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McDonald’s To Invest Almost $10 Million In Local Expansion

Partner brands Boston Market, Chipotle, and Donato’s coming soon


September 5, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

McDonald’s is gaining momentum in the local market, and to keep it up the fast food company is investing about $10 million to open new restaurants and introduce new concepts in Puerto Rico. At the same time, it’s also emphasizing customer service, the driving force behind the increasing sales, said Brian Unger, McDonald’s Caribbean region director.

"We are proud to have such great momentum in Puerto Rico. Comparable-store sales are up 10% over last year, and sales in some restaurants have increased 50% compared with last year," said Unger, who also noted that breakfast sales on the island have grown 21% in comparison with the previous year.

To further this growth, Unger plans to add at least five new restaurants by the end of 2003, to introduce the McInternet Cafe concept to 10% of local McDonald’s stores that same year, and to open various shops under the McCafe concept. "We are currently negotiating sites for McCafes, but haven’t signed anything yet," he said.

Unger also wants to introduce other brands on the island. "We are aggressively looking to bring partner brands Boston Market, Donato’s, and Chipotle to Puerto Rico," he said. "We are already negotiating this."

Additional plans include adding or revamping Playplaces in many McDonald’s so they’re more fun for children. "We have enclosed the Playplaces in Mayaguez and Cayey and added air conditioning to them so kids can enjoy them year-round," Unger said. "Now we are going to do the same thing in Carolina, Moca, and Aguadilla."

To better serve customers who are on the run, all of McDonald’s restaurants now accept ATH debit cards as well as MasterCard and Visa. What’s more, operating hours have been adapted to each restaurant’s community, Unger explained.

"Customers are members of our board of directors because they tell us what they want," said Unger, who oversees McDonald’s operations in 15 Caribbean markets. Offering the service, value, and menu that customers demand, he added, has enabled the company to enjoy double-digit growth in a slow economy. In Puerto Rico, McDonald’s employs 6,000 people.

McDonald’s is also about to open the first Ronald McDonald House in the Caribbean. Ronald McDonald Houses provide shelter to families of seriously ill children who are receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. Unger said there are 217 Ronald McDonald Houses in 20 countries.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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