Restaurant Franchise Wrap Up from IFA Conference

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Feb 13, 2020 8:15:23 AM



The International Franchise Association (IFA) meeting is over and while we have returned exhausted, we are also energized by the conference aptly themed, "Franchising's Future Starts with Us." We are thrilled with the level of interactions and opportunity that We Sell Restaurants was able to uncover at the annual event attended by Robin and Eric Gagnon along with Steve Weinbaum of We Sell Restaurants. 

Here are some of the highlights

Prime [Photo]-2Annual Leadership Conference - Robin served on the committee for the Annual Leadership Conference which featured the award of the Crystal Compass to Paul Pickett, Chief Development Officer of Wild Birds Unlimited.  His thoughtful acceptance speech featured seven key parts of his core values he uses daily.  In addition, Dippin' Dots CEO Scott Fischer, who was recently on Undercover BOSS, shared the story of acquiring this brand out of bankruptcy with 100% debt and diversifying and building a mega brand.  Lastly, Peter Holt, CEO of The Joint Chiropractic allowed his brand to be the Case Study for teams to analyze what went right and wrong in their path to franchise growth. His statement to, "Follow your Pain" resonated with this attendee. 

CFE Graduation – Robin Gagnon, Co-Founder and the firm's Chief Marketing Officer graduated as part of the Certified Franchise Executive Class of 2020.  The graduates were honored on stage at the General Session and with a pinning ceremony with the President of IFA and other notables in the room. In the picture collage, you see Robin with Shannon Iverson of Marco’s Pizza, a fellow CFE graduate who is part of the Franchise Development team for the brand. 

VetFran - Eric Gagnon, President of We Sell Restaurants, is a member of the national VetFran Committee. Founded in 1991, VetFran is a strategic initiative of the International Franchise Association and the Franchise Education and Research Foundation. The group works to stand beside veterans through their transition to civilian life and entrepreneurship. Eric worked on initiatives at the conference to continue this important work.

Networking - Steve Weinbaum, Certified Restaurant Broker, attended the Orlando Conference and took countless meetings to discuss resale programs for major chains.  He represented the brand with distinction at multiple educational and social events.

Speaking - Robin Gagnon also developed and led a panel titled, “Raising the Value of Your Franchise through a Well-Executed Resale Program.”  Her fellow panelists were Cherry Hearn, President of Which Wich, Kitt Shipe, Franchise Attorney for Kilpatrick Townsend and Peter Baldine, President of Moran Brands. 

She developed knowledge and experience from the panel to demonstrate how a well-executed franchise transfer program can increase the value of the franchisor in five critical ways:

  • Attracting new candidates who will not only acquire existing units but also sign development agreements to grow additional stores.  
  • Raise the “after-market” or resale value of franchise units.
  • Bring new capital to tired units as they transfer and refresh the locations to the current standards.
  • Raise AUV as older stores transition to new, energized owners who will embrace the latest franchise strategies and raise sales in underperforming or aging units
  • Provide existing franchisees with assurances that they are building a valuable, transferable asset

Friends - We Sell Restaurants was able to interact and greet familiar faces like Don Fox and Brent Greenwood of Firehouse Subs, Trey Doster from Zaxby's and Charles Watson of Tropical Smoothies Cafe.  The We Sell Restaurants team wined, dined and networked for three solid days. 

Women's Franchise Committee - Robin was named the incoming Vice Chair of the Women's Franchise Committee at the national level and is shown above with the current Chair, Michele Rowan, CEO of Franchise Business Review. Formed in 1996, the Women's Franchise Committee (WFC) is dedicated to inspiring and encouraging women in franchising by creating a network of business professionals dedicated to strengthening the success of women in franchising. The WFC has created programs and resources in order to achieve this goal, ranging from "how to" guides and conferences to local networking chapters.

Education - in addition to committee meetings, the team attended educational sessions to learn the latest in franchise development, best practices and tips for restaurant franchise brands we represent in the marketplace.  Robin led a Roundtable discussion on Franchise Resales for the established franchisor that was well attended as well.  She also kept her LinkedIn feed pumping with photos and updates to the convention.

When the dust settles, we anticipate picking up several new relationships and deepening existing ones after this whirlwind convention. 

Topics: Selling a Restaurant

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