The Philippines Takes Center Stage with Franchise Asia 2014 and U.S. Franchise Trade Mission


Franchise Asia

A panel including William Edwards, Edwards Global Services CEO and IFA Director of International Affairs Josh Merin take turns speaking to the general session of Franchise Asia about international growth.


Mission participants enjoy a VIP tour of Franchise Asia’s Expo.

The Philippines became an increasing center of the franchising world’s attention when it hosted one of the franchising’s biggest events in Southeast Asia, Franchise Asia 2014 and a U.S. franchise trade mission. The show was originally scheduled to take place July 16-20 at the SMX Convention Center in Manila, Philippines but took place July 17-20 because of the typhoon that hit the Philippines on the 16th.  Recognized as the biggest franchise show in the Philippines each year, Franchise Asia continued not to disappoint, welcoming over 500 exhibitors, including IFA member and trade mission participant Tutor Doctor, and an estimated 50,000 attendees.

Due to the typhoon, the first day of Franchise Asia was cancelled. However, the Philippine Franchise Association’s staff worked diligently through the night to reconfigure the program. Their hard work paid off when Franchise Asia opened its doors on the morning of the 17th and soon saw its convention hall filled with hundreds of attendees from the Philippine franchise community. These attendees demonstrated the remarkable resilience of the Filipino people, by leaving their homes (many without power) and traveling through a city just hit by a typhoon to fill the hall.

The Filipino franchise market is highly mall focused due to weather and pollution. Jan Paul Custodio, Senior Director CB Richard Ellis Philippines told trade mission participants that the Philippines’ has 1/10th the real estate costs of Hong Kong or first-tier Chinese cities.  It also has the lowest mall real estate prices in Asia, 20 times lower than Beijing.  Market challenges include public infrastructure and high energy costs.  According to a US Embassy briefing, the number one drag on growth is corruption, especially outside of Manila.

Bill Edwards, Vice Chair of the IFA’s International Committee and CEO Edwards Global Services and IFA’s Josh Merin addressed the general session of Franchise Asia on July 17. In “Conquering the Global Market with Your Brand” they presented IFA and its experience with international franchising including strategy and tactics for franchising internationally.  The presentation included international development models, what to look for in an international licensee and considerations before going international.   The event included Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) classes and this year’s CFE graduation.

Trade Mission attendees were able to tour Franchise Asia on Saturday, July 19th.

Franchising Making Gains in Manila


Trade Mission participants line up to speak during a reception at the US Embassy in Manila.


The trade mission delegation and U.S. Embassy staff celebrate a successful event.

Ambassador Goldberg

From left, U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, IFA Director of International Affairs Josh Merin and Senior Commercial Officer Jim McCarthy address a high-level networking reception in the ballroom of the U.S. Embassy, Manila.

As typhoon Rammasan was making its way towards the Philippines, franchise executives from all over the world were headed to make waves in Southeast Asia as IFA, in partnership with Franchise Times and the U.S. Commercial Service, led a delegation to explore opportunities in the Philippine franchise market July 17-20. Mission participants braved delayed and rerouted flights while those who arrived early relied on the Ascott Makati hotel’s generators to get them through the storm.

As the storm calmed and the sun started to shine, the mission kicked off with a visit to the historic US Embassy in Manila. With the Philippines becoming increasingly a consumption-led and service-oriented economy, the franchise sector is a powerful tool for local development. The mission allowed 14 dynamic American franchise concepts to explore the expanding Philippine market. The goal is to investigate partnership opportunities with master franchisees and area developers in the Philippines. Companies such as Edible Arrangements, Jan-Pro, Panda Express, PJ’s Coffee, Russo’s NY Pizzeria, Tilted Kilt, Title Boxing Club, Tutor Doctor, World of Beer, and WOW Café are ready to meet one-on-one with potential candidate companies that can help them expand their product to the region.

There are deep historical and cultural ties between the Philippines and the US.  Currently, there are 4 million Filipinos living in the US and 400,000 US citizens living in the Philippines.  This drives Filipino familiarity with US brands as well as an appetite for them. US Embassy employee, Kelan Evans of the Foreign Agricultural Service, referred to the US as the Philippines’ #1 supplier and consumer of agricultural goods. Kristin Keedler from the Embassy’s’ Public Affairs Section stated that there is a very positive perception of Americans and US culture in the Philippines.

While US franchises takes the lead and are welcomed with open arms, the Filipino market is shifting. According to Samie Lim, Chairman Emeritus, Philippines Franchise Association, “US franchises once dominated the Philippines, but Asian franchises are now coming in very fast.  The Filipino franchise community has grown a great deal in sophistication.” GDP growth is second only to China in the region.  This growth is projected to continue for at least 5 years and looks sustainable. “President Aquino has been an economic reformer and while 40% of the population lives below the poverty line, things seem to be changing,” stated Joel Ehrendriech, Economic Counselor, US Embassy.   With a steadily growing economy, the Philippines’ is a prime franchise market with a growing sophistication of the business community and a desire for US brands. US Deputy Chief of Mission Brian Goldbeck said, “The market is poised, you are right to look at this market now.”

Mission participants spent the day of the 18th in matchmaking meetings with potential business partners arranged by the US Commercial Service.  Companies met with as many as 12 potential partners in one hour blocks over the course of the day.  The meetings were conducted in private rooms at the Ascott Makati hotel.

Afterwards, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg hosted the delegation and leaders from the Filipino business community for a well-received catered networking reception with live music. Attendees included the Philippines’ Secretary of Finance, Cesar Purisma and Chairman Emeritus of the Philippines Franchise Association and “Father of Philippine Franchising” Samie Lim.  Ambassador Goldberg, Senior Commercial Officer Jim McCarthy, and Josh Merin, IFA’s Director of International Affairs, made remarks during the event. Merin then introduced the mission participants who each made brief remarks. Reporters from 12 media outlets, including the two largest newspapers in the Philippines visited the hotel to cover the mission.

