Greetings from the International Franchise Association's Annual Convention! Today's edition of the Wall Street Journal has a short, but interesting, article on a handful of the key lawsuits between franchisors and franchisees that made waves in the franchising community during 2010. Two of the cases mentioned have been discussed previously on this blog: Awuah v. Coverall, and Burger King National Franchisee Association v. Burger King. The article provides a good, if brief, summary of the decisions and their potential ramifications on the franchise industry as a whole.
It's now Day 2 of the IFA's 51st annual convention, and the event is in full swing. This morning's session regarding social media and technology in franchising was (unsurprisingly) well-attended, given the desire by franchisors to not only embrace social media, but to understand the unique risks and challenges to franchise systems presented by services like Facebook and Twitter. Franchisors are struggling with how to control their franchisees' social media campaigns without discouraging sales growth systemwide. Equally popular was the 20th Annual Elements of Successful Franchising program, which focused on franchising during difficult economic times.
For many convention attendees, the highlight of today's program was certainly the keynote speech by Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Governor Romney's comments focused on the current state of the U.S. economy, and his assessment that many of our current leaders fail to understand how the business world works — or to attempt their own public spending decisions to the rules that guide business realities. In Governor Romney's opinion, this problem has caused many state and national leaders to blindly accept conclusions based on "conventional wisdom" without looking to the underlying data to determine if those conclusions are supported, and as a result, make poor decisions regarding how our taxes are spent. It's not a new observation to state that our current economic state would perhaps be very different if our politicians had to treat their budget like any business or household does, but the inherent truth behind the observation remains. It's no accident that three of the early front runners (if polls are to be believed) for the Republican nominations are each using variations of the same theme in their speeches.
I will post further updates from the Convention as my schedule permits.