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The UFOC is a business document that is utilized by franchising organizations in the United States. Short for Uniform Franchise Offering Circular, the UFOC is designed to provide potential franchisees with all relevant information regarding the establishment of a working relationship with the franchisor. Generally, it is understood that the franchisee must be provided with the UFOC at least ten business days before any legal contracts between the two parties can be signed.
Preparing a detailed UFOC involves providing a great deal of information that can be easily understood by the franchisee. Because the volume in data contained in the document can be exhaustive, the exact structure of the document will often be divided into sections. A table of contents is often added to allow the franchisee to easily relocate and refer to various sections during the negotiation process with the franchisor.
Many of the elements included in a UFOC are common to many types of partnership agreements. The document will include general information regarding the current nature and status of the franchisor, including economic stability. Details about all fees, charges, initial investments, and other terms that are applicable to the franchisee will also be included. Pertinent financial statements to act as documentation for the company information is also often found in a UFOC.
Along with general business information, the UFOC will also address issues that are relevant to a franchise operation. For example, the document will spell out any restrictions of any uses of products, services, trademarks, and patents that are the property of the franchisor. It is not unusual for the UFOC to also include listings of authorized vendors who can supply the materials used in the production of products under the name of the franchisor. There may also be specific terms of compliance relating to the public appearance of the site of the franchisee’s operation, such as following a standardized design for the look of a franchised restaurant.
The UFOC is a document that protects the interests of both the franchisor and the franchisee. The franchisor can be assured that the quality and reputation of the products sold under the company name will be consistent with the standards set by the business. At the same time, the franchisee receives a great deal of support in the task to comply with those standards. By providing such detailed information and resources on the front end, it is possible for both parties to be clear on the obligations they have, and be willing to meet those obligations before ever entering into a legally binding business relationship.