IFA’s 2015 Board Members Discuss What’s Ahead for the Franchise Industry

You don’t have to wait until IFA‘s Annual Convention in Las Vegas next month to find out what some of the franchise industry’s leaders think this year holds for their businesses and the industry overall. Below are excerpts from some of the 2015 Executive Committee members. Find their full comments, along with their board colleagues, in January’s Franchising World magazine. In the meantime, here’s a quick peek:

Melanie Bergeron, CFE
Chairwoman of the Board
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK/INTERNATIONAL, Inc.
Chairwoman

While I am optimistic for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, I am very concerned about the political landscape for franchising. In the coming year we are going to need to continue the battle to protect our franchise business model from the local, state and federal levels. Please consider joining the Franchise Action Network if you haven’t already.

Aziz Hashim
President and CEO
NRD Holdings, LLC
Vice Chairman

The resilience of the franchise industry and the U.S. entrepreneur will once again shine in 2015. As the economy muddles through this unprecedented period of uncertainty, as well as consumer demographics and demands changing ever so rapidly, few industries will be as adept to managing change as the franchise industry.

Shelly Sun, CFE
CEO and Co-Founder
BrightStar Franchising, LLC
Treasurer

Looking toward 2015, the franchise industry as a whole will experience modest growth, hampered by the concern over the National Labor Relations Board joint employer impact. Without the constant impediment of government regulation, 2015 should be a solid year for the industry.

Liam Brown
President, U.S. and Canada
Select Service and Extended Stay Lodging and
Owner and Franchise Services
Marriott International
Secretary

We expect new franchise development activity to continue at a strong pace. Interest rates remain low and the industry is performing at historic highs, enabling strong underwriting of new franchise projects.

Steve Joyce
President and CEO
Choice Hotels International
Immediate Past Chairman

There have been solid gains in household employment and improvement in the labor participation rate. Job and wage forecasts indicate modest growth, which makes us optimistic for the year ahead.

Jeffrey Tews
Multi-Unit Franchisee
BrightStar Care of Madison, WI
Franchisee Forum Chairman

Providing a quality experience has created a very positive reputation in a business that relies upon trust.

Catherine Monson, CFE
CEO
FASTSIGNS International, Inc.
Franchisor Forum Vice Chairwoman

To preserve the proven, successful franchise business model, everyone in franchising must commit to grassroots advocacy/government relations involvement.

Ryan Cunningham
President
Javelin Solutions
Supplier Forum Chairman

Franchisees will need to think outside the box to find new locations, considering redevelopments of older projects, moving into newly gentrified neighborhoods or buying out mom and pop retailers.      

Convention Time — Your Time to Connect, Innovate and Evolve

GIF_forhomepage_noearlybirdWhether you’re at franchise corporate headquarters, an individual small-business franchise owner or franchise supplier, you’re concerned with building your business, staying on top of federal, state and local regulations and attracting and retaining staff.  Are you making the most of one of the year’s best opportunities to tackle all three areas, and more, at one time?

If you aren’t yet signed up for the IFA Annual Convention, Feb. 15-18 in Las Vegas, there’s still time.  Sure, it’s hard to get away for a few days and yes, it does take time and money, but your return on investment is in terms of:

  • How many leading franchise experts will I meet over the course of the convention?  When will I have another opportunity to seek advice from executives from mature, emerging and cutting-edge franchises, as well as high-achieving franchisees and Supplier Forum members?
  • How many proven strategies will I learn from convention speakers that I can immediately apply to my franchise business?
  • What’s the number of general sessions, breakout meetings, roundtables and concurrent workshops that I can attend to augment my understanding of critical issues affecting my franchise business?
  • Do I have enough business cards with me to make the most of such networking events as the Hall of Exhibits, Taste of Franchising, receptions, the Franchise Party and breaks in between sessions?
  • How many Certified Franchise Executives™ program credits can I earn?
  • How inspired will I be from participating in Franchising Gives Back to contribute to a worthy cause for a local community?

Learn more about the convention and register today so you and your business can take the steps — connect, innovate and evolve — to excel.

 

 

 

Ready, Set and Growing Strong

Each month, Franchising World magazine sets its sights on helping you to expand your business. The April issue brings you strategies on growing your multi-unit franchise business, sharing highlights from the recent Annual Convention in New Orleans − one of IFA’s best-attended conventions – along with offering other articles filled with practical advice.

