2023 IFA Annual Convention Promises a World-Class Franchise Event

IFA 2023 Annual Convention

MVPs Chris Kempinski and Drew Brees Will Share Industry Insights at Las Vegas Convention

Not long after NFL fans gather to watch the Big Game, another kind of Superbowl attracts thousands of excited fans each year: the International Franchise Association’s Annual Convention. Dubbed the “Superbowl of Franchising,” IFA 2023 starts Saturday, Feb. 25, and runs through Wednesday, March 1, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino complex in Las Vegas. More than 4,000 franchise executives, franchisees and suppliers will attend the acclaimed franchise conference to network, participate in education-focused programs and take in a massive dose of franchise inspiration.

Forbes calls the IFA Annual Convention a “can’t-miss event.” Franchisors and franchisees will benefit from topics such as selecting high-potential franchisees, deploying technology to expand a brand, facilitating multi-unit growth, and optimum marketing tactics. 

Kempczinski, Brees and Peyton 

Marquee names are Chris Kempczinksi, president and CEO of McDonald’s, and retired NFL quarterback Drew Brees. Speaking at the general session on Monday, Kempczinski will present his experiences relating to opportunities in franchising and the business model’s important place in the economy.

Brees, who retired after two epic decades with the New Orleans Saints, is heavily involved with franchising as his second career. Brees has invested in several franchises such as Everbowl, Jimmy John’s, Smalls Sliders and Walk-On Sports Bistreaux restaurants and mobility-focused Stretch Zone. He will participate in a moderated question-and-answer session.

Presenters from additional high-profile brands will join Kempczinski and Brees. For instance, another general session speaker is John Peyton, CEO of Dine Brands, best known for its Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants. Peyton will discuss his experiences leading the multi-brand franchise, giving his views on providing the ideal customer experience and telling how Dine Brands will integrate Fuzzy’s Taco Shop into its portfolio.

Not Just Franchise Brands

Google and RE/MAX will be among the household names represented at the convention, too. Ginny Clarke, who once was director of executive recruiting for Google, will give tips on mining the best in talent. And former RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos will participate in the franchise forum speaker series, touching on leadership insights after his 20-year tenure with the real estate franchise. 

Emerging franchises won’t be neglected. Amy and Ben Wright, who co-founded Texas-based Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, will explain to convention-goers that their brand’s real focus is human-rights activism masquerading as a coffee shop. Bitty & Beau’s, which has some two dozen locations spread throughout several states, is all about inclusion. The Wrights recruit and hire people who have developmental disabilities.

Well-known mentalist Oz Pearlman will kick off the 2023 convention as speaker at the opening session, and the star will be a franchisee on Tuesday night. Each year during its annual convention, the IFA honors a franchisee of the year, a business owner who has not only succeeded in business but also enriched his or her community.  

Special IFA Programs

IFA’s Open for Opportunity Roadshow will precede the 2023 IFA Annual Convention, spotlighting local franchising in Nevada on Feb. 22-24. The schedule includes a Latin Chamber of Commerce roundtable, visits to local franchises, and meetings with elected officials. Celebrating its first anniversary, IFA’s Open for Opportunity Roadshow series travels around the United States to highlight the potential for and accomplishments of the industry’s franchisees, from accruing personal prosperity to giving back to their communities. Previous Open for Opportunity Roadshow stops have included New Jersey and Florida. 

If this cram-packed agenda sounds a bit overwhelming, then go in with a plan, experts say. IFA President and CEO Matt Haller suggests that in advance of the convention, attendees organize their itinerary to be sure of hitting their personal must-do’s among the many informational sessions and meet-and-greet occasions. Haller and IFPG President Red Boswell both say attendees should take in the IFA’s Annual Leadership Conference. Boswell also gives a nudge toward attending other convention mainstays such as the exhibit halls and roundtables.

Haller recommends the Emerging Franchisor Boot Camp as being especially informative. Boot camp presenter David Barr – a former IFA chair, Entrepreneur of the Year and current chairman of PMTD Restaurants, which operates dozens of KFC and Taco Bell restaurants – “will help the group troubleshoot real-world scenarios and drive solutions to help your brand grow.”  

Benefits of IFA Annual Convention

Haller believes that no matter how far people have progressed in their franchise journeys, the IFA Annual Convention offers vast benefits. “Whether you have just started in the franchise business or looking for your next growth opportunity, I’ve seen firsthand how the connections and opportunities found at the convention will transform your business,” he says.

You can register for the 2023 IFA Convention here. www.franchise.org/convention. This webpage also offers access to the convention agenda. 

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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