Donuts and 24-hour gyms: US companies eyeing Czech franchise opportunities

Victoria’s Secret just opened in Prague and Popeyes will start serving this summer, while many other international brands are waiting in the wings. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 05.06.2023 15:00:00 (updated on 05.06.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

More franchises in food and fashion are opening in Czechia, and other international brands are looking for local partners. Lingerie and cosmetics brand Victoria’s Secret opened its first Czech outlet at the Westfield Chodov shopping center on May 26. Victoria's Secret is the largest specialty lingerie retailer in the world.

They carry a wide range of fashion collections, underwear, casual wear, sportswear, perfumes, and body cosmetics. The new store also offers a free bra fitting service, where trained experts will help you choose perfectly fitting underwear in a one-to-one service. Worldwide, the brand has nearly 1,400 stores and more than 25,000 employees.

Jan Kotrbáček, partner and head of the CEE retail agency team at real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield, said the stores are always a primary attraction in shopping centers. “Its stores attract very high foot traffic, are highly ‘Instagram-able,’ and generate a lot of attention,” he said in February when the coming of the store was announced.

Popeyes to open in Wenceslas Square by the end of the summer

Fast-food gourmands can look forward to the arrival of Popeyes, a chain that sells New Orleans-style fried chicken, fried shrimp, and other regional products. Initially, there will be four Popeyes outlets in Czechia, with one each in Prague and Brno and two more at currently undisclosed locations.

Parent company Restaurant Brands International has partnered with McWin to expand the company's brands in Europe. McWin will introduce Popeyes to Czechia and Poland, and expand Burger King locations throughout the Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania.

The first domestic Popeyes outlet will open at the end of August or the start of September in Prague's Wenceslas Square. It will occupy an area of around 700 square meters on two floors, news site Czech Crunch reported. The Brno branch should open a month later, though the exact location has not been disclosed. Two additional locations should open by the end of the year.

If these initial branches are successful, then eight more could open in Czechia in the next two to three years. A second outlet in Prague could be in the renovated Tesco (Máj) building at on Národní trida, according to news site Hospodářské noviny.

Franchise facts and figures:

  • The most popular sectors for franchises are culinary concepts, real estate agencies, nutrition counseling, fitness, and education. Fashion and cosmetics are also numerous, according to a survey by the Czech Franchise Association (ČAF).
  • The franchise concepts with the largest number of its own and franchise branches include the Re/Max Czech Republic, Benu pharmacies, and McDonald’s. The longest-running in Czechia are McDonald’s and Yves Rocher.
  • Some 59 percent of franchise concepts are from Czechia and 41 percent are from foreign countries. This trend is also seen by other European associations, with more domestic concepts emerging on the market than foreign concepts each year.
  • The initial investment is usually in the range of CZK 500,000 to CZK 5 million. For the culinary industry, the initial investment can exceed CZK 5 million.
  • Average ongoing fees range from 3 percent to 5 percent of the turnover.
  • Support for franchisees is provided by most franchisors, whether it is in the form of training, marketing support, operations, and management consulting, or helping with site selection and branch equipment.

Several concepts looking for partners

Several franchise concepts are looking for Czech partners, according to the U.S. Embassy. These include the Pie Five brand, which prepares a handmade pizza in five minutes based on ingredients selected by the customer. Another brand looking for a partner is Pizza Inn, which serves pizzas, salads, pasta, wings, sandwiches, and desserts. The same parent company, Rave Restaurant Group, operates both of these.

Duck Donuts – which prides itself on providing each customer a warm, delicious, and made-to-order donut, while offering a unique in-store experience, according to the embassy – is also eyeing the Czech market. Aside from the round cakes with a hole in the middle, they make other baked goods, sandwiches, and coffee.

Brinker Int., the parent company of Chili’s, is looking to expand its Czech presence. It also operates the casual dining chain Maggiano’s Little Italy and two virtual brands – It’s Just Wings and Maggiano’s Italian Classics.

Not all of the companies hoping to expand here are in the culinary sector. Self Esteem Brands seeks to help people improve themselves. The company operates Anytime Fitness, which are exercise clubs that are open around the clock. Its other brands are body care chain Waxing the City and fitness training concepts Basecamp Fitness and The Bar Method. Other companies hoping to find franchise partners include an auto part distributor, a hotelier, a business sign maker, and a mobile phone accessory firm.

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