IFA Addresses Threats to the Franchise Model at MUFSO

On Oct. 7, the 55th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Conference, better known as MUFSO, concluded in Dallas. MUFSO is the most comprehensive executive conference in the restaurant industry and IFA sponsored a session titled, “Franchising Under Attack: Get Informed & Learn How to Take Action!”

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The session provided an overview from industry leaders and legal perspectives on all the franchise legislative and policy issues facing the industry. It also explained how to get involved through the recently launched IFA Franchise Action Network (FAN).

Panelists included Patrick Doyle, president & CEO, Domino’s Pizza Inc.; Aziz Hashim, president/CEO, NRD Holdings, CEO/chairman, Impact Investments; Michael Lotito, co-chair and shareholder, Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute; Steve  Romaniello,  CFE, managing director, Roark Capital; and Matt Haller, senior vice president, media relations & public affairs, IFA, who served as moderator.

The session got underway with Hashim, Doyle and Romaniello echoing points on the state of the industry under attack. Hashim noted he has “never seen this kind of wave,” regarding the industry threats with Romaniello adding, “Make no mistake, the industry is under attack and it is broader and deeper than most people think.” Doyle was hopeful “that rational people will make rational decisions, but a lot is at risk right now for the industry that could impact millions of business owners and jobs.”

Haller guided the conversation next to last week’s veto by Governor Jerry Brown of harmful franchise relationship legislation in California. The veto of SB 610 represented a true victory for franchise small business owners and employees throughout the state, the culmination of a two-year strategic campaign by IFA and California FANs.  “The reason people choose to be franchisees are brand promise and operations, franchising success rate is higher.  Legislation like this would weaken brand consistency which would lead to more failures,” Doyle commented.

Hashim added that SB 610 would have been, “government interfering in business contracts and have unintended consequences,” noting that, “special interest is at play trying to cause a rift between franchisees and franchisors.” Romaniello spoke to the energy surrounding the IFA opposition campaign:  “we have made a greater effort to engage franchisees, there are more common interests than ever before, and also a common enemy,” and continuing that “the Franchise Action Network is a tool to engage on a more granular and local level, as state and local issues are now a focus to be pro-active on, and California is a great example.” Lotito gave the opposition perspective on what SEIU is spending on this fight, how well its messaging is organized and the real challenge in this debate.

The next issue of discussion was the National Labor Relations Board recent ruling on joint employer. Lotito walked the group through the full impact of the proposed joint employer standard and what it means for the industry. Hashim noted that the ruling “profoundly changes the franchise model. Worst case, everything becomes corporate-only stores, which threatens the basic foundation of franchising. Franchisees are independent entities that hire, fire, promote and set wages.”

The panel closed with a call to action from all the panelists that there is no choice but working together to protect the industry and engaging lawmakers with the franchise business community.

For more information about the Franchise Action Network or to sign up, please visit www.FranchiseActionNetwork.com.

For any questions or inquiries, please contact Erica Farage at 202-662-0760 or efarage@franchise.org.

U.S. Added 21,360 Franchise Jobs in August

U.S. private-sector franchise jobs increased by 21,360 during August, according to the “ADP National Franchise Report.” Restaurants and auto parts and dealers again led the way, with accommodations and business services showing healthy improvement as well. In fact, business services adds double its 12-month average of job gains.

Distributed to the public each month free of charge, the report measures monthly changes in franchise employment derived from ADP’s actual transactional payroll data.

The report is produced by ADP, a leading global provider of human capital management solutions, in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and is published by the ADP Research Institute.

Click here to access the ADP National Franchise Report Infographic.

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Fast Food Workers Plan Another Round of Coordinated Protests this Week

 

 

Employers at fast food chains around the nation should brace themselves for a series of protests and acts of civil disobedience that will occur this Thursday, September 4.  The strikes, organized by members of the “Fight for 15″ movement, are part of the nationwide crusade to raise the minimum wage. The Fight for 15 organization carried out a similar campaign to raise wages last spring. There are few details on the nature of the protests that will reportedly occur in as many as 150 cities across the country.

Such organized and concerted efforts are part of a broader trend to effectuate changes to wages and working conditions outside of the traditional labor union construct. For example, so-called “worker centers”– otherwise known as union front organizations (UFOs) – are increasing in number, and working in conjunction with unions to achieve typical labor organization goals.  UFOs are generally non-profit organizations offering a variety of services to their members, including worker advocacy, lobbying, employment services, and legal advice.  The Fight for 15 movement has union support, particularly from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  Last year, the AFL-CIO vowed to work with such labor offshoots.

