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Episode 4 – Dan So is no Textbook Lawyer


Co-hosts Melissa Won and Patrick Clancy talk with Dan So – Franchise and Trademark Lawyer, Author, Pianist, CBC TV consultant, Father and master of travelling light.  Dan shares his career aspirations and career path, advice for young lawyers on writing, communications and his favorite quality in a client.  We are introduced to his cat Patty, his quirky little car and a number of other stories related to his life and franchising that make Dan no Textbook lawyer. 

To learn more about Dan, see his bio

Questions about this Podcast? Email hosts Melissa Won or Patrick Clancy or email info@mckenzielake.com

Subscribe to Obiter on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or RSS Feed.


Patrick Clancy (00:00):

Hey everyone. Welcome to the obiter podcast. I’m Pat Clancy and I’m Melissa wine. And this is episode four of the lawyer series. In this series. We sit down with lawyers at McKenzie Lake to discuss their career personal life and anything in between all in an effort to introduce our listeners to the human being behind the lawyer.

Patrick Clancy (00:42):

Dan So is a franchise lawyer that has practiced at McKenzie Lake since 2003,

Melissa Won (00:46):

And is truly an expert in his field. Having been invited to consult and appear on CBC shows, Dragon’s den and fortune hunters.

Patrick Clancy (00:54):

Dan is the author of a textbook entitled Canadian Franchise Law, A Practical Guide currently in its second edition. Let’s get to the interview

Melissa Won (01:04):

For those listeners of ours that don’t know. You’re one of, two of the firms lawyers who work in the Victoria office. We’re pretty sure that office exists, although no, one’s absolutely certain. I recall receiving a couple of invites out there that never came to fruition.

Dan So (01:19):

I can neither confirm nor deny any of these assertions.

Patrick Clancy (01:24):

So Dan, what’s it like to, to live on the Island? What’s it like to live in Victoria, BC?

Dan So (01:30):

Uh, Victoria BC is lovely and, um, much like London. It’s nice that it’s a smaller town, but that it’s quite close in fact, to a much larger town. And for those geographically challenged for us, that’d be Vancouver. It’s a, a quick sort of 20 minute flight over, or, you know, a quick ferry ride over. So sort of similar to you guys, driving into Toronto.

Melissa Won (01:50):

Dan, can you tell us a little bit about the differences between West coast, Dan and Ontario Dan?

Dan So (01:57):

So I would say that East coast, Dan So would consume a fair bit more in the Egg McMuffin category and the Shawarma category, whereas West coast. Yeah. Good Shawarma. It’s hard to find out here, whereas West coast, Dan, so is more along the lines of, um, Granola. I don’t, I don’t know what it was. It just, it seems easier out here to, to eat a little bit better. Yeah. That’s fair.

Patrick Clancy (02:24):

Dan, can you talk a little bit about your cat Patty aside from having a great name? What’s so special about Patty?

Dan So (02:31):

Well, as the great Louis Litt from suits, one said, do I have brains in my head? Do I have a heart in my chest? Of course I love cats. Um, Patty is, Patty is my daughter’s cat. And, uh, yeah, Patty is a male cat despite his name, but that’s what happens when a four year old names, the pet, you know, you, you end up with some sometimes interesting naming conventions. Um, yeah, Patty is a, uh, allegedly hypoallergenic cat, which does not mean however that he is hairless.

Patrick Clancy (03:03):

Not Mr. Bickle’s worth. We’re not, we’re not

Dan So (03:06):

Like in not like an Austin Powers. Okay. Oh, I should. Uh, I should tell you that recently I’ve had a painting commissioned of Patty, the cat, and, uh, if you play your cards, right, I will share that with you. Yeah.

Patrick Clancy (03:18):

Yeah. I would love that. I would love to get a picture of the painting for the promotional post for this podcast.

Dan So (03:24):

We could put that as the thumbnail for this Podcast.

Patrick Clancy (03:26):

That would be, that would be awesome.

