Join the Franchise Trade Mission to India & Sri Lanka


Watch the Trade Mission Preview & Opportunities in India & Sri Lanka Webinar to learn from experts about the upcoming IFA/Franchise Times/US Commercial Service Franchise Trade Mission to India & Sri Lanka and opportunities in these burgeoning markets.  The speakers include:

  • Rajeev Manchanda, Vice President, Franchising Association of India & Director, Inventure India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Jennifer Loffredo, Director of Franchise Programs , U.S. Commercial Service
  • Partha Mazumdar, Economic and Commercial Section Chief, U.S. Embassy Colombo, Sri Lanka

Watch the webinar now!

No large franchise market is growing faster than India and no market offers franchising more ongoing runway for expansion.  This meteoric growth is being driven by factors ranging from the growth of the middle class to Prime Minister Modi’s liberalizing influence on the economy.  In late 2014 KPMG reported that India’s franchise economy would quadruple in size through 2017.   See BBC coverage of the last IFA mission to India.

Sri Lanka occupies a strategic position in South Asia and The Financial Times calls Sri Lanka “Asia’s next tiger”.  A rapidly expanding middle class in this country of 20 million is driving consumption growth and demand for international brands.  Sri Lanka offers abundant market opportunities in the franchise sector.

What does a franchise trade mission offer?

  • One-on-one matchmaking meetings with pre-screened investors
  • Commercial, legal, real estate and cultural briefings
  • Networking events with the local franchise community and government officials
  • Site visits (understand markets from the ground up)
  • Available market research
  • Help accessing suppliers in the market
  • Help with travel, accommodations, and interpreter services

The mission will visit Mumbai and Delhi, India and Colombo, Sri Lanka December 4-9, 2016.  IFA mounts franchise trade missions on a non-profit basis as a member service.  The mission cost is $6,950.  The application deadline is close of business, ET on October 14th, 2016.

Click here to learn more about the mission and apply!

Webinar: A Franchisor’s Guide to Exporting Goods


The newest webinar in IFA’s International Toolkit Series is “A Franchisor’s Guide to Exporting Goods” presented by Nery’s Logistics.  Supply chain is critical to most franchise systems and an ever increasing number of franchisors are exporting goods.   Managing an international supply chain presents challenges beyond those faced domestically.  Supply chain impacts everything from franchise relations to brand reputation to profitability.

This webinar will cover:

  • Common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Steps to prevent your shipment from getting stuck at the border
  • Sourcing
  • Suppliers
  • Using technology to manage supply chain

Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 11 am ET (1 hour)

Click here to register








Sandro Piancone, Director, Nery’s Logistics







Alex Oswiecinski, Vice President of International Operations and Development, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches

Cross Borders Without Leaving Home at the International Franchise Expo


The 2015 International Franchise Expo attracted visitors from 122 countries. Expectations of similarly big international numbers in 2016 give U.S. franchisors the chance to explore global growth without crossing a border.  The IFA sponsored Expo takes place June 16th to 18th at the Javits Center in New York City.

A key reason that so many attendees at Expo are international is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP).  As an IBP certified event, the commercial sections of U.S. Embassies and Consulates recruit pre-screened international buyers to attend the Expo and meet with U.S exhibitors.  The International Buyer Program produced 40 investor delegations to the International Franchise Expo in 2015 alone.

International franchising now also means franchisors entering the US.  As franchisors from outside the U.S. grow in scale and sophistication, many target the largest franchise economy in the world for expansion, seeking to follow the footsteps of IFA members like, InterContinental Hotels, Kumon, Illy, Tim Horton’s, Bonchon, Paris Baguette and Pollo Campero.  The 2016 International Franchise Expo will include 40 international exhibitors from 17 countries, including pavilions from Japan, Korea and the United Kingdom.

Educational programs related to international franchising enhances the value of participating.  Many of these educational sessions are for CFE credit.  Internationally oriented Seminars and Symposia at this year’s Expo include:

  • Master Franchising – Why do Some Succeed and Others Struggle
  • Structuring Your Franchise Network Expansion
  • Selling Franchises Internationally Without Getting Into Trouble
  • Global Franchise Expansion:  Strategies for Lucrative & Planned Growth
  • Going International- Moving Intelligently Into International Expansion
  • Selecting the Best Franchise Structure for Domestic and International Expansion
  • International Expansion: Master Franchising and Other Structures
  • Hidden Franchise Opportunities in the Middle East
  • An Overview of Key U.S. Trends and Regulatory Issues for International Franchisors
  • Strategies for Franchising into the U.S. Market
  • Navigating the U.S. Marketplace
  • Important Steps for Franchisors Considering Entering the U.S. Market

To learn more and participate visit:

To get free passes to the Expo courtesy of the IFA click here.

