BRAZIL, São Paulo. Brazil’s economy is contracting and consumer spending is weak, but that has not scared off several US-based restaurant chains, including Subway and McDonald’s, from expanding to South America’s largest dining market, according to a Dow Jones Business News report.
Many of the Brazilian middle class, estimated at more than 100 mill. people, enjoy eating out and like US brands. Recognising this – and taking advantage of bargain leases and many retreating local operators are pulling back – US chains, which include Hooters, Outback and Domino’s Pizza, see an opportunity.
Brazilians have developed a taste for U.S. restaurant chains, in part because they increasingly travel to North America, according to Dow Jones. The US is the No. 1 foreign destination for Brazilians.
Patrick Murtha, president of Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands Inc.'s international division, which runs the Outback steakhouse chain, said that the company will open a dozen outlets in Brazil this year, the most in any of its foreign markets. Johnny Rockets, owned by the private-equity firm Sun Capital Management, has nine locations in Brazil with three more planned this year.The number of franchised food chains operating in Brazil has almost doubled since 2009 to a total of 685 at the end of 2014, according to the Brazilian Association of Franchisees.