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TUESDAY, April 7 | Pre-Conference
11:00AM to 6:00PM  GOLF TOURNAMENT - Arroyo Golf Club
6:00PM to 7:30PM

MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE OPENING SOCIAL (Franchisees Only) – Carmine's Restaurant

Sponsored by Camp Bow Wow, Johnny Rockets, McAlister's Deli & Pollo Campero USA

WEDNESDAY, April 8 | Main Conference
Welcome: Therese Thilgen, CEO, Franchise Update Media with Robert Branca, President, Branded Management Group/Branded Realty Group & 2015 Conference Chairman
   Peter Diamandis, Futurist & Author, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
    Sponsored by Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
10:30AM to 11:00AM COFFEE BREAK Sponsored by CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.
11:00AM to 12:00PM GENERAL SESSION: Franchisees & Franchisors Working Together to Build Stronger Brands
12:00PM to 1:30PM

Seating available with franchisees by industry or size of organization

Sponsored by Captain D's, Checkers, Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Modern Business Associates

12:00PM to 1:30PM

Build and Evaluate Your Franchisee Recruitment Plan & Budget

Sponsored by ApplePie Capital

1:45PM to 3:00PM Adequate Financing to Grow Building Bench Strength to Support Infrastructure Capital Solutions for $15+ Million Acquisitions and/or Growth
3:15PM to 4:30PM The Right Time to Grow Your Infrastructure Financing Acquisitions & New Growth Planning Infrastructure to Support Your Next Brand or Acquisition
4:30PM to 7:00PM OPENING PARTY IN EXPO HALL – Exhibits Open
THURSDAY, April 9 | Main Conference
Opening Remarks – Robert Branca, President, Branded Management Group/Branded Realty Group & 2015 Conference Chairman
Industry Trends – Darrell Johnson, CEO FranData
Multi-Unit Franchisee MVP Awards
   Frank Abagnale, Author, Catch Me if You Can
11:00AM to 11:15AM BREAK
  Marketing Track Operations Track HR & Employee Relationships Track Growth Track
  Customer Engagement – the Best Marketing Tool Multi-Unit M&A: Getting to the Closing Labor Laws – Impact on Hiring & Retaining Good Talent Lease Negotiations & Re-Negotiations
12:15PM to 1:45PM LUNCH IN EXPO HALL - Exhibits Open
2:00PM to 3:00PM GENERAL SESSION: Financing 2015 - Securing Capital 
  Marketing Track Operations Track HR & Employee Relationships Track Growth Track
  Local Store Marketing for Optimum Brand Awareness Take Your Customer Service to the Next Level Franchising Under Attack: How Recent & Proposed Legislation Affects Your Bottom Line How to Evaluate a Franchise Brand
  Bonus Session! - Bridging the Gap: Athletes, Investors & Operators Roundtable
4:30PM to 5:30PM MEET THE SPEAKERS ROUNDTABLES – Franchisee Only Session
FRIDAY, April 10 | Main Conference
9:00AM to 10:30AM CLOSING SESSION: Develop Your Executional Plan for Growth
Interactive session for franchisees and franchisors, covering infrastructure, financing needs assessment and plan development


Full Agenda

Tuesday, April 07th, 2015

11:00AM - 06:00PM

Golf Tournament
Separate registration fee required

Join your franchise colleagues at the 2015 Multi-unit Franchising Conference Golf Tournament. The tournament is a premier networking event and a casual forum to strength existing relationships and build new ones with industry decision makers. All players must be registered for the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference in order to participate in the golf event.

Reservation deadline is: April 1st, 2015

06:00PM - 07:30PM

Multi-Unit Franchisee Opening Social & Welcome (Franchisees Only)

Welcome Multi-Unit Franchisees!

Join your peers for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and some lively conversation at our opening franchisee-only event. Relax and kick off your conference experience at Carmine’s Restaurant in the Forum Shops. This event is exclusive to franchisees.  

Sponsored by: Camp Bow Wow, Johnny Rockets, McAlister's Deli, & Pollo Campero USA

Wednesday, April 08th, 2015

07:30AM - 07:30PM

Registration Desk Open


07:30AM - 08:30AM

Continental Breakfast

Room: Octavius Foyer

09:00AM - 10:30AM


Welcome: Therese Thilgen, CEO & Co-Founder, Franchise Update Media & Robert Branca, President, Branded Management Group / Branded Realty Group & 2015 Multi-Unit Conference Chair.

