An Action-Packed Look At RFDC

Restaurant Finance & Development Conference
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Everyone loves restaurants.

Given how well our Direct Capital election live blog was received, I decided to dust off the format for the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference show. Starting today and continuing through the end of the show on Wednesday, we’ll be bringing you all the news that’s fit to print regarding the conference, which brings together restaurants, finance companies and industry experts.

Join us as we take you through it. You’ll be glad you did. All times Eastern!


1:50 p.m.: While the show has basically wrapped up, it’s worth remembering these wise words from our own Eric Renaud: It’s important for the lender to understand the unit’s operation. Don’t be afraid to share information with your lender!

11:53 a.m.: Last night we hosted a franchise appreciation event. Here’s some of our team with bright eyes and a friend from Dunkin’ Donuts.

11:48 a.m.: We’re hearing more and more about how important a lender relationship really is for restaurants. The latest to say so is Sally Smith, CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings, who tells attendees at RFDC that it’s one of the most important relationship you can build.

9:00 a.m.: Last night Dairy Queen franchisee Bill Hall spoke in the hospitality suite at Direct Capital’s franchise appreciation event. The Texas-based franchisee talked at length about the importance of a quality franchise/lender relationship, something near and dear to our hearts here at Direct Capital.


4:00 p.m.: One major challenge for single restaurant owners? Lenders love multi-unit operators. The panel suggests that lenders need to re-think the way they assess risk to help out those single location owners.

2:56 p.m.: Some notes from a panel on what’s in store for financing restaurants in 2013, which we’re involved in! Mature brands need to stay relevant through reinvention, new brands need to focus on development. There probably will not be a lot of “new” stores, per se, but there’s expected to be plenty of reimaging and upgrades.

“It’s a good time to borrow if you can pay your bills,” one expert noted, adding that the best borrowers are thinking about the next 5-10 years. Think ahead.

2:09 p.m.: Despite all the warnings for next year, this isn’t a doom and gloom kind of conference. There’s growth this year, growth next year and a robust restaurant industry in America. That’s worth celebrating.

1:46 p.m.: From Sherri’s observation of the latest session: Data and numbers are huge! “You cannot manage what you do not measure.”

1:18 p.m.: It’s three hours earlier out there in Vegas, so I just got our first dispatch of the day. This comes from a session with William Dunkleberg, economist with Jeffries & Co.

He is also sounding the alarm about government regulations and higher taxes impacting restaurants and small businesses going forward. With manufacturing jobs continuing to shrink and inflation coming, Dunkleberg doesn’t think it’s going to be easy in 2013.

10:49 a.m.: A lot of big names at RFDC, as Direct Capital’s Sherri Starcher’s shows us.

10:21 a.m.: A report from last night: Those in the industry are nervous about the impact of the new health care law, like many small businesses across America. About 2% growth is expected next a year, an appreciable but modest gain. And value and brand will matter more in 2013 than ever before.

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