Melissa Won (03:28):

Dan, I’d also like to post a photo of that, um, that vehicle that you drive around recreationally in Victoria,

Dan So (03:37):

I drive a 1999 Japanese import Mitsubishi. Delica it’s our right-hand drive van that is, is lifted. And it has a, a big rack on top and an awning on the side and a ladder on the back. Um, it is absolutely ridiculous. Uh, we call it the special ops van or the zombie apocalypse man. And, um, and I love it as much as I love Patty.

Patrick Clancy (04:04):

Dan, you didn’t always practice law in BC and you didn’t always live in BC. You actually grew up here in London

Melissa Won (04:11):

And Dan, is it fair to say? And I feel like I can ask this question, given the, uh, somewhat the heritage that the communal heritage, so somewhat similar dissent. Uh, is it fair to say you grew up in a fairly traditional Chinese family?

Dan So (04:26):

I grew up in the prototypical Chinese family. Uh, yeah,

Melissa Won (04:31):

No. With the emphasis on work ethic and discipline and math.

Dan So (04:36):

Absolutely. So here were the hallmarks of, of growing up in a Chinese family of that era. Um, you were permitted to have as, uh, as a job or career aspiration, one of two jobs first being doctor, second being lawyer. Um, and then a distant third would be like engineer, but it would have to be like, uh, a high enough status engineer that it would have been appropriate. I do recall actually at one point I wanted to be something other than doctor or lawyer. And, um, it turned out my mom flat out, lied to me in order to, to guide me to the approved careers. So I, I really wanted it to be a commercial airline pilot. And, um, my mom said, well, that’s great, but you know that you can’t because you wear glasses. And, and I believed her and it wasn’t until later when I saw every pilot wearing glasses that I realized she had pulled a fast one on me, but by then it was too late. I was already a lawyer.

Patrick Clancy (05:35):

I understand your daughter flies planes. Is that your attempt to live vicariously through her? And by the way, I think she’s only 13

Dan So (05:45):

That’s right. So I’m going to start, start out seriously and say that a wise man once said that no child bears a greater burden than the unrealized goals of their parents.

Patrick Clancy (05:55):

Wow. Yeah. Very philosophical. That’s pretty deep.

Dan So (05:58):

I heard that after she enrolled. No. Um, I think she came, I think she came to aviation and an interest in aviation sort of by herself, but it’s certainly, it’s something I’ve always supported. Her mom also was in the air cadets and sort of had a keen interest in flying as well. Um, and we also figured since air Canada had put a lot of the seven 37 maxes into a sort of a moth ball state that we could pick one up really cheap. And if we could just have her fly that around for a while. Um, but no, in all seriousness, she, she has started flying lessons and, um, is flying a Cesna with, uh, not, not by herself, not by herself,

Patrick Clancy (06:35):

Dan, the fact that you practice in BC, but the firm’s office is located here in London. That obviously requires you to travel a lot between here and there. I understand you used to pack light and sometimes you wouldn’t even pack any clothing at all, but that got you into a little bit of trouble. One time. Didn’t it?

Dan So (06:51):

When I was flying between BC and Ontario like monthly, um, I had a, uh, a setup at my sister’s house where all my clothes were, right. So I could literally be that guy that walks onto the plane with like a briefcase and, uh, and nothing else. Right. And, and, and I’d have all my clothes at my sister’s house and I wouldn’t have to carry any, any bags or check-in any bags. And it was really the ideal way to, to, um, travel until family members caught word of the fact that I was traveling exceptionally light, which they took to mean that they could then saddle me up with all sorts of things, to, um, essentially mule back and forth between the provinces. And so, uh, so I have a daughter and my daughter’s cousin lives in Ontario. And one time it was sort of around September and, um, I just left the, and usually what I do is just leave a carry on bag out and say, you know, whatever you need me to bring to Ontario, just put in the carry on and I’ll take it and I’ll deliver it to whomever.

