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INTERVIEW - McDonald’s franchisee in Serbia plans to run 30 restaurants by end-2017

INTERVIEW - McDonald’s franchisee in Serbia plans to run 30 restaurants by end-2017

BELGRADE (Serbia), January 8 (SeeNews) – Belgrade-based Nicefoods Restorani, the McDonald’s franchisee for Serbia and Bosnia’s Serb Republic, plans to open 2-3 restaurants per year and reach a network of 30 outlets on its home market by the end of 2017, the company's director said.

The company, a McDonald’s franchisee since 2008, currently operates in a total of 17 locations in Serbia, including 12 in Belgrade and one each in Subotica, Novi Sad, Nis, Velika Plana and Kragujevac.

“McDonald's is currently the unchallenged leader on Serbia’s relatively underdeveloped quick-service segment, way ahead of KFC with four restaurants and Pizza Hut with two. It should be noted, however, that there is also a very strong market tradition in the country of non-branded restaurants and kiosks. Unfortunately, the current economic situation in Serbia and the region significantly hampers the arrival of new brands and the expansion of existing players,” Dragos Pavicevic told SeeNews in an emailed interview.

In 2012, Nicefoods Restorani opened two new restaurants in Serbia - in Belgrade and in Kragujevac, and also launched its first outlet in the Serb Republic, in the city of Banja Luka.

Going forward, Pavicevic said the focus in Serbia will be both on fast-growth areas like Belgrade and Novi Sad, as well as on major road traffic routes. In terms of format, the main focus will be on drive-through restaurants although the company will continue to open street-front locations as well. The average investment costs for a standard drive-through McDonald’s restaurant in Serbia are about 1.5 million euro ($1.97 million).

Pavicevic said Serbians are big coffee-drinkers with cafes to be found at virtually every street corner and branded coffee shop chains find is difficult to crack this type of saturated market. Still, the company is getting great feedback from customers at its six existing McCafes and plans to increase their locations.

In Bosnia, Nicefoods Restorani plans to open three restaurants in the first five years of its operations there. The McDonald’s restaurant that opened in Banja Luka in October incorporates a McCafe.

The Serb Republic is one of the two autonomous entities that make up Bosnia and Herzegovina. The other one is the Muslim-Croat Federation.

($=0.7618 euro)