Keynote Speaker: Peter Diamandis, Futurist & Author of Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. Peter Diamandis is a New York Times best-selling author, innovator and founder of XPRIZE. He has worked with Fortune 100 companies, government leaders, and captains of the industry over the past 15 years. 

Room: Augustus 3-6

Sponsored by: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen


10:30AM - 11:00AM

Coffee Break
Sponsored By CKE Restaurant Holdings, Inc.

Room: Augustus Foyer

Sponsored By CKE Restaurant Holdings, Inc.



11:00AM - 12:00PM

GENERAL SESSION: Franchisees & Franchisors Working Together to Build Stronger Brands

Franchisees & Franchisors Working Together to Build Stronger Brands – Franchising as a business opportunity is more relevant now than it ever has been. The success of franchisees is the direct result of franchisees and franchisors listening to each other and working together toward a common goal. What can franchisees do to work with their franchisors to reach their goals, prevent a toxic culture and build stronger brands? This panel of franchisees and franchisors will discuss the steps to take, along with the positive results of working together. They’ll share their stories, challenges and successes. 

Facilitator: Rocco Fiorentino, President & CEO, Benetrends Financial

Panelists: Rick Silva, CEO, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants; Mark Kartarik, President, Sport Clips; Debra Sawyer, Franchisee, Robert Branca, President, Branded Realty / Branded Management Group; Nigel Travis, CEO, Dunkin' Brands Group; Alan Balen, Franchisee, Checkers and Rally's Restaurants 

Room: Augustus 3-6

12:00PM - 01:30PM

Franchisor & Supplier Luncheon

Network and share ideas with other multi-unit franchisees during our franchisee-only luncheon.  Enjoy lunch and great conversations with your peers from throughout the franchise industry.  You’ll meet franchisees that share the same challenges as you.  You’ll share growth ideas and make new contacts. Seating available with franchisees in industry or by size of organization.  Details available when you register. 

Build and Evaluate Your Franchisee Recruitment Plan & Budget – How well do you measure your franchise sales & development success?  Do you track cost per lead or sale? And what lead sources are driving your recruitment program?  The Annual Franchise Development Survey of 139 franchisors representing 36,313 units showed 58% do not track their cost per lead and 48% don’t track their cost per sale.  In this session you’ll learn how to build and evaluate a franchisee recruitment budget and what measurements are critical to an effective plan. 

Facilitator: Paul Pickett, VP Franchise Development, Wild Birds Unlimited Inc.

Panelists: Mark Cairns, Director of Franchise Development, Toppers Pizza; Pete Lindsey, VP Franchising, Sport Clips

Room: Milano: 2/3/4/6/7/8

Sponsored by: ApplePie Capital

12:00PM - 01:30PM

Franchisee Only Networking Luncheon

Network and share ideas with other multi-unit franchisees during our franchisee-only luncheon. Seating available with Franchisees by industry or size of organization. 

Room: Augustus 1/2

Sponsored By: Captain D's, Checkers, Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, & Modern Business Associates


01:45PM - 03:00PM

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

These sessions have been created to provide education and encouragement based on the size of your franchise organization. You’ll learn from our panels of experts about the logistics, nuts and bolts, emotions, and challenges they experienced as they expanded their franchise organizations. Sessions are divided into three tracks for franchisees of the following sizes:

Track 1: Growing to 20 Units: Adequate Financing to Grow – Growing from 5 to 15 or 20 units can be fatal without proper planning.  You must be capitalized properly or you’ll become a sinking ship.  How do you build a capital plan to ensure adequate financing?  What are your financing options – cash flow, debt, and equity?   

Facilitator: April Little, Vice President Investments, Spirit Realty

Panelists: Anthony D'Amore, Franchisee, MOOYAH Burger & Dunkin'/Baskin Robbins; Bill Mapes, Franchisee, Jersey Mike's Subs

Room: Neopolitan 1/2

Track 2: Growing from 20-50 Units: Building Bench Strength to Support Infrastructure – You’re ready to take your organization to the next level and are evaluating your infrastructure. What are the keys to evaluating your internal talent and getting the right people in the right spots, as well as on the bus from the executive team to the location level?  What steps should you take to build bench strength and when? 

