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Applebee’s, Panera Bread and more vow to erase ‘no-poach’ franchise contracts

They join seven major chains that agreed last month to stop the practice, under threat of a lawsuit.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Eight more restaurant chains, including Applebee’s and Panera Bread, are removing “no-poach” provisions from their franchise contracts nationwide, avoiding potential legal action from the Washington state attorney general’s office.

The move follows a similar agreement from seven national restaurant brands last month, all of which vowed to erase any language from their franchise agreements prohibiting franchisees from recruiting employees of fellow franchisees.

Included in the second-round agreement are Applebee’s, Church’s Chicken, Five Guys, IHOP, Jamba Juice, Little Caesars, Panera Bread and Sonic Drive-In.

The agreement requires the brands to remove no-poach language from current and future contracts and to no longer enforce no-poach provisions included in franchise agreements.

“Businesses can’t rig the system to avoid competition,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in an announcement Monday. “My goal is to eliminate no-poach clauses in the fast-food industry nationwide. This is a major step forward in achieving that goal, but we’re not done. Other fast food companies that use no-poach provisions are now on the clock to accept a similar deal or face litigation from my office.”

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