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.

Members of the International Franchise Association joined Senate Majority

Members of the International Franchise Association joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for a press conference yesterday to discuss burdens that policies being pushed by some Democrats and the administration are placing on franchise businesses’ ability to sell more franchises, hire workers and grow the economy. 

“Franchise small businesses need government to get out of the way in order to continue creating jobs at the rate they have historically,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. “We applaud Senate Minority Leader McConnell for echoing that message and urge the administration and all members of Congress to develop bipartisan, pro-growth solutions that help franchise businesses to create jobs.”

“The government itself is the problem now,” said McConnell. “We have to allow  the private sector to do what it does best which is to to grow, expand, and create jobs.”

“In recent years, one of the reasons I have not sought to grow is uncertainty surrounding the health care laws,” said David Barr, Chairman of PMTD Restaurants LLC and its affiliates (a franchisee of KFC and Taco Bell) and Rita Restaurant Corp. (the owner and operator of Don Pablo’s Mexican Restaurants). “Obamacare will force me to either decrease employees or move workers from full-time to part-time employees to avoid paying penalties.”

Unless Congress repeals or significantly changes the health care law, 3.2 million full-time employees and tens of thousands of franchise businesses will be at risk of losing their jobs, according to a recent report prepared by Hudson Institute for the International Franchise Association.

“All of my business income is needed to continue to grow and create jobs,” said Gail Johnson, CEO of Rainbow Station, which is a franchise that offers nationally accredited early childhood education and school age recreation programs. “Taking away income from small business owners like myself  through a tax increase is quite simply  a job smasher.”

IFA has urged Congress to consider permanent, comprehensive tax reforms that encourage job creation by franchise businesses, but that also do not hurt small businesses and franchises that file as individuals. Click here to view IFA’s recent letter to Senators.  

“Small businesses that want to grow and have a track record of success should be able to get loans from lenders, said Bob Dorfman, a Five Guys multi-unit franchisee with 9 stores in Tampa, Fla., 10 stores in Columbus, Ohio, 14 stores open in Houston and South Texas, and a commitment with Five Guys to open and operate 103 total stores. “Lenders should be free from overregulation and scrutiny that’s unnecessarily holding back job creation.

Over 82,000 new jobs and over $10 billion in economic output will be lost in 2011 as a result of lack of credit flow to franchised small businesses, according to the IFA Small Business Lending Matrix & Analysis, Vol. 3.

“We have heard today that the rules and the regulations coming out of Washington are making it harder and more expensive for the private sector to create jobs,” said Barrasso.

“Let’s listen to the job creators and create an environment where they can go out and Americans can do what they have done better than anyone in the history of the world,” said Rubio. “They haven’t forgotten how to go out and start a business. These people haven’t run out of good ideas. They just need a government that makes it easier for them to go out and do that and not harder.”

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Sr. Director of Communications


In 2006, when Indiana small-business owner Scott Womack purchased a development agreement t

In 2006, when Indiana small-business owner Scott Womack purchased a development agreement to expand his IHOP franchise into Ohio, he had no idea Congress would pass a massive overhaul of the health care system four years later.

Today, one year after that legislative overhaul became law, Womack is very aware of Obamacare — and of its effects on his plans for growth.

Under the year-old law, Womack must provide health insurance to all full-time employees beginning in 2014. Right now, he employs nearly 1,000 full- and part-time workers and already offers insurance to his management staff. He simply does not know how he’ll generate the revenue to do more.

Womack estimates the cost of the law to his company will be 50 percent greater than his company’s earnings — in other words, beyond his ability to pay.

That’s not because his company of 12 IHOP restaurants in Indiana and Ohio is unprofitable. Quite the opposite, in fact. By industry standards, he’s doing well. But labor-intensive restaurants generate profits of just 5 percent to 7 percent per employee.

With fears about how he’ll afford to provide health insurance with those low profit margins, Womack is worried about his expansion plans in Ohio. He can’t exactly cancel his development agreement. But he’ll only be able to fund his new restaurants — and the construction, real estate and manufacturing jobs that would go along with them — if Obamacare is repealed.

“If the health care reform law is not repealed or if the employer mandate doesn’t go away, we’re going to have to take drastic action,” Womack explains.

From his perspective, the law represents Congress’ fundamental misunderstanding of important differences among industries. He’s frustrated that so few lawmakers sought input from people like him — but he’s doing what he can to speak up now to offer a glimpse into the law’s effects on small-business owners.

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Director of Communications (with permission from The Heritage Foundation)

Do you already miss being at IFA’s 51st Annual Convention? Just because the convention is over, d

Do you already miss being at IFA’s 51st Annual Convention? Just because the convention is over, doesn’t mean the memories can’t live on. Take a few minutes to watch the extended highlight reel of this year’s show. It is sure to help you relive some of the best moments from Las Vegas and share with your colleagues who weren’t able to make it! Enjoy…

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Director of Communications

Romney Cites Franchise Businesses as Key to Economic Recovery, Job Growth

Aside

Speaking at IFA’s 51st Annual Convention to more than 2,700 franchise executives, small business owners and entrepreneurs, former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney addressed many of the challenges facing small businesses in the current economic and political environment, while citing franchise small businesses a critical engine for local job growth and economic recovery.


The theme of this year’s IFA Convention is “Building the Future Together,” and Romney, a likely 2012 Republican presidential candidate, spent much of his 40-minute speech addressing issues that hinder the ability for franchise businesses to grow and create jobs, such as the lack of permanent tax certainty, a health care law that does not cut costs on employers and overregulation by government agencies.

“Growing small businesses are what get us out of economic downturns,” said Romney. “Instead of creating policies in Washington that help small businesses grow, we have seen the most anti-business agenda in a lifetime.”

“Franchise businesses need more long-term certainty on tax policy and have urged lawmakers to start over and fix the health care law so it does not impose excessive costs on the backs of franchise businesses still struggling to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira in his state of the association address before Romney took the stage.

“Mitt Romney’s broad and proven experience in business, government and politics provided critical insight for IFA members seeking to position their franchise organizations for growth in a continually challenging financial climate,” said Caldeira. “We appreciated Governor Romney’s unique insights and perspective on the state of the American economy and global affairs.”

Responding to a question about generating additional opportunities for franchise businesses to gain access to credit, Romney sympathized with the industry. “The enemy of credit is uncertainty. You can’t grow an economy if people can’t get capital,” he said, echoing many of the concerns and messages the IFA has been telling lawmakers.

Romney thanked the IFA for having him to its Convention, the third largest in the event’s 51st year. He left his audience with a message he said he gleaned from IFA’s 2010 Hall of Fame Award Winner, Doc Cohen. “If you want to be a good franchisor, listen to the ideas of your franchisees like Doc,” he said.