While we saw in our first installment of the "Franchising in Sweden" post that Swedish franchises consciously try to mimic the look and feel of American franchises, it’s interesting to note that American franchises in Sweden do a lot to cater their stores and products to the expectations of their Swedish customers.
Foreign franchises like Manpower, McDonald’s and Burger King are prominent in Stockholm and its surrounding suburbs. In Stockholm, which is the city that I’m most familiar with, the American franchise that is most prominent is 7-11. They are everywhere in Stockholm. In many ways, their Swedish stores are similar to the US ones – they sell fresh coffee and pastries, on top of the tasty hot dogs that Swedes and Americans love. That said, there’s one crucial difference for Swedish 7-11s: most of them feature internet kiosks. Placed on a bar near the window, the computers are available for about $3 for 15 minutes. It might sound expensive, but they can be your best friend if you need the internet in a bind. Swedes are a pretty tech-savvy people and there’s very few internet cafes in Stockholm principally because the 7-11’s eliminate the need for them. It’s an interesting innovation from a convenience and one I’d like to see implemented in the US and around the world.
McDonald’s is another franchise with Swedified aspects – particularly regarding their store lay-out. You’ll find fancier stools and ergonomic seating. Swedish McDonald’s are much more fika friendly, and unlike some American units, you get the feeling that you’d be welcome to spend an entire afternoon in McDonald’s.
Despite competition from domestic restaurants, American food franchises hold their own in Sweden. This TGIFriday’s enjoys a prominent position at the top of the popular open plan park Kungstradgarden.
It always seems to be crowded, especially at night. It’s proof that Swedes and Americans, despite their cultural differences, share some of the same pastimes.