The U.S. antitrust laws are among the most significant laws governing business. Their goal is to maximize consumer welfare by encouraging ample supply and competitive pricing. They impact our relationships with competitors, franchisees, consumers, suppliers and vendors.
We comply with all antitrust laws and regulations.
Violations of antitrust laws are very serious matters. In addition to AFC® liability, there is criminal and personal liability for such violations, including prison time and very substantial fines as well as treble damages, for employees involved in a violation.
Virtually any agreement between competitors - stated, implied or assumed - relating to prices, excluding other companies, or dividing markets or customers is unlawful. Discussions between competitors, however innocent or public the information, may later be cited as evidence of collusion.
Employees who come in contact with employees or agents of other restaurant companies should never discuss:
- current or future prices, whether for products, services or intellectual property;
- marketing or promotional programs;
- development plans;
- new products; or
- any other matter involving competition of any kind.
Discussing the success of a $3.99 combo promotion with a competitor, followed by the competitor's adoption of the same promotion, could be evidence of price-fixing.
As a result:
- The less specific the discussions, the less likely that antitrust issues will arise.
- More general comments - such as "business is great," or "we're expanding the system" are less likely to create problems.
For more information:
Office of General Counsel
Our Franchise Agreement governs most aspects of our relationships with our franchisees.
AFC employees who interact with franchisees should know and comply with the AFC Franchise Agreement and have a basic understanding of antitrust laws.
As a result:
As long as AFC employees interact with franchisees (i.e., provide advice and assistance, monitor franchisee performance, etc.) in accordance with the Franchise Agreement, those activities should not trigger the antitrust laws.
Special considerations may apply in situations where AFC operates restaurants in close proximity to franchisees. Although our principal competition is other restaurant chains (i.e., interbrand competition), antitrust laws may apply to competition between AFC restaurants in these instances (i.e., intrabrand competition).
An AFC-owned restaurant may not use its economic power to force a franchised restaurant in the same market out of business by price-cutting or other predatory conduct.
AFC employees should strive to give consumers the best possible deal through rigorous competition.
AFC employees should avoid any agreement with any outside person or entity other than AFC that has the effect of limiting competition.
While adhering to antitrust laws, AFC needs to purchase goods and supplies at terms as favorable as possible and by all means should negotiate for the best possible price.
AFC will not charge different prices for the same product to similarly situated buyers or knowingly induce a seller to sell at a discriminatory price.
As a result:
AFC employees should:
- seek a special purchase price only when there are efficiencies or other benefits to the seller such as volume purchases, long-term commitments, prompt payment terms or credit risk considerations; and
- avoid price discrimination and other antitrust concerns such as "tying" when selling, especially where AFC is the sole supplier.
AFC employees should make certain there is a valid justification for limiting the source of products sold to franchisees. Such valid justifications include ensuring the secrecy of a proprietary recipe, maintaining the quality of a proprietary product (e.g., POPEYES® spice mix), and the absence of acceptable alternative supplies.