Are You a FAN? Join the Franchise Action Network!


The franchise business model is under unprecedented attack by activist labor groups that have launched a coordinated campaign in cities and states across the nation that would negatively impact our industry. From discriminatory wage increases in Seattle and Chicago to federal regulations that would recast franchisors as employers of their franchisees’ employees, the franchise industry has never come under assault like this in its history. To defend the franchise model against these existential threats, franchise businesses need to come together and speak with one, consistent, strong and collective voice on behalf of our great industry.

FANlogoThe International Franchise Association would like to announce its new strategic initiative, the Franchise Action Network (FAN), to mobilize the franchise industry to be that voice. By joining the FAN, we will unite all of our voices within franchising with a strong message about the positive impacts of the franchise business model in every community across the country.

Here is how it will work: The Franchise Action Network will neutralize anti-franchising forces, while simultaneously educating policymakers that locally-owned franchise businesses are small businesses. As a member of the franchise industry, you know that behind many familiar logos and trusted brands are small business owners seeking to increase opportunity – not just for themselves – but for their entire community. By joining the Franchise Action Network, you will become a critical part in delivering this message to policymakers in Congress, in the states, and in cities across America.

The Franchise Action Network is the evolution of the IFA’s Franchise Congress program. If you were already a Franchise Congress member, you will be automatically included as a FAN member. In the coming months, the Franchise Action Network will achieve the following objectives:

  • Recruit current franchisees, franchisors and suppliers in each state to educate them on public policy issues and motivate them to come together for a common industry cause; and
  • Prepare and position Franchise Action Networks for legislative activity in the 2015 legislative sessions and beyond.

To be successful, we need your help.  The most important thing you can do now to help protect the franchise model, is become a FAN today.

If you have any questions about this new initiative, please contact IFA’s Senior Director, Political Affairs & Grassroots Advocacy, Erica Farage at

By joining together in the Franchise Action Network, we can help to ensure that the franchise model remains a critically important part of the overall U.S. economy. Thank you for your support!

IFA Remembers DLA Piper Partner and IFA General Counsel Dennis E. Wieczorek



Dennis E. Wieczorek, CFE, age 62, respected attorney at DLA Piper for 37 years, chairman of its Franchise and Distribution Practice, died July 11.  The sad news resulted in numerous outpourings of sadness, support for the family and memories of a well-esteemed friend for his positive business and personal influence.

The DLA Piper law firm and its predecessor firms have served as IFA’s General Counsel since the start of the association, 54 years ago.  His areas of concentration included U.S. and international franchising, licensing, antitrust and distribution law matters.

Wieczorek, DLA Piper partner, began work on IFA matters from almost his earliest days at the firm, and formally assumed the role of general counsel several years ago.  He was an active participant during IFA’s Annual Conventions and Legal Symposiums, as well as IFA board meetings.  In addition to his participation on the IFA board and its related committees, Wieczorek participated on the association’s Legal/Legislative Committee and Legislative Action Group.

“Dennis Wieczorek’s professionalism, expertise and friendship will be truly missed at IFA,” said IFA Pres. &CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE.  “His keen intellect, sound judgment, steady demeanor and focused diligence in the critical efforts that we are making to defend franchising in legislative and judicial arenas at the federal, state and municipal levels has made the IFA and the industry better and stronger. Dennis was, quite simply, indispensable.”

Wieczorek’s franchise practice excellence has been recognized by research publisher Chambers & Partners in Chambers Global and Chambers USA; The International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers; The Best Lawyers in America, as well as being named Best Lawyers’ 2011 Chicago Franchise Lawyer of the Year.  He was honored as Best Lawyer for 2014 in Chicago’s Best Lawyers magazine and as a repeat Franchise Times Legal Eagle.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, please make your contributions to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, 14 Pennsylvania Plaza, Suite 1710, New York, NY 10122.


July’s Franchising World Digital Edition Coming, June Now Available

Your business reading during the summer can now include topics trending on diversity and inclusion, as well as international development, two important areas to consider for your thriving franchise business.

FW Header09 wShadowWatch for the July issue of IFA’s Franchising World magazine that’s coming soon. Articles are designed to help your business navigate those twists and turns that accompany international development. You’ll find guidance about international data available on franchising, trends involved in franchising in Latin America, investor visas, real estate considerations and managing the translation process.  This issue also updates readers on IFA’s enhanced international program and its increased World Franchise Council engagement.

This issue also includes photo coverage of the Legal Symposium, conducted for the first time in Chicago, where it attracted more than 500 participants, as well as articles that outline the latest on franchise relations, social media and IFA’s veterans outreach program VetFran.

And while you’re waiting for the July magazine, review the June issue of Franchising World magazine that focuses on diversity in franchising that presents best practices and resources. Learn why being a diversity-focused business is no longer an option from IFA Educational Foundation Diversity Institute Chairman Carlton Curtis, Coca-Cola Foodservice vice president of industry affairs. Other industry leaders elaborate on women franchise owners and what the current economic climate means for diversity programs.

Also available, which first appeared on FranSocial’s Franchise Relations Dialogue site, is an article that has generated nearly 400 downloads: “A New Era in Franchising Continues to Emerge: Should a More Balanced Franchise Agreement Play a Role?” Authors are Aziz Hashim, NRD Holdings, LLC president and CEO and IFA treasurer; and Brian B. Schnell, CFE, a Faegre Baker Daniels LLP partner.

Check out other June magazine categories such as research, trends, multi-unit franchising and lead generation, among others.

FranSocialLogo_finalReach out to authors with your questions and comments at FranSocial.


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