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Brands seek to stand out at the International Franchise Expo


IFE photos

Hundreds of concepts aim to garner interest—and franchisees—at the 2019 International Franchise Expo. 1. Family entertainment brand ClimbZone gets active. 2. Rockin’ at the School of Rock booth. 3. Getting blast chilled at iCryo. 4. Dog meet-and-greet at Woofies Pet Ventures. 5. Buff City Soap’s plant-based products. 6. Sandwich sampling at the Primo Hoagies food truck.

At the International Franchise Expo in New York City, Wayback Burgers showed off its new mobile burger truck, designed for small orders and to expand a franchisee’s territory without paying the high fees for delivery services.

“We figured it’s got to be a better way for us to do delivery,” said Pat Conlin, president at Jake’s Franchising, parent company of Wayback Burgers. He said right after the show the first two trucks would hit the road at corporate locations for some final testing and to hone in on the best operations.

Woofies Pet Ventures, meanwhile, sought to tap into the growth of the pet segment with its mobile pet spa. What started as a dog-walking business quickly expanded around Virginia with van-based grooming services.

“We have a lot of elderly neighborhoods where we spend the whole day with their pets, walking them and grooming them,” said Woofies VP of Marketing Renee Ventrice. “And millennials are working long hours and they want their pets to be well taken care of, and they have the disposable income because they don’t have children yet.”

The International Franchise Association also used the expo to launch its “Power of Brands” campaign, which Chairman David Barr said aims to showcase IFA members and highlight their franchisees’ impact at a local level.

“The money being spent is going into these local businesses and owners, and most of that money is staying local,” said Barr, but most people unfamiliar with the franchise model still see the businesses “as just some big corporation.”

“We need to communicate the message better, that the power of the brand is really the positive impact of franchising,” continued Barr.

The IFA taped video interviews during the expo to showcase the stories of franchisees and it’s rolling out a largely digital campaign alongside some local community events where it hopes to generate interest in franchising and attract attention from local media.

“It’s about how are we educating and communicating with external groups,” said Barr. It’s amazing that so many people truly don’t understand what franchising is.”
An estimated 12,000 people and more than 400 franchise brands and related vendors participated in the annual expo at the Javits Center in New York.

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