Restaurants balance local interests, global expansion

by Staff
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CHICAGO — Restaurant chains are expanding internationally but are at the same time trying to maintain brand identity and tailor menu items and service formats for local preferences.

“These brands can take advantage of the worldwide recognition they’ve established, but in order to gain loyal customers in new markets, they need to innovate on the menu and introduce items specifically adopted for local consumers preferences,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice-president. “Chains are also leveraging their international experience and applying lessons learned to improve domestic operations and innovation.”

Examples of major international expansion efforts in Brazil, Russia, India and China include:

• McDonald’s recent introduction of the Chicken Bacon Onion sandwich in Brazil. The sandwich originally was developed for the European market.
• Burger King and its franchisee in Brazil are planning a major expansion in the country.
• Yum! Brands, Inc. has offered to purchase a majority stake in Little Sheep, a Chinese hot-pot chain. Currently Yum! Owns about 27% of the chain.
• Café Coffee Day, India’s largest coffee chain, is introducing a new concept called Coffee Day Lounge for young professionals and is expected to grow from 19 units to 100 by the spring of 2013.
• Cherkizovo, a Russian poultry processor, has broken ground on a new production complex that will greatly increase capacity, which may have significant impact on food service.

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