IFA FranBlog

A blog with news & views from the International Franchise Association, representing the over 825,000 franchise businesses across 300 business lines, providing for nearly 18 million jobs and generating over $2.1 trillion to the U.S. economy.

Apr 17

Lending Summit highlights progress in small business lending, though gaps remain

An expanded coalition of trade groups representing the financial services and small business communities today announced an expanded private-sector partnership to strengthen small business lending and spur job creation at IFA’s 2nd annual Small Business Lending Summit.

The groups, including the Consumer Bankers Association, Financial Services Roundtable and the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, cited regulations as a key factor impacting their ability to make loans and access capital.

The groups called on policymakers to hear about the challenges small businesses and lenders are facing in the current economic and regulatory environment. Speaking at the summit, SBA Administrator Karen Mills praised the IFA for its support of SBA lending programs, reporting the SBA has guaranteed $5.3 billion in loans to 5,200 franchisees during her tenure. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said the rulemaking from the Dodd-Frank financial reform law needed to be slowed down in order to free up capital for small business loans.

Some of the media coverage of the Small Business Lending Summit is below:

At the Summit, IFA released a new report that shows a bank lending shortfall could cost the franchise industry 94,000 jobs. Jon Luther, IFA Chairman and Chairman of the Board for Dunkin’ Brands and Arby’s International, joined CNBC’s Squawk Box and Fox Business to discuss how the IFA is helping the small business community recover from the lending crisis. ”Franchises have a very high success rate and everyone coming together at the summit aides the world of franchising,” Luther says. There is a high demand for franchising because the formula for franchising is a workable formula that has been proven and tested and there is a high success rate when opening a franchise store Read more

IFA also announced two new strategic partnerships at the Summit. An IFA/BoeFly monthly Franchise Lending Matrix was released, showing franchise lending improving steadily for the last 12 months. Through its alliance with Guidant Financial, IFA and Guidant will jointly develop and conduct educational programs focused on credit access for franchise businesses.

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Sr. Director of Communications

IFA Chairman Jon Luther discusses how lending shortfalls impede franchise business growth on Fox Business and CNBC


A new report from the IFA shows a bank lending shortfall that could cost the franchise industry 94,000 jobs.  Jon Luther, IFA Chairman and Chairman of the Board for Dunkin’ Brands and Arby’s International, joined CNBC’s Squawk Box and Fox Business to discuss how the IFA is helping the small business community recover from the lending crisis. 

Bringing together bankers and franchisors at IFA’s Annual Small Business Lending Summit today and tomorrow will educate how successful franchising can be in this difficult market, explains Luther.  “Franchises have a very high success rate and everyone coming together at the summit aides the world of franchising,” Luther says.  There is a high demand for franchising because the formula for franchising is a workable formula that has been proven and tested and there is a high success rate when opening a franchise store. 


Key policymakers and financial regulators, including Karen Mills, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will join IFA at its summit.  It is important to bring bankers together to communicate how the demand has built for lending.  Through IFA’s summit the franchise industry, lending and policy leaders will assess progress, challenges and steps needed to expand credit access and capital to create small-business jobs. “Education is now working and lending is freeing up giving franchising the ability to continue to spur job creation,” says Luther. 

For more information on IFA’s Small Business Lending Summit click here.

Posted by Jenna Weisbord, IFA Manager of Communications & Marketing

Updated: Judge strikes down NLRB poster ruling


In an important ruling for the franchise industry, today, the U.S. District Court of Appeals issued an emergency injunction to delay the effective date, originally set as April 30, for the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “Notice Posting Rule,” which would have required businesses to post a biased notice explaining an employee’s right to organize as a union.  

“This is a critical win for franchise business owners as we continue our aggressive efforts to battle against unfair and unnecessary regulations that impede the industry’s ability to grow and create jobs,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. “The injunction in this case is the right ruling as we continue to make the case that this rule is unfair to business owners.  We will work with other business groups to appeal the original ruling so that franchise businesses can operate on a level playing field.”

