Hotel Online  Special Report


Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 59

A Hole on Park Avenue; Who’s Side is the FTC On?; 
Women Hotel Workers Suffer Higher Injury Rates; 

By Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
December 2,  2009

1.  A Hole on Park Avenue

A recent article (November 18, 2009) in the New York Times headlined “A Hole on Park Avenue: The Site Where the Drake Stood is Likely to Remain Idle for Years.”  The 56th Street and Park Avenue location is “inarguably the best development site in the country and possibly the world”, according to Woody Heller, an executive managing director at Studley, a real estate brokerage company.

The Drake Hotel was opened in 1926 during the “Roaring Twenties” by Bing and Bing, noted builders, who owned and operated the hotel for more than 35 years.  The Zeckendorf Hotels Corporation acquired the hotel in 1961, added a new 180 guestroom wing and opened New York’s first discotheque, Shepheard’s.  In 1965, Robert and Laurence Tisch bought the Drake and hired me to be Loew’s first General Manager, a position I held for two and a half years.

Silent film star Lillian Gish lived there from 1946 to 1949.  Other notable guests included Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Toots Shor, Milton Berle, Paul Anka, Barry Goldwater and Muhammed Ali.  The Drake also attracted such famous classical musicians as Glenn Gould, Dame Myra Hess and Alicia del la Rocha. 

On my office wall is hung the following framed note on Drake Hotel stationery with a signed photograph:

Dear Mr. Turkel,
I was very touched by your remembering my birthday and sending me this lovely bottle of Moèt et Chandon, which we drank with great pleasure.  At the same time, I wanted to tell you that we find ourselves very comfortable at the Drake and are delighted with the service and attention that we get.
       Sincerely yours,
       Artur Rubenstein
       (world-famous classical pianist)

In the 1970s, a number of rock bands such as Led Zeppelin and the Who stayed at the Drake Hotel.  But it was the talented Cy Walter, known as the “Art Tatum of Café Society” who opened in the Drake Room in 1945 as the resident salon pianist.  The other restaurant was the most famous discothèque in Manhattan: Shepheard’s at the Drake on the corner of 56th Street and Park Avenue.  It was open seven days a week for cocktails, dinner and supper with continuous dancing to disco music from 7:30 PM to 3 AM.  For years, it was the hottest night spot in town.  At lunch on Friday’s we featured fashion shows with live models.  And one day a week, the famous coloratura soprano from the Metropolitan Opera, Mimi Benzell, hosted a talk show on WNBC radio.  Sometimes, I was asked to fill in for an invited guest who failed to appear.  What fun!

2. Who’s Side is the FTC On? 

As reported by columnist Janet Sparks (Continental Franchise Review, Franchise Times, October 2009), “The Federal Trade Commission’s 2009 annual report clearly states, “combating fraud, deception and unfair practices in the marketplace is one of the FTC’s highest priorities’….But in the FTC 2009 report, there is no mention of “franchising” under its consumer protection section although it lists numerous other categories: identity theft, shop-at-home and catalog sales, Internet services, banks and lenders, prizes and sweepstakes, work-at-home plans and business opportunities.”  After failing in her attempts to contact FTC franchise program director Craig Tregillus, vs. Sparks utilized the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to learn the status of three complaints filed against franchisors:

  • The Coffee Beanery which has been deeply engaged in legal action with two of its franchisees for the past five years.
    • Results:  No complaints filed and no actions or investigations from the FTC for the past four years.
  • The UPS Store under franchisor Mail Boxes, Etc. which has been engaged in numerous franchisee lawsuits for more than five years, but on a much larger scale involving hundreds of franchisees. 
    • Results:  One complaint brought by a franchisee alleging that MBE will not adhere to the franchise agreement nor participate in arbitration.  He also claims that MBE audited him without using generally accepted accounting principles and then charged him an additional $3000.  The franchisee cites breach of contract as the law violation.  The FTC showed no investigation or enforcement action as a result of the complaint.
  • Cold Stone Creamery, now under Kahala Corp. which is not only involved in litigation with its franchisees but also with the Internal Revenue Service in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico seeking a judicial decision on whether the franchisor or the IRS had the right to the property and equipment of a terminated franchisee. 
    • Results:  This request showed four complaints brought against the franchisor, none resulting in an investigation or enforcement action from the FTC.
Columnist Janet Sparks questions whether:
a. the FTC is even interested in receiving complaints from owners who claim they are being victimized fraudulent schemes.
b. the FTC is sending a strong message to franchisors that they have nothing to fear regarding FTC enforcement.
c. the FTC thinks that the International Franchise Association (IFA) is a self-regulatory body and doesn’t need help from the federal government.
Any objective observer recognizes that the IFA is heavily skewed in favor of franchisors.  It rarely supports any of the critical issues of importance to franchisees:
  • Areas of territorial protection
  • Choice of venue
  • Fair termination provisions
  • Appropriate liquidated damages
  • Independent franchise owners councils
3.  Women Hotel Workers Suffer Higher Injury Rates

A recent study of hotel workers at 50 United States hotels found that women were 50% more likely to suffer injury than men and that Hispanic women had injury rates two-thirds greater than white female workers.  The study, “Occupational Injury Disparities in the U.S. Hotel Industry” was presented in early November 2009 at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Philadelphia.  The study focused on 50 unionized properties and examined 2,865 injuries over a three-year span.  The study found the highest injury rate for housekeepers was at the Hyatt chain at 10.4 percent and lowest at the Hilton chain at 5.47 percent.

