'Bigger and Better Than Ever Before': What to Expect at the 2023 IFA Convention

Here's what you should look out for during the five-day franchise extravaganza.

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By Clarissa Buch Zilberman

The 63rd annual IFA Convention will take in Las Vegas later this month, uniting some of the biggest players in the franchising world from more than 40 countries.

Running Saturday, February 26 through Wednesday, March 1 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, International Franchise Association (IFA) president Matthew Haller says this year's event will be "bigger and better than ever before."

"The theme this year is 'All In. All Here,' because that's what convention is all about," he says, "bringing everyone in franchising together from around the world to share ideas, network, learn from one another and have some fun."

Haller gave Entrepreneur a behind-the-scenes look at what attendees can expect this year, from special speakers to timely discussions on the challenges facing franchising today.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now and take this quiz to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

New and notable speaker events

The 2023 IFA Convention includes a lineup of special guest speakers. Among them is Drew Brees, a former NFL star who will discuss his post-football career as a franchisee with companies like Stretch Zone and Smalls Sliders.

John Peyton of Dine Brands — which franchises two of the most iconic restaurants in the world, Applebee's and IHOP — will give his perspective on the ideal customer experience and how Dine plans to integrate Fuzzy's Taco Shop into its platform.

Amy and Ben Wright, founders of Bitty and Beau's Coffee, will talk about how they have built their brand on inclusion by recruiting and employing individuals with developmental disabilities, a historically underemployed group.

Ginny Clarke will share her expertise in personnel and workplace culture from her time at Google, and mentalist Oz Pearlman will "literally read our minds," Haller says.

Otherwise, Franchise City will be back with hundreds of suppliers to make new vendor connections, see familiar faces and serve as a convenient place to gather.

Related: Busting Franchising Myths and Choosing the Right Opportunity

Planning your experience

If you're struggling to organize your convention agenda, Haller recommends creating a plan.

"Who do you want to see, and what educational sessions do you want to listen to among 10 track agendas this year, including a new real estate track?" he says. "Following a track is one of the best ways to narrow down your areas of interest and find the topics most relevant to you. You don't have to follow one track the whole time, and [you] can pick and choose the areas where you want to focus your time."

If you have a few days before the convention, Haller recommends franchisees take advantage of special sessions like the Annual Leadership Conference or the Emerging Franchisor Bootcamp, or tackle some Certified Franchise Executive credits.

"One of IFA's greatest strengths is providing the tools for an emerging brand to excel, and in the Emerging Franchisor Bootcamp, you'll hear from past IFA Chair David Barr, who will help the group troubleshoot real-world scenarios and drive solutions to help your brand grow," Haller says.

Related: Why Growing a Franchise During 'Interesting Times' Calls for Recommitting to Your Brand

Go 'All In'

Haller also encourages attendees to find every professional development opportunity that meets their business needs — from marketing and franchise relations to finance and legal.

"There have been challenges facing the franchise business model, whether that's economic uncertainty or policy threats in Washington or states around the country," Haller says. "IFA's mission is to protect, enhance and promote franchising, and the convention will tackle all of the issues franchising faces today while hearing from the business leaders working to generate opportunity in communities around the world."

You can register for the 2023 IFA Convention here. A full agenda of the five-day event can be found on the IFA 2023 Convention landing page.

Related: We've analyzed mountains of data for thousands of franchises and found the best opportunities for you in 2023 in our 44th Annual Franchise 500 Ranking.

Clarissa Buch Zilberman

Entrepreneur Staff

Freelance Writer, Editor & Content Marketing Consultant

Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor based in Miami. Specializing in lifestyle, business, and travel, her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Realtor.com, Travel + Leisure, and Bon Appétit, among other print and digital titles. Through her content marketing consultancy, By Clarissa, she leverages her extensive editorial background and unique industry insights to support enterprise organizations and global creative agencies with their B2B, B2C, and B2E content initiatives. 

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