A Strong Show Of Unity

BY JAY SINGH, CHAIRMAN, NCASEF

We are very pleased to announce that this year’s NCASEF Convention and Trade Show in Orlando was our most successful event to date! Franchisee unity was clearly on display, with 1,310 franchisees and their families attending our four-day convention—the most ever. We also had 569 vendors occupying 174 booths during the two day trade show, offering great deals and hot-selling products for our franchisees to order.

This year we went the extra mile to assure greater attendance by lowering the registration fee and subsidizing the hotel room to make the convention even more affordable for  franchisees and their families. We also included free tickets to Universal Studios, which our attendees immensely enjoyed, and held a raffle giveaway during the trade show with the grand prize being a 2018 BMW 320i. The car giveaway incentivized all franchisees at the show to order from our vendors to enter the raffle.

With the 2019 Franchise Agreement weighing heavily on everyone’s minds, along with many other concerns, one of the biggest draws at this year’s event were the seminars. During the “State of the Coalition” seminar, NCASEF officers addressed many of the issues affecting 7-Eleven storeowners and gave an update on our troubled relationship with SEI. General Counsel Eric Karp’s seminar focused on the 2019 Agreement. He focused on the 45 most detrimental parts of the new contract, and answered many questions from the audience. Given the raid of many 7-Eleven stores by ICE agents earlier this year, we also had a seminar conducted by officials from the Department of Homeland Security to talk about I-9 compliance and how to use E-Verify. As they explained it, if you run E-Verify on all employees then you don’t have to worry about anything. You have then done everything possible to ensure your employees are legal. If you join this program, they can also certify that your stores are participating.

We were honored to have as our guests two 7-Eleven franchisees from Japan. They mingled with the crowd and it was nice to have them. The work and franchise culture in Japan is much different than in the U.S., and it was a good experience to meet and chat with them. They are attempting to organize a 7-Eleven franchisee trade association in Japan and we invited them here to visit and see how an independent trade association operates.

Our Charity Auction night was a huge success. We raised $100,000 for Swim Across America in just 30 minutes. I would like to personally thank every FOA and every franchisee that pledged and helped to make the auction a resounding success.

The “Franchisees ARE the Brand” trade show showcased many new products and was a big hit with franchisees and our exhibiting vendors. Franchisees placed many orders during the trade show, which made our vendors very happy.

We ended the convention on a high note, with former SEI CEO Jim Keyes as our keynote speaker. Instead of looking outside for a consultant to speak at the Grand Banquet, we decided to bring in one of our own, and our attendees appreciated it. Jim Keyes turned the company around from the brink of bankruptcy in 1991 and had 40 consecutive quarters of same store sales growth. His main point was that franchisees are the brand, and everything can be solved through discussions. Franchisees applauded and gave him a standing ovation.

I was very proud of the show of franchisee unity at our convention, and I feel we are now stronger for it.

So what’s next for franchisees? With the 2019 Agreement, financial aspects are not what they should be. We will be making less money than ever before, and our freedom to operate our stores independently will be constricted. Please visit the “Dispatch” section of our website, www.ncasef.com, for all the NCASEF’s analysis and details on the 2019 Agreement.

As a result of our current situation, we sent a letter to CEO Joe DePinto requesting revisions to the 2019 Agreement and the accompanying Amendments, as well as a renewal of the dialog with the National Coalition and franchisees. We also requested a new negotiating session to come to terms on a new more equitable franchise agreement. We did this because we are interested in the health and well-being of the brand, and the health and well-being of the franchisee community.

Our best advice to anyone reading this is to join your local FOA if you are not already a member. If you are a member, please add to your expertise and to our joint effort by attending meetings, expressing your opinions, and furthering the dialogue to improve the system. We are working hard for you. It’s more important than ever in these difficult times to join your local FOA, not only to get help from your colleagues, network, and share ideas, but to get answers to your questions, and receive the latest information about our 7-Eleven system.