We've been celebrating our new pizza franchise report a lot in the last week. At the foundation of the report is this simple truth - a humble meal from Italian slums is now a global phenomenon. It is not just Americans who love pizza. Russians, it seems, love pizza franchises as well.
I was really intrigued to read about the explosion of QSR franchises in Russia in a recent edition of the New York Times. Pizza franchises are especially popular, it appears. The story features an interview with Christopher Wynne, who gave up his job researching arms proliferation for the government, to become a Papa John's franchisee for Russia. Listen to Wynne, now Russia's leading Papa John's franchisee, thoughts on his success on Russia franchising:
“I could succeed in my sleep there is so much opportunity here,” said Mr. Wynne, who has just opened his 25th Papa John’s outlet in Russia, doubling the number in the last year.
McDonald's opened up the Russian franchise market in 1990 but in the last few years, there's been a noticeable explosion in QSR franchises. Part of this comes down to growing affluence among the Russian people. Franchise explosion in India and China is often (and rightly) celebrated, but I, for one, was ignorant of Russia's love for pizza and burgers.
And as the NY Times says, the economic realities in Russia particularly enviable:
As a result, the fast-food chains find they can charge higher prices in Russia than in America. The average check at a Russian fast-food outlet — $8.92 according to research by a Wendy’s franchisee here — is significantly higher than the United States average of $6.50.
A large “the works” pizza at Papa John’s in the company’s home base of Louisville, Ky., for example, costs $14, compared with $21.62 for the same pizza in Moscow.
All the ingredients seem to be in place for a Russian franchise explosion.