Funding a big issue here too, US franchises tell largest Aussie delegation at IFA convention


Australian interest in the US marketplace and franchising trends continues to grow with the Franchise Council of Australia's largest delegation attending this year’s International Franchising Association’s convention.

Delegates heard that access to credit continues to be a major concern for the franchising community. Funding issues for both franchisees and franchisors was highlighted as one of the key challenges facing the franchise sector. Another three years of economic uncertainty, changing franchise system behaviour, and competition for credit for the next 36 months are trends that will affect US franchising, according to business intelligence firm FranData.

The company predicts a greater focus on benchmarking and on investment efficiencies, with a more competitive arena forcing better operators to look for brand diversification and lack of capital hampering the weaker performers. Franchisees will also be looking for greater support.

It was clear too the franchising world is keen to learn more about opportunities in social media, with each technology event at the IFA convention heavily over-subscribed.

Among the FCA's 48 delegates were franchisors, franchisees, lawyers, accountants, consultants and Franchising magazine. Franchise brands represented in the group included Airport Con-x-ion, Gametraders, Gutter Vac, Horseland, Inexpress, Looksmart Alterations, Mr Rental, Poolwerx, Smart Saver and the Touch-Up Guys.

Over the three day event more than 2600 delegates attended round table workshops, seminars and heard keynote speakers.

Convenience chain 7-Eleven’s president and CEO, Joseph De Pinto, shared some of the ways the franchise group had built a strong business, revealing a store-focused model at the heart of the network.

“Meeting the needs of the people who work in the stores drives our performance,” De Pinto told the audience. “We are committed to servant leadership and being store-centric. To stay relevant, you also have to change.”

* State-based laws get thumbs down in US

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