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Robert C Cresanti president and CEO
<p>Robert C. Cresanti, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, addresses the opening general session.</p>

IFA convenes amid ‘challenging times’

Annual franchising convention gets underway in San Antonio

The International Franchise Association kicked off its 56th annual convention in San Antonio on Sunday with more than 3,500 attendees, amid concerns for current pressures on franchising.

Robert C. Cresanti, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, said these are “particularly challenging times” for the industry.

Even as the franchise business continued to grow, Cresanti said, the onslaught of government regulation “darkens the skies and undermines the success of franchising.” 

IFA’s concerns include increasing local and state minimum wage increases, recent ruling from the National Labor Relations Board on joint-employer status and provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

More than 800,000 franchise businesses operate in the United States, and the IFA’s Franchise Business Economic Outlook for 2016 forecast those enterprises adding 278,000 new jobs this year.

Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the Small Business Administration, told attendees that franchisors and franchisees do large amounts for entrepreneurship, which has helped the United States produce 71 consecutive months of job growth. About two-thirds of that job growth is from small businesses, she said.

Ret. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan and author of the book “Team of Teams,” provided the Sunday keynote address, discussing how technology has changed hierarchies in organizations.

Suzanne Greco, president of Milford, Conn.-based Subway, honored her brother and sandwich chain founder Fred DeLuca, who was an ardent IFA supporter.

Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc., and David Scrivano, president and CEO of Little Caesar Enterprises Inc., accepted the IFA Hall of Fame Award in honor of chain founders Michael and Marian Ilitch.

The IFA annual convention continues through Tuesday.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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