Asheesh Steh, MWDDFA Communications Director

Asheesh Steh, MWDDFA Communications Director

Recognizing a shared mission and strength in numbers, the Midwest Dunkin’ Donuts Franchisee Association (MWDDFA) and the DD Independent Franchise Owners (DDIFO) are considering ways to join forces.

“We believe there is a firm foundation for working together and collaborating so we can enhance and protect the interest of all Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners, nationwide” said DDIFO President Jim Coen.

Last month, Coen and DDIFO board chairman Kevin McCarthy attended a meeting of MWDDFA members in Chicago. Asheesh Seth, communications director for MWDDFA said, “Both sides were open to a good dialogue and we came away feeling things are moving in the right direction. Many of the issues we are dealing with in the Midwest are the same as the issues franchise owners in the northeast and every where else are facing. Clearly we have a lot of synergies.”

Franchise owners throughout the Dunkin’ system are coping with higher food costs, lower revenues and new government regulations which could greatly impact their bottom line. Among those is the effort to lower the interchange fees merchants pay to banks on credit card transactions; another is the introduction of menu labeling legislation in several states. The DDIFO is actively involved in promoting the agenda of franchise owners in Washington, D.C. and, Coen said, increased membership will allow DDIFO to put more resources into government relations as well as support other efforts to enhance and protect the business interests of Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners.

The MWDDFA was founded in 2005 and has 85 members representing 400 of the 500 stores in the Illinois/Indiana market, according to Seth. Many of the members of MWDDFA are originally from Southern Asia—some of whom have been in the Dunkin’ system for over 20 years.

McCarthy said he was impressed by the commitment and passion Midwest franchise owners demonstrated and believes working together will benefit all members. “My vision is that all Dunkin’ franchisees speak as one voice. This trip was the beginning of reaching that vision.”

McCarthy has a unique perspective of the Midwest region. From 1975-1994 he served as Vice President of Development for Dunkin’ Brands overseeing expansion into Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

According to Seth, the Midwest franchise owners have long been aware of the DDIFO and currently receive many of the organization’s publications like the DDIFO Insider newsletter, Legal and Legislative Briefs and News you can Use. Seth said his members value the knowledge contained in those publications.

At the June 2nd Board of Directors meeting, DDIFO Directors voted to create an Expansion Committee made up of DDIFO President Jim Coen, Director Dan Connelly and two franchise owners. This committee will recommend specific guidelines for expanding DDIFO membership. The committee will be in contact with MWDDFA leadership over the summer to identify guidelines for joining forces.