Following a Jack in the Box announcement that it could potentially sell Qdoba, franchisees from the fast casual brand have formed an association to protect the $250 million collective investment they’ve made.

Called the Qdoba Franchisee Association (QFA), the independent organization represents the franchisees that own and operate 340 of the system’s 717 total restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.

“With the uncertainty surrounding the future ownership of the Qdoba brand, we felt this was the appropriate time to unite the franchisee community with an independent voice,” QFA chairman Ron Stokes says in a statement. “The franchisee community feels positive regarding recent leadership changes and additions at the brand level and hopes to see that leadership team allowed to continue to make positive strides in advancing the top-line momentum we are seeing and key brand initiatives.”

Stokes says the organization aims to provide franchisee leadership and a voice in the continued growth of Qdoba through all aspects of the business. QFA will primarily focus on advocacy with franchisor Qdoba, facilitating education and best practice sharing amongst the franchisee community, and providing access to group insurance plans and other administrative aspects.

Last month, Jack in the Box said that after 14 years and 600 new locations into its ownership of Qdoba, it may be time to sell the brand. Jack in the Box same-store sales dropped by 0.8 percent—lagging behind competitors’ recent results—while Qdoba’s fell by 3.2 percent in its most recent Q2 earnings report. Qdoba sales also lagged behind Jack in the Box in Q1, in which same-store sales dropped 1 percent while Jack in the Box’s increased by 3.1 percent.

At the company’s investor meeting last year, Comma said one of the factors that would lead the company to reconsider its Qdoba strategy was valuation.

“It has become more apparent since then that the overall valuation of the company is being impacted by having two different business models,” Comma said in May.

Qdoba, which has locations in 47 states, has system-wide sales of more than $800 million.

Fast Casual, Franchising, News, Qdoba