Who We Are

Strategic Committee


Michael J. Webster, Chair of the Strategic Committee, is an attorney, an academic and businessman.  He obtained his Ph.D. in choice theory from the University of Waterloo in 1988 and his external examiner was A.K. Sen, who is the Nobel Prize winner in Economics.  

His JD in Law is from the University of Toronto, 1994.

Mr. Webster was a member of the AAFD's Fair Franchising Standards Committee from 2002 through to 2009.

Mr. Webster is dedicated to providing franchise operators with the benefits of online network, platform economics and bargaining expertise. 
joe caruso.jpg

Joe Caruso is an experienced franchise executive, who is focused on franchisor profitability and until level economics.

Mr. Caruso has been a senior franchisor executive in Hardees, Mrs. Field's, Diedrich Coffee, Checkcare, LoveSac, and Kiddie Academy. Focused on franchise development, sales, real estate and construction

Mr. Caruso puts in place durable and sustainable systems which ensure growth and compliance with Federal and State Laws.

Joe has capital intensive franchising experience with restaurant and non-restaurant concepts with per unit project costs ranging from $400,000 - $3,000,000+ and the proven skills for recruiting financially qualified high net worth franchisees, new unit development and managing franchise systems.

Mr. Caruso’s current endeavors include independent consultant, producer of the highly regarded Franchise Today Show, and President of the Capital Area Franchise Association, based in the Washington D.C/ Baltimore area. 

Connnect with Joe




Jeff LeFleur is the President of the National Bread Network, a national independent Franchisee Association of Canada Bread (Maple Leaf) Franchisees. Canada Bread has a total of 900 Franchisees currently across the country.

National Bread Network has identified six important Franchisee needs, that when amended will improve the success and profitability of the Canada Bread franchised system.

1. Health and Safety of Franchisees
2. 90 Day amendment clause removal from Agreements
3. Increase contract term above 3 years
4. Allow for multi-unit Franchisees
5. Fair Compensation for time/intensity efforts
6. Food Safety analysis to protect consumer safety

The franchise system has not allowed for the franchise network to evolve with changing market demands and the identified issues above are an obstacle that decreases the value of Canada Bread and Maple Leaf Foods for shareholders and Franchisees.

Jeff also operates a Canada Bread franchise in London Ontario


Original Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director - Steve Ellerhorst (Deceased May 2011)

Steve Ellerhorst was a Hardee's employee for 20 years and then a franchisee for about 10 years.

He helped form the IHFA and put together the website that  they currently have at www.ihfa.com

He worked with the IHFA for about 8 years, on the Steering Committe and
subsequently on the Board until he sold his restaurants in about 2000. 

From 2000 -2008, Ellerhorst was the Executive Director of IHFA.

He worked briefly with the NFA which is the Burger King Association and then took a job with the Curves Franchisee Association. 

Steve was the guiding light for the creation of the IAFD.

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