Dan So (07:51):

And, you know, the day of my flight comes in, the carry on bag is all zipped up and I grab it and off I go to the airport. Um, so I get through the primary security at, uh, Victoria airport. The person is looking through the, um, the x-ray machine, uh, and, and, you know, you can see their brow furrowing and I’m thinking that’s not a good sight. And, um, they call someone else over and they’re, they’re both pointing out the screen and I’m like, Oh, this is not going to turn out well at all. And, um, this trip, I wasn’t bringing any other luggage with me. Right. Because all my luggage is at my sister’s house. We keep you keep some clothes there too. Right? Like, yeah. Yeah, exactly. So anything I was carrying, the only thing I had with me was this one carry on.

Dan So (08:35):

And so they, they say, excuse me, sir, can, can we take you aside to this, this room? And we’re just going to talk about your luggage. And I’m like, Oh, okay, well, I, yeah, I guess I don’t have much of a choice. So they take me over to this room and they say, sir, do you mind opening up your, your bag? And you know, when they preface the statement with sir, that’s a good sign. Um, so I opened up the bag and I look into it and it is full of my daughter’s old clothing that she doesn’t fit anymore. And right on top is literally dozens of pairs of old underwear that she doesn’t fit anymore. And she was like five years old at the time. Right. And what they say is, you know, how this looks right.

Dan So (09:23):

And my initial reaction is to say, why don’t you tell me how it was, but I realized that’s the wrong move. And, and so I just remained silent for a bit. And he’s like, do you have any other luggage? And I’m like, no. And he’s like, where are you going? I said, Ontario, um, how long are you going to go for about a week? And he’s like, and you’re carrying no other luggage, except for this carry on, filled with young girls clothing. And I can see under, you know, sort of the pile of my daughter’s hand-me-downs, which is exactly what these were. These were going to go to our cousin as an me down, I see the corner of something and, you know, we’re coming up to Halloween and I see exactly what it is. It’s a couple of packs of candy because I’m supposed to now deliver the candy as a Halloween present to, to my daughter’s cousins. And I’m just like, whatever you do, don’t move the young child’s clothing aside and see the candy underneath, because things are going to get far worse than they are already.

Dan So (10:29):

And sure enough, he, he kinda, he doesn’t even, and sort of, I knew I was in, in a bit of trouble at this point, instead of reaching into the suitcase and moving stuff around with his hand, he took his pen and started moving things around with his pen as though, you know, fingerprint evidence at one point might be sort of adduced to, uh, to confirm my guilt of something and he’s moving it around and he sees the candy and he just looks at me and I’m like, there are like a dozen things going through my head. I’m a generally sarcastic and funny person. And I’m thinking of these hilarious things that I should say at this point, but I’m, I’m literally biting my tongue to say nothing, because whatever I say is going, be can and may be used against you in a court of law.

Dan So (11:18):

Yeah, exactly, exactly. And so he’s looking through this and, and he’s like, you’re gonna have to explain this to me one more time. And so I took him through it. I said, listen, my family lives in Ontario. Um, I have all of my clothes at my sister’s house where I stay, you know, I’m a lawyer, I work in London and this is, these are hand me downs from my daughter to her little cousins who are younger. And look, it’s September, it’s almost Halloween. I’m supposed to bring these candies over as a Halloween present. And he just stares at me and he’s like, okay. And then he’s zipped it up. And he sends me all my way. And I think, well, if that could have turned out much worse, right. Like I was, I was actually at one point fiddling with my belts cause I thought he’d be like, all right, well, we’re going to secondary search.

Dan So (12:09):

Um, but no. So I get out of, I get out of the, um, the, the room and I, I catch my plane, but I got to tell you ever since then, anytime I go through a, an airport and this is, I would say with 90% probability, I get stopped and I get taken away for additional question. So they, they must have some sort of flag on my account. And it’s gotten now to a point where my daughter will actually laugh about it. And so, you know, when we travel together, she’ll go through the machine and then I’ll go through the machine and then she’ll just start smiling and pointing at me. And then sure enough, some, uh, like, uh, uh, I can’t remember the TSA agent or whatever will come over and say, Mr. So would you mind coming over here? And I just look at my daughter and she’s just laughing and laughing and laughing. So it would

Melissa Won (12:55):

Be an amazing prank if your daughter snuck a couple of small kids items in your carrier.

