Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue III, 2017 - Page 64

BY EDDY GOLDBERG GROWING IN TOUGH TIMES 2017 Multi-Unit Franchising Conference shows how M ulti-unit and multi-brand op- erators continue to grow in both numbers and size—and so does attendance at the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference. This year’s chair, Guillermo Perales, began his franchising career 20 years ago with a single Golden Corral, $100,000, and an SBA loan. Today his company, Sun Holdings, with nearly 750 units, is one of the largest franchise organizations in the country. The conference offers something for everyone, from single-unit franchisees looking to grow, to multi-brand operators looking to diversify further. It’s designed each year by an advisory board consisting of franchisees of different sizes, types of businesses, and locations. The annual gathering took place this past April at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. And just as franchisees and franchisors pride themselves on consecutive years of same store growth, the conference racked up another consecutive year of record at- tendance. 62 MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE IS S UE III, 2017 raises tens of thousands of dollars for worthy causes, such as the Little Rock Foundation, an organization of parents with children living with blindness, visual impairment, and other disabilities. The day on the links was followed by a welcome reception that evening at Car- mine’s Italian restaurant in The Forum at Caesars Palace. The reception featured cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of lively conversation. Marcus Lemonis and Guillermo Perales Golf, charity, welcome The conference, which this year ran from Sunday through Wednesday, began with the annual fundraising golf tournament. The scramble-style outing is a chance to relax and make new friends in the beautiful Nevada desert—while raising significant sums for charity. Each year the conference Keynote & power panel The conference kicked off Monday morn- ing with a welcome from Therese Thilgen, CEO of Franchise Update Media. She CONFERENCE BY THE NUMBERS Aggregated statistics from the 2017 Multi-Unit Fran- chising Conference: • Attendees: 1,651 • Franchisees: 716 • Units: 12,000+ • Exhibitors: 220+ • Revenues: $15 billion • Employees: 200,000