New York City-The struggle to recover from the recent downturn in the nation's economy has led to rising tensions between several major fast-food chains and their respective franchisees, according to some industry observers. As franchisors like McDonald's and Burger King work to rebuild flagging sales through new evaluation systems and renovation plans, many franchisees are finding themselves pressured to accept new and often costly programs at a time when funds are increasingly difficult to come by. The result is heightened anxieties on the part of franchisees and lower tolerance for what may be perceived as unrealistic expectations by the franchisor, observers say. To their credit, many franchisors are stepping in to help their larger franchisees, but smaller franchisees are feeling particularly hard pressed. -Nation's Restaurant News