Dan So (12:57):

Oh my God. Well, at least in that case, I would have been traveling with,

Patrick Clancy (13:04):

Well, no, no, no, no. I mean, now she’s what 13, what a prac that would be, he would have no excuses,

Dan So (13:11):

That’s it. And you know what, Pat, after that, I found out that at one point I had actually also brought the ashes of my sister-in-law’s dog back in my luggage at one point,

Melissa Won (13:25):

Just start looking at that, carry on before you get to the airport.

Dan So (13:29):

Does anyone feel it necessary to maybe ask me if it’s okay for me to bring these things back and forth, or are you just going to fill this bag full of random stuff that may or may not get me stopped by security? So yes, I have had some issues with security in the past, but I think we’ve, we’ve, we’ve made peace with it now.

Melissa Won (13:48):

So Dan, you lived and practiced here in London before moving to BC in 2012, and we’ve hardly touched on this, uh, thus far in the interview, but you practice exclusively in the area of franchise law and you’re actually the author of a bestselling textbook on that subject as well. Can you describe for us a bit how you gone into franchise law?

Dan So (14:10):

Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, I wish I could say that, you know, growing up after getting over my initial despondence of, of not being a, uh, a professional pilot, I decided that franchise law would be the path for me. Um, but even when I was articling, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go into, um, corporate law or litigation. And then at one stage during articling, um, I was offered a position in each of those areas and I was having a bit of trouble trying to decide between the two, which in retrospect now, you know, I, I recognize that I’ve absolutely made the right decision for myself. Um, but the reason I came to franchise law was I think a little bit serendipitous in that I was riding my bike to work and, uh, not wanting it to be stolen. I took my bike right into my office.

Dan So (14:59):

And one of the new partners that had joined. A lock wasn’t sufficient. no, Oh, no. Lock is not sufficient. Okay. Come on in want to take the tire off either. Isn’t that a the way. Your being silly now Pat I’m just being silly. Um, anyone, one of the new partners that had joined the firm I was at, um, saw my bike and asked if I was, you know, keen on mountain biking. And I said, yeah, absolutely. And, and so we started mountain biking together and, um, in one of those mountain bike rides, he said, you know, Ontario is introducing franchise legislation this year. Sorry, what year was that? That was 2000. So yeah. Um, and I was articling I think in yeah, around then. Um, and so he said, listen, I think my, my work is going to get extremely busy because the new legislation comes out this year. Um, would you like to practice with me? And I said, well, you know, I like biking with you, so why wouldn’t I like working with you? And so that’s how I came to be, uh, involved in franchise law.

Melissa Won (16:00):

Uh, and then Dan, you, you actually ended up leaving that practice group at your, your previous firm fairly early in your career there. Um, how hard was it to come to that decision?

Dan So (16:13):

Um, it was, it was a difficult decision, um, for a few reasons. The, the year I left, my other firm was also the year I was building a house with my wife and the year that we were getting married. So there was a lot of stuff happening. Um, but I didn’t think that I could sort of postpone that decision to leave the other firm in, come to McKenzie Lake. The reason, the reason I had left was that I really wanted to forge a more direct connection with my clients and the practice at the other firm was that I would sort of do the grinding work and everything would then go through my principal or the partner for whom I was working. And they would be the one with the direct connection with the clients. And I really valued being able to be, uh, directly involved with my clients and, and to be the one that they called and to be the one that they wanted to have in their boardroom when they were talking about things. And, and I found that to be exceptionally valuable and I knew that’d be really effectively the only way to do that would be to leave that firm and develop my practice elsewhere. And I had known the folks at McKenzie Lake, uh, for quite as quite some time by that point. And it seemed such a natural fit for me that, um, that that’s, that’s when I moved over

Patrick Clancy (17:35):

Dan, most of us lawyers worry every year about building on their previous year and fortifying their practice taking a year off would feel like falling behind for most lawyers. But when you came over to McKenzie Lake back in 2003, you took a year off from private practice in order to write the franchise law textbook that Melissa mentioned, what was that year like for you? Was it a breather from the rigors of everyday practice, or was it even more challenging to write that book?