 IFA and other members of the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce said that the poster failed to explain an employee’s right to decertify an unwanted union, right to refuse to pay dues used for political purposes, or explain employees’ rights in “right to work” states such as South Carolina, Indiana and North Carolina. Today’s ruling delays the implementation date until the court has a chance to hear arguments and issue a ruling.

The injunction comes at the request of employers after a decision by a federal district court in South Carolina that struck down the NRLB rule.  On Friday, April 13, the U.S. District Court of South Carolina agreed with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who filed the suit against the NLRB. The court stated that the National Labor Relations Act does not “even mention the issue of notice posting.” The decision means businesses will likely no longer have to post the notice by April 30, 2012.

The April 13 ruling was an important step towards limiting the NLRB’s recent excesses. The poster is a small part of a larger battle IFA continues to fight against organized labor’s desire to tilt the playing field in its favor.  IFA continues to wait a court decision on the CDW lawsuit challenging the NLRB’s “Ambush Election Rule,” which is likely to come this month. Also, the DC Circuit court has to decide on CDW’s suit determining whether the NLRB even has the authority to conduct business given the nature of the recent “recess” appointments by the Administration. As a Management Committee leader in CDW, the IFA plays a critical role in holding the NLRB accountable for the many unlawful decisions it has made or proposed in the last year.

Apr 16

First Lady Praises Businesses’ Contributions to Joining Forces Campaign


Veterans’ employment campaign reaches goal early.

First Lady Michelle Obama congratulated Americans and U.S. businesses for enabling Joining Forces, the campaign to help hire veterans and their spouses, to surpass its goal to hire 50,000 and instead announced its 60,000th hire on April 12.

The First Lady made the announcement in Shreveport, La.

“Whenever we have asked Americans to step up, no matter who we were talking to, they have gone above and beyond our expectations—just above and beyond,” said the First Lady in prepared comments.  “And I want these veterans to understand that.   America is stepping up in big ways.”

Mrs. Obama pointed to U.S. businesses as leading the charge to hire veterans and their spouses.  “America’s businesses have overwhelmed us with their response,” said Obama.  The First Lady specifically noted the International Franchise Association with its pledge of 80,000 hires, which is part of VetFran’s Operation Enduring Opportunity initiative.  Companies such as Sears, and Snap-on Tools, along with others, have committed to hire at least 160,000 veterans and military spouses in the coming years.  “And that’s above and beyond the 60,000 that we’re talking about here today.  That’s on top of it,” said Obama.

On April 11, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed Snap-on Tools Military Program Manager Jon Rucker to the White House as part of the Joining Forces celebration.

“We were honored to be a part of the Joining Forces celebration,” said Rucker. “The collaboration of country, community, and selfless individuals to accomplish a common good for our military families, service members and veterans was amazing.”

“The Joining Forces program parallels the VetFran Operation Enduring Opportunity initiative; both resonate the value of being a part of something ‘bigger than oneself,’” said Rucker.  “Giving back to our military community makes perfect sense and is something we are proud to support.”

“I know my words echo those of many:  I was truly humbled by the scope and grace of this event,” Rucker added.

Visit Vetfran.com for more on the franchise industry’s activities to help veterans access careers and employment in franchising. 

Posted by Laura Fenwick, IFA Publishing Manager

Apr 3


Chris Hurn, IFA Member and CEO/Cofounder of Mercantile Capital Corporation, was invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on Thursday, March 29 2012. As a small business lender specializing in the SBA 504 loan program, he was asked by the Senate Committee to comment on the SBA FY 2013 budget request. Specifically, Hurn proposed a road map for how to get the SBA 504 loan program back to its historical zero-subsidy status.

Through most of its history, the 504 program has been supported by user fees rather than government appropriations. This hasn’t been the case in recent years, due in large part to the “Great Recession” and ensuing credit crisis. Hurn proposed three things to reestablish the 504 as a zero-subsidy program: 1) empowering CDCs to make recoveries in the 504 loan program and incentivizing them to do so; 2) extending the 504 Refi and FMLP programs by at least one year, through September 2013; and 3) implementing extra measures that may include lowering the 504 program authority and/or increasing borrower fees above their statutory minimum. A combination of these things, Hurn says, will help clean up the SBA budget by getting the 504 back to zero-subsidy status.

