The buzz of Las Vegas was louder than normal last week as 3,500 people swarmed the MGM Grand to attend the International Franchise Association’s annual convention, making it a record-breaking show for the association.
Matthew Haller, a spokesman for the International Franchise Association said, “We always have higher attendance when we’re in Vegas.”
Those in attendance weren’t just franchise executives. New franchise concepts, franchisees, franchise suppliers (like Franchise Clique) and famous speakers also made the pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the IFA convention.
During the convention a central theme emerged: growth. Dr. Condoleeza Rice, a keynote speaker, spoke of the importance of galvanizing the American dream through a strengthened economy and that an economic resurgence lied in the hands of the private sector, of which franchising is a major player.
CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder delivered a speech along the same notes, citing that at the core of his “unconventional” business strategy was a desire to keep his franchisees successful.
“When our franchisees make money, we make money,” he said. Puzder’s strategy has kept Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s growing for ten consecutive years.
In recent years the tumultuous economy and recession resulted in loss for the franchise community in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The tables turned in 2012; it was a year of recovery and most predict 2013 to follow suit. By the end of this year, 757,055 new franchise establishments are expected to be in operation, a 1.4 percent increase from 2012.
In addition to celebrating the return of growth to the industry, the IFA convention also shone a light on those who support the franchise industry through various products and services. McDonald’s would be lost without fryers, frozen yogurt franchises would melt without freezers and franchise expansion would shudder to a much slower pace without the efforts of lead generation experts like Franchise Buy, who provide franchise concepts with a steady stream of entrepreneurs looking to become franchisees. IFA Suppliers showcased their businesses over the course of two days in the exhibitor hall, which included various law firms, accounting firms, telecommunications concepts, human resources software companies and Google.