Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue III, 2017 - Page 70

2017 2017 - MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISING CONFERENCE rent sessions. Topics were how to protect your bottom line in the face of external threats; becoming the employer of choice in your markets (attracting and retaining the best talent); securing capital (separate sessions for $10 million or less and $20 million or more); and key items to look for in assessing a brand. The Law Room and Money Room both opened for busi- ness again before attendees headed to the Exhibit Hall for the closing networking reception. Gary Grace, former chair with Joey Robinson, 2018 co-chair franchising is—and isn’t. To illustrate the depth of the problem, Hashim, who called franchising “the last bastion of the American Dream,” cited one alarming finding from focus groups: three out of four believed a franchisee’s employees are paid by the franchisor. Other surveys have found that many employees of fran- chisees believe the same thing! For a business that employs about 9 million Americans, generates $1.6 billion annually, and accounts for almost 4 percent of the U.S. economy, it seems that not a lot of people outside franchising understand how it actually works. “This ignorance has led to a vacuum of knowledge about the business model,” said Hashim, who spent much of his year as IFA chairman work- ing on educational initiatives. “This is all about the special interest groups who filled this vacuum with their own narrative,” he said. To counter this and defend itself from over-regulation and other threats, he said franchising must promote its own story. Robins asked the panel about what he called “50/500” rules: how small business with 50 or fewer employees are harmed by legislation targeting large organizations employing 500 or more. “Legislators look at you like you’re Google or Apple,” agreed Branca. “In my company, it’s just me. That’s why we invested in lobbying—a critical line item in our budget—and convinced our franchisor to do so as well.” Lotito spoke about joint employer and the NLRB. He said that with a new chair 68 MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE IS S UE III, 2017 appointed the previous Friday, and two more appointees to be nominated (now done), the NLRB is “moving in the right direction.” He also cautioned against com- placency. “Your opponents spent $90 mil- lion and everything they said was wrong,” he said, referring to the SEIU’s Fight for $15 campaign. “We have this wonderful success story and we don’t tell it. That’s our fault—and we need more money to tell it. It needs to be told with passion and expertise to legislators at all levels. You