The 2023 AC Retreat Recap

AC Retreat Recap 2023

The AC Retreat is a week of learning, growing, and community in an all-inclusive resort environment where franchisors can unwind, focus on their business, and craft action plans to move the needle.

In January 2023, the AC Retreat hit the beaches of Punta Cana with a group of 35 franchisors and event sponsors to focus on franchisee support — and, of course, have a few margaritas!

The theme of the 2023 retreat was creating raving fans (not just fans, but RAVING fans) including employees, suppliers, customers, and franchisees. 

Raving fans are those who come back to your business repeatedly, tell their friends about your brand, forgive mistakes, and don’t prioritize price. Otherwise known as… the people we want around our businesses.

AC Retreat - Play Bigger Group

It was a wondrous week with so many conversations, networking, valuable content, key takeaways, and meaningful friendships. We’re going to share recaps of the sessions, people, best moments, and biggest lessons — read on for all the details!

The Daily Schedule

The AC Retreat sessions are designed to provide major value in short amounts of time to encourage more conversations each afternoon, and deeper engagement with the topics. 

The structure of each day of content starts with a half day of engaging workshops, roundtables, and presentations from 9 am to 1 pm — with several coffee breaks throughout the day. 

AC Retreat Recap - Lazy River

After the sessions, we all head to lunch and then hit the pool bar for even deeper discussions while enjoying the sunshine (the lazy river was also a favorite spot for post-session conversations).

Guests sign up for their group dinner earlier that day, and each group dines at a different restaurant around the resort. The dinners are another great source of conversation, problem-solving, and networking. 

After dinner, some people head back to their rooms to relax, but most of the retreat group all gather together at one of the beach bars for a drink. For several of the evenings there were organized activities like bowling and a disco, and for the last evening, we hosted a funny awards night.

AC Retreat: Day One

Day one of the AC Retreat 2023 was an energetic Fire It Up Summit session hosted by the one and only Angela Cote! The session focused on brainstorming and conversations about how to create raving fans in all areas of your franchise system.

This session was packed with ideas, creativity, and digging deeper into tangible action steps to implement into your system. The raving fans’ mindset was set as the foundation for the rest of the week and the retreat kicked off with a bang!

We continued the value of day one with a franchise development “pool-side chat” where we had franchisors share what they’re doing for lead generation. No better place to discuss fran dev than in a pool with a margarita in hand!

AC Retreat: Day Two

Day two was a full day of franchisee support led by Jen and Brecon on the AC team and it was a major hit! Creating raving fans out of your franchisees is a huge part of creating system success, for validation, multi-unit owners, organic franchise growth, and unlocking hidden profitability in your system.

AC Retreat Recap - Franchisee Support Session

The session included a beachball toss where everyone wrote down questions they had about franchisee support, a franchise feud format where we fleshed out the difference between operational and proactive support, and discussions around how to hire and train your field coach team.

AC Retreat: Day Three

Day three was all about franchise recruitment featuring two sessions, the first was a dynamic panel discussion about the franchise recruitment process hosted by Keith Levenson on AC Inc, Tom Spadea of Spadea Lignana Franchise Attorneys, and JW of Shuckin Shack.

The second session was hosted by Belle White of AC Inc, where the group learned the exact process of how to create your franchisee lead personas. She walked everyone through a case study to see each step.

We ended the week with a mastermind session where the guests broke into groups and mapped out action plans to take steps towards solving their top 3 pain points in their system. The action plans included the goal, each step to achieve that goal, the timeline for taking action, the resources needed, and more.

Creating tangible action plans to take back and implement into their system is a key part of the AC Retreat — the goal is to have fun, create meaningful connections, and make genuine progress on pain points in your business.

The Community

One thing we’ve learned throughout hosting the AC Retreat is that people are truly everything — and genuinely the reason we do this work. 

The franchisors who chose to come work on their business for a week of learning, connection, and action planning are some of the smartest, warmest humans we’ve had the pleasure to spend time with.

The content and action steps are invaluable, however, the friendships we see formed throughout the week may take the cake for the coolest thing we witness. The bromances, the sisterhood, the inside jokes, the group chat conversations… It’s so special to see those meaningful relationships form.

Best Moments, Biggest Lessons

The biggest lesson can be summed up in one word = bug spray! 

At the beach, there were sand flies that gave everyone mosquito-style bites on ankles and legs – they were NOT a very fun way to enjoy the week! Key takeaway? We will all be bringing bug spray for those evenings at the beach next time around!

As for highlights of the event, there were so many good ones it’s hard to know what to share here. But definitely, a few amazing moments included our bowling night at the arcade (kindly sponsored by Purple Penguin Digital) where we saw some sweet strikes and bonded over VR and arcade games!

AC Retreat Recap - Beach Evening

Another highlight was, of course, the last night. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye but the dinner on the rooftop overlooking the ocean was an incredible experience to share with the community. The camaraderie we see on the final evening is such an amazing sight.

Looking to join the AC franchisor community? 

Join our free virtual AC Roundtables where franchisors gather on zoom to collaborate and problem-solve together.

The AC Roundtables are a free resource we offer franchisors who are seeking collaboration and peer-to-peer learning. We’ve been running these virtual roundtables since 2020 and we always love to have new franchisors join us!

Try one of our free AC Roundtables