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Chain restaurants up 20%, challenging local restaurants

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Franchises have grown 20 percent in Mérida in 2017. Photo: Google Streetview

Mérida, Yucatán — Burger King has been a familiar presence for many years. But with later arrivals — Dunkin’ Donuts, Fuddruckers, IHOP, Wingstop — chain restaurants have challenged the local standard-bearers.

International franchises grew by 20 percent in the city compared to 2016, reports Sipse. Slick and casual chain eateries have an impact on the Yucatecan restaurateurs.

Multinational investors have trained their eyes on Mérida, especially since the beginning of 2017, said Carlos Campos Achach, the local president of the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Seasoned Food Industry.

Positive economic reports, coupled with an encouraging record for safety and security, have attracted corporations to Yucatán, he said.

The Alsea Group, for one, runs more than a dozen Burger Kings, eight Starbucks, three VIPs and three Chili’s in Merida, and in October said it will invest more than 100 million pesos to expand its presence in the Yucatán Peninsula.

Restaurant Brands International announced a franchise joint venture with a group of investors bringing plans for a Tim Hortons coffee shop in Mérida, where Dunkin’ Donuts has already staged a comeback with investment from Grupo Berny.

For customers, the franchise add variety, but for local restaurateurs, the chains represent  “strong competition,” he added.

“Definitely this affects the restaurateurs of the state, since the market is divided among more businesses. This could affect even more if the restaurant industry market does not grow in tandem with economic growth,” he said, in Spanish.

Existing restaurants have to adapt by becoming more efficient, paying more attention to service, costs, training to professionalize the sector, he said.

With information from Sipse.

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