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Global Road Warriors Hit Hot Markets

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to represent the International Franchise Association at a franchise conference in São Paulo, Brazil. The event was the 3º Forum Internacional de Gestão de Redes de Franquia e Negócios (3rd International Forum on Franchise System Development) sponsored by the Bittencourt Group.

The event took place in the “Teatro das Artes” conference center of one of São Paulo’s huge shopping centers, “Shopping Eldorado.” I was asked to present an overview of “Franchising Best Practices” and another presentation describing the benefits of participating in the annual IFA convention.

The event was skillfully organized, with nearly 400 professionals attending the forum, representing most of the country’s franchise systems. Speakers and panelists included executives ranging from international chains such as Pizza Hut and my company, Pollo Tropical, as well as leaders from significant international companies such as Google and major Brazilian chains, including Bob’s, the country’s largest hamburger chain, Pão de Queijo, a bakery chain and Grupo Pão de Açúcar, one of Latin America’s largest retailers.

Participating in this forum, not only as a representative of the IFA, but also as the leader of my company’s international development effort, made sense on many levels. First, I wanted to encourage Brazilian franchisees and franchisors to become part of the IFA family as a way to bring best practices to franchising into this huge, growing market. Second, as I have attended the IFA Convention going back to the late 1990s, I was able to share my personal experiences about the value of being a part of that important annual event.

y key point was that the opportunity for networking at the convention was unsurpassed in any international franchising event. And finally, for my company, Brazil represents the largest potential market in all the Western Hemisphere apart from our home in the United States. Speaking to this group was a great chance to spread the word about our expansion plans.

It turned out to be exceptionally powerful to be able to address so many influential businesspeople at the same time in this prestigious setting. The press coverage given to the event was extensive, and being a participant led directly to numerous print and TV interviews. Looking back, it was a great opportunity, and it turned out to exceed my expectations in terms of the quality experience and the connections I was able to make.

Marc Mushkin, CFE, is senior vice president, international development for Pollo Tropical. He can be reached at


Since its inception in 2001, the Brasilshop International Retail Congress has addressed the major issues inherent in Brazilian domestic market shopping malls, such as process management, innovation, branding, process and systems, visual merchandising, luxury markets, social media and other issues from the perspective of industry leaders. This year the congress was conducted June 9-12.

The expo typically draws more than 40,000 members from all over Brazil, which is preceded by an executive forum. This year’s highlight was a keynote speech by former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil.

Group Cherto President Cherto Marcelo, ABF Executive Director Ricardo Camargo and I were members of a panel that described the state of Brazilian and American franchising following the keynote address.

I was invited to speak and discuss the health of franchising in America on behalf of IFA. I also presented the initiatives sponsored by IFA in international franchising as demonstrated by the U.S. Commercial Service, which leads trade missions for American companies overseas. In recent years, American companies’ major growth has been in the international markets, bringing life to the name of IFA. I have been on the trade mission to India and Southeast Asia and joined IFA on the mission to South America in August. 

Fred LeFranc is CEO and founder of Results Thru Strategy. He can be reached at

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