Quick-service restaurant franchises are hot spots for presidential candidates


Link: Quick-service restaurant franchises are hot spots for presidential candidates

There are more 152,665 quick-service franchise restaurants in the United States (according to the IFA’s 2011 economic forecast) and seemingly every American has their personal favorite, whether it’s McDonald’s, Taco Bell or newcomer Five Guys. According to an article in the latest QSR Magazine, politicians are certainly part of this rule, rather than the exception. 

As the article mentioned, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn), the leader in many Iowa caucus polls, recently made a swing through the state, finding time to stop at a Pizza Ranch restaurant in Carroll, Iowa, and visit with dozens of supporters. 

While its certainly not breaking news that candidates on the go are likely to stop into quick-service franchises like Pizza Ranch to grab a quick bite and mingle with potential voters, it does serve as a reminder of the opportunity these events create for franchisees to educate policymakers about the unique attributes of franchising—that each franchise establishment, while operating with the strength and support of a well-known and respected national brand, are actually owned and operated by local entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

If you’re a franchisee, take a moment the next time a politician stops by for a visit, whether he or she is a presidential candidate or your town’s mayor, to pose for a photo and tell them your story about the benefits franchise small business ownership has afforded to you. It’s all about awareness and advocacy, and there is no better spokesperson for our industry with lawmakers than those who own local businesses and create jobs in their communities. And if you happen to get in an opportunity to tell them about the onerous provisions in the new health care law, the need for more certainty out of Washington with regard to taxes and over burdensome government regulation, then all the better.

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Director of Communications

Small Businesses, Lenders Tell Congressional Panel Credit Gaps Remain


Witnesses from the IFA and other organizations testifying at a House Small Business Committee hearing Wednesday told lawmakers that a harsh regulatory environment continues to restrict access to credit for small businesses.

“What we found is that the FDIC regulators are inconsistently applying regulations throughout the banking community,” said Lynn Ozer, executive vice president of Susquehanna Bank in Pottstown, Pa., representing the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders. “That is what has been reported to the trade association.”

IFA’s Credit Access Task Force Chairman Bill Hall, CFE, a five-unit Dairy Queen franchisee, said that without additional access to  credit, he will lose customers in the highly-competitive quick service restaurant industry. “I need to borrow money to renovate my stores just to keep up with the competition,” he said. “Otherwise I’ll go out of business.” For the first time in his life, he said, he will seek an SBA loan, because commercial credit is so tight.

Hall was invited to testify on behalf of IFA’s 825,000 franchise establishments across the United States that  account for nearly 18 million jobs.

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who arrived at the hearing from a meeting at the White House with President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, pressed the panelists about what Congress can do about the gaps in the credit market.

“I want to know if banking regulators are causing this hang-up and what we can do about it. Are borrowers and bankers being inconsistently treated by regulators?” West asked.

“With nearly 14% unemployment in my district, I’m concerned about the small guys getting credit,” said Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.). “It’s the quickest way to get job growth in our economy. We have to support small business.”

Government and industry statistics indicate that SBA loans have provided a lifeline to small-business growth over the past year. But lenders say those loans may be discouraged by regulators.

“There is a bias against SBA loans by regulators,” said Ozer. “They [SBA loans] are sometimes put in a high-risk category, which affects how reserves are calculated.”

IFA, NAGGL and the Consumer Bankers Association, which also testified at the hearing, are ramping up efforts to call attention to the problem. The message resonated with some lawmakers.

“Banks in my district had nothing to do with the financial crisis,” said Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.). “They think there was an overreaction by regulators.”
Some Committee members echoed the IFA’s call for increased credit flow to franchising.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a former franchisor and franchisee in the restaurant industry, said, “There is pent-up demand out there for growth,” Mulvaney said. “This is the way to create jobs. If financial regulators are impeding that credit flow, we need to do something about it.”

Full video of the hearing is available on the Committee’s YouTube page

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Director of Communications

Franchise industry continues to build relationships with SBA


IFA Franchise Congress member Amy Nichols (Dogtopia, MD) with SBA Administrator Karen Mills

The IFA participated in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week to highlight its expanded Credit Access Campaign. A sponsor of the week’s events, the IFA has been linked throughout the year with SBA’s “Jobs Act” small business nationwide tour. IFA’s Franchise Congress key contact advocacy group has been instrumental in building relationships with the SBA; Franchise Congress member Amy Nichols, franchisor of Dogtopia, MD, attended the Small Business Week event.

