by John Francis

Key Highlights from the 2024 Multi-Unit Franchise Conference in Las Vegas

Mar 27, 2024 4:25:58 PM

I just returned from the 2024 Multi-Unit Franchise Conference (MUFC) in Las Vegas and had an incredible time! 

This was a fun and exceptionally valuable event this year - it was better than ever before. For 2024, they had a record 2,300 attendees, representing 850 franchisee owner groups, operating over 15,000 units and generating $14 billion in revenues, with many more thousands of employees. It represented a significant gathering of franchising economic impact there! The trends we’re seeing with multi-unit and multi-brand franchisees (such as trends of consolidation) continue, and we are witnessing an increase in scale, with average holding groups of 25 to 50 units becoming increasingly common. Sophisticated growth is happening at all levels, and it’s no accident!

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I’ve been to this conference several times before, always finding it to be useful and interesting, with excellent networking, great sessions, and outstanding speakers. It offers unique content that you don’t hear anywhere else about franchisees growing and scaling and everything related. Great information. Great motivation. Great connections. There was an immense amount of value all around. This year's event was exceptionally well-executed, and I’m glad I attended. Thanks to everyone involved with production and planning, and all the speakers, panelists, exhibitors, and sponsors! 


The exhibit hall presented an interesting mix of over 350 exhibitors and sponsors. There were suppliers, of course, offering services and products, and also several franchise brands, offering their franchise units like a sales expo. This combination of franchisors and suppliers provided a unique opportunity to see who’s there and learn about all the new concepts and opportunities. I noted particularly that there were six different pickleball franchise brands, which are definitely a trending topic.


A particular highlight for me was the working session done by Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great” and many more books in the series. He is a well-known researcher on business and has done fabulous work for many years. Having read most of his books, I found his comprehensive program enlightening as he shared the broader context - a ton of material - and he makes it relevant in a format to help companies improve. Then he took us through an animated summary tying it all together. It was extremely insightful; I took tons of notes and will use these understandings in my work. I found this link to the “Map” concept that he shared. He’s a great thinker and speaker and it was great to have him at this event again. There was an abundance of material and lessons from this session, which I will share more of in future blogs.




The MUFC Franchisee Development panel (led by Gary Robbins) was outstanding, thanks to him and the four panelists. I captured notes on their insights on evaluating growth opportunities and strategies. They talked about how to evaluate each brand and risks, and why it fits or not, sharing market and risk management ideas. Their discussions also included preparations to be made in advance, staffing plans for a successful launch, and identifying opportunities as purposeful vs opportunistic vs other motivations. They also delved into ideas around building for the future and community development strategies, points about operational efficiency, and shared services for scale. The focus was also on leadership, managing talent, and resource allocation, emphasizing that growth is not just attractive but also crucial for retaining top talent. It was a solid panel discussion. They then moved on to discuss their preferences for franchise categories - a topic too extensive for one blog, so more on that later...




Another great speaker was Chef Jeff, who talked a lot about turnaround situations and how he made the transition from convict to celebrity chef by making better choices and taking personal responsibility. He shared powerful and motivational ideas, emphasizing how value systems are most important and inspiring, and how these can drive change in a person and in an organization. He reminded us to build relationships with local churches and local schools, and to talk to young people about businesses and franchisee owners as options for growth and development. His reminder that there are many good people out there, including those in juvenile probation who are looking for opportunities, was particularly poignant. He encouraged considering the resources to become a coach and support the team, helping these folks become better employees and really build culture and a future together. He was very impactful and very inspiring.




There were other speakers and panels and exhibitors and plenty of people to connect with and share - it was a blast! That's enough for now - I’m eager to review my materials further and follow up on the connections and conversations I had this year. See you there next year!


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John Francis

Written by John Francis

About the Franchise Expert


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John Francis is an enthusiastic, engaging business advisor, and an entertaining public speaker for franchise brands because he speaks from experience and he speaks from the heart. Franchising is in his blood, and his parents were true pioneers in the industry, turning their family haircutting business into a 1,000-salon franchise empire. He has been a franchisee and a franchisor, and has a deep understanding of the issues both face. Engage John as an advisor or to speak at your event, and you and your franchisees will learn how to look at your business in new, positive, and profitable ways.

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