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Franchise Ascension logo.jpg Photo courtesy of Dine Brands
Dine Brands has pledged its support to the Franchise Ascension Initiative aimed at diversifying franchise ownership among underrepresented communities.

Dine Brands joins initiative to diversify franchise ownership

Dine Brands is supporting the Franchise Ascension Initiative, a six-month accelerator program aimed at providing business ownership opportunities.

Dine Brands, the parent company of IHOP, Applebee’s, and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, has announced its support for the Franchise Ascension Initiative, a new program launched by the International Franchise Association aimed at diversifying franchise ownership among underrepresented communities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 30.8% of franchises are owned by minorities; however, just 8% of restaurants are owned by African Americans, according to the National Restaurant Association.

The six-month accelerator program includes education, mentorship, resources, and financial support with an objective of narrowing the wealth gap by providing business ownership opportunities. According to the IFA, the media White household held 7.8 times more wealth than a typical Black household in 2019, while African Americans made up 14.2% of the population, but owned 2.3% of businesses. The organization claims that franchise businesses create jobs at a rate of 2.3 times higher than non-franchised businesses.

“Franchising is one of the greatest pathways to business ownership and creating generational wealth,” Matt Haller, IFA president and CEO, said in a statement. “This program ensures that access to opportunity is available to everyone, regardless of background. What better way to bridge the wealth gap than through opening more doors for minority business owners. With the support of our generous partners like Dine Brands, the Ascension Initiative will further help to change lives and communities through franchising.”

Dine Brands pledged $100,000 through its Dine Brands Foundation, which was established to create partnerships with nonprofit organizations that address food insecurity, hunger relief, opportunity creation for a diverse workforce, and more. Its first cohort of participants is expected to start the program later this year.

“We are proud to announce our financial contribution to support the Franchise Ascension Initiative. Our ongoing support underscores our commitment to creating opportunities in the restaurant industry for a diverse workforce and recruiting franchisees from underrepresented communities to the Dine table,” Dine Brands CEO John Peyton said in a statement.

The Franchise Ascension Initiative is targeting five audiences for prospective franchisee candidates, including those seeking a college degree; managers with 5-plus years of management-level experience who are interested in ownership; existing business owners with a single unit or two who want to grow; individuals undergoing career changes; and high-performing franchisees selected by franchisors.

In committing to the initiative, Dine Brands joins Inspire Brands and East Coast Wings + Grill as Franchise Ascension Initiative supporters. Several other restaurant brands have also launched programs to diversify their franchising systems and close the ownership/wealth gaps. Yum Brands recently partnered with investment first Lafayette Square to lend up to $50 million to new and existing underrepresented franchisees, for instance. Denny’s recently partnered with the Pathways to Black Franchise Ownership program of the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance to help the MFHA establish more Black-owned franchises. Wetzel’s Pretzels established the Access to Equity program to increase franchise ownership among underrepresented groups. And, in 2021, McDonald’s invested $250 million to help underrepresented individuals open franchise locations.

Contact Alicia Kelso at Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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