IFA Launches International Toolkit


The International Toolkit is now live at  The Toolkit is designed to be a core resource for IFA Members interested in international franchising.  At the heart of the Toolkit are webinar courses that comprise a curriculum in franchising across borders.  Six courses are now accessible with more to come.  The Toolkit can be found prominently featured on the main international page of IFA’s website.

The free courses now available are:

  • Preparing Your Company to go Global, presented by Edwards Global Services
  • Development Models for Global Expansion, presented by DLA Piper
  • Legal and Regulatory Requirements of International Franchising, presented by Gray Plant Mooty
  • Drafting and Negotiating an International Franchise Agreement, presented by Dickinson Wright
  • Commercial Strategies to Export a Franchise to the U.S., presented by MSA Worldwide
  • Legal Aspects of Bringing Your Franchise to the U.S. – Myth v. Reality, presented by Gray Plant Mooty

IFA’s International Toolkit offers a number of resources beyond the courses. IFA has partnered with Getting the Deal Through Guide to bring members profiles of franchise laws in 42 countries. In an effort to support your international development, IFA has posted a calendar of international franchise shows in 2016 online.

Country profiles on IFA’s site will soon be dramatically improved. IFA worked with the Department of Commerce and World Bank to rebuild these pages so fresh data relevant to franchise companies is constantly available. Finally, if you want personal feedback, look at the international tracks of the FranShip program to get mentoring from an IFA member expert.

Berlitz’ Pioneering Role in the History of Franchising


One of the earliest marketing efforts of Berlitz, from the Atlanta branch

Records accidentally discovered during a renovation, together with company archives, prove that Berlitz started franchising in 1889 and is perhaps, the oldest franchisor still franchising today.

In 1978, Berlitz was conducting some renovation works at its Brussels center.  During the renovation, one of the contractors accidentally knocked off a wall and, to the surprise of the construction crew and the center staff, they discovered a hidden chamber.  What they found in that chamber was a treasure of history; not only for Berlitz; but also, for the franchise community as a whole.

Berlitz was incorporated in Providence, Rhode Island, USA in May of 1878 by German immigrant Maximilian Berlitz.   Some of the files that were found in that chamber included student records, contracts, lease agreements, pictures, certificates of business incorporation and more.  For example, there was a memo from the then current Queen of Belgium, requesting to keep her enrollment with Berlitz discreet.  There were documents from Nicholas the II, last Tsar of Russia, records of Mr. Berlitz being personally responsible for teaching English to Emperor Wilhelm II and, more relevant to this publication, documents related to the beginnings of Berlitz franchising, dated over 127 years ago.

Records found in this incident, together with archives from Berlitz France, proved that Berlitz started franchising in 1889 and is, perhaps, the oldest franchisor still franchising today.  Singer, although it does not franchise anymore, has been often credited to be the oldest franchisor in modern history.  Nevertheless, if we go by the modern conceptualization of Franchising, Singer probably lacked one element: royalties.


Maximilian Berlitz

In 1888, Maximilian Berlitz granted its first Area Development Agreement for Europe to Henri Mallat, a dedicated Berlitz professor.  In 1889, Mr. Mallat granted the very first Berlitz Franchises in Germany and France.

In 1907, the Société Internationale des Ecoles Berlitz (SIEB) was set up. The new company was managed by Benoît Collonge & Wellhoff. The value of the company was based on 30 schools owned by the SIEB, 20 schools belonging to partners, 27 British schools and the franchise rights of 260 centers in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Australia. North America and Canada were managed by the Berlitz Schools of America (BSLA), of which Maximilian Berlitz was President.  By 1910, Berlitz already had more than 400 centers around the world.


One of the early Berlitz schools

At that time, French was a widely used language for business.  The French term that was used for Berlitz Franchises was “Concession”.

