Stop 2 – Chongqing, China

The U.S. Franchise Trade Mission arrived in Chongqing, China, November 3, their 2nd stop on a tour of four cities that include Beijing, Chongqing, Nanjing and Dalian over the next week.

After a general market briefing and legal update of doing business in China, the franchise delegation was in Chongqing for the specific purpose of meeting with candidates that the U.S. Commercial Service had set in advance.

The U.S. Commercial Service team in Chongqing had arranged for more than 50 investor groups to attend the full day seminar where the franchisors which included Jani-King, Right at Home, Sotheby’s, Wing Zone, Rita’s, CKE, Fuddruckers and Round Table Pizza, would make formal presentations to the entire group and then break out into individual meetings later in the day. The CS team in Chongqing – Lily Lin, Cui Shiyang and Helen Hua had lined up a strong group for the delegates to meet.


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Day 1 – Beijing, China

The U.S. Franchise Trade Mission to China kicked off November 3, 2013 in Beijing, China with stops here, Chongqing, Nanjing and Dalian over the next week.

This trade mission is the third mission in 2013 and is produced by the U.S. Commercial Service and sponsored by the International Franchise Association and Franchise Times magazine. The partnership is a key component to IFA’s International Development efforts to assist IFA members with identifying and meeting qualified master franchise candidates around the world.

Participating franchisors on the mission include CKE Restaurants represented by Mike Woida, Senior Vice President, International; Fuddruckers represented by Bill Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services; Jani-King International represented by Don Burlson, Executive Vice President; Right at Home represented by Debbie Huang, Deputy General Manager of CAJ Senior Care Services, the Master Franchisee for Right at Home in China; Rita’s Italian Ice represented by Scott Schubiger, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Franchise Development and Bill Edwards and James Liu of Edwards Global Services; Round Table Pizza represented by Bill Edwards and James Liu of Edwards Global Services; Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates represented by Calvin Wong, Vice President, Global Development; and Wing Zone represented by Hair Parra, Vice President, International Development.

The Commercial Service Beijing assembled a quality group of speakers to brief the franchise delegates.  From left to right are Ms. Belinda Tang, DLA Piper; Mr. Hu Jun, Railway Retail Management; Mr. Zhu Lingbo, China Commercial Real Estate Commission; Tim Lai, Highlight Consulting; Xan Moody-Stuart, master franchisee for North China, Subway.

The Commercial Service Beijing assembled a quality group of speakers to brief the franchise delegates. From left to right are Ms. Belinda Tang, DLA Piper; Mr. Hu Jun, Railway Retail Management; Mr. Zhu Lingbo, China Commercial Real Estate Commission; Tim Lai, Highlight Consulting; Xan Moody-Stuart, master franchisee for North China, Subway.

Andrew Gately, Commercial Officer with the U.S. Commercial Service is the trade mission leader and responsible for overall coordination of the mission for the four stops. As sponsors of the event, both the International Franchise Association, represented by Scott Lehr, Senior Vice President, U.S. and International Development and Franchise Times represented by Nancy Weingartner, Executive Editor provide initial marketing for the mission and support throughout the mission.

As with all trade missions, the goals are to help the participating franchisors understand the markets visited from a legal, demographic, real estate and development perspective but most importantly to get them face to face with qualified master and area development prospects for one-on-one discussions.

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U.S. Trade Mission makes it last stops to Lagos, Nigeria



The Trade Mission delegates arrived in Lagos, Nigeria on Oct. 2 after successful stops in Nairobi, Kenya and Johannesburg. After a brief introduction to the market by Janelle Santerre Weyek and Rebecca Armand with the U.S. Commercial Service in Lagos, the group relaxed to get ready for a very full day ahead the next day.

The day began with a country briefing by the U.S. Commercial Service.  With more than 170 million people and a growing middle class, the market is the biggest in Africa. If fact, the country is adding approximately 4-5 million people a year although 65 percent of the population lives in poverty. The U.S. is a big trading partner with Nigeria, exporting nearly $5 billion per year.  Of course there are challenges for American brands operating in the country with corruption and fraud being two of the obstacles. The USCS personnel strongly suggested that any potential partners be thoroughly checked out and reminded the group of the International Corporate Profiles that the USCS does for American companies at a very reasonable at a cost of $600 – $1200 per company.

