US brands in Doha to seek franchise deals
May 21 2013 09:43 PM
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Members of US’ Franchise Trade Mission after a media event at the Four Seasons Hotel yesterday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam

By Pratap John/Chief Business Reporter


Many US brands across various sectors look to clinch franchise deals in Qatar following their ongoing trade mission, which is supported among others by the US Commercial Service.
The Franchise Trade Mission, which comprises many reputable and fast growing US companies, is currently on “matchmaking” in Qatar.
Introducing the brands at a press conference at the Four Seasons yesterday, KL Fredericks, a director at the US Commercial Service, said the mission was designed to promote exports of US goods and services using franchising as the
primary vehicle.
“We are pleased to be able to work with such quality franchise brands and connect them with potential candidates here in the Middle East,” said Fredericks.
International Franchise Association senior vice-president (US & International Development) Scott Lehr said the trade mission’s goal was to help US franchise systems’ grow internationally and tap opportunities in the Middle East, particularly Qatar.
“We are here to help US brands connect with potential investors in Qatar. This is just the beginning. We hope that through the planned events and one-on-one meetings scheduled over the course of the mission they will be able to develop their brands further in Qatar,” Lehr said.
Companies represented in the Franchise Trade Mission to Qatar include brands in food and beverage, educational service and equipment rental among others.
The mission members were Robert Shaw (senior vice-president, international development) of Greenberry’s Coffee Company, J Marc Mushkin (senior vice-president, international development) of Pollo Tropical, Rogelio Martinez (vice-president, international franchise development), Tutor Doctor and Hair Parra, vice-president (international development) at Wing Zone.
Editor with Franchise Times and co-sponsor of the trade mission, Nancy Weingartner is accompanying the group and has the responsibility for promoting the trade mission.
Weingartner said in addition to one-on-one matchmaking meetings with potential partners, trade missions include in-country briefings by experts in real estate, legal and finance, site tours and receptions with business leaders and diplomats. Participants get to experience first-hand the culture and political climate, as well as the business environment in each
country, she said.
According to export.gov, which helps US companies export, the franchising industry and businesses employs some 21mn people and generates $2.3tn of economic activity. A new franchise business opens every 8 minutes of every
business day.
Like the United States, franchise businesses around the world have seen steady growth in the past decade, particularly in Brazil, China and Mexico.
According to the International Franchise Association (IFA), its members are eyeing overseas expansion as an important way to diversify their portfolios.
For instance, a survey of IFA members last summer revealed that some 61% of respondents currently franchise or operate in international locations, and 16% generate between 25 and 30% of revenue from international activities.
Almost three-fourths of respondents said they plan to start or accelerate international ventures.
Nathan Tek, press attache at the US embassy in Doha, and Anissa Lahreche, commercial specialist were also present.
The trade mission reached Doha after touring the UAE, Egypt and Jordan.



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