Dan So (18:02):

I would say on, on some levels it was absolutely terrifying because as lawyers, well, frankly, we’re trained that the dollar is the almighty goal, right? And that your value is to no small degree based on how much you bill and how, how profitable you are for the firm. And so knowing that that year, that I was not going to be actively practicing in a traditional capacity, that was scary, but I knew that I had the support of a number of key partners at McKenzie Lake and that was an amazing safety net to know that I could focus on writing this textbook and, and, and having written it. I think that that has sort of really helped me develop my practice. And I don’t know how else you could really do that sort of thing without taking dedicated time off to write it. So in retrospect, it was absolutely the right decision. And I’m just so thankful that I had the support of the firm.

Patrick Clancy (19:00):

Did you ever worry when you were writing it or contemplating writing it, that you were competent enough to write it. Like, did you ever have doubts? Like I know you, obviously you got into franchise law, you know, right from the outset, right from the get go from the enactment of the legislation. So you’re probably intimately familiar with all the case law and what not, but writing a textbook that people are going to study in law school is kind of a scary thing I would have to think.

Dan So (19:26):

Yeah. I, I would say that I was confident in my ability to be able to properly reflect the state of the law at the time. And, and, and part of that is that the state of the law at the time was actually to some degree quite meager, right. There were very few cases at that point that had been decided in franchise law. So a lot of it was sort of statutory interpretation, you know, giving opinions on, on the actual drafting of the act, which, you know, I’m a bit of a word geek. So that was really right up my alley. And I really enjoyed that sort of thing. And, and I would say that, that the subsequent edition, which, you know, your, your cohost there, uh, co-wrote with me.

Patrick Clancy (20:03):

Right. Which she, uh, very humbly didn’t mention

Dan So (20:07):

Melissa, co-wrote the second edition with me. And I would say that that addition was substantially more difficult only because, you know, there was four or five extra years of, of case law that now had to be interpreted and sort of involved into the framework of, of franchise law in Canada.

Patrick Clancy (20:28):

I don’t actually think we got the name of the textbook.

Dan So (20:31):

Yeah. The name of the textbook is called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone. Really? Yeah. We had to change the name in Canada in the U S due to some copyright issues, but you can find it on Amazon,

Melissa Won (20:44):

Dan in hindsight, how helpful do you think it was writing that textbook to launch your career in franchise law?

Dan So (20:51):

Uh, I would say that it was invaluable. It was easily the best thing I could have done. And in seeing the results of having written that book and being known as the author of a textbook on the subject area, I’m absolutely a firm proponent that young lawyers should take every opportunity they can not only to write textbooks because that could be, you know, substantially more time than they have, but to write articles and to, to become known as a new podcast expert in their field. Yeah. And well, I guess if that works for you,

Patrick Clancy (21:29):

Dan, the franchise law bar in Canada is quite small. Uh, and when I say franchise law bar, I mean the collection of lawyers practicing in that area, how do you think that impacts the game theory of franchise lawyers in terms of advising clients and dealing with opposing counsel?

Dan So (21:47):

That’s a good question. And, um, I think because it’s such a small bar, you can never view any encounter you have with opposing counsel as being a, uh, a one instance game, right? To use your terminology there, you, you have to always be contemplative of the fact that, that you will have dealings with this lawyer later and, and how you deal with them will be known by the franchise bar in very short order. And, and I don’t think that’s necessarily, uh, unique to the franchise bar, I think as a whole, the legal community should be acknowledging this and that, you know, reputation is, is something of great value and something that, um, young lawyers especially need to need to keep in mind.

