It’s hard out there for a franchise at times, especially in the United States where it seems like there’s already a major brand to compete with on every block. Franchises of all types are looking outside of the country’s borders for further growth, targeting developing markets like India and Latin America. According to reports, Kuwait is another region where young growing franchises from the United States may find a welcoming new home.
Why Kuwait? According to Bloomberg Businessweek, who puts forward the notion in an article that at first focuses on the Brooklyn-based chain Tea Lounge, it all comes down to two main factors: an abundance of oil money and a fascination with American brand culture. When Tea Lounge struggled to grow in its native borough, owner Jonathan Spiel began looking elsewhere and found interest in Kuwaiti franchisee Mohammed Al-Arbash:
For franchisee [Al-Arbash], whose family’s holdings range from its original jewelry business to recycling machines, that makes Tea Lounge a terrific bet.
“I don’t care if it’s famous,” said Al-Arbash. “I was looking for new ideas in the United States.”
That sentiment – it doesn’t matter if it’s a major brand, as long as it’s American – is a sentiment that could propel developing franchises toward success. What’s more, many are taking notice. Burger joints in particular are growing in Kuwait, with Elevation Burger and Shake Shack leading the pack along with the significantly more established Smashburger. Chains like Magnolia Bakery and Sprinkles Cupcakes are finding real interest in the Middle East as well.
None of this is to say that stoking the fire of a franchise operation oversea isn’t tough and foolproof – there’s always risk involved, and in the article Smashburger CEO David Prokupek notes that there’s a danger in starting up a business in a high visibility city without a solid footing back home – “if someone has a bad experience, it can really damage your brand,” he says. But still, new opportunities are certainly worth investigating. It might not work for everyone, but it just might work for you.
[SOURCE: Bloomberg Businessweek]