Johnny Rockets shows its commitment to open up more restaurant locations globally by appointing a new international business management expert to their global expansion team.  Johnny Rockets is an American restaurant chain that brings customers back in time to the Happy Days of the 1950s with Rock N Roll, hamburgers and shakes.

Scott Chorna was appointed as the new Senior Vice President of International Development for Johnny Rockets.  In his previous position, Chorna served as Director of International New Business for FOCUS Brands, a multi-brand fast food franchisor with over 3,800 units globally. Chorna is eyeing the Asia-Pacific region for new restaurant openings.  The company has already opened two locations in Indonesia earlier this year.

Johnny Rockets President and CEO, John Fuller, stated in a recent press release that “Scott’s impressive track record navigating emerging middle-class markets, like ones in Asia and Australia, made him the obvious choice to expand Johnny Rockets’ presence across the globe.”

Like McDonald’s, Johnny Rockets aims to deliver American hamburgers in every corner of the globe. What Johnny Rockets offers more than McDonald’s is an experience of classic Americana. Hard Rock Cafe also strives for something similar with its rock and roll theme. McDonald’s currently serves up food in 116 countries. Hard Rock Cafe is located in 55 countries. Johnny Rockets is in 16 countries at the moment.

Whether it McDonald’s, Hard Rock Cafe, Johnny Rockets, Subway or Baskin-Robbins, a beneficial trickle-down effect on the local economy happens in the places they do business in. They hire locals, and they grow the local supply chains attached to local farmers. Over 7,500 people are employed by Johnny Rockets around the globe. Each year, Johnny Rockets serves 17 million hamburgers, 11.3 million soda pops, 8.3 million shakes and malts, 8 million pounds of fries, 2.1 million orders of onion rings and 815,000 gallons of ice cream.  It’s a win-win proposition for American business and the host country.

In October, two Johnny Rockets restaurants opened in Qatar. The company’s first location outside the U.S. was in Kuwait in December 1995.  The Arabian Peninsula now hosts over 16 locations. This year showed a plethora of more grand openings. Costa Rica welcomed its first Johnny Rockets in September. Earlier in the year, Ecuador and Honduras opened its first Johnny Rockets. The company has also announced plans to open twenty more in India in the near future.

– Maria Caluag

Sources: Digital Journal, Johnny Rockets
Photo: Broadway at the Beach

Subway and Quiznos restaurant franchises continue to vie for global dominance. Subway has its presence in 102 countries and Quiznos is gaining ground in nearly 30 countries and territories.

Both restaurant chains offer quick and affordable service for a customized American sandwich. The customer chooses from an array of cold-cuts, cheeses, vegetables, and sauces to squeeze in between bread for a portable meal. Although some sources claim that the sandwich is not entirely an American food invention, it is undoubtedly labeled as a typical American dish, alongside the hot dog, hamburger and french fries. Subway opened its first restaurant in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1965. Quiznos opened their first in Denver, Colorado in 1981.

Currently, Subway has 40,217 restaurants in 102 countries. Over 19,000 of those are located outside of the United States. Subway claims to have more restaurants in the world than any other restaurant chain, making them the global development leader of the quick service restaurant industry. McDonald’s has over 32,000 locations in about 100 countries. Like McDonald’s, Subway abroad may now be synonymous with the American flag. Quiznos has also become more well-known, with 660 restaurants operating in 30 countries and territories outside of the U.S. The company recently opened more locations in Russia and Central America.

In 2011, Quiznos opened 10 restaurants outside of the US. It is listed amongst the top 20 in international sales in the group of American quick-serve restaurant franchises with about US $230 million in sales. Subway recorded US $5,200 million in non-US sales taking the fifth place spot, while McDonald’s holds first place with US$ 51,800 million in sales abroad. Subway opened 1,089 restaurants outside the USA in 2011, while McDonald’s opened 709.

An online magazine called How We Made it in Africa recently featured an American entrepreneur, Christopher J. Bak, who is starting Subway franchises in Tanzania and Kenya. He expected the demand for Subway sandwiches to grow because the Kenyan population will double in the next 40 years. In fact, at the end of 2013, GDP growth is expected to hit 5.4 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa. Six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries have been in the African continent the past decade. This is due in a large part to 75 percent of the Sub-Saharan population being under the age of 30 – a young, vibrant, entrepreneurial population that holds tremendous potential as consumers and producers. Consumer spending in Africa is expected to grow to $1.4 trillion by 2020, $520 billion more than in 2008.

