2nd UPDATE: Burger King Franchisees Sue Over Late Hours
(Adds statement from Burger King in seventh paragraph, updated stock price.)
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The franchisees, who filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, also allege that Burger King's actions violate their franchise agreements, which had contained provisions for shorter hours.
The franchise agreement states that stores only have to stay open until
The company also required stores to open at
News of the lawsuit was reported Thursday by the Miami Herald.
In a statement Thursday, Burger King spokeswoman
"These extended hours will enable us to effectively compete in the quick service restaurant industry," the statement read.
She declined further comment, as the company has not been formally served with the lawsuit.
The three franchisees, which together own 57 Burger King locations, allege that forcing them to stay open into the early morning creates a greater chance that employees or customers could be subject to crime or other dangerous situations.
They also claimed sales in those hours aren't enough to keep up with the higher salary, energy and insurance costs associated with staying open late.
"The financial impact on the franchisees is devastating," said
The plaintiffs in the suit are Ramalco Corp., Southern Management Corp., Tri- Management Co. and Furman's Inc. Southern Management and Tri-Management are both controlled by the same individual franchisee.
The complaint has the backing of Burger King's National Franchisee Association, which represents more than 1,200 franchisees in the system. In a statement, the group said that it has heard similar concerns from franchisees nationwide.
Burger King shares recently fell
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