In this exclusive Q&A, we learn about what’s new at this year’s International Franchise Expo, from Tom Portesy, president and CEO of MFV.

Franchise Chatter (FC): What will this year’s International Franchise Expo consist of?

Tom Portesy (TP): This year’s International Franchise Expo (IFE) will be in New York City May 30-June 1. It’s the event of the year, where thousands of people flock from all 49 states and over 88 countries to discover mature and emerging franchise concepts, rub elbows with experts, and learn the ropes of the industry.

The exhibiting brands will touch nearly every industry ranging from pet care to senior living, to restaurant concepts, after-school programs, and more. In fact, the top 10 trending business categories where the most growth is expected in 2019 are Asian Food, Beauty/Grooming Services, Childcare, Electronics, Entertainment/Recreation, Fitness, Frozen Desserts, Mexican Food, Pets, and Staffing/Recruiting.

Please view this link for a comprehensive exhibitor list.

FC: What is there to offer attendees who are looking for their perfect franchise?

TP: We invite aspiring entrepreneurs from all around the globe to learn about franchising and meet with top executives from more than 400 franchise brands. The goal is for people to walk out of the Expo knowing they can change their lives by going into business for themselves, but not by themselves.

Whether the attendee is already a franchisee or business owner looking for their next investment or a potential brand-new business owner, IFE allows them to meet face-to-face with the “best of the best” franchise brands. Investment opportunities can range from as little as $10,000 to over $1 million, providing opportunities at nearly every budget.

FC: If you are a business owner flying in from another country, what does IFE have to offer?

TP: For international visitors, the IFE is the only place to meet successful leading brands from the United States and other countries around the world. International franchise brands from restaurants and fitness clubs to auto repairs and travel agencies will be available to answer your questions and provide networking opportunities at every turn.

Many exhibitors are also seeking master franchise license agreements to strategically grow their brand internationally. The IFE is truly a worldwide event that is designed to energize business minds with education opportunities and expert guidance.

FC: What are some of the other standout highlights of this year’s IFE?

TP: (1) Comprehensive educational seminars and workshops – including a variety of topics ranging from “The A to Z’s of Buying a Franchise” to “Marketing Strategies for Your Business.” Attendees can take advantage of the more than 60 free educational forums and can find 10 in-depth sessions that dive deeper into the nuances of franchising.

(2) Full access to SCORE Theater – SCORE NYC is an organization of experienced mentors ready to provide free expert advice, one-on-one coaching, start-up support, and more, right on the showroom floor, as attendees take their first step into franchising.

(3) In addition to the vast number of educational programs, many of the exhibitors offer special discounts or waived franchise fees for IFE attendees. Military veterans at IFE can look forward to discounts from members of VetFran.

FC: What kinds of industries will be represented?

TP: A better question might be what kind of industries won’t be represented. At IFE, you’ll find every type of small business imaginable. Food will be in full force with full-service bars and restaurants, coffee houses, quick serves, fast casuals, food trucks, and more. Potential franchisees will also be able to meet with executives from spas, salons, senior services, home care, tax services, employment services, business services, gyms, boutique fitness studios, and many others.

Branching out from the more traditional franchise industries, up-and-coming trends will also be at the Javits Center, including franchises that specialize in STEM and coding, flexible workspaces, and energy reduction technology.

FC: What kind of investors are these franchisors looking for?

TP: Every brand has different investment requirements. However, there are predetermined levels of investment. This allows an attendee to take a look at their finances, see what they can afford, and specifically seek out the businesses in their budget. Investment levels begin at under $10,000 and go all the way to $1,000,000 and above.

FC: If a reader is interested, how can they register?

TP: The IFE costs $10 to register in advance online at, and $20 at the door. However, those who register online using promo code Chatter will receive a complimentary pass. For hotel accommodations and travel information, visit