To read Hurn’s full testimony that was submitted to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, go here.

Apr 2

Hiring Our Heroes Proves Intrepid


IFA joined a live broadcast from the USS Intrepid on NBC’s Today Show in New York Wednesday to show support for Hiring Our Heroes, an industry campaign led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to employ returning veterans, as it marked the anniversary of its start in 2011.


New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Dr. Jill Biden of the White House Joining Forces effort, and Medal of Honor recipient and Marine veteran Dakota Meyer were among the celebrities featured live on the Today show anchored by Ann Curry, who spoke emphatically about the need to help U.S. veterans transition from the military to civilian employment. “This is the best-trained, most qualified force in American history,” Curry said. “We need to step up to make sure they are hired when they come home.” Curry’s father was a U.S. Navy veteran who met Curry’s mother in Guam.


Hiring Our Heroes Executive Director Kevin Schmiegel applauded the business community for hiring 9,000 veterans so far, but said an expanded effort is needed. Small business, said the Marine veteran who served 20 years, is central to the next phase of the campaign.

"I would like to see veterans employed by small businesses, where they can eventually become owners," said Bloomberg, speaking to IFA representatives. He noted that IFA’s International Franchise Expo will for the first time take place in New York City June 15-17 at the Javits Center. Veterans will be invited to attend without charge. "That’s great," Bloomberg said. Over 15,000 attendees are expected, including veterans for whom specific programming — and new discounts offered by brands such as Choice Hotels, Jiffy Lube and Cici’s Pizza — are in the plans.


Hiring Our Heroes announced a new commitment to hire and offer career opportunities to 500,000 veterans by 2014, including the 80,000 opportunities offered by franchising in IFA’s VetFran and Operation Enduring Opportunity campaigns. The commitment is now backed by Capital One, the McLean-based bank, which pledged $4.5 million to bolster Hiring Our Heroes.


Medal of Honor recipient Meyer thanked business representatives including the IFA for what they are doing. “I am grateful,” he said simply. Meyer is the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, and the first living United States Marine in 38 years to be so honored.

Posted by Beth Solomon, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Industry Relations

Mar 30

What is this Pinterest you speak of…and would you like an invite?

So, if you’ve been paying any attention to the social web lately, you’ve probably heard about this “new thing” called “Pinterest.” The buzz around the site has been growing at a frenzy the past couple months. In January, Pinterest hit 11.7 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S., up from 7.5 million in December, and 418,000 nine months ago. Mashable made the claim that "Pinterest has become the fastest growing website ever, now with nearly 12 million monthly users."

If that’s not impressive enough for you, in February, Pinterest drove more traffic to sites than Twitter. Pinterest had already passed Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined in referral traffic, but Twitter is one of the big boys on driving traffic.

Fortune just asked if “Pinterest is the next Facebook?" and not just because they recently hired Tim Kendall, former Facebook director of monetization, to build out that aspect of the business. Forbes just put out an article examining “Why Brand Managers Need To Take An Interest In Pinterest" including, the trust being built with women/mom’s who "account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care."

I mean, even President Obama is jumping on the Pinterest train

Now that you’re caught up on all the buzz, lets start with…

"What is Pinterest?"

Pinterest is a “virtual pinboard” that allows users to share ideas, images and tastes they find interesting or inspiring. Users post “pins,” usually images or graphics, onto their own categorized pinboards. The U.S. Army does a great job of breaking it down into easy to understand terms in the slideshow embedded below.

Social Media Roundup - Introduction to Pinterest

View more presentations from U.S. Army

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NBC and MSNBC joined forces in a new mission focused on veteran unemployment and how companies are stepping up to “Hire our Heroes.”  The event culminated in a jobs fair aboard the USS Intrepid in New York City, where 1500 veterans and military families attended to voice their concerns and learn about the career opportunities out there for veterans. Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) spoke with MSNBC to discuss how Congress has taken notice of the high unemployment rate among veterans, and how his bill would make it easier for veterans to start their own small business and create jobs.   