Other studies have tied the high injury rate to the work required to lift heavy mattresses, move heavy furniture, to clean a dozen or more rooms during an eight-hour shift, vacuum carpets, push housekeeping wagons and to carry soiled linen to laundry baskets or laundry chutes.  The recent revolution in upgraded and heavier bedding is probably a major contributing factor.

4.  Quote of the Month

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without a loss of enthusiasm.”
      -Winston Churchill
Please take note that Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC has just published the book “Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry.” It contains 359 pages, 25 illustrations and 16 chapters devoted to each of the following pioneers: John McEntee Bowman, Carl Graham Fisher, Henry Morrison Flagler, John Q. Hammons, Frederick Henry Harvey.  Ernest Henderson, Conrad Nicholson Hilton, Howard Dearing Johnson, J. Willard Marriott, Kanjibhai Patel, Henry Bradley Plant, George Mortimer Pullman, A.M. Sonnabend, Ellsworth Milton Statler, Juan Terry Trippe and Kemmons Wilson.  It also has a foreword by Stephen Rushmore, preface, introduction, bibliography and index. Visit to order the book.

Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC

Also See: Nobody Asked Me, But No.58 / Support the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009; Hi-tech Hotel Rooms in the 19th Century / Stanley Turkel / November 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No.57 / 10 Bogus Reasons to Buy a Franchise / Stanley Turkel / October 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No.56 / “Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry”; The Stanley Hotel; Will Hotel Franchisees Remember? / Stanley Turkel / September 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No.55 / Exterior-Corridor Hotel Properties; Blackstone Denies Hilton Breakup / Stanley Turkel / August 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No.54 / Famous Japanese Capsule Hotel; Dunkin’ Donuts Independent Franchise Owners Association; Remember Magic Fingers? / Stanley Turkel / July 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No.53 / Historic Hotel Theresa: the Waldorf of Harlem; Make Mandatory Arbitration Illegal / Stanley Turkel / June 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No.52 / At Long Last; New York’s Essex House; Origin of Mother’s Day;  An Annual Feast for Number Crunchers; The End of the Hotel Bathtub?/ Stanley Turkel / May 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No.51 / Transformation of the Shelton Towers Hotel; One Hotel’s Fate 119 Years Ago / Stanley Turkel / April 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No.50 / Do You Know About O8A? Do Hotel Franchisees Need Independent Associations?The Best Franchise Advisory Councils / Stanley Turkel / March 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 49 / Slave Trading at the Saint Charles Hotel in Washington DC, Why Are Some Hotel Franchise Companies Defranchising Exterior Corridor Hotels / Stanley Turkel / February 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 48 / New President of Wyndham Ignores the Real Issues; Hotel Franchises Compared to Auto Dealer Franchises / Stanley Turkel / January 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 47 / New CEO of Choice Misses an Opportunity; Lost and Forgotten Hotels; Little Known Hotel Facilities in New York / Stanley Turkel / December 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 45/ Remembering John Curry; Hotel Owners Have The Power / Stanley Turkel / October 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 44 / Hotel Franchise Companies Performance Appraisal Report, a Down-to-earth Assessment of the Hotel Capital Markets / Stanley Turkel / September 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 43  / Hotel Franchisor Companies Ignoring Critical Franchising Issues,  Marriott Leads the Way with Aggressive Environmental Strategies / Stanley Turkel / August 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 42 / Remembering Jack Craver; World Record-Setting Hotels; At Last: A Major Gaming Facility in the Catskills / Stanley Turkel / July 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 41 / Landmark Belleview Biltmore Resort Saved; Hotel Developers Take Note - the Borough of Bronx in NYC Has 1.5 million Residents and Just One Hotel in the AAA Guide; Boutique Hotel Bandwagon / Stanley Turkel / June 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 39 / Say Goodbye To The UFOC; Dunfey Brothers To Be Honored; The Plaza Hotel Reopens After a $400 Million Renovation / Stanley Turkel / April 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 38 / Super 8 Owners Form an Independent Franchise Association; Why Is There a Bible in Every Hotel Room? / Stanley Turkel / March 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 37 / Remember the Savoy Plaza Hotel?; Is Economic Disaster Imminent; Cuba at the Crossroads / Stanley Turkel / February 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 36 / What the Advertisements for the Largest Hotel Franchise Companies Never Mention - Also Measuring Hotel Brand Value / Stanley Turkel / January 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 