Think Global, Eat Local

QSR Magazine has a great piece on regional flavors and quick-serve menus abroad, in which they delve into fast/casual menus in emerging markets in the Middle East, Asia and other regions.

If you’ve been following the growth of Fatburger, you’ll know we’re aggressively expanding in these emerging markets, often growing much faster than  larger brands.

Be sure to read the entire article for some great insights to what franchises are doing to adapt to local markets across the globe, but here’s a little teaser featuring yours truly:

Beverly Hills, California–based Fatburger often turns to focus groups to home in on palate subtleties before opening a new location and is receptive to suggestions for improvement once the store is up and running.

“Generally, we figure it out before we open, but we’re not too proud to adapt if customers are telling us something we haven’t thought of beforehand,” says chief executive officer Andy Wiederhorn.

Brands like Wing Zone and Fatburger have added rice to their menus in Asia, and Wiederhorn says sauces and spices are more popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. However, he says there is no one blueprint for understanding the world’s flavor preferences. “In all of these markets, it’s different,” Wiederhorn says. “I can’t generalize.”

The bottom line here is that there’s simply no way to ignore local tastes when opening locations in emerging markets. You have to do some careful planning, perform focus groups as needed and be willing to adapt once you’re up and running.