Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The long shadow cast by Boston

With the conference convening a week after the Boston terrorist attacks, attendees and speakers touched on the crisis with obvious emotion during casual talk and formal presentations.

Marketing consultant Linda Duke, for instance, used the recent events as a touchstone in her presentation on crisis management. She explained that she’d studied the situation to bring the audience “some tips from the front line.”

Restaurateurs worry about crises like food-borne illnesses, robberies or shootings, but now “unfortunately we have to add terrorism to the list,” she said.

For instance, in media footage of the scene on Boylston Street where the bombs detonated, a Firehouse Subs sign could be spied on the ground. A franchised store near the finish line evidently suffered damage, though the unit was spared the glare of media attention in the non-stop coverage that followed the blasts.

One of the questions posed to President George W. Bush also referred to the bombings.

In a roundtable discussion convened by the International Franchise Association to address immigration reform, chain and association executives acknowledged that the bombings could figure into negotiations on a bill pending in Congress. The association favors the proposal, but would like to raise the caps on how many job candidates would be allowed into the nation per year.

“It would be a real shame if a single event like that would ruin the wishes and dreams of so many people,” commented Don Fox, the CEO of Firehouse Subs.

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