Big Franchisees Discuss Growth Strategies of Multi-Concept, Multi-Unit Franchising

[San Jose, CA] - The most powerful players in franchising will meet in March for the nation's only conference dedicated to the industry's fastest-growing and most targeted audience - franchise developers.

The Multi-Unit Franchising National Development Conference & Expo 2006, sponsored by Area Developer Magazine and produced by Franchise Update, is scheduled for March 29-31, 2006 in Las Vegas. This year's focus is "Creating a Growth Culture." The conference program is designed exclusively for existing and potential multi-unit/multi-brand franchisees in the and service sectors - along with franchisors, developers, chain store operators and private investment groups looking to expand multiple-unit franchise operations. Panels and presenters include more than 30 multi-brand franchisees representing more than 100 brands.

Last year, the conference attracted 300 attendees. Participation continues to grow as word spreads about the conference's value and as the trend toward multi-unit franchising continues to intensify. Therese Thilgen, President and Founder of Franchise Update, said she expects over 400 participants at the 2006 conference.

Unparalleled Exposure Opportunity: Rising in the Ranks
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.

"This conference is a valuable networking opportunity for multi-unit and multi-concept franchisees," said Gary Grace, Supercuts and Costcutters and chair of the 2006 conference. "I make invaluable contacts every year and I would recommend this conference to anyone interested in expanding their business portfolios."

As the only program designed specifically for multi-unit franchisees, the conference has gotten bigger and better each year since its debut in 2001. The focus for the 2006 conference is leadership and creating a growth culture within an organization. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with the decision-makers and investors from businesses of all sizes and types, from the smallest and newest to the largest and most well-established franchise companies.

"Competition in the marketplace is increasingly fierce, with new brands and reenergized brands entering the market continually," said Thilgen. "Everyone needs to be educated on the current issues and trends to keep growing their brand cost-effectively. It is a great opportunity for anyone interested in expanding their business repertoire to gain insight on the industry from experienced multi-unit franchisees."

Supporting a Growing Trend: Franchising's 'Hot' New Segment
Today, two trends are converging to create hot growth opportunities that are changing the face of franchising. First, an expanding number of franchise concepts are specifically targeting developers for multi-unit deals. Multi-unit franchisees are also continuing to add units within their current system 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.

Currently, an estimated 1,500 franchise companies operate in the United States, conducting business through more than 316,000 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 against 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-brand 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.

The Agenda: Insight from Industry 'Power Players'
Given the current status of multi-unit franchising, program content at the conference will focus on expansion and diversification of multiple-unit franchise operations. Special break-out sessions will focus on family-run franchisee chains, recruiting top talent, growing multiple brands, and developing In addition, Franchise Update will provide benchmarks for success in multiple unit franchise system management.

Other sessions will cover high-level, strategic and everyday issues that impact multi-unit and multi-brand franchising, from the franchisee's perspective. An exhibit hall will feature the latest updates on franchise opportunities and support for franchisors, suppliers and peers. Sessions include:

  • State of Franchising: Multi-Unit and Multi-Concept Trends Report
  • The 7 Irrefutable Rules of Business Growth: 21st Century Strategies for Building Your Company
  • Lessons from the Edge: Real Talk from Experienced Multi-Unit Franchisees
  • FAB Awards: Multi-Unit Franchisee Recognition Awards
  • Power Panel: Working Together to Grow the Business

Steven S. Little and Jim "The Rookie" Morris are the conference's keynote speakers. Little is a business growth expert currently serving as a Senior Consultant for Inc. Magazine. He will discuss what it takes to grow a business both effectively and profitably. Morris is the 'comeback kid of professional baseball' - his story was the basis for the movie "The Rookie". His keynote will focus on the power of dreams.

To address issues and discuss topics most relevant to the diverse audience, Franchise Update/Area Developer recruited a group of the most experienced and knowledgeable multi-unit franchisees from a cross-section of brands. These franchisees have insight on the day-to-day challenges of multi-unit franchising and are eager to share what they have learned about what matters most, and how to come out on top.

The group consists of men and women of various ethnic backgrounds representing a variety of industries, ranging from operators of three to 300 units each. Brands represented include Supercuts, Dunkin' Donuts, Denny's, Bennigan's, Arby's, Krispy Kreme, Aaron's, and more.

The Sponsors: Franchising's 'Heavy Hitters'
Sponsors and exhibitors of the conference are some of the biggest names in multiple-unit franchising, including Volvo Rents, Denny's, Aviatech, Fastbucks Franchise Corp, Blimpie International, Wall Street Journal, and Wing Zone. Others include Bojangles', Comfort Keepers, Black Enterprise Magazine, and Golden Corral.

According to Thilgen, multi-unit franchisees from Supercuts, Krispy Kreme, TGI Fridays, Burger King, Church's Chicken and many more are already registered to attend.

"This conference is 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 multiple-unit franchise chain," Thilgen said. "Experts will share powerful knowledge about how to organize and manage multiple-unit chains. Plus, attendees can meet with expanding franchisors face-to-face."

For more information about the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference & Expo 2006, please visit


Sherri Fishman
Fishman Public Relations
(847) 945-1300, ext 222

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