As global franchising marks 3 full years of a world forever changed by Covid, international businesses have learned to adapt and continue to expand into new countries. This month our international deals roundup reports on Bonchon, Choice Hotels, Duck Donuts, German Doner Kebab, Gong cha, Hyatt Hotels, Metal Supermarkets, Slim Chickens, and Snap Fitness.
- Bonchon, the Korean fried chicken brand, reported record numbers for 2022, including increased AUV and unit count growth. In the U.S., the increased AUV was driven by positive same store sales of 5%, following the brand’s positive 15% SSS in 2021. The company also added 12 domestic units and 30 international locations, ending the year with a total of 122 units in the U.S. and 409 total units worldwide. Bonchon plans to open 30 new units in the U.S. in 2023, with 19 new units planned outside the U.S., including opening its first restaurant in France in March. Bonchon has more than 100 units in its development pipeline in the U.S. alone.
- Choice Hotels Middle East and Seera Hotels announced the opening of a new Property in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The 88-room, 8-story Comfort Hotel Riyadh Olaya is the latest property to open as part of a strategic agreement between Choice Hotels EMEA and Seera Group, with at least seven more planned to open under the agreement in the next 5 years.
- Duck Donuts debuted in Egypt in February, opening a new shop in the Cairo Festival City Mall. This is the first Duck Donuts shop for Ahmed Ihab, managing partner of Integrated Food Services. The second location, which also will be in the heart of Cairo, is expected to open in the second half of 2023. “This grand opening is the beginning of a long journey to introduce the Duck Donuts brand throughout every district in Egypt,” said Ihab.
- German Doner Kebab (GDK) has announced major expansion plans for North America this year. The Glasgow, Scotland-based brand has announced plans to open 12 new locations, with the first set to open this month (February) in Astoria, Queens, New York. GDK, which has grown in the U.K., Sweden, and the Middle East, is now expanding in the U.S. and Canada and across key locations in Europe. With more than 140 restaurants operating worldwide, GDK has a development pipeline of 65 units throughout North America and plans to open 500 sites in the next 10 years.
- Gong cha Benelux has opened two new sites in Belgium. Mad Vision Group, the master franchisee, plans to open 10 more Gong cha stores in 2023 as demand for high-quality bubble tea increases. Mad Vision, run by Adlane Draou, launched its first store in Brussels in 2022. The latest openings, in Mons and Antwerp, are the first in plans to scale up to 50 stores in Benelux by 2030.
- Hyatt Hotels announced that one of its brands has entered into a management agreement with Tokyu Land Corp. for Hyatt House Tokyo Shibuya. The new hotel will mark the entry of the Hyatt House brand in Tokyo. Slated to open by mid-2024, the 126-room hotel, intended as mid- to long-stay living accommodation, is located close to the Shibuya Scramble Crossing. “Shibuya is both an active business district populated with many offices and a popular recreational district offering,” said Tatsuaki Tanaka, Director and Managing Officer of Tokyu Land Corp.
- Metal Supermarkets has signed an agreement for a new franchise in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The new location is the 13th for the brand in Ontario. The franchisee is Tom Kaschalk, who previously worked in industrial and manufacturing sales for 28 years.
- Slim Chickens is opening a new restaurant in Kidderminster in the U.K. The better-chicken brand has opened more than 210 locations across the United States and the United Kingdom. The brand currently has more than 1,100 locations in development. “Operating groups like Boparan Restaurant Group and Sainsbury are a great example of the kind of partners we’re looking for overseas” said Jackie Lobdell, vice president of franchise development at Slim Chickens, of the new franchisees.
- Snap Fitness has signed a development deal for a new location in the Burnaby area of British Columbia, Canada. The franchisee is Amit Rai, who will work as the primary operator. His father will be assisting on the financial side. The brand has 116 brick-and-mortar stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with another 10 in the pipeline. In 2022, the company reported its 9th consecutive year of record results, with a YOY sales increase of 22.5%.