WEDNESDAY / MARCH 30, 2016 / 11:00 AM

To Catch a Millennial: How to Attract Young Entrepreneurs to Your Franchise

Millennials are known for being tech-savvy, creative, resourceful, and the economy has forced them to reject traditional jobs to work independently. A recent Angus Reid survey found that 78 percent of millennials are motivated by the concept of “charting their own course,” and 76 percent of millennial business owners said they’re making a positive go of the companies they’ve started. The only question left to answer is, “How do I get a millennial to be open one of my franchises?” Our experts will give you the inside scoop.


Connie Alires | Director of Franchise Development | Which Wich

Connie is the director of franchise development for Which Wich Superior Sandwiches. Connie has been on the development side of franchising in the QSR industry since 2004. She has worked with both large and small franchisors where she has been instrumental in driving value for companies through a balance of growth and productivity. Her focus on all aspects of the franchise recruitment process has led to sustainable revenue, profit and market performance in traditional and non-traditional development. She has an unmatched passion for franchising and in 2009 she completed her certification with the International Franchise Association and obtained her Certified Franchise Executive credentials (CFE).

Chris Newcomb | CEO | Newk’s Eatery

Chris has a special talent for developing innovative restaurant concepts that meet consumer’s current and future needs. As a founder of McAlister’s Deli, he pioneered the fast casual restaurant concept, defining the fastest-growing segment in the industry. After establishing McAlister’s Deli, Chris and his team sold the successful chain to create the Newk’s Eatery concept. For consumers, Newk’s Eatery provides a variety of made-to-order menu choices, available for in-café dining or pick-up. For franchise owners, it’s a streamlined, low labor operation designed for efficiency, site adaptability and multiple revenue opportunities. Under the direction and leadership of Chris, Newk’s has opened over 80 locations.

Laura Sporrer | Franchise Director | HuHot Mongolian Grill

Laura Sporrer currently serves as the Director of Franchise Development at HuHot Mongolian Grills. Laura’s career in franchise development started 10 years ago at Quiznos corporate, where she paved the path for their first ever online disclosure of the FDD. Her work includes franchise marketing, campus and airport development, FDD management, as well as market development and planning. In her current role she is responsible for all aspects of franchise recruitment (with a limited budget). Her efforts resulted in HuHot’s largest number of leads in 2015 and several new signings.


Tom Ryan | Co-Founder & Chief Concept Officer | Smashburger

Tom Ryan is Co-Founder & Chief Concept Officer of Smashburger, one of the nation’s fastest growing fast-casual brands in history. He has vast restaurant experience and is well known in the industry for his menu development and innovations at large brands across the globe. Tom has invented iconic products such as Pizza Hut’s Lover’s Line, McDonald’s Dollar Menu and McGriddles and Quiznos’ Steakhouse Beef Dip and Prime Rib Sub. In 2006, Tom and his partner Rick Schaden set out to build new, disruptive concepts focused on the next generation of consumers. In 2007, Smashburger was born and has become an industry icon for quality, growth, and business acumen.