Early experience with Ombudsman work came with McDonalds who employed an internal Ombudsman to resolve disputes. Originating in Scandanavia, Ombudsmen have flourished in institutions and many corporations like Fedex, AT&T and IBM. In the 90’s there were about 200 internal Ombudsmen. Increasingly companies have engaged outside or “external neutrals” to provide a similar service which may start with less formalization but grow into a significant part of the franchisor’s ADR process. The Ombudsperson conducts independent investigation and recommends changes if necessary. Generally this gives the ombudsperson more visibility and clout than in-house mediators and compensates for the possible effect on the credibility of the internal Ombudsperson for the fact that they are “insiders”. Franchisees are provided fair process, confidentiality, less formality and protection from reprisals. While Franchisee Focus Groups are generally ad hoc the external Ombudsperson process is more integrated. It is cost effective and timely to prevent escalation of disputes and is best handled by someone who has substantial experience in all areas of the franchise organization. It is a less aggressive non-legal focus and like mediation, focuses on the parties “interests” not their rights.