The question that Chris Gibson, President of Southern Fried Chicken, gets asked more than most is “where are you looking to open next?” Well apart from the hope that the brand will be the first franchise on the Moon, by capitalising on the laws of physics and possible simple pressure frying in space, the answer isn’t that simple.
What is clear is that after another great year signing up multi-site franchisees for another eight countries that there is a list of target destinations that are prime franchise opportunities for investors and the proven chicken brand. This isn’t just a wish list, more a defined list where Southern Fried Chicken will fit into in a territory with slight changes to cater for local culture. Places that Southern Fried can likely make its mark with limited saturation of other global brands.
So apart from simply saying “the rest of the World” as a stock answer, the actual answer is a little more detailed, but with reason and a bit of thought and analysis.
With success in Malta, Tenerife, Crete and Cyprus over the last two decades, there are definitely opportunities in other islands in the Mediterranean. Ibiza, Menorca, Sardinia or indeed any of the Greek Islands could certainly benefit from a seasonal operation with a special fee structure that recognises the close season, something that is slightly different to most food franchises.
The reality is that most holiday destinations can do very well with a low cost restaurant set up that has the usual high level of training and support, just a bit more condensed during the summer months. FFS Brands are actively seeking applicants from all over the Mediterranean and with the Euro stronger than the UK pound the set up cost is lower than ever.
The second area of real targeted interest is the Caribbean, with the usual high quality restaurant opening in the region, especially Martinique which is exciting for the brand. With huge potential in the crescent of islands a particular focus is for Cuba before other US brands start there. FFS Brands demonstrated real interest by attending the IFA in New York specifically to meet visitors from South American and the Caribbean.
Contrary to most global brands Southern Fried Chicken isn’t fazed by gradual growth with two, three or four restaurants opening in as many years. This type of gradual growth would be frowned upon by some franchised brands but not FFS Brands.
Africa remains the key focus after a dramatic year and with five new Master Developers joining recently. North Africa remains available but there are four specific countries targeted currently, Angola, Ghana, Mali and Namibia. All with huge potential for the brand.
Heading East from the UK head office, Southern Fried Chicken is already established in Russia with 60 restaurants and plans for another 40. There are a further 25 in neighbouring CIS states. The natural growth is already apparent however targeted countries to further add to the brand presence is for Uzbekistan, Georgia and Turkmenistan.
So now you know but the quickest answer is “developing markets, because we know how to set restaurants up!”