Facilitator: Gary Robins, Franchisee, Supercuts 

Panelists: Peter Greene, Franchisee, Which Wich; John Russell, President, Wireless Zone; Doug Sheley, Franchisee, Fresh to Order

Room: Milano 1/5

Track 3: Growing Beyond 50 Units: Capital Solutions for $15 Million+ Acquisitions and/or Growth – Growing through acquisition of existing locations is a great strategy for rapid growth. What are the key factors involved in evaluating the acquisition to ensure it’s right for your organization?  Have you put an effective acquisition plan in place to present to potential lenders in order to secure financing?  What are your financing options? 

Facilitator: Ted Torres, President, Caerus Hospitality

Panelists: Eduardo Diaz, President, EYM Group Inc,; John Draper, CEO, Viridian Group

Room: Neopolitan 3/4 

03:15PM - 04:30PM

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Track 1: Growing to 20 Units: The Right Time To Grow Your Infrastructure – As a 5-unit operator, many of the day-to-day functions can be done internally. If you’re planning to grow to 20 units, a completely different infrastructure will be needed to be successful. This session helps you evaluate your existing infrastructure while planning for growth – number of locations, talent and monetizing infrastructure. What are the dangers of growing to 20 locations without properly supporting your infrastructure? 

Facilitator: John Francis, Franchisee, PostNet

Panelists: Paul Hitzelberger, Franchisee, Del Taco; David Doty, President, SunWest Restaurant Concepts; Paul & Jason Amell, Franchisees, Checkers Drive-In

Room: Neopolitan 1/2

Track 2: Growing from 20-50 Units: Financing Acquisitions & New Growth – How to evaluate acquisition of existing locations vs. new growth; into new markets and with new team members. Take all of these factors into consideration before you search for financing – proper preparation will help ensure the best financing options.

Facilitator: David Blackburn, Franchisee, McAlister's Deli

Panelists: Spencer Smith, President, Smith Group; Pierre Panos, Franchisee, Papa John's

Room: Milano 1/5

Track 3: Growing Beyond 50 Units: Planning Infrastructure To Support Your Next Brand or Acquisition – What’s involved in moving your enterprise forward?  Have you completed a talent assessment to determine the holes in your organization?  How does your existing infrastructure support growth in a new market?  Have you planned effectively to grow without over-taxing your existing resources?

Facilitator: David Barr, President, PMTD Restaurants

Panelists: Roland Spongberg, President & CEO, WKS Restaurant Group; Yaron Goldman, Owner, Southern Deli Holdings

Room: Neopolitan 3/5

04:30PM - 07:00PM

Opening Social in Expo Hall - Exhibits Open

Visit over 200 exhibits to find new franchise opportunities, products or services. Our exhibitors will be happy to share their ideas, programs and products to help grow your enterprise.      

Room: Octavius

Thursday, April 09th, 2015

07:30AM - 08:15AM

Continental Breakfast

 Room: Octavius Foyer

07:30AM - 07:30PM

Registration Desk Open


08:30AM - 11:00AM

General Session

Opening Remarks  – Robert Branca, President, Branded Management Group/Branded Realty Group & 2015 Multi-Unit Conference Chair.

Industry Trends – Darrell Johnson, Franchise Economist & CEO, Frandata 

Darrell Johnson is a recognized authority on franchising and frequent speaker and author on franchising topics. He will discuss the economy and its impact on franchising, while providing an overview of current segment growth trends. 

Multi-Unit Franchisee MVP Awards

Keynote Speaker – Frank Abagnale, Author & Subject, Catch Me If You Can 

Frank Abagnale is one of the most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement, and secure documents. For over 36 years he has worked with, advised, and consulted with hundreds of organizations around the world. 

Room: Augustus

11:00AM - 11:15AM

Coffee Break

 Room: Augustus Foyer

11:15AM - 12:15PM

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Our afternoon breakout sessions follow four tracks: Marketing, Operations, HR & Employee Relationships, and Growth. You may choose to follow one track or attend the sessions most important to you and your organization.

Marketing Track: Customer Engagement: The Best Marketing Tool – When a customer has a good experience, they tell their friends who tell their friends and so on. Word of mouth is a great way to build your reputation at the local level, but what’s the best way to do that in today’s marketing environment? JB Bernstein, legendary sports marketing agent, conducts this energizing session that will help you get and keep your customers engaged and talking about your location(s). 

