Tony Roma's Opens in Bolivia, Its First Restaurant in the Country
When it comes to expanding overseas, Bolivia is not the first country that comes to mind... if it comes to mind at all. But several U.S. franchise brands are already operating there, including TGI Fridays, KFC, Burger King, Subway, Cinnabon, Papa John's, and Sbarro, according to Export.gov, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration.
The latest U.S. franchisor to join this group is Tony Roma's, whose parent company Romacorp announced the opening of a new restaurant in Bolivia, the first of 3 planned there in a deal announced in May 2017.
According to Export.gov, "These franchises are popular with Bolivian consumers who enjoy an American experience. The concept of having a foreign experience through interaction with a franchise is a relatively new one in Bolivia, but one that the Bolivian elite continue to embrace."
This is the 14th restaurant Tony Roma's has opened in South America, with others in Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. The newest restaurant, in one of Bolivia's most populated cities, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, is located in Barrio Equipetrol, a center for nightlife known for its popular restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs.
Santa Cruz itself, with a year-round sub-tropical climate, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. The new restaurant will have 40 outdoor seats, 200 indoor seats, 17 TVs, and a full liquor and wine bar.
The three-unit deal is with Grupo Restaurantes Internationales de Bolivia (Grupo RIB). "The Tony Roma's franchise is one of the most recognizable brands in the world," said Diego Alcazar, public relations manager for Grupo RIB, when the 3-unit deal was announced.
Some facts about Bolivia from The World Factbook, a CIA-produced resource that provides country profiles:
- As of July 2018, the country's population was 11.3 million: 19% aged 15 to 24; 40 percent 25 to 54; 6% 55 to 64; and 5% 65 and over.
- About 70% of the population is considered urban, with the 3 largest cities being Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Cochabamba, and La Paz (the capital).
- GDP is 4.2%, with purchasing power estimated at $84 billion (2017 est.)
- Literacy (age 15 and over) is estimated at 92.5%.
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