Franchisee involvement a key for IFA

24th February 2014

Improving franchisee engagement is one of five key items on the to-do list at the International Franchise Association, the American franchising sector was told today at its annual convention. 

“We must have franchisees actively involved in what we are trying to accomplish,” Steve Romaniello, IFA chairman of the board, told the franchising community at the International Franchise Association’s 54th annual convention.

The goals for the organisation are franchisee inclusion, state focused efforts, FranPAC [franchising’s political action committee], research and data, and investment in technology.

Driving growth in challenging times is the theme at the conference in New Orleans and speakers on the first day have highlighted some of the challenges  that face the American franchise market.

Despite the franchise sector accounting for 3.4 percent of the US GDP and 18 million jobs in 2013, Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of IFA, said the sector still faces significant threats.

“Our economic forecast shown modest growth, we’re not yet at the level of growth before recession. Creating momentum to solve some of the issues will continue to be the top priority for the association.”

Caldeira highlighted regulation, health care and immigration as among the key concerns.


Leon Panetta, the 23rd US Secretary of Defense, and a former director of the CIA, identified the effort needed to make any organisation a success in his keynote address.

He took the question of leadership to another level: a country lacking in leadership governs by crisis, he said. Panetta made reference to what he sees as the lack of willingness for the American government to come together in bipartisan approach to deal with major issues affecting the country. 

Panetta drew parallels with small business and franchise operations.

“Dreams are just dreams unless you work hard at it, take risks, make sacrifices,” he told the more than 3,000 assembled delegates including a strong representation from the Australian franchise sector.

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