In addition, the recent SBA Jobs Tour Round table in Seattle, WA on May 9 was attended by Franchise Congress members Phyllis Pieri (Your Franchise Coach, WA), and Jerrod Sessler (HomeTask, Inc., WA), along with IFA member Barbara Carper-Ness (Profit Soup, WA). They had great success in broaching the subject of bank lending to franchises, as well as strengthening entrepreneurship in small markets. A special thanks to the continued involvement of IFA’s Franchise Congress at these key regional events!

IFA Franchise Congress member Phyllis Pieri (Your Franchise Coach, WA) with the SBA’s Steven Smits

An Opportunity to Be A Part of History


Baseball’s opening day has arrived, and, as always, optimism overfloweth on opening day!  This week, myself, and many others, will head to Washington, D.C. for the Small Business Lending Summit (SBLS), and we will be armed with that same sense of optimism as we strive to truly make a positive difference.  Just like with opening day, the SBLS marks an opportunity for a fresh start, a chance for us to step up to the plate and swing for the fences! 

If, collectively, we accomplish the objectives set forth for this event, we will: educate lenders and policymakers alike on the power of franchising, build communications bridges between each of these communities and encourage them to make credit more accessible to our organizations, thus letting us get back to what we do so well – fulfilling the American Dream and getting Americans back to work!             

Let’s be honest, most of us are never going make history by hitting 73 home runs in a single season, or by taking part in turning a triple play, but we can make history in the arena where we serve.  That’s exactly how I view the SBLS, a chance to (in some very small way) be a part of history.  Won’t it be awesome when franchise businesses are highlighted in the footnotes of history books as being responsible for restoring economic stability in the United States?! 

I am going to D.C. for my parents, two wonderful kids from Iowa who had to figure out how to make ends meet in the mid-1970’s, so they took the $17.42 they had and turned it into the construction of over 700 car washes across this great nation.  More people should have the opportunity to be like Bob and Mary Black. 

I am going to D.C. for my two little boys who deserve a chance to know a future where anything is possible, not a future where little is possible. 

I am going to D.C. for you and me, because the people of franchising are some of the best I have ever known, and you deserve a chance to surpass all of your projections and expectations!

So, you see, it’s game time.  I assure you, those of us going to D.C. to represent you, franchising, and the IFA, will do everything we can to “knock it out of the park”!!  Let’s play ball!

Follow me on Twitter @superwashsusan for live updates from SBLS.  Search for hashtag #SBLS.  

Posted by Susan E. Black-Beth, CFE, Chief Operating Officer, Super Wash, Inc. and IFA board member

Senate Procedural Move May Get 1099 Repeal to President Obama?


Deem & Pass… its a term of art derived from the U.S. Senate’s playbook, I mean rulebook.  Senate leadership from both parties are close to reaching an agreement that could allow Senators to vote on the IFA-supported Johanns (R-NE) amendment to repeal the expanded 1099 reporting requirements. 


A second-degree amendment is being offered by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) that would require a study be conducted to determine if the pay-for included in the Johanns amendment would be detrimental.  If the Dept. of Health & Human Services did find it detrimental, then the 1099 reporting provision could go back into law. 

The Menendez vote paves the way for Senators who disagree with the way 1099 repeal is paid for to vote against it. 

We are hopeful the Johanns amendment will pass and the Menendez amendment will fail to reach the 60 vote threshold required to amend the 1099 repeal legislation that has already passed the House of Representatives.

If Senate leaders agree to the terms of debate moving forward, the Senate may “Deem & Pass” the Johanns amendment and send it directly to the President for his signature–possibly as soon as this week.

While the White House does not agree with the way the 1099 repeal is paid for, President Obama has not issued a veto threat. 

This long, strange legislative voyage is getting closer to being over.  Keep your fingers crossed, and keep calling your Senators to support the Johanns amendment!

Click here for more information.

Posted by Jason Straczewski, IFA Senior Director of Government Relations & Public Policy