How the International Franchise Association is Making Sure that the Fight for Franchising is Real
How the International Franchise Association is Making Sure that the Fight for Franchising is Real

The top supplier and lobbyist is actively taking steps to ensure that the future of franchising is bright.

The franchising industry is currently at a pivotal point both in its history and for its success in the future. Between a volatile political climate, recovering economy and general public that’s confused about what franchising really is, the industry’s leaders are tasked with preserving the unique business model that provides jobs to millions.

That’s where the International Franchise Association comes in. Led by president and CEO Robert Cresanti, the IFA is actively taking steps as the industry’s leading supplier to ensure that franchising has a bright future. And those ongoing efforts begin by acknowledging one of the biggest issues facing the industry today: a glaring gap in education.

“There is a widespread misunderstanding among the public and even elected officials about what franchising is and how it actually helps local communities,” Cresanti told 1851.

To help the general public better understand the ins and outs of franchising—including all of the benefits that the business model brings to the table—Cresanti and other members of the IFA’s franchising community are actively working to explain the relationship between franchisors and their franchisees. By highlighting that local business owner connection, the IFA is confident that it will be able to shine a light on the small business owners who are driving the industry forward.

In fact, at FranConnect’s conference in 2016, Cresanti noted, “Franchising represents the biggest trainer of jobs and creator of brighter futures in America, and maybe even in the world,” Cresanti said. “We train more people for a successful employment future than even the U.S. military. We need to shout that story from the rooftops to help secure our future and ensure that even more people can use franchising to climb the ladder to success for decades to come.”

Despite the success that the franchising industry consistently sees, it’s still facing numerous challenges outside of education. From minimum wage to the evolving definition of what it means to be a full-time employee, there are both active and impending pieces of legislation that can determine the fate of the industry. That’s why, in an effort to keep the franchise business model moving forward, the IFA is taking a stand against the new joint employer standard.  Under the rule, franchisors and franchisees can be deemed to share the ability to govern workers’ terms and conditions of employment. And as Cresanti pointed out in a reflection of the industry at the end of 2016, this issue has the potential to set the tone for the industry for years to come.

Cresanti said, “The top priority for us is still our existential threat, which is the joint employer standard that was announced by the National Labor Relations Board.” He continued, “That standard destroys the autonomy that franchisees have to run their own businesses. It basically makes them middle managers in a larger organization that would cause real damage to the underlying model.”

Beyond serving as the franchising industry’s lobbyist, the IFA is also applauding the work of those in Congress who are trying to change the joint employer standard. This past July, for example, the IFA threw its support behind the Save Local Businesses Act.

In a release, Cresanti said, “This is the most important legislation for franchising in a generation. The franchise model has worked well to put thousands of American families into business for themselves, but not by themselves, provide job opportunities to countless hardworking Americans, and contribute tremendous economic benefits to local economies.”

Even as the franchising industry continues to face potentially damaging regulations, the business model is thriving. And it’s consistent level of success is no doubt due to the combination of hard work from franchisors and franchisees and organizations like the IFA.

“Our economic statistics indicate that we’ve out-performed competing non-franchise market segments every year in growth, and that trend continues. We expect it to continue this year. So I think all is at an even keel at the moment,” said Cresanti in a recent interview with QSR Magazine. “We’re also really anticipating and looking forward to opportunities that we haven’t had in the past eight years with the coming of [President] Trump.”

The IFA has made a commitment to ensure that the fight for franchising is real, no matter who’s in office or what political party has a Congressional majority. According to Cresanti, that’s because franchising’s reach extends far beyond what’s happening in Washington, D.C.

At IFA 2017, Cresanti said, “It’s up to all of us to be advocates for this industry. It’s not the Republican way or the Democratic way—it’s the American way.”