Florida Franchise Law: Does A Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship Carry a Fiduciary Duty?

Jul 5, 2021

Welcome to Baytowne Reporting, your trusted resource for comprehensive information on Florida franchise law and the dynamics surrounding franchisor-franchisee relationships. In this article, we delve into the legal obligations and considerations related to fiduciary duty in the franchise industry.

The Franchise Relationship Model

In the realm of franchising, a franchisor grants a franchisee the right to operate a business using their established brand, business model, and support system. This relationship is governed by a franchise agreement, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Franchisees typically invest in a franchise system with the expectation that the franchisor will provide guidance, support, and protect their interests. As such, there is an inherent level of trust in this relationship, which may give rise to fiduciary duty.

Understanding Fiduciary Duty

Fiduciary duty refers to the legal obligation of one party to act in the best interests of another party. In the context of franchisor-franchisee relationships, the question arises: Does a franchisor owe a fiduciary duty to their franchisees?

While there is no explicit fiduciary duty automatically imposed by Florida franchise law, certain circumstances may give rise to fiduciary obligations. Courts may determine fiduciary duty based on factors such as the level of control exerted by the franchisor, the extent of franchisor involvement in daily operations, and the degree of reliance placed on the franchisor's expertise.

Franchisor-Franchisee Legal Responsibilities

Whether or not fiduciary duty is present, Florida franchise law does establish certain legal responsibilities for both franchisors and franchisees.

Franchisor Responsibilities:

  • Disclosure Obligations: Franchisors are required to provide franchisees with a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) containing detailed information about the franchise opportunity, any associated risks, financials, and other relevant details.
  • Support and Training: Franchisors must offer ongoing support, training programs, and assistance to help franchisees establish and run their businesses successfully.
  • Trademark Protection: Franchisors are responsible for protecting their brand and trademarks, ensuring franchisees benefit from the established goodwill associated with the brand.
  • Adherence to Terms: Franchisors must comply with the terms outlined in the franchise agreement, providing the agreed-upon services and maintaining the agreed-upon standards.

Franchisee Responsibilities:

  • Payment of Fees: Franchisees must pay the required fees outlined in the franchise agreement, including initial franchise fees and ongoing royalties.
  • Operational Compliance: Franchisees are expected to follow the operational guidelines set by the franchisor, ensuring consistency and maintaining the brand image.
  • Business Operations: Franchisees are responsible for managing day-to-day operations, including staffing, inventory, customer service, and financial management.
  • Reporting and Communication: Franchisees should provide regular reporting to the franchisor, ensuring transparency and open communication.

Ensuring Franchise Relationship Success

To maintain a successful franchisor-franchisee relationship, open communication, mutual trust, and transparency are key. Both parties should clearly understand their rights and obligations, and any conflicts should ideally be resolved through negotiation and mediation.

If disputes arise and legal action becomes necessary, it is important for both franchisors and franchisees to seek legal counsel specializing in franchise law to ensure their interests are protected.


While fiduciary duty may not be automatically imposed by Florida franchise law, the franchisor-franchisee relationship involves important legal responsibilities for both parties. Understanding these obligations and working towards a harmonious partnership can contribute to long-term success in the franchise industry.

Interesting insights into the fiduciary duty in franchisor-franchisee relationships. Informative read!
Oct 7, 2023