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IFA President and CEO Robert Cresanti Reflects on 2016
The franchising industry is headed into the new year with strong momentum.

2016 has been a critical year for franchising. The industry has experienced incredible success, from different types of concepts embracing the proven business model to franchise brands growing at a faster rate than the rest of the U.S. economy. However, the franchising industry has also faced significant challenges this year, including the uncertainty surrounding the presidential election and government regulations that threaten its future. That’s why Robert Cresanti, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, says it’s more important than ever for members of the franchising community to speak up.

In a recently released video, Cresanti recaps the year in franchising and previews what’s next for the IFA as it heads into 2017. He starts by highlighting one of the organization’s biggest hits this year, the @OurFranchise campaign. After launching in June, the campaign has helped educate consumers and potential business owners about the benefits that franchising offers.

"We have visited seven different cities in seven different states since June, and we've been speaking about why the @OurFranchise tour was launched—to combat the widespread misunderstanding that exists in public perception, as well as in the ideas of public policy makers, about what the franchising business model is,” Cresanti said.

In an effort to keep that model moving forward, the IFA is taking a stand against the recently introduced joint employer standard.  Under the rule, franchisors and franchisees can be deemed to share the ability to govern workers’ terms and conditions of employment. That undermines what franchising is at its core.

Cresanti said, “The top priority for us is still our existential threat, which is the joint employer standard that was announced by the National Labor Relations Board.” He continued, “That standard destroys the autonomy that franchisees have to run their own businesses. It basically makes them middle managers in a larger organization that would cause real damage to the underlying model.”

Despite the looming changes, Cresanti is positive that 2017 will be another good year for franchising. With a new presidential administration set to take office in January, he’s hopeful that the government, business owners and consumers will all be able to work together to better the American economy.

“Moving forward, I think we have to find a third way in this country. It’s not the Republican way, it’s not the Democratic way. And if I have a hope for this administration is that we can find the American way.”

To watch the full video, click here.

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