35 / Casino Expansion Has Transformed America, Exercise Awareness / Stanley Turkel / December 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 34 / IHG’s Great Idea, Sound-Proofing Hotels, Best Western Enters the Upper Midscale Segment, How to Convert Confusion Into Order,  Sign at a Tarrytown, NY Inn, 1798 / November 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 33 / 1957 Murder at the Park Sheraton Hotel; How Much Does A Franchise Really Cost?A Marriage Made in Heaven?; A Good Night’s Sleep at the Benjamin Hotel / Stanley Turkel / October 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 31 - Rhode Island Improves Franchise Rules, What’s Up With Canada? Conversion of a Jail Into a Hotel, The Richest (and Poorest) Places in the U.S. / Stanley Turkel / September 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 31 - Blackstone's Acquisition of Hilton, The Art of Groveling, The Origin of Franchising / Stanley Turkel / August 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But…. No. 30 / Impertinent Questions In Search of Pertinent Answers: Carbon monoxide detectors, exterior-corridor properties / Stanley Turkel / July 2007
How American-Owned Can You Get?, ISHC's CapEx 2007 Report, The Bowery Hotel / Stanley Turkel / June 2007
Hotel Franchising and State Laws, Is Immigration Important? Save the Biltmore, The Good Old Days, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / May 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 27 / Hotel Franchise Agreements: Mediation, Arbitration or Litigation? / Stanley Turkel / April 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 26 / Energy Usage and Potential Savings; Great Art in Hotels; Lifestyle Hotels; The Minimum Wage Issue; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / March 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 25 / Guestroom Design & Amenities, Get a Human, Best Luxury Hotels in the U.S., Turnpike, The Pineapple as Symbol of Hospitality, Fair Franchising / Stanley Turkel / February 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 24 / Loose Cannon, Fair Franchising, Manhattan Hotel Profits, Hotels of the Future, Interesting Miscellany, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / January 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 23 / Biting The Hand That Feeds You?, By The Numbers, Shortage of Hotel Rooms, There is No Free Lunch, Iron Laws of Business Travel, Happy New Year / Stanley Turkel / January 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 22 / Smart Elevators, Tony Marshall’s Memorial, Women in the Hospitality Industry / Stanley Turkel / December 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 21 / The Drake Hotel in New York, Fair Franchising is Not an Oxymoron, By the Numbers, Another Secret Underground Shelter, Passing of Anthony G. Marshall / Stanley Turkel / December 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 20 / Turnabout Is Fairplay, Secret Underground Shelter, By the Numbers, Genuine Fair Franchising/ Stanley Turkel / November 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 19 / International Society of Hospitality Consultants, Great Miami Hotels, Reduce Carbon Monoxide Emissions, Turn Gray Into Gold / Stanley Turkel / November 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 18 / John Q. Hammons, Save the Belleview Biltmore, Chinese Tourism, CFLs, Ernie Byfield, Guestroom Entertainment in 1905 / Stanley Turkel / October 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 17 - AAHOA's 12 Points of Fair Franchising, Protected Territories, / Stanley Turkel / September 2006
The Newest Independent (and Oldest Partially Independent) Franchise Association in the Hotel Industry / Stanley Turkel / September 2006
In Hotel Franchising, Reality Trumps Wishful Thinking / Stanley Turkel / August 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 14; Impact Studies, Stretching Segments, Short-Stay Rentals, Smoke-free Marriotts, Franchising in China, Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel / August 2006
The U.S. Population Age 65 and Over is Expected to Double in the Next 25 Years; What Does this Mean for the Hotel Industry? / Stanley Turkel / July 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 12; Portman, Women Homeowners, Minimum Wage, Tipping, Brooklyn Bridge, Chinese Tourism, Impact Studies / Stanley Turkel / July 2006
Do Hotel Franchisees Need Independent Franchise Associations? / Stanley Turkel / June 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 10 / Chinese Tourists, Gasoline Prices and Alternatives, GLBT Segment, Travel Agents, FAC's, Manhattan's Record Breaking Year, Impertinent Questions / Stanley Turkel / June 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 9 / Blang, Bathtubs, Best Green, Arbitration, Best Western, AAHOA, State Franchising Laws, VFR / Stanley Turkel / May 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 8; Bathtubs, Smokefree Hotels, Maps, Saving Water, Nevada Revenues, H.P. Rama, Ritz-Carlton, Statler Service Code, Mother’s Day / Stanley Turkel / April 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But….No. 7 / Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC / March 2006
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