Recipients to be Honored at Prestigious Industry Ceremony


(Palm Desert, CA,) June 15, 2021 – American Association of Franchisees and Dealers (AAFD), a national trade association advocating for franchisees and independent dealers, today announced the recipients of the AAFD Total Quality Franchising (TQF) Lifetime Achievement Award and Legacy Award. Attorney Robert Zarco will be recognized with the TQF Lifetime Achievement Award. Dale E. Cantone, Maryland Assistant Attorney General, will be presented with the Robert Purvin TQF Legacy Award. The honors will be presented at the AAFD’s TQF Awards ceremony on June 24th during the AAFD’s annual Franchisee Leadership Summit.

The AAFD TQF Award for Lifetime Achievement has long been the AAFD’s pinnacle recognition of an individual’s body of work in the furtherance of the AAFD’s vision of Total Quality Franchising. Robert Zarco, founding partner of Zarco, Einhorn, Salkowski, & Brito, P.A., is recognized for being at the forefront in protecting the legal rights and interests of franchisees for more than 35 years. Among his most notable cases, Burger King vs. Scheck in 1995, marked a significant impact in the industry in which Zarco employed the concepts of encroachment and good faith and fair dealing against Burger King. In 2017, in the case of El Pollo Loco vs. Bryman, Zarco argued on behalf of the franchisee that El Pollo Loco breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, winning a multi-million dollar damage award.

“As a decades-long advocate for franchisees, it is the honor for the AAFD to present Attorney Robert Zarco with the TQF Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Robert Purvin, AAFD chief executive officer and chairman. “Mr. Zarco is a significant leader who has been a consistent presence in the industry by always representing the best interests of franchisees in and out of court. You cannot talk about franchising influencers over the past 30+ years without mentioning Robert Zarco’s name.”

In 2018, the AAFD leadership created the Robert Purvin Legacy Award in the name of the AAFD founder to recognize individuals whose contributions to fair franchising have left a legacy of service and support deserving of the recognition and appreciation of the entire franchising community.

For close to thirty years, Dale Cantone has been the leading voice among U.S. regulators. As the Assistant Attorney General for the state of Maryland, and the Deputy Securities Commissioner for the Maryland Securities Division, Dale is the Chief of the Franchise and Business Opportunity Unit within the Maryland Securities Division. In that role, Dale has set the standard by which state regulators are measured. For the last 25+ years, Mr. Cantone has also served as the Chair of the Franchise and Business Opportunity Committee/Project Group of the North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc. (“NASAA”), an organization of state regulators who are responsible for state regulation conceived and mandated regarding franchise sales and relationships.

“The AAFD is honored to bestow the TQF Legacy Award to Dale Cantone. Dale is recognized as a leader among state regulators to bring transparency and disclosure to franchise state policy, that of which has impacted federal policy,” said Purvin. “It can be fairly said that every state law and regulation enacted to protect franchisee investors has benefited from Mr. Cantone’s influence and sincerity. Most recently, Cantone was the first state regulator to halt Burgerim from selling additional franchises in Maryland when franchisees began to publicly speak out against the franchisor for its lack of support, abandonment, and fraudulent sales practices.”

The AAFD Franchisee Leadership Summit will be held virtually on June 23rd-26th and will offer franchisees with industry-related seminars, keynote speaking listening sessions, network opportunities, and a fun and exciting franchising awards gala.

About American Association of Franchisees and Dealers

AAFD is the oldest, largest, and most respected direct member franchisee trade association in the United States. Since 1992, the nonprofit organization has formed and supported exclusive trademark specific chapters for franchisees of hundreds of franchise systems and seeks to foster its vision of Total Quality Franchising—a collaborative franchise culture that respects the legitimate business interests of franchisors and franchisees.  For more information, visit