IFA Addresses Restaurant Industry Leaders on Credit Access Challenge

Speaking to the Restaurant Leadership Conference this week in Scottsdale, Ariz., IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira talked about the latest issues impacting franchise businesses, particularly the continued credit challenge facing the industry regarding access to capital in advance and their ability to grow and create jobs.  

(left to right): Scott Allmendinger, Publisher Restaurant Business Magazine; Steve Caldeira, President & CEO, IFA; David Jobe, President, Leadership Conferences, CSP Information Group; Peter Romeo, Editor-at-Large, Restaurant Business Magazine 

The event, which is put on by CSP Information Group, publishers of Restaurant Business magazine and MonkeyDish.com,  brings together more than 1,400 leaders from the restaurant industry, including franchisors, multi-unit franchisees and owner-operators from across the country.

During his speech, Caldeira focused a recent small business lending report produced by FRANdata for the IFA Education Foundation, which shows a 20 percent lending gap facing franchise businesses in 2011. This gap is expected to result in the loss of 80,000 jobs and $10 billion in economic output this year if lending to franchise businesses does not improve.

The restaurant industry, as the largest business format category in franchising, encompassing more than 246,000 establishments, 4.4 million jobs and $287 billion in economic output according to IFA’s 2011 economic outlook for franchised businesses, will likely feel the brunt of this lending shortfall.

To address the challenges, Caldeira has put together the IFA’s first-ever Small Business Lending Summit, taking place in Washington, D.C. on April 7, which will bring together lenders and franchise businesses to develop solutions to the lending shortfall that will spur job growth within the franchise sector. IFA has partnered with the National Restaurant Association, as well as leaders in the banking industry such as the Consumer Bankers Association and the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, for the event.