FWAprilCoverSmallYou can tap into the experience of industry leaders to get advice on diversifying your multi-unit ownership across industries, how veterans can seize multi-unit opportunities, the value of multi-unit franchisee involvement in IFA and much more. Learn these strategies from authors that include:

  • Aziz Hashim, president and CEO of NRD Holdings, LLC, a multi-brand and international franchise owner and operator, as well as IFA treasurer;
  • Mary Kennedy Thompson, CFE, executive vice president of The Dwyer Group, president of Mr. Rooter and past VetFran chairwoman; and
  • Matthew Patinkin, a multi-unit franchisee of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and other brands.

And return to the IFA 54th Annual Convention in a multi-page photo spread that recalls how you wisely invested your time this past February in New Orleans. You participated in educational, networking and community outreach activities, as well as awards’ recognition ceremonies.

 

Franchise ACA Roundtable: “Changing the definition from 30 to 40 hours would be tremendous”

 

 

“Changing the definition from 30 to 40 hours would be tremendous for us,” said Dione Heusel, vice president of human resources and training for Smoothie King Franchises, according to a recent article in The Advocate.

This was the clear conclusion at a roundtable discussion on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and our efforts to return to the traditional definition of a full-time worker under the ACA. Kelly Rogers of Two Men and A Truck, Scott Taylor of Last In Concepts, David Lewis of Express Employment Professionals, and Dione Heusel of Smoothie King joined IFA’s Matt Haller and I this week at the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) 54th Annual Convention in New Orleans to discuss the challenges franchises face with the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA has effectively changed the definition of a full-time worker from 40 hours to 30 hours by stipulating that businesses with over 50 full-time equivalents (FTE) must provide health insurance to anyone working over 30 hours a week or pay a penalty. As outlined in a report by the Hudson Institute in 2011, this provision would prohibitively raise costs, putting 3.2 million franchise workers at risk of losing hours and wages. A follow up study by Public Opinion Strategies found that 31 percent of franchise businesses have already reduced worker hours. These concerns were echoed by all participants in the roundtable.

Taylor emphasized a shift among businesses to more explicitly manage their workforce so that full-time employees work 40 hours a week and part-time employees work no more than 30 hours a week to manage costs. “Businesses are going to spend an awful lot of time trying to manage hours,” he said. “While this might reinforce good disciplining among management, it’s also not what grows companies.”

Lewis agreed, stating that variable employees want flexibility on hours and would prefer to keep their current schedules. However, the ACA’s 30-hour rule makes flexibility impossible in low margin businesses that need to closely monitor costs.

Rogers also highlighted the disincentive the 50 FTE rule. According to her, some franchisees are working to stay under the 50 FTE threshold to avoid a significant cost increase, which will reduce economic and job growth.

The IFA has advocated for a return to the traditional definition of full-time and has supported bi-partisan bills such as Rep. Todd Young’s (R-IN) Save American Workers Act, Sens. Donnelly (D-IN) and Collin’s (R-ME) Forty Hours Is Full-Time Act, and Rep. Daniel Lipinski’s (D-IL) Forty Hours Is Full Time Act. These bills would reduce costs for employees and give them the flexibility to reward good work with more hours, avoiding a rigid bifurcated labor force that does not support growth.

Some say bills like Rep. Todd Young’s Save American Workers Act, which returns the definition of full-time to the traditional 40 hours a week, will cause employers to reduce hours for those working over 40 hours a week. All participants pointed out that they are already offer benefits to those working over 40 hours a week, not because they have to, but because it is a long-term investment in talent that is essential for growing their business.

“Every business wants to have the best talent,” emphasized Smoothie King’s Heusel. “We’re a growing brand, and we have to have ‘bench strength,’ meaning we rely on our full-time employees to develop the skills, proficiency, and knowledge we need to grow our business.”

Taylor even joked that if he reduced his full-time staff’s hours to avoid offering health care, somebody else at the table would just snatch them up.

While IFA and its members see the second delay in the employer mandate as somewhat helpful, it is not the permanent fix businesses need so they can invest confidently.

Specifically, Rogers found that while the delay might be considered helpful, Two Men and A Truck franchisees are waiting for clarity on final rules so that they can best understand their cost structure. “I’ve got people sitting on capital, waiting to go into new markets, but they’re afraid to do it,” she said.

See The Advocate’s full piece HERE.

No Limit Agency and SMB Franchise Advisors raise money for VetFran

Nick Powills, CFE, founder and CEO of the full-service communications firm,No Limit Agency, came up with the idea for a dunk tank benefitting VetFran because he thought it would a fun way to build camaraderie for convention-goers at the No Limit Agency + SMB Franchise Advisors booth. The dunk tank was manned by No Limit staffers with guest appearances from clients, attendees and even some IFA team members. By the end of the convention, No Limit Agency and SMB Franchise Advisors had raised $1,085 for VetFran.

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