Rep. Griffin, who served in Iraq with the 101st airborne, explains that “not everyone gets a traditional education, and a lot of veterans that come back want to start their own franchise.”  There are many resources and schooling that are associated with those programs, but not having the ability to use the GI bill to fund the franchise educations programs is preventing many from taking the next steps once returning home.  The Franchise Education for Veterans Act (H.R. 3351), introduced by Rep. Tim Griffin, would allow veterans interested in purchasing a franchise business to use up to $15,000 in GI Bill funds to pay for franchise education and training programs.

“We need to be more expansive in terms of understanding what education for a veteran is, and allow for more vet-owned franchises,” says Rep. Griffin. 

IFA, in partnership with the White House Joining Forces Initiative, have joined together in Operation Enduring Opportunity, a campaign to hire and recruit 75,000 veterans and 5,000 wounded warriors by 2014. With veterans having a proven track record of success in franchising, and with more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise establishments in the United States, providing jobs directly for 815,000 Americans, IFA encourages Congress to pass legislation to help our veterans invest in their future.

To view Rep. Griffin interview with MSNBC click here and for more information on Operation Enduring Opportunity visit www.vetfran.com

Posted by Jenna Weisbord, IFA Manager of Communications & Marketing

Mar 28

Corner Bakery, which began in 1992 as a small store in Chicago, now reports 130 locations across 15 states, brought in an estimated $240 million in revenue in 2011 and is stepping up hiring and expansion plans for 2012.  Corner Bakery CEO Mike Hislop spoke with FOX Business last week to describe how Corner Bakery is leveraging the franchise model to become “the neighborhood café.” 

Hislop knows that Corner Bakery is “the right brand, with the right economic model, in the right segment.”  Corner Baker is on track to double their system over the next 3-4 years, with half their locations becoming franchises. Hislop credits their catering business to helping grow their economic model. Twenty percent of Corner Bakery’s business comes from catering and that makes them very different from other brands, Hislop says.

Roark Capital who has been in franchising for the past 15 years, bought Corner Bakery last year. Hislop believes Roark will help Corner Bakery with the knowledge they bring in the franchise space. “They’ve helped already in franchise finance, bringing in more lenders to help our franchisees grow and expand.”  Corner Bakery has currently signed up 17 franchisees that will build 250 locations across the US. 

With the interest growing in franchise opportunities, Corner Bakery is in that perfect space or “sweet spot” and with bakery cafes being the fastest growing segment in the restaurant industry, Hislop reports the brand will continue to expand this year.

Posted by Jenna Weisbord, IFA Manager of Communications & Marketing

Travel industry to lead economic recovery


U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue and U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security on the importance of bringing more international travelers to the United States.  Dow and Donohue urged lawmakers to better promote the United States and “put a welcome mat back out for visitors,” in order to create jobs.

 Donohue highlighted, “the importance of efficient travel policies to conducting international business” and that certain barriers have prevented additional travelers to the US.  “With more than 20 million Americans unemployed, the Chamber’s top priority is helping the private sector grow the economy and create jobs,” stated Donohue in his testimony

Dow knows that the travel industry is ready “to lead our economic recovery” but improving the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and our visa processing system is essential.  Dow and Donohue also highlighted the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, which makes a number of reforms to streamline and expedite the inbound travel process and grow international travel. 

Increasing international travel and making it easier for foreign visitors to travel the United States will help the franchise industry continue its proven track record of creating jobs and help franchisees still struggling in a challenging economic environment.  Nearly two-thirds of America’s 825,000 franchised businesses support the travel and tourism industry including hotels, restaurants, retail and personal services. 

“With more foreign visitors visiting franchised restaurants, staying in franchised hotels and spending money in franchised retail establishments, franchisees will be more likely to hire more workers,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, who serves as a board members of the U.S. Travel Association.  The IFA joined the U.S. Travel Association’s Discover America partnership in 2011 to take more aggressive steps to boost the US’s share of the international tourism market.   

Posted by Jenna Weisbord, IFA Manager of Communications & Marketing 

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