Annual Multi-Unit Franchising Conference Gathers Industry Elites

San Jose, CA - The most powerful players in franchising will gather this spring for the nation's only conference dedicated to the industry's most strategic and fastest-growing segment - franchising.

The Multi-Unit Franchising Conference and Expo 2007, sponsored by Area Developer Magazine and produced by Franchise Update Media Group, is scheduled for April 18-20, 2007 in Colorado Springs. The conference is designed exclusively for franchisors, multi-unit/multi-concept franchisees in the and service sectors along with developers, chain store operators and private investment groups looking to build and expand multiple unit franchise operations. Guest speakers include more than 20 multi-unit/multi-concept franchisees representing more than 100 brands.

Last year the conference attracted more than 400 participants. Therese Thilgen, President of Franchise Update Media Group, expects more than 500 attendees at this year's conference. "As word spreads about the take-away value of the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference and as the trend toward multi-unit franchising intensifies, this conference continues to attract more multi-unit/multi-concept operators than any other event in the nation," Thilgen said.

Dynamic Learning Environment, Networking Opportunity

This annual conference offers the opportunity for the increasingly important franchising segment of multi-unit franchisees to meet face-to-face with one another, with franchise company executives, and with vendors in an informal business environment.

"The conference brings together the superstars of franchising, the multi-unit developers that are building America's brands into empires," said Stan Novack, Vice President of HMS Host and conference chairman. "Through their breakthrough sessions and roundtables, these power players help franchisors and franchisees build better, stronger, larger and more profitable organizations."

"This conference is an unequaled opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect with decision-makers and investors from businesses of all sizes and types, from the smallest and newest to the largest and most well-established," Thilgen said. "Attendees will learn how to stay competitive in a fierce marketplace and how to reenergize and grow their brands cost-effectively."

Franchising is Growing by Design

Franchising is no longer the misunderstood business phenomenon it was one decade ago. Today, franchisees are strategically building multi-unit and multi-concept enterprises, two trends that are changing the face of franchising. An expanding number of franchise concepts are specifically targeting developers for multi-unit deals and multi-unit franchisees are continuing to add units within their current systems and take on new brands. As existing and emerging franchisees seek multi-unit opportunities, franchisors are realizing the value of making larger deals with these experienced, successful business executives.

According to FRANdata, for the first time in franchising history, more than 50 percent of all franchise units are owned by multi-unit franchisees. Multi-concept franchising is also growing at an explosive rate as 53 percent of franchisors have franchisees that own units in other systems. Also, an increasing number of franchisors in a variety of different industries are selling development rights only in multi-unit packages.

"Multi-unit/multi-concept franchising is one of the fastest-growing segments in the industry because it offers successful operators the ability to grow in new areas with additional brands," Thilgen notes. "Franchisees can plan their investments recognizing shifting consumer tastes and trends with a better risk-reward relationship."

Conference participants will explore industry-wide data, statistics, trends, and analysis. The information presented will include which segments are growing, which are not; which niche markets have sprung up in the past year, and which are fading. For serious investors, hard numbers are the key factor in making an educated investment.

With multi-unit and multi-concept franchising evolving at breakneck speed in all industry segments, staying atop the trends is a key to success that will be explored at the conference.

America's Empire Builders Share their Wisdom

Given the status of multi-unit franchising, the program content of the conference will focus on the strategic expansion and diversification of multiple-unit franchise operations. Special break-out sessions will focus on family-run franchise chains, area development, growing multiple brands, and how to measure success.

Other sessions will cover high-level, strategic and everyday issues that impact multi-unit and multi-concept franchising, from the franchisee's perspective. Sessions include:
  • Area Representation Designed for Success
  • Effective Leadership: Getting the People Side of the Business Right
  • The Franchisee Scorecard: You Can't Manage What You Can't Measure
  • Driving Sales Growth Through Customer Loyalty
  • Power Panel: Building Your Power Portfolio
This year the conference will host three keynote speakers: Robert Kriegel, Bill Fromm and Mel Kleiman. New York Times best selling author and commentator on NPR's Marketplace Program, Kreigel will discuss how to foster a change-ready culture within an organization and keep ahead of the challenges and competition in today's dynamic marketplace. Fromm, a nationally known expert in strategic planning and customer service and co-founder of Service Management Group (SMG) will explain how employee loyalty creates exceptional customer experiences, and ultimately customer loyalty. Third, Kleiman is the founder of Humetrics and a recognized authority on recruiting, selecting and retaining the best hourly employees and will share knowledge gained through more than 30 years of research and consulting.

To lead the conference workshops, breakout sessions and business solutions roundtables, Franchise Update Media Group/Area Developer Magazine have recruited a group of the most experienced and knowledgeable multi-unit franchisees from a broad range of brands. The group consists of men and women of diverse backgrounds representing a variety of industries ranging from operators of three to 300 units each. Brands represented include Supercuts, Palm Beach Tan, Tony Roma's, Marriott brands, Denny's and more.

Franchising's 'Heavy Hitters'

Sponsors and Exhibitors of the conference are some of the biggest names in multi-unit franchising, including Volvo Rents, Denny's, Jimmy John's, Old Chicago, Aaron Rents, Dunkin' Brand, and Togo's Restaurants. Others include Choice Hotels International, Inc., Dollar Castle, Saladworks, Golden Corral Family Restaurants, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Ruby Tuesday's, Fantastic Sam's, Tony Roma's, United Financial, Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grills, Grease Monkey International, Del Taco and US Franchise Systems, Inc.

According to Thilgen, multi-unit franchisees from Applebee's, Aaron's, Burger King, Marriott Hotels, Dairy Queen, Popeye's, Liberty Tax and many more are already registered to attend.

"This conference in truly a unique opportunity for existing and potential multi-unit franchisees, as well as franchisors, to expand their understanding of multiple-unit franchising, including benefits, and challenges and how to finance and build a multi-unit franchise chain," Thilgen said. "Attendees walk away with new contacts, industry insights, and best practices that they can immediately implement in their businesses."

For more information about the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference & Expo, please visit

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