Facilitator: J.B. Bernstein, Legendary Sports Marketing Agent and Marketing Pioneer, Author/Subject of Million Dollar Arm

Room: Milano 3/4

Operations Track: Multi-Unit M&A: Getting to the Closing

Facilitator: Gary Joyal, Founder, Joyal Capital Management

Panelists: David Paris, Partner, Paris Akerman & Schmierer; Robert Salkowski, Partner, Zarco Einhorn Salkowski & Brito 

Room: Neopolitan 3/4

HR & Employee Relationships Track: Labor Laws – Impact on Hiring & Retaining Good Talent – Attracting, recruiting, retaining good employees is a top priority for every franchisee. The workforce is stronger and more competitive than ever.  New labor laws are making it even more difficult for franchisees to get and keep strong employees. What are some of the best practices today?

Facilitator: Jeffrey Tews, Franchisee, BrightStar Care

Panelists: David Harrison, Franchisee, RNR Tires; Susan Rather, Franchisee, BrightStar Care; Sean McConnell, Chief Legal Officer & VP of HR

Room: Neopolitan 1/2

Growth Track: Lease Negotiations & Re-Negotiations – Lease negotiations & re-negotiations – Securing the optimal site is critical for the long-term success of your business. Negotiating the best rent, tenant improvement and other lease specifics will help you open your new location and position it for success.  You may already be in the best location but may be nearing the end of your lease. What are the current strategies for negotiating and re-negotiating leases?  What’s the most effective way to work with landlords? This session shares pointers and strategies for doing just that. 

Facilitator: Cheryl Fletcher, VP Strategic Development and Finance, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Panelists: Grant Simon, CEO, LSGF Management; Zachary Darrow, Chairman, DarrowEverett LLP

Room: Milano 7/8

12:15PM - 01:45PM

Lunch in Exhibit Hall - Exhibits Open

Room: Octavius 

02:00PM - 03:00PM

GENERAL SESSION: Financing 2015: Finding The Edge In Your Capital Strategy

Financing 2015: Finding The Edge In Your Capital Strategy – As the economy strengthens, and capital availability peaks, how do you ensure that your financial strategy for growth is reflective of this environment? Hear from some of franchising's most financially savvy leaders on a variety of topics that they have employed to strengthen their financial strategy. This panel of experts will discuss strategic insights and creative thinking on subjects including rate options, fees negotiation, swap and hedging tactics, and many more. 

Facilitator: Michael Kulp, President/CEO, KBP Foods

Panelists: Guillermo Perales, President/CEO, Sun Holdings Inc.; Dawn Lafreeda, Franchisee, Denny's; Yaron Goldman, Franchisee, MOD Pizza

Room: Augustus

03:15PM - 04:15PM

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Our afternoon breakout sessions follow four tracks: Marketing, Financing & Operations, Relationships, and Growth. A Roundtable of Athletes, Investors & Operators is also offered. You may choose to follow one track or attend the sessions most important to you and your organization.

Marketing Track: Local Store Marketing for Optimum Brand Awareness – Local store marketing is a critical element of success for every brand, whether you are new to the market or an established brand with media backing. Getting and keeping awareness high at the local level should be an important part of your business plan. Learn what’s working or not working in reaching the target customer, and how to evaluate marketing opportunities to fit your budget. 

Facilitator: Matt Graham, Chief Marketing Officer, Jiffy Lube

Panelists: Bob Chase, President, Response Marketing; Michelle Shriver, Franchisee, Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Room: Milano 3/4

Operations Track: Take Your Customer Service to the Next Level – The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies like Chick-fil-A, Anytime Fitness, Starbucks, Domino's, The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, and many more, will be facilitating a panel of franchisees, who are best in class and have made customers experience their biggest competitive advantage. These franchisees have found ways to teach their employees to have empathy and compassion for their customers, which builds relationships, creates an emotional connection and brand loyalty. This ultimately makes price irrelevant by becoming the brand customers cannot live without. 

Facilitator: Dave Murray, Customer Service Consultant, The DiJulius Group

Panelists: T.J. Schier, President, SMART Restaurant Group; Glenn Mueller, Chief Financial OfficerRPM Pizza

Room: Neopolitan 3/4

HR & Employee Relationships Track: Franchising Under Attack: How Recent & Proposed Legislation Affects Your Bottom Line – The purpose of this session is to educate franchisees, and engage them through discussion about recent and proposed legislation that affects the franchise industry in general, and franchisees in particular. Robert Cresanti, EVP of Government Relations & Public Policy of the IFA, will kick off the session with a 30-minute review of legislation affecting our industry. We will follow with a panel discussion of experts including heavy audience participation.

