International brands rush to Azerbaijan

17 May 2017 17:02 (UTC+04:00)

Over 30 franchise brands will be presented at the First International Franchise Exhibition BUYBRAND Transcaucasia scheduled for June 2-3 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Such catering brands as Shokoladnitsa, Baskin-Robbins, Coffee House, Shikari, Il Patio, Papa John’s, as well as fitness-center chains FIT powered by X-BODY and Fit’n’Go, medical laboratory chains INVITRO and Gemotest, international hotel chain Best Western and others have already declared their interest in Transcaucasian market. The investments range of business concepts varies from $5,000 to $600,000.

Azerbaijan is a very attractive business region. The tourist flow to the country increases year by year: 1,719, 015 tourists have visited Azerbaijan during the first nine months of 2016.  Data provided by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture and Tourism says that the figure is 10.9 percent higher than in the same period of 2015.

Taking this into consideration, it can be expected that in the next 5-7 years the HoReCa sector franchise concepts, including hotels, cafés, restaurants, and fast-food chains, will be at high demand.

Many companies are drawing attention to this trend. For example, Shokoladnitsa Group of Companies has already sold franchises for café opening in Azerbaijan. There are several cafés opened under the Shokoladnitsa and Coffee House brands in Baku. According to Maxim Trubnikov, Head of the Department in Shokoladnitsa Group of Companies, the capacity of Transcaucasian restaurant market allows to open from eight to ten Coffee House and Shokoladnitsa units per year until 2024.

Furthermore, medical laboratory chain INVITRO has opened its first office in Transcaucasia region. Roman Petukhov, Head of INVITRO Medical Office Organization Department, noted that company has big plans for all countries in the region. There are 33 medical centers planned to be open in Azerbaijan in coming years, 20 of which will be working in Baku.

The opportunity of developing business in Azerbaijan also attracts international brands. For instance, British franchise Southern Fried Chicken plans to find a master-franchisee partner in Azerbaijan, willing to open about 10 units by himself or by selling sub franchises.

International fitness-studio chain FIT powered by XBODY, which offers an innovative way to body training, is intended to open about 20 fitness-studios of new generation in Azerbaijan and other countries of Transcaucasian region. Overall cost of opening a business of such kind is about 3mln rubles ($52,862), while ROI is from 4 to 8 months.

“A lot of attention is payed to small and medium-sized business in the Transcaucasian countries recently. At the same time, the idea of franchising business is quite new for the region. That is why an educational business forum is going to take place simultaneously with the Expo. It will help the entrepreneurs to understand ins and outs of franchising business», - notes Ekaterina Soyak, EMTG CEO, organizer of BUYBRAND Transcaucasia.