IFA Takes its Open For Opportunity Roadshow to Chicago

IFA Open for Opportunity Roadshow

Business and Government Leaders Focus on Franchising in Illinois

The International Franchise Association held an Open for Opportunity Roadshow in Chicago this week. These traveling IFA events shine a spotlight on the opportunities in and positive impact of franchising – in this instance, emphasizing how franchising has helped Illinois communities and regional economic development. 

The busy Open for Opportunity Roadshow set up visits to local franchises to see their operations and to interact with franchisees. One of the stops was at a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise on the city’s South Side. The Dunkin’ excursion offered both an up-close-and-personal view of the responsibilities of managing a franchise and an inside look at the importance of local franchises to the local economy, employees and franchisees. 

IFA’s Open for Opportunity Roadshow visits a local Dunkin’ in Chicago’s South Side.

Roundtable at McDonald’s HQ

The roadshow agenda also included a roundtable discussion at McDonald’s corporate office in Chicago. Participants included Chicago-area franchise owners, local movers and shakers in business and within Illinois communities, and U.S. Reps. Jonathan Jackson, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Brad Schneider, all from Illinois. 

At the roundtable, Brad Bogan, vice president of strategic franchising for McDonald’s USA, stated that his franchise “is proud of the role we play not only in creating jobs, but also helping thousands of entrepreneurs open their own businesses, fueled by the power of our iconic brand. That is made possible because of franchising, which contributes nearly half a trillion dollars to the United States’ gross domestic product each year. We will continue to partner with IFA and Chicagoland elected officials to make franchising even better here in Illinois, so it can continue to be a force for good in the communities we serve.”

IFA Open for Opportunity Roadshow

Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer noted that the franchise business model is a viable path for reaching the American dream. “Franchising provides a chance for people from all backgrounds and experience levels to have the ability to own their own business,” Deer said. “Listening to the stories of local franchise business owners about their journey of starting and managing their own business showed firsthand the opportunities franchising creates and the need to support this business model. I look forward to continuing the conversation on ways we can strengthen our local economy through franchising and keep Illinois’ place as one of the best places for franchise growth.”

Franchising in Illinois

Matt Haller, the IFA’s CEO and president, observed that Chicago is “home to some of America’s most iconic brands,” and said people in the Windy City understand the importance of the franchise business model. “This week’s Open for Opportunity Roadshow highlighted why these local businesses must be protected and the ways we can partner with elected leaders to strengthen their significant impact on the local economy.” 

According to the forecast in the IFA’s 2023 Franchising Economic Outlook report, Illinois is projected to be the second-best state for franchise growth this year. “We look forward to ensuring it is a place for the franchise business model to continue generating opportunity in every community,” Haller said.

Illinois’s nearly 33,000 local franchise establishments provide more than 375,000 jobs. Last year, the sector provided roughly $13 billion in payroll, generated more than $34 billion in economic output, and contributed $20 billion to Illinois’s gross state product. 

IFA and Its Roadshows

Earlier this year, the IFA’s Open for Opportunity Roadshow visited Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Jersey, Nevada and Dallas-Fort Worth. The roadshow initiative officially launched at the 2022 IFA Annual Convention in San Diego.

The 63-year-old IFA is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA uses public relations, media relations and lobbying at all levels of government to safeguard and promote franchising. 

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