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Czech News in English » Business » Fast food chains flooding Czech market

Fast food chains flooding Czech market

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When McDonald’s opened its first Czech restaurant in Prague’s Vodičkova street in 1993, hamburgers were something new to Czechs. However, the fast food giant has brought a new dining trend to the Czech Republic and now sells hamburgers and other fast food worth CZK 3.78 billion a year on the local market.

And its current network of 78 restaurants is far from sufficient for the company. “I think that there is a capacity for roughly two hundred McDonald’s restaurants on the Czech market,” McDonald’s new head Radek Janalík told HN. “Until now, we have targeted towns with population between 80,000 and 100,000. Today, we are eyeing towns with about 50,000 residents or even smaller,” said Janalík.

Rivals not lagging behind
But competitors don’t want to stay behind either. KFC already has 53 restaurants in the Czech Republic. Burger King, the biggest rival for McDonald’s especially in the USA, entered the Czech market in November and its plans are definitely not small. “We want to be a dominant company in the central and eastern European region,” Daniel Kasper, Burger King brand president, told HN earlier.

Subway, which specialises in sandwiches and salads, is also raising its influence on the market. “As of today, we have ten Subway restaurants, but there should be fourteen at the end of the year,” said Martin Princ of Subway. He added the company wants to run 55 restaurants in the Czech Republic five years from now. The company does not disclose its sales revenues.

The fast food market has not yet experienced the impacts of the global financial crisis. McDonald’s raised sales by 18% to CZK 3.78 billion last year and expects the figure to grow also this year. “Weather has a bigger effect on hamburger sales than the financial crisis has,” Janalík said. The Subway chain has had a similar experience. “We did not record any differences in sales increases for the last three years. We have not been hit by the crisis for the time being,” said Princ.

New players heading for Czech Republic
Moreover, new companies could soon join the battle for Czech eaters. US chain Hooters will open its first Czech restaurant probably still this year. Another fast food chain, New York Pizza, wants to enter the local market through a franchise, Susan P. McDaniel, in charge of franchise licences at New York Pizza, told HN.

And there are more brands that could potentially come to the Czech market. Other chains popular abroad include Wendy’s, famous for its “home-made” hamburgers, Hardie’s and Carl JR. Pizza Hut is also searching for partners for international expansion. AmRest holds a licence to operate it in Poland. But it’s a question at the moment whether it would bring the chain to the Czech Republic.

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