A virtual cup of coffee with DDIFO Executive Director Ed ShanahanLieutenant Governor Guadagno Confirmed for DDIFO Conference – DDIFO continues to add exciting components to our lineup for the 2013 National Conference.  This week we confirmed that New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno will address DDIFO attendees on Tuesday, September 17 at 11:00 AM.  Lt. Governor Guardano also serves the Garden State as its Secretary of State and leads the Christie administration’s efforts to revive economic vitality, encourage job growth, streamline government and make New Jersey business-friendly again!  She also oversees the NJ Partnership for Action (PFA), the state’s comprehensive economic development strategy.  PFA’s three elements are the Business Action Center, New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and Choose New Jersey.

New York Assesses Employers For Interest Owed to Feds – For the third consecutive year, the state of New York has assessed all employers within the Empire State $12.75 for each employee to pay the interest the state owes the federal government for payment of unemployment benefits.  The state’s unemployment fund has long been bankrupt necessitating the loan from the US Treasury.  In typical government fashion, the fees go only to pay down $85 million in interest the fund owes annually on the $3.5 Billion in loans the fund has outstanding.  It makes no payments on principal!

Governor Signs North Carolina Tax Overhaul – We advised last week that the NC legislature had passed a complete overhaul of their tax code.  This week, we can officially tell you that Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill into law this past Tuesday.  The new tax code provides an array of tax cuts for businesses and individual tax payers.

Fair Franchising Down Under – Members will recall that we’ve reported regularly on efforts to win passage of Fair Franchising legislation in Maine, Massachusetts and California over the past few weeks. (California’s next action is a hearing on August 13 before the Committee on Business and Consumer Protection.)  Well, while our opponents continue the chorus that legislation is not necessary, Australia has completely revamped their franchising code in such extreme fashion, they now require Good Faith and a host of other positive changes!!  Such audacity, mate!!!  The Government’s response to the review is available here.

Virtually Touring Caesar’s – With a little over 6 weeks before DDIFO’s National Conference at Caesar’s Atlantic City on September 16 – 18, we continue our Virtual Tour of Caesar’s Atlantic City, our National Conference Host Hotel.

Nero’s Tuscan Steakhouse – Nero’s at Caesar’s Atlantic City offers oceanside dining in a magnificent old world setting.  Entrées feature Prime grade steaks and a fresh seafood selection you won’t find anywhere else.  Nero’s Steakhouse is an Atlantic City fine dining kitchen committed to promoting organic agriculture and supporting local growers and artisanal food producers whenever possible.

National Conference Registrations – Registration is open for franchisees to reserve their attendance at the 2013 DDIFO National Conference, September 16 – 18 at Caesar’s Atlantic City, right in the heart of the world famous Atlantic City Boardwalk. To register, simply complete the registration form here.  We also encourage you to reserve your room at $159/night in the DDIFO room block at Caesar’s Atlantic City.  The room block is open until August 30,  To reserve, call Caesar’s at 1-800 223-7277 and cite DDIFO Conference.

Hall of Fame Nominees – We’ve received a number of exciting nominations for induction into the DDIFO Hall of Fame and are looking forward to many more worthy nominations!  The nomination form and eligibility criteria can both be found on the DDIFO web site.  Get your nominations in early.  All nominations must be received by the end of business on Friday, August 16!

Exhibitor and Sponsorship Registrations – Sponsorship and exhibitor registrations are officially open now!  And, to make the reservation process that much easier, we can now accept your payment directly on our web site, www.ddifo.org/payments, via credit card.  DDIFO can accept Mastercard, VISA or Discover.  Due to space restrictions in the exhibit hall, we’ll only accept 60 sponsors for the National Conference, so don’t delay!

DBI Earnings Call – Investors were a bit disappointed in DNKN today.  The Company and the executive team communicated their good news well enough (California, again).  DBI missed the expected revenues slightly and met adjusted earnings per share guidance of $.40 (but missed GAAP, earnings were $.38, 2 cents short.)  Dunkin’ US stores reported +4% positive comps, with half from traffic gains and half from average ticket gains, which was good news!

Doctors In The Dark – Small business owners everywhere breathed a sigh of relief when the Obama administration delayed implementation of the employer mandate a few weeks back, but they weren’t alone – the medical community is not any more comfortable with its understanding of the ACA.  CNBC reported earlier this week on a recent survey that 68% of doctors are not at all familiar with patient coverage terms and 71% of them are not familiar with the claims process under Obama Care.  Conversely, only 11% of the doctors surveyed felt that their state exchanges would be prepared for the October 1 deadline.

Business More Informed & Concerned – Although business is paying close attention to the ramifications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they aren’t very optimistic about its impact.  In the US Chamber of Commerce’s Q2 Small Business Outlook Survey, an astounding 71% say the health care law will make it harder to hire new employees only 30% felt they were ready for the law’s mandates and requirements on small business.

Fast Casuals Lead Growth – The Chicago Business Journal reported this week the fast casual restaurant market outperformed both QSRs and full-service restaurants in 2012.  Fast casuals made up 14% of the total $223-billion limited-service restaurant segment.  According to the Chicago Business Journal story, fast casual sales increased 13% in 2012.

Competitor News! – USA Today reported Starbucks has teamed up with a French-based company, Danone, to create a Greek Yogurt to be sold in their stores starting in 2014.  They also made news in Overland Park, Kansas when that city approved the company’s plan to build a store completely out of recycled shipping containers.  They have two similarly constructed stores in Seattle and Denver.  Finally, they reported strong growth Thursday at their earnings call – US comps +9%, with 7% transactions and +2 ticket.