In May, DDIFO’s new membership coordinator began his efforts to grow membership one franchise owner at a time. With seven years experience managing political campaigns, along with nearly 25 years of work in sales and marketing, Mitch Kates is no stranger to the power of organizing people to work toward a collective goal.

“I understand the importance of bringing people together to work for a common cause and fully grasp the reality that power lies in numbers,” says Mitch. “I also know what it takes to win the tough fights.”

Mitch is focusing on signing up new members in Florida and branching into the Carolinas as well. Taking a grass roots approach, he meets one-on-one with franchisees to learn more about their individual businesses, success stories and challenges. While he finds that the franchise owners share many concerns in common, he also says that every conversation reveals something new. He is keenly aware that most Dunkin’ Donuts shops are family operations, often multi-generational, and that these families are working as hard as ever to protect their equity and the blood, sweat and tears invested in their businesses.

“In my conversations with franchisees, I recognize their need to focus on day-to-day operations and stress that DDIFO provides the only insurance they have to not only defend their interests but to take proactive measures to ensure their businesses are successful,” Mitch says. “I let them know that as DDIFO members, we’ve got their back. So far, franchisees have been overwhelmingly receptive and appreciative to know they’re not alone.”

Since May, Mitch has been traveling throughout Florida, signing up new members. He says he’s getting traction and with that traction, helping DDIFO extend its footprint. While Mitch’s approach takes time, the benefit is undeniable as his comprehensive personal interactions are already leading to growing membership numbers.

“As we all know, there is strength in numbers and, as regions like Florida are on the cusp of significant growth, it’s vital that we have stronger membership numbers there,” says Mitch. “As our ranks grow, our leverage increases and, with it, the likelihood that franchise owners can maximize that leverage to their mutual advantage.”

Mitch first met DDIFO President Jim Coen in 2005 while working on a political campaign in Boston. Recently, they reconnected after Mitch completed his work on Tampa’s mayoral run-off election, and Jim realized that Mitch had a lot to offer DDIFO.

Mitch is a consensus builder and his efforts are helping DDIFO better understand the various issues that impact franchisees in all markets. We have learned how franchisees in outlying markets can feel disconnected from the franchisee community. Having someone with his experience on the ground, listening to franchisees’ concerns brings them closer to the franchisee community,” said Coen.

“For my part, this feels like a great fit and I’m really enjoying it,” says Mitch. “I’m meeting these incredibly dedicated, hard-working people and already feel a sense of responsibility to help them. As DDIFO continues to grow, we’ll be that much more powerful and influential on their behalf.”

You can reach Mitch via email: