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Italian Franchising Expanding Abroad

06 Apr 2017 - Italian franchisers are looking for new opportunities on the international scene, and at least 240 stores will open over the course of this year, including shops, restaurants, fast food franchises, and real estate agencies.

A wide range of markets has been chosen: from Central Europe to the southern shores of the Mediterranean, from the Iberian peninsula to the Arabian peninsula, from North America to Russia.

It's an all-out approach that's based on a well-founded principle, as Confimprese President Mario Resca explains: “Good quality/price relationships are a commercial formula that's been put to the test in Italy, thanks to the help of a shared risk formula that has formed the basis of our franchising. This way, even the smaller chains can take part in new markets and grow abroad.”

Over the last five years, the franchisers have begun to adopt internationalization strategically and, for certain companies, their foreign turnover now comprises an important percentage of their overall business.

Such are the cases with the Pianoforte Group (consisting of Yamamay, Carpisa, and Jaked) and Caffè Vergnano 1882, businesses that are able to create 25-30% of their foreign revenue through franchising fees, royalties, and product sales. The Pianoforte Group is concentrating on plans for new openings: 80 of them overall, in Iran, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, for their Carpisa and Yamamay brands.

The Piedmont-based Caffè Vergnano 1882 brand is looking to open cafes in Qatar, Russia, Greece, Cyprus, and the Netherlands. Elsewhere in the food sector, pizzeria Rossopomodoro and Rossosapore will open 7-8 new restaurants in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Oman, while American Graffiti is concentrating on Central Europe (Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and Croatia) with openings in each of these markets.

In fast food, Queen's Chips is expanding into England, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, and La Piadineria is opening stores much closer to home, in Nice and Marseilles. Fry Chicken will open two locations in France and Spain, while La Bottega del Caffè and Il Forno di Cibiamo are looking beyond France, with openings in Morocco. Finally, five EcorNaturaSi organic product supermarkets will open between Poland and Slovenia. Fast fashion/accessories companies are looking at nearby markets. Pittorosso (footwear) is expected to open stores in both France and Slovenia, while Camomilla Italia is aiming for the German-speaking markets (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland).

Piazza Italia is planning to open six new stores. “We're looking at Iran's malls, with stores in Tehran and Isfahan,” explains Sara Pannone, “In April, we're opening a new store in Cyprus—a market that is opening up to new formats—while we're currently in talks with Serbia.”

By June, they will open a children's store in Kosovo, while they're strengthening their presence in Tunisia with a new store in the Tunisi Mall, as well as one in the coastal city of Nabeul. Nau! (eyeglasses) has seven new openings planned for malls in Spain, and is looking to expand in the US and Canada.

“We had been contacted before by local business owners, and then by master franchisees in North America,” states Fabrizio Brogi, the chain's president and founder, “Now, we have the certifications for those markets, and our first store is showing excellent results”. For the moment, Spain is still the keystone in the chain's internationalization policy, while they're testing the North American market's potential. The Tecnocasa Group is strengthening their positions in order to assume leadership in Spain where, in addition to their current 500 real estate agencies, they're looking add another hundred.


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