Melissa Won (22:44):

What would you say is your favorite quality in a client?

Dan So (22:48):

Prompt payment without being reminded, I think would, would be, you know, amongst the top five, remembering me at Christmas time with, you know, a platter of their finest meats and cheeses, um, naming rights for their children, that sort of thing, you know, undying fealty that, you know, that it’s hard to say no to that sort of thing. Um, no, I, I, I would say, uh, in all seriousness, uh, openness and communication, it would be something that I really look at and, and it sounds trite, but, you know, as lawyers, we really can’t help our clients unless we really understand what’s, what’s concerning them. And, and while they might call you and say, you know, here’s the situation I’m facing. It, it is really upon us to find out what the core core issues really are and, and, and what sort of outcome they want and why. And, and for us to do that, we really need our clients to be open and communicative to us.

Patrick Clancy (23:46):

Dan you’ve appeared on a couple of CBC TV shows. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came about?

Dan So (23:52):

I was lucky enough to be connected with one of the producers of Dragon’s Den. Um, and it came really by happenstance. Um, actually I think it came as a result of the textbook and she had sort of been looking for a franchise law expert. She found the textbook and she called me and she said, listen, would you mind giving some sort of background information or, or assessing some of these franchise concepts as they come up on Dragon’s Den? And I said, that’d be, I’d be happy to. And that eventually turned into a, um, um, two appearances actually on the other CBC, the other CBC TV show. There’s only two, you know, um, uh, called Fortune Hunters with, uh, I think Diane Buckner was doing it at the time. Um, and I parlayed that into a co-host position on that show for two episodes on franchising, which was, which was pretty cool. Um, you know, and I got to say that one of the most memorable parts of that was that I shared a green room with Howe and Joanne from Participation. It was a, that was a good time. So, um, it was fun hanging around the CBC studios in Toronto to do that. And, um, I wouldn’t trade that for the, for the world.

Patrick Clancy (25:02):

Dan, I misspoke a bit earlier and said that, that you practice exclusively in franchise law. You also happen to be a trademark agent. Have you ever had any weird requests for trademarks?

Dan So (25:12):

Yeah, that’s a good question. And so there’s a rule in trademarks law that says that you may not, um, register any Mark, which is considered to be, you know, offensive. Um, and so I had a client at the time and they had a clothing line and they came in and they said, we want to, we want to trademark the name of our, our clothing line, right. Our brand. And I said, that’s great. Tell me a little bit about it. And they said, all right, well, we, we stand for four things and these are like the four pillars of our brand. And they are in no particular order, uh, identity, fraternity, unity, and the X factor. And that’s the name of our brand. And we want you to trademark that. And yeah, and we want you to trademark that we got the name, we got the logo we’re, we’re ready to go. And, um, and so I said, all right, well, that seems pretty straightforward. And I prepared the applications and it was sort of midway through preparing them and reviewing them for the final time that I, I read the name out loud, I F U X. And, and at that point I had to call the client and say, I’m not sure this is going to get applied to did it anyway. Right. I did it anyway. And you know what it got through.

Patrick Clancy (26:33):

We can search that in the database and it will. Yeah, you absolutely can. Dan, do you remember your first ever trademark that you registered?

Dan So (26:41):

No. No, I don’t.

Melissa Won (26:44):

Pat, Pat thinks he came across. It

Patrick Clancy (26:46):

Was, it, was it called Power Wear?

Dan So (26:49):

Yes, I was thinking that it might’ve been that’s. Yeah. I shouldn’t say that the client’s name here. Um, that was one of, uh, Michael Lake’s long-time clients. And if I recall correctly, that had to do with like fire resistant outfits or something.

Patrick Clancy (27:06):

Yeah. Actually, I’ve got it right here. Industrial safety products, specifically industrial safety clothing, namely jackets. And then I haven’t,

Dan So (27:15):

When you read it, Pat, it’s like poetry.

Patrick Clancy (27:19):

Oh, was that you? Did you, that’s your words.

