Titus Center Director Highlights Opportunities in Franchising


Dr. John P. Hayes speaks at the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce breakfast last month.Franchising can offer immigrants a chance at a better life, give people an opportunity to build generational wealth and generate considerable income, said Titus Center Director Dr. John P. Hayes.

Those were the possibilities Hayes laid out for business leaders in his talk “Economic Power, Social Benefits and Opportunities Afforded by Franchising in Palm Beach County and Beyond” at the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce breakfast last month. Watch the talk here.

Franchising isn’t just McDonald’s or other fast food – and it never was – Hayes said. Non-food franchises are predominant in Palm Beach County, with a concentration of 61 percent compared to 39 percent of food franchises, Hayes said. Franchising is a business model used by companies in 75 industries.

“Franchising means opportunities – opportunities for all people,” he said.

Hayes drew from the example of Rolando and Maria Alfonso, who bought the Carvel ice cream franchise on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach after emigrating to America from Cuba in the 1960s. Hayes also tapped the story of Eddie Rodriguez, the son of Cuban immigrants, who bought more than 260 Wendy’s franchises in South Florida and then sold all but 40 of them. Rodriguez, a Titus Center Advisory Board member, kept his Palm Beach County locations to pass on to his children, Hayes said.

As in those cases, local franchises are usually not owned by large corporations but by members of the community, Hayes said. In 2021, franchises contributed about $2.8 billion to the local economy, a $600,000 increase over the previous year, and provided about 29,100 jobs, which is an increase of 2,000 jobs over the prior year, Hayes said. The highest franchise business growth this year will occur in Florida and Texas, he forecasted.

Palm Beach Atlantic’s Titus Center is preparing students to fill those jobs. The Titus family endowed the center with a $1.5 million gift five years ago. The Titus Center is the only university center to offer a concentration in franchising, which students earn with their bachelor’s degree from the Rinker School of Business. Students also complete a 90-hour franchise internship. 

The Titus Center has a 60-plus member advisory board that provides internships, mentoring and jobs to PBA graduates. Board members and friends of the Titus Center have established five scholarships.

Hayes’ first franchise course five years ago attracted 17 students. Today, there are nearly 60 students in the program, and two dozen more have graduated. Several graduates are franchise owners, and many others work for franchisors and franchisees. 

An online certificate program for non-degree-seeking students is in development.

To learn more and support the Titus Center, please visit tituscenter.com.  

Photo: Dr. John P. Hayes speaks at the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce breakfast last month.