2014 International Franchise Expo Reports Success: Franchising Remains Hot
The IFE offers an ideal environment for eager prospects to get in at the ground level with highly reputable franchise concepts.
By Sonia Perrone
More than 19,000 attendees from the United States and more than 90 countries attended the 2014 International Franchise Expo in New York City in June.
With more than 400 exhibitors, the IFE was the biggest in the event’s 23-year history. For the third year in a row at the Javits Center, prospective business owners and entrepreneurs met face-to-face with representatives from well-established franchises and emerging, fast-growing concepts, learning about franchise brands and expansion opportunities domestically and internationally.
The International Franchise Association reported that in 2014, the franchise industry — a major contributor to the U.S. economy — is expected to create approximately 200,000 new jobs; this year the gross domestic product of the franchise sector is projected to increase to $493 billion.
The IFE offers an ideal environment for thousands of eager prospects to get in at the ground level with highly reputable franchise concepts. More than 30 percent of attendees said they planned to invest between $100,000 and $499,999. Expo visitors — whether single unit, area developers or multi-unit buyers — were well-educated about franchising, engaged and serious about taking the next step in becoming franchise owners.
An official ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off the IFE June 19, with details on the industry’s economic outlook delivered by IFA Pres. & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE and IFA Chairman Steve Joyce, Choice Hotels International president and CEO, as well as remarks by U.S. Small Business Administration Lead Lender Relations Specialist John Mallano. Attendees also heard from successful multi-unit franchisees who shared their inspiring stories and franchising journeys.
Throughout the weekend, expo-goers delved into an event designed to energize their entrepreneurial spirit. Featured exhibitors included a growing number of service franchises ranging from pet care and home improvement to cleaning and travel services to new innovative restaurant and hospitality concepts. Topics covered in 70 free seminars and 10 in-depth symposia spanned every aspect of franchising, from the basics to financing.
“The educational aspect of the expo is just as vital to us as the quality and diversity of exhibitors,” said Tom Portesy, president of MFV Expositions, producers of the event. “We aimed to assemble preeminent leaders in the industry to share their valuable insight, to generate thought-provoking ideas and strategies for both prospective business owners and experienced multi-unit franchisees.”
For the first time, MFV Expositions, the IFA and Franchise Update Media teamed to produce the Regional Multi-Unit Franchisee Summit aimed at helping multi-unit franchisees develop their brands and grow their portfolios.
“The content for the Regional Multi-Unit Franchisee Summit was incredibly helpful,” said John Metz, multi-unit franchise owner of Denny’s, Dairy Queen and Marriott Hotels. “I’ll be back next year along with many of my franchisee friends.”
New Markets, New Trends
As more franchisors endeavor to expand reach into the competitive New York market, new trends emerged at the expo. Nearly 40 of this year’s exhibitors specialized in either children’s or educational products and services. More than 20 fitness franchisors and more than a dozen health and senior care franchisors exhibited.
Booths featuring North American franchise concepts looking to expand overseas, as well as international brands ready to penetrate the U.S. market, were popular on the show floor. In addition to the hundreds of concepts form North America, the IFE had franchisors from a number of countries such as China, Japan, Israel, Italy and Russia, giving the expo an international flair and proving that franchising is becoming a dominate force worldwide.
This year’s IFE recruited visitors not just from the New York region, but from Canada, China, Israel, Italy, Japan and Russia, giving the expo an international flair and proving that franchising is becoming a dominant force worldwide.
“As Quick Restaurants is looking toward international expansion, we cannot ignore U.S. expansion,” said Sebastien Vuylsteke, Quick Restaurants international business development manager. “Therefore, the IFE was a great opportunity to have a first look at potential growth in the U.S. market. We weren’t sure what to expect, but were very curious. It turned out there were a lot of people who wanted to know more about our brand. The three days flew by and it was definitely a great experience for us. We went back home with several good leads and are looking forward to next year’s expo.”
The IFE is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and promoted through more than 150 U.S. embassies worldwide as part of the agency’s International Buyers Program which brings official escorted delegations from all around the world to the popular expo. Over the years, the IFE has been a significant catalyst to the global expansion of franchising.
Extensive press and media coverage played a key role in the show’s success. In the weeks leading up to the event and during the event itself, exhibitors were given opportunities to get their brands in front of consumers and investors beyond the showroom floor. Media interest in the show was at an all-time high with attendance and coverage from the Associated Press, Black Enterprise Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur.com, Fortune, FOX News’ “FOX & Friends,” Inc., NY1, The New York Post, NorthJersey.com, The Street, Telemundo, Yahoo!, The Record and more.
Next year’s IFE will be conducted June 18-20, 2015 at the Javits Center.
Franchise Industry Continues to Show Tremendous Growth
International Franchise Association leaders presented economic outlook and credit availability reports from IHS Global Insight and FRANdata, respectively, during the International Franchise Expo in June. One of the most important findings from IHS Global Insight’s report is that the franchise sector will show tremendous growth and lead the nation’s economic rebound by creating an estimated 220,000 jobs this year. The franchise industry will have growth in not just the employment component, but also in the number of establishments and in economic output.
During the expo’s opening ceremony and in media interviews, IFA Pres. & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE, and IFA Chairman Steve Joyce, president and CEO of Choice Hotels International, discussed the economic outlook report and latest credit availability, as well as IFA’s top policy fight, an effort to prevent some cities from enacting minimum wage increases that discriminate against franchisees.
Some key statistics from the study include:
- With 2.6 percent employment growth, franchises are adding jobs faster in 2014 than 2013 and outpacing projected total employment growth in the United States by 0.8 percentage points.
- The number of franchise businesses is expected to increase by 12,566 in 2014. This rate of increase is in line with the growth of overall business formation across the economy.
- With 4.6 percent growth, the gross domestic product of the franchise industry is expected to increase by $22 billion in 2014. This rate of growth is up from 4.3 percent for 2013.
There are many opportunities available in franchising and therefore entrepreneurs are able to find a business that best suits their passion. According to IHS Global Insight, the majority (65 percent) of franchises are in the food and hospitality category which includes everything from full service restaurants to lodging. Twenty-nine percent of franchises fall into the services sector and 6 percent are real estate and automotive. The report also shows a growing trend in the number of business services and commercial and residential services franchises being created and profiting.
The Franchise Business Economic Outlook infographic for 2014 along with reports from FRANdata and IHS Global Insight can be found at www.franchise.org.
051: IFA Chairman Steve Joyce, Choice Hotels president and CEO, and IFA Pres. & CEO Steve Caldeira kick off International Franchise Expo.
033: IFA Chairman Steve Joyce, Choice Hotels president and CEO, addresses issues and challenges affecting the industry’s growth.
Perrone, S.-IFE- crowd shot, no caption