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IFA 2017: Robert Cresanti, Aziz Hashim Outline Plan of Attack to Preserve the Power of Franchising

Combatting the misperceptions and threats against franchising starts with education.

During the opening session at the International Franchise Association’s 2017 Convention in Las Vegas, the message was loud and clear: today, ignorance and complacency are the biggest threats to the franchise industry.

We’ve seen this firsthand over the past year with the looming threat of the NLRB joint employer ruling. During the opening session at IFA 2017, Robert Cresanti, the President and CEO of the International Franchise Association, addressed these issues head on.

“With the threat of things like the joint employer ruling, franchising could become a shadow of its former self,” 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.”

During his speech, Cresanti asked the packed room of convention attendees to show their support by texting the Franchise Action Network. In doing so, everyone was prompted to act now by calling on members of Congress to make joint employer a priority in the 115th Congress by restoring the traditional standard based on “direct” and “immediate” control. Within a matter of minutes, more than 4,000 people showed their support in real time by participating. 

Outgoing IFA Chairman Aziz Hashim also addressed some of the ongoing threats to the industry, including the widespread misperceptions about franchising itself. In fact, 76 percent of the general public believe that employees at a franchise get salaries paid from a national brand, not the franchise owners. Only 52 percent of people believed that when a franchise is opened in a neighborhood, it’s owned by a local family.

During his time as the chairman of the IFA, Hashim introduced the @OurFranchise tour—a campaign dedicated to telling the true narrative of the industry and highlighting the positive impact of franchising.

“Franchising is what America stands for—opportunity. It’s about giving people a hand up, not a hand out. It affords people the dignity to live their own dream. Franchising is the quintessential American invention that should be protected and nurtured and helped to grow,” Hashim said. “The solution has to be education and correcting the misunderstanding. I’m confident about the future—but we all need to work together and preserve the very thing that franchising stands for.”