Employers must be careful not to interfere with employees’ lawful Fight for 15 activities.  Under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), employees have the protected right to engage in concerted activity for the purpose of mutual aid and protection.  These rights apply to both union and non-union employees.   Concerted activity includes individual employees seeking to initiate group action, or a group of employees trying to bring group complaints to management, regarding employment related concerns.  Any adverse employment action taken in response to an employee’s participation in Fight for 15 could be an unfair labor practice if it interferes with, coerces, or restrains the employee’s rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the NLRA. Remedies for unfair labor practices include reinstatement with full back pay and interest.  Employers also are required to post a notice to all employees outlining the NLRA violation and the remedy.

Meanwhile, in a round of Labor Day speeches, President Obama and Labor Secretary Perez reiterated their support to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. At least 13 states and the District of Columbia have increased their minimum wages in recent months, and a handful of states and localities have placed the question of whether to raise the minimum wage on the November ballot.  It is expected that issues such as income inequality and wage theft will be key talking points for many Democrats going into the November elections.

Franchise Relations Dialogue’s New Series Has Answers

Two weeks ago you were urged to beat the deadline to get in your questions for a new “Ask the Expert” series on the Franchise Relations Dialogue forum of IFA’s member-only community FranSocial. The first expert, Dwyer Group Executive Chairwoman Dina Dwyer-Owens, CFE, has responded to those questions.  Dwyer-Owens is a former IFA chairwoman with more than 30 years of industry experience. The final questions were selected by the IFA Franchise Relations Committee’s Knowledge Share Task Force after sorting and combining all the questions.

Readers gain not only from her answers to the 10 questions that include such areas as leadership, political challenges, compliance and balancing franchisee and end users’ needs, but immediate follow-up questions that help add even more dimension to the exchanges.

For example, when it comes to addressing leadership and smoothing the transition when the founder is no longer leading the organization, Dwyer-Owens responds:  “Never lose sight of where you came from.”  She adds that “it is often necessary to gut out difficult times and even stand by decisions that, at the time, may not be popular.”

What is the most important question to end-user customers according to Dwyer-Owens? “How likely are you to refer us to a friend or family member?”  She explains:  “The answer to this question tells us how well our franchisees are performing on a daily basis, which validates the effectiveness of many of the programs that we are focused on. As it relates to marketing, we have numerous ways that we measure effectiveness depending on the mediums that we are using. For example, on our pay-per-click program, we would clearly measure conversion rates.”

Be sure to read the entire “Ask the Expert”  posted in a thread dated Aug. 27 by Evan Hackel, CFE, founder & principal of Ingage Consulting.  The link requires you to log in first and then takes you to the responses on the Franchise Relations Dialogue forum.

The IFA Franchise Relations Committee’s Knowledge Share Task Force is helping IFA members to tap into their peers’ expertise with the creation of this series.  If you are you seeking to expand your understanding of issues related to franchising, visit the Franchise Relations Dialogue forum to stay involved with the ongoing series.

IFA’s Emerging Franchisor Conference → GO BIG!

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Ever wondered what it is like to be given all tools necessary and then told to build something?  Well, as many of us know, it’s definitely a challenge to start on your own! However, given the proper resources, it could end up being the best learning opportunity! Now take that approach and apply it to your business. If you are a growing franchisor and looking for the premier franchising networking event filled with resources, then look no further! IFA has teamed up with a taskforce to implement a program that could best serve the Emerging Franchisors needs.

The 2014 Emerging Franchisor Conference is an interactive platform for executives of brands that are just stepping into the market.  Join fellow professionals who have been in the business for quite a while to gain tips and apply proven strategies on how to make your brand shine. Hear Warren Ellish, President & CEO of Ellish Marketing Group talk about World-Class Branding, Catherine Monson, CEO of FastSigns International discuss corporate culture and Mary Kennedy Thompson of the Dwyer Group give her “Lessons in Leadership.” After hearing their motivational stories, there is no doubt that you will be recharged and ready to GO BIG!

Not only does this event advise you on the necessary steps to reach the top, but it helps guide you in the right direction, especially in connection with your franchisees. Building trust from the start is crucial in any relationship, so enhance the connection with your current franchisee while creating new relations. By the end of the conference, you will know who you want to play a key role in your business, what you want from them, and where to put them in action.

Some key aspects of the conference that should not be missed are: the “Discussion with Franchise Founder’s and CEO’s”, the notorious “Shark Tank” session (yes you heard it right, get a sense of the deadly tank!), a case study of audience engagement and of course, the infamous roundtable discussions where you get up close and personal with the best in the business.

Don’t just sit in the present to wait for something to happen in the future, take a plunge in this unique educational opportunity offered by IFA and register for the 2014 Emerging Franchisor Conference in Dallas, November 18-19 today! The program brochure is now available, so click here to see what’s in store!

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