William Rosenberg, the founder of Dunkin Donuts, saw the need to have an organization that would represent the franchising industry. Therefore, in 1960, he established the International Franchise Association (IFA).
The IFA is the largest and oldest global franchising organization. It is a non-profit association that represents greater than 1,300 franchise systems as well as over 10,000 franchisees.
One of the main purposes of the IFA is to keep order in the franchising industry by establishing and monitoring best practices between members. The IFA promotes a set of core values that enforce uniformity and fairness within the franchising industry.
If issues arise within franchising relationships, the IFA's Code of Ethics provides the basis on which to devise a fair resolution. IFA members agree to abide by these codes as they feel that following the codes provides a self-regulation that fosters an environment of healthy and solid franchising interaction.
The IFA focuses on the benefits to the U.S. franchising industry, as well as promoting expansion globally through its Government Relations Department. In this effort, one of the main events sponsored by the IFA is the annual Franchise Appreciation Day. During this activity on Capitol Hill, franchisees, franchisors, and franchise suppliers meet with legislators and policymakers regarding the future of franchising.
At its annual convention, the IFA aims to increase its membership. This event offers educational, networking, and procurement opportunities for the franchising industry.
In addition, there are various educational programs offered by the IFA, including the Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) program as well as programs for veterans and minorities to promote ownership by these groups. The association also offers a wealth of information on its website including the fundamentals of franchising.
In demonstration of the significance of franchising on the U.S. economy, the IFA has prepared economic impact studies. For example, in 2005 franchised businesses provided over 11 million jobs; much more than many other economic sectors including durable goods manufacturing, financial activities, and the construction industry.
Additionally, between 2001 and 2005, franchising impact grew faster than many other sectors of the economy (quite notable at a 41 percent increase from $625 billion to $881 billion.) Franchised business increased by 18.5 percent versus 15.9 percent for establishments overall.
It is obvious that franchising is a very important part of our economy; therefore the consistency provided by the IFA is essential to keep the industry running smoothly. The code continues to be updated on an ongoing basis as necessary.