The International Franchise Association’s Inaugural Roadshow Was a Two-Day Event for Franchisees and Community Leaders to Network About Opportunities and Promote Diversity
In mid-March, the International Franchise Association (IFA) held its first Open for Opportunity roadshow in South Florida. This inaugural roadshow stop was a two-day event of networking about the franchise industry and its benefits, with a focus on inclusiveness.
The centerpiece of IFA’s Open for Opportunity South Florida kickoff was a roundtable discussion organized by Restaurant Brands International Inc., which owns quick-service restaurant brands Burger King, Firehouse Subs, Popeyes and Tim Hortons. The franchisor then held a tour of a Doral, Fla., Burger King franchise’s inner workings, going behind the counter to where the magic happens. GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart’s staff was on hand for that event.
As a follow-up, IFA hosted a dinner with area community and business leaders to brainstorm ways to encourage minority franchise ownership. The next day, the team: visited with Tom Curtis, president of Burger King U.S. and Canada; toured a local McDonald’s franchise with Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson’s staff; and participated in a discussion hosted by the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (top photo). The topic for that discussion was creating jobs, making economic security available to all, and saluting franchisees for giving back to their communities.
Details of IFA’s Open for Opportunity’s Mission
Through the Open for Opportunity initiative, IFA partners with local organizations to expand general knowledge about franchising. Events are set up with goals of educating about the positive impact that franchises provide employment-wise within a locale; to publicize franchise industry opportunities for multicultural, underserved and veteran populations; and to point out how independently owned franchises benefit their communities. The visits aim for an exchange of ideas with the general public, decision- and policy-makers, and elected officials to reveal how franchising equates with economic opportunity – and underscoring that 8 million Americans benefit financially from franchising today.
Says IFA President and CEO Matt Haller: “The power of franchising can easily be found in the stories of local owners and workers who invest in their communities by giving their time, knowledge and resources back to those around them. This roadshow will take us around the country to share these stories and lift up the people working to find their own opportunity in franchising.”
Franchisees Tell Their Stories
The IFA had announced plans for the Open for Opportunity initiative last September and then gave it a major splash at the IFA Convention in San Diego in early March. At the convention, attendees heard from U.S. Marine Corps veteran Tali Burton, who owns and operates 12 Dunkin’ locations in Southern California, who said, “When I was looking for a post-military career, I wanted to do something that enabled me to give back to my community and to local veterans. The franchise business model affords me the opportunity to create good-paying jobs and promote career advancement opportunities for employees.”
Also as part of the launch, Carolyn Thurston, owner of Wisdom Senior Care in Raleigh, N.C., hosted an Open for Opportunity Facebook Live conversation with San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe. “The Open for Opportunity roadshow is going to let people know that the franchising community has a place for them, no matter their background,” Thurston said. “The franchise business model affords opportunities to veterans, minorities, women, immigrants, and anyone who wants to be their own boss, [opportunities] that no other business model can in the form of access to capital, leadership training, and career development mentorship.”
The next stop on IFA’s Open for Opportunity roadshow is Atlanta in late March, with details to be announced. After that: Denver on April 5. The IFA would like to have further suggestions for where to take its Open for Opportunity roadshow. For more information, visit www.openforopportunity.com.
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