise so much good stuff would not have been put on record. Besides, there was plenty of All-Star Game left even after we got home :)

The speaker who said nothing good happens between midnight and 6 am probably didn't have sports in mind, there was some pretty good baseball played after midnight in NYC.