World Franchise Review Summer 2014 - page 10

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Interview
FurqanAthar
WORLDFRANCHISEREVIEW
Attendeesof theWorldFranchiseForum
&Exhibition inDubaiwillbe treated toan
insider’sviewof shoppingcentersand retail
mails in theMiddleEastandNorthAfrican
regions. Thekeynoteaddress isbeing
deliveredbyFurqanAthar,DirectorStrategy
&PlanningatMcARTHUR+COMPANY
ShoppingCentreSpecialists,whichhas
providedvaluablestrategicadviceand
leasingandmanagement services to
projects in theUAE,SaudiArabia,Bahrain,
Qatar,Kuwait, JordanandOmanaswell as
theUSAandCanada.
What is instore forattendeesof your
keynoteaddressat theWorldFranchise
Forum&Exhibition?
My speaking sessionwill help investors toget
inside themindset of shoppingcenter
management.Youneed tounderstandwhat
drives shoppingcenters toknowhow tonegotiate
dealswith them. I’ll provideanoverviewof
shoppingcentersworldwide.Therewill be some
historyand industry fundamentals, I’ll lookat
different typesof shoppingcenters anddiscuss
factors affecting the sector today.Therewill also
beachance to lookat someof the trendsetting
shoppingcenters around theworld.
Whydoshoppingcenters like tosign
agreementswith franchiseconcepts?
Franchisesprovide several advantagesover stand-
alone retailer concepts for shoppingcenters.
Themost commonarehigherbrandequityand
popularity; professionallydevelopedmarketing
campaignswhichare sensitive to local culture;
supplychains andoverall businessoperations
andconduct inaccordancewithbest industry
practices; andmodernand recognizable store
layouts.Wealso find that sustainability is
also longer.
Each shoppingcenter isdifferent but generally
we’ll see themaim for80%well-knownbrands to
20%newor local concepts theyare takinga
chanceon. In that 20% therecanbe franchises
that arenew to themarket.Generallyyoudo
want tobring in somenewbrands–youmight be
getting thenextStarbucks and it’sgood for the
characterof themall topresent brandswhich
draw indifferent consumergroups.
Howhave foodcourtsbeenaffectedby the
growthof franchising?
Foodcourts areQSR sites andpreviously this
primarilymeantAmerican foodconceptswhich
havebeendeveloped tobeable tomeet the
requirementsof aquick turnaroundon the
productwhilemaintaininga standard level of
qualityandhygiene, perhapsbyhaving some
elementspre-madeorhalf-cooked.
Thedevelopment of suchcomplex requirements
isbeyond the singleunit operator andmany
ethnic food typeswereunable tomeet them.
Franchisinghas taken theseethnicproducts
andapplied its standardised formulaswhichcan
onlybedoneacross themarginsgeneratedby
multiple locations.
Thishas introduceda lotmorevarietyandchoice
in foodcourts.Thedepthof cuisineoptionsnow
availablewhichhaveanethnic flavor, but are
contemporary in their approach, service,
marketingandcustomer focus, hasprovided
morechoice for shoppingcenter leasing teams to
createanoptimalmix thatwill satisfy theneedsof
thecustomers.
Furqan
Athar
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