Ed Shanahan, DDIFO Executive Director

Ed Shanahan, DDIFO Executive Director

We’re reading a lot about SEIU of late and the “Fight for $15” effort the union is orchestrating across the country. If you ask me, it’s nothing more than a member recruitment undertaking, but it is having significant impact across the economic landscape. The ranks of organized labor in general, and SEIU in particular, have been on abysmal trajectories over the past few decades. It reminds me of the story of the three little pigs, who each build a house to protect themselves from the big, bad wolf. SEIU is concerned that their house of straw will not survive the wolf of honest labor and workforce rules, so they’re replacing it with a house built with more straw, and held together with empty promises and lofty rhetoric. Ultimately, their house will collapse, the only question is how extensive the damage to their surrounding economic neighborhood will be.

But, the story of the Three Little Pigs has another application as well, and that is to the ongoing effort to fortify the house of DDIFO. DDIFO was built initially as a shelter for the common concerns of Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners in light of the decision to sell the company to foreign investment concerns (Allied Domecq). The organization was reconstructed again over a number of years as the threat to the interests of DD franchisees changed with the times. A half dozen or so years ago, our house was rebuilt for battle and its construct was an effective refuge for its members in the face of destructive winds blowing from an abusive and callous corporate leadership. Fortunately, the construction was strong enough to withstand the onslaught and provide shelter for Dunkin’ franchisees.

Today, we are faced with a new rebuilding effort – one where we have the ability to build a better foundation – a foundation of benefits and services that will help our members grow and prosper as Dunkin’ Donuts owners well into the future. And, building that foundation is now what DDIFO is all about.

This month, we are introducing of a number of new member benefits and services. First and foremost, the creation of a captive insurance program designed just for Dunkin’ franchise owners. Ably constructed by York Alternative Solutions, a DDIFO Business Member, it will provide a vehicle for Dunkin’ franchisees to adequately insure themselves and enjoy significant savings in the process. The captive program will return unused premiums to the participants of the program, not to the bottom line of unaffiliated insurance interests. As we move through the launch of this exciting program, DD franchise owners will want to learn more on how they can avail themselves of the savings.

Another exciting program offered through Direct Capital Finance, also a long-time business member of DDIFO, will allow members to finance any purchase that includes an Island Oasis blender at low fixed rates with no payments for 90 days. This benefit – which is offered exclusively to DDIFO members – further demonstrates the value of a membership in this independent franchisee organization.

As we continue to reimagine a new DDIFO, we recognize the importance of providing concrete benefits that franchisees need and want. To that end, another longtime DDIFO business member, Plotwatt Inc., has stepped forward with a number of programs for franchisees who are current DDIFO members. Plotwatt is offering a flat $120/month cost for franchise owners who sign up for an energy reduction program for at least five stores. What’s more, they’ll eliminate all up-front costs associated with the energy reduction program.

We are actively pursuing other members-only benefits with other companies, among them a deal with Staples, the office supply giant. We have had several meetings with Staples executives that we expect will yield another cost-saving benefit for DDIFO members.

Beyond improving your purchasing power, we are working on a strategy to combat the new “ambush” election rules being foisted on the business community by the NLRB. We have engaged an employment law firm from the southern part of the footprint to develop a guide, specifically for Dunkin’ franchise owners, with steps an owner must take in the event they are served with an “ambush” election petition.

These are just some examples of the building blocks this organization is developing to strengthen our members’ business entities. New rules, regulations, taxes and fees aimed at small business owners represent a constant threat to franchisee profitability. In light of that, we want your “houses” as strong as possible. Think of our building blocks as bricks that can withstand the wind emanating from the big bad wolf.

It seems like uncertainty is always in the air, but DDIFO members can rest assured this organization is doing what it can to provide cover. They can huff and puff all they want, but with this solid construction, our shelter is safe.

Now, about that SEIU house made of straw . . .