Dan So (27:22):

Sorry. That is my, that is my description of wares and services, sir. I’m so impressed as well. You should be.

Melissa Won (27:30):

What foreign franchise would you love to see make its way into Canada?

Dan So (27:34):

That’s a great question. And

Patrick Clancy (27:36):

The Chick-fillet is here now. Right? So aside from that, aside from Chick-fillet, which is now here, right?

Dan So (27:42):

There’s, there’s two in particular, one in the both now just come to Canada in the, in the past couple of years in the first one, I’ll identify as called Beard Pop-up

Patrick Clancy (27:54):

Never heard of it.

Dan So (27:55):

So yeah, it is a, it’s originally from Japan and it is a cream puff franchise and that’s all they sell. Um, and I, I first came upon them in Hawaii, uh, my Homeland, right. Um,

Patrick Clancy (28:10):

You’re Polynesian so well,

Dan So (28:12):

Pacific Islander. I prefer to sort of denote myself. Thank you very much. Sorry. Um, but no, uh, they, they sold the most delicious cream puffs and I was amazingly excited to see that they had opened up one outpost in, in Vancouver now. Um, and then the other one that just opened recently in Canada is called Jollibee, which is a, um, a Filipino restaurant. And it’s sort of, it’s, it’s in the quick serve restaurant industry, they’re famous for their fried chicken and all sorts of other delicious things.

Patrick Clancy (28:44):

Can market to those, like, can you put yourself in line to, to be the lawyer that the go-to person for, for those foreign franchises that want to come to Canada? Is there a way to do that market yourself somehow or make contacts? I don’t know.

Melissa Won (29:00):

So I might be able to weigh in on this. Dan, do you recall when I came back from Spain and I was obsessed with mouse, the franchise mouse, it’s a, it’s a falafel chain. And so Dan said, well, just write to them, just get in touch with them, see if they want to come to Canada. And I did that and I did not receive a response, but where you

Patrick Clancy (29:20):

At where you a coauthor of the textbook at that point?

Melissa Won (29:23):

No. And that’s clearly why that’s clearly why I didn’t have the name recognition.

Dan So (29:26):

Yeah, I would say though, in all seriousness, I think it’s a good idea too, to go ahead and ask. I think, um, especially for foreign franchisors, they’re going to expand to Canada when they have the right person. Canada is generally considered to be a fairly small market. That’s geographically very broad and diverse. So it doesn’t make a ton of sense for a foreign franchisor to come here first. Um, what we’re seeing, however, is a lot more foreign franchisors coming to the States and then coming to Canada. And we actually represent a good number of, of, um, foreign franchise owners that have expanded into the United States. And now are looking to expand into Canada.

Patrick Clancy (30:07):

And what about, I know you live in BC now, but McKenzie Lake is obviously in London, Ontario, and it’s, it’s a test market at least in Ontario. Does that, does that mean anything? Does that make any difference at all? Like, you know, a lot of companies will, will test products in London because of the, the demographics of the city. I don’t know. Does that help you?

Dan So (30:27):

Yeah, no, that’s, that’s absolutely the case. And in fact, McDonald’s launched their McDonald’s pizza is in London, Ontario before anywhere else in the world. And you’re absolutely right. London is almost one of the most ideal test markets for franchising. Um, I think that being in London is helpful, but I think more and more these days franchisors are expanding to foreign markets and in Canada in that instance, so foreign franchisors are expanding to Canada by way of master franchising. And when they do that, they’re more likely to expand into a market where their master franchise or lives in resides. And we’re actually finding now with, uh, a lot more Asian brands coming over that they’re finding the Vancouver is, is a better, uh, starting spot for them. Uh, not only for the demographics there, but also that their master franchisees are, are often in that area themselves.

Patrick Clancy (31:21):

Dan, thanks so much for sitting down with us today.

Dan So (31:24):

It’s, it’s been my pleasure. And I’d like to remind the audience that this podcast was brought to you by Squarespace, the easy way for small businesses to get a web presence anywhere on the web.