Hot topics to be discussed include (among others):

  • Joint Employer status:  It's not just the NLRB, but also the SEIU and others trying to destroy the franchise model.
  • Minimum wage issues: The battle to raise the minimum wage, and how this will impact your bottom line.
  • Department of Labor proposal re: overtime rules:  How this effects your employee's exempt/non-exempt status, what tasks your managers can and cannot do, and how this impacts your pay structure.
  • NLRB – Ambush Election rule: Another attempt by unions to increase their influence in representation elections, which is set to take effect April 14.

Facilitator: Robert Cresanti, EVP Government Relations & Public Policy, IFA

Panelists: Bill Hall, CEO, Treats Investments; David Barr, President, PMTD Restaurants; Maury Baskin, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson; Seth Goldstein, Franchisee, Dunkin' Brands

Room: Neopolitan 1/2

Growth Track: How to Evaluate a Franchise Brand – What do successful multi-brand franchisees look for in a new opportunity?  How do you weigh product, franchisee satisfaction, Item 19 disclosures, leadership team, unit closures, marketing, etc.?

Facilitator: Lane Fisher, Partner, Fisher Zucker

Panelists: Michael Knobelock, Owner, MSK Enterprises; Tony Lutfi, President & CEO, Marlu Investment Group; David Martinez, Franchisee, Russo's Restaurants

Room: Neopolitan 7/8

Bonus Session! Bridging the Gap: Athletes, Investors & Operators Roundtable – Join our panel of athletes, operators and franchisors as they discuss the ins and outs of building successful partnerships. This dynamic session will focus on the athlete investor’s and operator perspectives, as well as dive into the risks while learning how to avoid the pitfalls. Find out how to structure these partnerships in a way that 1 +1 (can) = 3.

Facilitator: Michael Stone, Founder & Executive Director, Professional Athletes Franchise Initiative

Panelists: Allan Boomer, Managing Partner, Momentum Advisors

Room: Milano 5/6

04:30PM - 05:30PM

Meet The Speakers Roundtables - Franchisees Only

Room: Augustus 3/5

05:30PM - 07:00PM

Cocktail Reception in Expo Hall - Exhibits Open

Room: Octavius

Friday, April 10th, 2015

09:00AM - 10:30AM

Closing Session: Develop Your Executional Plan For Growth

Whether you’re growing to 20 or 200+ units, this program is for you.                                         

In the previous two days, you’ve learned what considerations to make in preparing for growth in the areas of infrastructure, financing and unit level execution.  Now you need to formalize the needs assessment and develop an actionable plan.  In this highly interactive session, you’ll learn the steps to take in order to develop an Executional Plan. You’ll leave this session with an understanding of how to build a plan that effectively communicates your vision for growth. 

Facilitator: Craig Weichman, OPS, Meyer Metz Capital Partners

Panelists: John Metz, President, RREMC; Brooke Wilson, Franchisee, Two Men And A Truck; Lloyd Sugarman, Franchisee, Johnny Rockets; Greg Thomas, President, LSGF Management

Room: Milano 3/4/7/8

  • "The success and depth of knowledge of fellow attendees motivates me more than any other conference I attend."

    Grant Simon, CEO, LSGF Management

  • "A great place to find solutions to the challenges we face as multi-unit franchisees."

    Robert Branca, Jr., President, Branded Management Group / Branded Realty Group

  • "A wonderful show with great speakers and terrific information. The topics covered really hit home to us in the franchisee community, and it was delightful to meet other similar minded, industrious entrepreneurs."

    Ted Torres, President, Caerus Hospitality Partners

  • “This conference is an unparalleled networking, deal-making and education opportunity. I strongly urge you to attend if you are serious about multi-unit franchising -- whether as a franchisee, franchisor, a lender or a vendor partner, this is the place for you.”

    Robert Branca, Jr., President, Branded Management Group / Branded Realty Group

  • "Each year I learn more about the challenges facing franchisees. I take the knowledge and improve my product that allows me to better support our franchisee and franchisor partners."

    Tom Epstein, CEO, Franchise Payments Network

For information on the Certified Franchise Executives™ program, please go to