About 60 new companies are currently interested in entering the Czech market. Most of them have one thing in common: they want to provide services, particularly food and coffee.
On Monday Australia’s biggest coffee retailer, Gloria Jean’s Coffees, opened its first Prague branch. It will see plenty competition. According to HN sources, the Italian coffee maker Caffé Nero, a market leader in the UK, plans to enter the Czech market, as do the Maltese chain Caffé Jubilee, the Danish restaurant chain Chicago Roasthouse, and Australian speciality sweets purveyors Chocolate Graphics International.
The list of food and beverage specialists eyeing the Czech Republic continues: Sunshine Kebabs and Pizza Mamma Mia want to offer fast food, while German company Backwerk plans to open stores selling fresh baked goods. “Food and coffee chains find the Czech Republic attractive today. Also seeking partners here are Asagao, which runs sushi restaurants, and fashionable Italian restaurants like Fratelli la Bufala and Revive Juice Bars,” said Hana Jurášková of the Czech Franchise Association. Most of the firms planning to do business in the Czech Republic want to do so in the form of franchises.
This is also the case of US company ERA, which offers consulting services in the area of cost cuts, and of Smile, which offers teeth whitening. Pack & Send wants to sell its complex logistics solutions in the Czech Republic, and NoWet Waterless CarClean would provide mobile car cleaning services.
Analysts say it is understandable that it is mainly food and beverage sellers who are heading for the Czech Republic now. “The boom of cafe and fast food chains, as well as firms offering services, has started relatively recently in the Czech Republic. These firms have a lot of branches all around the world and now they see that Czechs are spending their money on these things as their living standard improves,” said David Marek, analyst with Patria Finance. “Costs for investors are much lower in the service sector,” said Martin Jonáš, executive at consulting company Profit System.
The financial crisis is having no effect on the trend. “Those coming to here are looking at the long term. They are now taking advantage of the fact that they can get rents and plots of land cheaper,” Marek said.
Demand is currently big, especially on the part of French firms. Five could appear on the Czech market soon, offering flowers, cosmetics services and restaurants.
But the Czech Republic has been attractive for franchisees from other countries as well; companies from Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain all have representatives here already. But most of the franchise concepts are from the Czech Republic. Among the foreign ones, German companies dominate because they often regard the Czech market as the door to Europe; when they succeed on the local market, they have good chances of expanding eastwards.