In addition, infrastructure and supply chain challenges remain specifically for food franchisors.  If there was any doubt that there was money in the country, all the delegates had to do was look across the river from where we were staying to see two nearly identical $50 million yachts owned by the CEO of Fort Oil of Nigeria and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, founder of the Dangote Group whose interests include cement, sugar, beverages, real estate, oil & gas and steel.

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Franchisees Sit Down with Adam Shapiro, from Fox Business, to Discuss Workplace Conflicts among Employees

With the current shutdown in Washington, Fox Business examines the problems that could arise in the franchise industry if people weren’t able to get along and work together. Two franchise owners discuss workplace conflicts among employees and how to handle and protect themselves from them.


For franchise owners like Lynn Eckel, franchisee of Tom & Chee, hedging against workplace conflicts was a necessary action when she decided to purchase an insurance policy to protect herself from potential liabilities. Jon Giacobbe, franchisee of Subway, echoed this practice, stating “there’s all different types of liabilities you need to protect yourself from, for example it could be sexual harassment or discrimination.” “Typically what I would advise is seek out legal counsel; get some type of umbrella insurance that will cover you in your full scope.”

Both franchise owners stressed the practice of documentation when dealing with conflicts in the workplace, “Everything should be documented, you should have a personal file anytime you have an incident with any type of employee, just keep it in a file because that will actually be your backbone, if you actually need it.” said Eckel.

One simple and effective method to prevent workplace conflicts however, is where it all begins, during the hiring process, “If you have good screening, you do background checks, you can avoid possible problems and issues with employees down the road. So it really all starts with the hiring.” said Giacobbe.

To view the full video, please click here.

Franchisee Leads Breakout Session on Disaster Response at U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundations, 2013 Corporate Responsibility Conference

This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosted its Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) 2013 Corporate Responsibility Conference, effectively themed The Network Effect: How Business Drives Progress. It was an opportunity for businesses and leaders of corporate responsibility to convene around a variety of issues including energy and water use, woman’s economic empowerment, nutrition, and disaster resiliency.

Mitch Cohen, Franchisee, Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins, and April Schrenker, Manager, The Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin Robbins Community Foundation, participated in the Tapping Into Community During Disaster Response, Breakout Session. Here, they led a discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and how Dunkin’ Brands’ Community Foundation has grown and operated since its launch after Hurricane Katrina. The Community Foundation provided disaster recovery efforts and donations to the affected victims and areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Seven years later, The Community Foundation has evolved into a grassroots campaign with a focus on mobilizing disaster response efforts through Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins’ community based franchise locations nationwide.

Best practices and constructive ideas were shared among business owners, and spokesmen and women from relief agencies like American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), aligning with the central point of the session, “One of the best sources of information on how to help disaster impacted community is by having employees on the ground. Whether it is a franchise owner or store manager, businesses can make smarter decisions and determine how best to help by leveraging their on-the-ground network.”

Cohen, franchise owner and operator of 13 Dunkin’ locations, is also Co-Chair of the Community Foundation, which has built a framework that allows the Dunkin’ Brands family to give back to those who help them every day in their communities. When speaking of the Foundation’s recent efforts after Hurricane Sandy, Cohen described how the Foundation likes to base decisions, not just on the ‘here and now’, but on effective response and recovery efforts that, “make a difference six, eight, and twelve months down the road.”

“Establish a mission with whom you’re giving to, and what for. Set expectations and guiding pillars that allow you to define certain criteria and expectations” added Cohen, when speaking of who to give to and for what reasons. The Foundation partners with national nonprofit organizations, in addition to regional and local level franchisees to support three critical issue areas, children’s health, hunger and safety. Since 2006, the Foundation has donated more than $4.4 million to organizations serving their neighborhoods.

Click here to view the 2013 Corporate Responsibility Conference online agenda.

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