Berlitz started with five common types of Franchises:

  1. With obligation to open a Language Center in a city(ies), town(s) or a region (Designated Territory); within one year (Development Schedule)
  2. With obligation to open a Language Center in the Designated Territory within three years
  3. No obligation to open in the Designated Territory but payment of a higher annual [royalty] fee
  4. Franchise License for a private teacher to teach at a particular place; typically granted for smaller towns, or
  5. À la carte

Since the early years, the Berlitz Franchise Agreements were well-structured, and contained the modern Elements of Franchising.  Among other information, they contained:

  1. The use of trademark “The Berlitz School of Languages”
  2. The right and know-how to “open, operate and profit from a living languages school”
  3. Designated territory
  4. Term of agreement
  5. Renewal terms
  6. Use of “Operations manual” or detailed guidelines for the setup and management of the center, including advertisement, insurance, payment of taxes, heating and lighting
  7. Royalties, typically paid every 6 months
  8. Initial fee
  9. Transfer of Franchise rights upon agreement by Franchisor

By 1912, Berlitz Franchise Agreements where approximately 10 pages long and, in essence, they were very similar to the franchise agreements we use today.

Franchisees and their families were often housed in the school and managed the centers as family businesses.  Some centers were owner-operated and others had Center Directors, upon approval by Franchisor.  It was not uncommon for franchisees to own multiple units, even in multiple countries.

The Edwardian era was a period of expansion, where royals and celebrities were teaching or being taught at Berlitz Centers.  Alfonso XIII, King of Spain, was being taught English, French and German; while Leon Trotsky, James Joyce and Wilfred Owen were teaching at Berlitz centers in Mexico City, Trieste and Bordeaux, respectively.

Then, the period of the two World Wars came.  It was a veritable calamity for Berlitz.  The international and multicultural nature of Berlitz had encouraged mutual respect and admiration among its staff and students.  The company, which had always transcended borders, would become the victim of its own success.  Disaster was unprecedented.  Many schools closed following bombing raids, or as a result of regime changes or because of redefinition of national borders.  The Berlitz teams were largely made up of French, British and German teachers.  People who had been close friends would become future enemies**.

In 1940, during WWII, Thérèse Delpeux was elected President and Managing Director of Berlitz becoming, perhaps, the very first woman in history to lead a global organization.

After WWII, the era of The Wonderful World of Berlitz came**.  There was a fast recovery, mostly due to a special grant that the American Army awarded to all veterans based in Europe.  GI applicants living in Europe could register up to 25 lessons a week (1 lesson is 45 minutes) in one or more languages of their choice.  Then, in the Sixties, franchising took a second breath.  For companies and society, it was a carefree time of great optimism, renewal and rebirth.  Classes took place in an extraordinary atmosphere and coming to Berlitz meant combining the useful with the pleasurable**.

The Berlitz Opera center in Paris, also known as the “Palais Berlitz”, was a veritable hive of language activity.  It was frequented by stars from the world of entertainment (Maurice Chevalier, Louis de Funès, Gérard Depardieu, Claude Brasseur), politicians (François Mitterrand), members of royal families (the Duke of Windsor) , and other celebrities whose paths crossed in the enormous maze of classrooms (more than 100 in this center!)**.


Gina Lollobrigida and President Nixon using the Berlitz Italian Book

In 1966, Berlitz was acquired by Macmillan Inc. and, changing corporate strategy, the new ownership did not allow franchises from 1967 to 1972, with the exception of those granted in perpetuity; these being mostly in Egypt.

Then, in 1988, Macmillan Inc. was acquired by Maxwell Communication Corporation.  Upon the death of Robert Maxwell in the early nineties, Berlitz became fully owned by Fukutake Publishing Company (now Benesse Corporation); previously, a minority shareholder. Today, Benesse is one of the largest privately held education companies in the world, with annual sales of approximately 4.5 Billion USD a year.

Today, Berlitz continues to be the leading language and communication skills training company worldwide.  It operates over 450 centers in more than 70 countries.  Berlitz has taught millions of people how to speak a new language, better communicate and helped achieve their dreams.


From left to right: Mark Harris, Rogelio Martinez, Constant Reinders and Marc Verger, during the Berlitz 2015 Franchisee Convention in Zagreb, Croatia.

Special thanks to Mr. Mark Harris, Chairman of Berlitz Corporation, who appointed Mr. Constant Reinders to study, sort and protect the Berlitz archives containing over a century of Berlitz history.  And thanks to Constant Reinders who, after 40 years of service as Berlitz employee, took this new assignment and published the book “Berlitz – 130 Years of Innovation and Passion for Teaching”.  This article based most facts and figures from Mr. Reinders book.  ** indicates excerpts from Mr. Reinder’s book.

About the author: Rogelio Martinez, CFE, is the President of Berlitz Franchising Corp.,  He is a member of the IFA’s International Committee and speaks 5 languages.