A similar business potential awaits in other parts of the developing world. The quick serve restaurant industry is not the only one that is aware of this.

Maria Caluag

Sources: How We Made It In Africa, QSR, UNDP
Photo: SlashFood

Today the fast food giant McDonald’s is so ubiquitous in the United States that it is hard to imagine a world where it doesn’t exist. McDonald’s has 34,480 restaurants in 119 countries. The fast food chain even has restaurants in Cuba. Despite vast numbers, 105 nations still do not have a McDonalds. These McDonald’s free nations include Ghana, Jamaica, Yemen and Tajikistan.

What is the significance of the spread of McDonald’s? The spread of McDonald’s Big Macs and French fries across the world is a clear  indicator of globalization. What started off as an American fast food restaurant has slowly but surely reached every continent. In a study by Princeton University, entitled “The Fries that Bind Us”, globalization is mapped by the concentration of McDonald’s restaurants in various countries. The map clearly reveals McDonald’s restaurants congregated around the U.S, Europe and part of China.

Most importantly, the distribution of McDonald’s restaurants can work as an indicator of the relative wealth of a nation. Michael Centeno, sociologist at Princeton University has stated “If you want a definition of what the rich world and the poor world are, well, if you can get a McDonald’s, you are in the rich world.” According to Centeno wealth and the number of McDonalds are directly correlated. Thus poorer nations in sub-Saharan African and poor and central Asia have far fewer opened McDonalds restaurants.

Additionally, the presence of McDonald’s restaurants is correlated with a nation’s economic development and stability. Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is about to open its first McDonald’s in the next year. What this mean is that Vietnamese consumers now have enough disposable income to indulge in American fast food. At the same time, nations may lose their McDonald’s due to declining economic situations. For example, Iceland has shut down all of its three McDonald’s chains following severe economic down turn and a currency crisis.

Some people may insist that the growth or decline of McDonalds in any region may be mostly related to the culture of the area. While culture does play a role in the spread of fast food, the growth of McDonald’s overseas can truly be a sign of wealth and development. That is to say, as poor or developing countries expand economically, they are able to take part in the luxuries of developed nations. Furthermore, economists have even developed what is known as the Big Mac Index, an informal way to compare currencies across nations. Whether or not more French fries or burgers are truly beneficial for the global poor, the spread of McDonald’s definitely indicates where wealth and poverty tend to linger.

Grace Zhao

Sources: Princeton University, NPR, The Economist
Photo: 1-800-Politics

Keeping Our Oceans Healthy and Productive
Our most valuable resources on this globe are our oceans. Our lives depend upon the ocean and the food we fish from it. Never before have we had to worry about harming this resource to such an extent that it limits our food production. However, we have begun to “fish out” our world’s oceans, which causes great problems since our population is only growing and our demand for resources is also growing. Some major corporations such as McDonald’s and Wal-Mart have begun to take steps towards sustainable fishing.

McDonald’s has announced that the packaging for their fish items on the menu will carry a blue eco-label provided by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). This label guarantees that 99% of all McDonald’s fish will come from MSC approved sources. Wal-Mart has created a Sustainability Index to measure 70% of its suppliers by 2017. While these corporations are leading the way for businesses to practice sustainability, it is just the beginning for better awareness of our oceans.

On June 8, the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Oceans agreed upon two new initiatives that will guide the management of our oceans in the future: the Ocean Health Index and “Seafood Traceability.”

Until now, we have never had a way to measure the health of our oceans. With the Ocean Health Index, we can rate the sustainability of our oceans on a scale of 0-100. It measures the oceans against 10 goals including coastal protection, clean tourism and recreation, and food provision. Not only can the Ocean Health Index be used on a global scale, but it can be used on a regional scale as well. It gives policymakers the ability to make informed decisions about the productivity of the water.

The second initiative, seafood traceability, will provide necessary information to manage seafood resources worldwide. This initiative will help businesses trace back fish products from the fisheries where they were caught and learn essential information about how the fish was caught. Without this, it would be impossible to regulate and control illegal fishing habits.

The ocean is our largest asset that generated almost $72 trillion GDP in 2012. By taking steps like McDonald’s is taking or learning how to monitor our oceans better we are keeping them healthy and productive.

– Catherine Ulrich
Source: WE Blog,Ocean Health Index
Photo: Robin Jones Gunn