I recently had cause to stay a few days in suburban Chicago and visit with some of our franchise owners in the greater Chicago market. While there, I noticed similarities in two related but different settings, and I was struck by what they illustrated for DDIFO. In each case, it spoke to the success so many
of our members experience.

The first involved a tour of the recently-opened South Chicago CML. As some of the owners were taking me through this magnificent kitchen, owners Sam Panjwani and Amish Patel explained that many of the 39 franchisees who collectively own the facility originally wanted to open their own kitchens, each to service their own networks. During the course of their meetings, a number of franchisees got together and discussed the options. It quickly became apparent that they could realize some significant economies of scale by banding together and developing one large kitchen that could serve all of their baking needs.

The new “super-kitchen” is a 100,000 square foot facility serving 300+ stores and baking an average of 160,000 dozen donuts every week. In their words, “We realized that we are stronger together and if we worked together, we could be successful.”

During that same week – and on that same trip – I had the opportunity to watch the premiere of Bloomberg TV’s new series, “C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett.” This inaugural program of the series focused on Dunkin’ Donuts’ operation, from tip to tail. Among those interviewed in the show was the current BAC co-Chairman Clayton Turnbull. When he was asked about the franchisee/franchisor relationship, Clayton described it as a “foxhole type mentality,” in that Dunkin’ and its franchisees may have different perspectives, different views on issues, different ideas on progress and maybe even different short-term interests; but they all certainly share the ultimate goal – a strong and successful brand.

Allow me to merge those sentiments as a dual backdrop, and relate how well they apply to DDIFO’s story.

We exist as an organization with one broad goal – to help create the best possible environment within which our members can flourish. Likewise, our individual members all have that same goal – to succeed in their business. No matter how big or small one’s network may be, or in which geographic region they operate, the goal is unalterably the same – to succeed!

Therefore, if you’ll allow me to extend that theory to what Clayton says about the relationship with Dunkin’ Brands, you can see that whether we’re together at a DDIFO meeting hearing from industry experts regarding the new Affordable Care Act, or working collectively to explain to Members of Congress why they should pass the 40 hours is a Full Work Week Act into law… It’s a foxhole type mentality – we are stronger if we’re together!

If we’re debating the impact an increase in the minimum wage may have on our bottom line or discussing how unworkable mandatory paid leave sick leave may be for the QSR industry… It’s a foxhole type mentality – we are stronger if we’re together!

We may disagree on the priorities; we may see solutions to challenges from different perspectives; we may even assign different value to our participation with DDIFO. We may think some provisions in the Universal Franchisee Bill of Rights (UFBOR) could be stronger or we may believe that some of them could hurt our brand, but in the end… It’s a foxhole type mentality – we are stronger if we’re together!

We may see new store development issues as more pronounced in one region versus another or realize that profits are greater in one state than they are elsewhere. We may think inequity in the franchise agreement is excessive, or we may think it strikes a perfect balance. Either way, in order to succeed… It’s a foxhole type mentality – we are stronger if we’re together!

This particular trip was Chicago. Had it been Philadelphia, I may have chosen a different quote which speaks to the importance of working together to reach our shared goals, like this great one from Founding Father Benjamin Franklin: “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

Ed Shanahan
DDIFO Executive Director

It’s a foxhole type mentality – we are stronger if we’re together!