FranchiseBA: P.F. Chang’s Coming to Argentina

Patrick Archer aruba, foreign investment, franchises, lifestyle, us companies

P.F. Chang's Buenos Aires

This P.F. Chang’s in Mexico City is operated by the same group that will bring the concept to BA.

Important franchise news yesterday from Mexico City where one of Latin America’s largest fast food and casual dining operators announced plans to bring the popular P.F. Chang’s China Bistro concept to Argentina and other South American countries beginning next year.

P.F. Chang’s is currently the number one Asian casual dining restaurant with over 200 locations in the United States, as well as smaller networks in Kuwait, the UAE and Mexico. The six P.F. Chang’s in Mexico are operated by Alsea, a group that also controls that country’s Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza franchises. While P.F. Chang’s only accounts for 1% of Alsea’s annual earnings (vs. 26% each for SBUX and DPZ), the company plans to open 30 PFCB’s in Mexico over the next decade.

With yesterday’s announcement, it appears Alsea will also have exclusive rights to roll-out the P.F. Chang’s concept in three of South America’s fastest-growing markets, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. The first restaurant will open in Santiago sometime next year with Buenos Aires, Bogota and other major metros in all three countries beginning in 2013.

Media coverage surrounding the Alsea licensing agreement did not mention Pei Wei Asian Diner restaurants, which Scottsdale-based PFCB also operates. While the full-service China Bistro concept should be well received in Argentina, the quick-casual, more affordable, take-out optional Pei Wei concept would seem to have greater upside in South American metros like BA, Cordoba and Rosario. (Note: Asian competitor Benihana opened its doors two years ago in Alto Palermo and still operates only one outlet in Argentina.) (Full Story in Spanish)

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