There is always a certain amount of fear and trepidation about the unknown. Think back to 1999 as we approached the turn of the millennium and the catastrophes that were forecast to accompany Y2K, as it was then known. To hear some tell it back then, computers were going to think the year was 1900, banks would be unable to account for most of the funds they had on deposit, cars wouldn’t run because of their computerized engines, the U.S. electric grid would cease to function and countless other calamities would befall us. Essentially, the turn of the millennium would mean the end of the world as we knew it. Of course, none of that happened

Similar catastrophes have been forecast for the nation under the leadership of President Donald Trump. But, one year into his administration, Trump has gone to great lengths to reset the business climate in a wide variety of ways – several of which directly, and favorably, impact the franchise community. One certain example is the recent reversal of the National Labor Relations Board’s redefinition of a joint employer. And there are a host of other regulations that are being modified to the benefit of business owners, they include quickie elections, micro-unions, tip pooling prohibitions, inflexible employment policy mandates and net neutrality. In fact, we can expect to see much more by the way of regulatory relief as a result of Trump’s 2017 executive order which states the cost of any new regulation should be offset by the elimination of regulations with the same costs to businesses.

The fear and anxiety that some feel regarding the nation is the result of change. Face it, we’re all comfortable with the status quo and we get anxious when something unknown – or disruptive – is introduced into the equation. But change is inevitable and it is what keeps us moving forward. That’s not something specific to these times, it was something our 35th president, John F. Kennedy, believed as well. “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past and the present are certain to miss the future,” he said during an address in Germany in 1963.

Change is certainly on the horizon in Canton, where Dunkin’ Brands CEO Nigel Travis nears the completion of his existing contract and is seemingly relinquishing some of the involvement he’s shown in the past. Company president David Hoffman appears prepared to assume control of the brand, which itself may harken a new direction and more change… For Dunkin’ franchisees, the best advice may be to welcome the change and adapt.

DDIFO is already adapting to a change Dunkin’ Brands is instituting this year. For the first time in a decade, DBI has scheduled a convention for all franchisees for late September in Las Vegas. For the past several years, we have hosted our National Conference in the fall, but the brand’s actions are forcing us to accept the change and adapt.

The result is something that will have a more positive impact on our members and the organization. DDIFO is moving the 2018 National Conference to the spring, which provides more opportunity for venues and is more convenient than the early fall for many of our members. So, with that, I am thrilled to announce the 2018 National Conference will be held in New Orleans on June 4–5. We not only welcome that change, we believe it will make our signature event even better.

We have made a deal with Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino for a first class event that will, of course, feature top quality programming and guests. We will introduce new speakers at this new venue, but the quality of the content will not change. Over the past three years, we have received terrific feedback from our members about value the National Conference brings, and we want to continue to raise the bar for our franchise owners and business members, especially in the face of change that is occurring at Dunkin’ Brands.

As Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.” Like any successful organization, DDIFO has proved it is ready, willing and able to adapt to change. With the rescheduled National Conference – and the Big Easy destination – we are even closer to perfection.