Pioneers and visionaries: those were just two of the words used to describe the seven inaugural inductees into the DDIFO Franchisee Hall of Fame. The event, which kicked off the 2011 National Members Meeting at Mohegan Sun, was a rousing success. Over 100 people attended, all of whom stood to applaud the accomplishments and contributions of these men.

“It was tremendous seeing people stand and applaud,” said Adam Goldman, a new franchisee from New Jersey. “Hearing those stories, it’s obvious these guys were successful because they loved the company and loved the product. It felt like family.”

The seven inductees were: John Boujoukos, Antonio Couto, Jose Couto, Ralph Gabellieri, John Henderson, George Mandell and Dunkin’ Donuts founder William Rosenberg.  A family member or representative of each family was greeted on stage by DDIFO Chairman Daniel Connelly and DDIFO President Jim Coen and was presented with a handmade DDIFO Franchisee Hall of Fame glass plaque from Peggy Kerr Glass.

As he came up to receive the plaque for John Henderson, DDIFO General Counsel Carl Lisa delivered a heartfelt speech to the crowd. “I knew all these guys and they were tremendous people who worked hard to get Dunkin’ Donuts off the ground. It is great to honor them tonight.”

The inductees were selected through a nomination process involving franchise owners, members of the DDIFO Board of Directors and the DDIFO Roundtable. All involved agreed this was an important tribute to some of the early franchise owners, the Dunkin’ founder and select members of his early leadership team. DDIFO will continue the Hall of Fame inductions every year as part of the organization’s National Members Meeting program.

“We can never lose sight of the hard work, dedication and investment these early franchise leaders made to build the Dunkin’ brand. It says a lot that today, second and third generation members of the early franchisees’ families are still operating Dunkin’ Donuts stores. It’s such a great story to share,” said Coen.