PRETORIA, South Africa – Baskin-Robbins, the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, announced plans to develop locations in major metropolitan areas across South Africa. This effort is part of Baskin-Robbins’ development strategy to increase its presence internationally.
Baskin-Robbins is seeking qualified, multi-unit franchisee candidates to develop the brand in South Africa, with an initial focus on provinces in the south, north and east regions. Ideal franchisee candidates should have strong financial backgrounds, a deep knowledge of their local consumers, a proven track record of success in operating multi-unit retail or restaurant businesses, and a desire to develop a minimum of 20-25 Baskin-Robbins’ locations in South Africa.
Baskin-Robbins was founded in 1945 in Glendale, California by Burton Baskin and Irvine Robbins, ice cream enthusiasts and brothers-in-law. Baskin-Robbins, part of the Dunkin Brands Group, Inc. oversees its 7,000 store locations in over 50 countries from its headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts. In 2012, more than 13 million ice cream cakes were sold in Baskin-Robbins shops worldwide. For the full-year 2012, Baskin-Robbins’ shops had global franchisee-reported sales of approximately $1.9 billion.
The news of Baskin-Robbins’ expansion plans in South Africa come on the heels of President Obama’s visit to Africa this week. U.S. companies still lag behind European and Chinese enterprises on a continent that is home to six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies. The International Monetary Fund cites the sub-Saharan region’s “robust” growth and says output will rise by 5.4 percent this year and 5.7 percent next year. However, apart from oil companies such as Chevron Corp. and retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., YUM! Brands Inc., and of course, Dunkin Brands Group, Inc., U.S. businesses in the past have generally been reluctant to brave African security risks and trade headaches.
In an effort to encourage more U.S. businesses to invest in Africa, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition hosted a conference on the eve of Obama’s Africa tour. USGLC’s strategy is to leverage public-private partnerships with American companies to enable an environment for successful investment in Africa – with the end goal of protecting U.S. security, create new jobs at home and there, and lessen suffering on the continent.
“If Africa does take off economically, you’re going to have a rapidly growing middle class and market for U.S. goods,” said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser. “What we hear from our businesses is that they want to get in the game.”