LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As news that McDonald’s reported a 30 percent drop in third-quarter earnings, over 100 members of the DD Independent Franchisee Owners (DDIFO) association – representing over 2,700 Dunkin’ Donuts franchised locations from across the U.S. – gathered in Las Vegas to examine how changes in the beverage and breakfast marketplace might impact their business.
The 2014 DDIFO National Conference was held at the Rio Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas, marking the first time DDIFO held its annual three-day meeting outside the Northeast and reflecting the organization’s national reach. Several speakers addressed losses at McDonald’s as a potential indicator of how consumers’ tastes, habits and preferences are changing at a time when Millennials represent a greater demographic and Baby Boomers are losing market clout.
Menu complexity and the creep of low margin, low volume menu items plaguing McDonalds – and threatening Dunkin’ and other quick service restaurant brands – was a major topic of formal presentations and social discussions at the conference. At one point, an influential Midwestern franchise owner read an excerpt of an email which detailed over two dozen brand initiatives rolling out this month, highlighting how franchise owners are concerned about menu complexity.
Addressing the decline at McDonald’s, John A. Gordon, president of Pacific Management Consulting Group and DDIFO’s restaurant analyst, said, “The majority of the McDonald’s fall-off occurred in the lunch and dinner hours. While breakfast was said to be higher, it appeared to be driven by deep product discounts, which do not positively benefit franchisees or the brand over time.”
The DD Independent Franchise Owners National Conference featured presentations on the growing risks of online hacking, new efforts by labor union to organize quick service restaurants and the current state of the Dunkin’ franchisee-owned supply chain known as the National DCP.
“The National Conference is this organization’s opportunity to address major issues of concern to Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners in an environment that is focused entirely on what franchise owners need to operate their restaurants and maximize profits,” said DDIFO Executive Director Ed Shanahan.
Sixty Dunkin’ Donuts approved suppliers and service providers joined franchise owners and elected franchisee leaders from the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Western regions.