Fast Food Chains Underestimate Czechs

In Economy on August 21, 2007 by Petr Bokuvka

What is your favorite fast-food place? was a quite common question among teenagers at Provo High School in Provo, UT I went to as a foreign exchange student in 1993. There were four different answers. Not surprisingly, all four places were across the street from the school. McDonald’s, Arby’s, Hardee’s and Wendy’s. That made the lunchbreaks for the kids much much easier because they were just one crosswalk away from curly fries, beef sandwiches and other yummy things.

Czechs have been eating healthier lately, many studies say. But still. There are many market openings that need to be filled. Take baguettes, for instance. I bet almost every American would agree with me that Czech baguettes that are sold in the see-thru foil are terrible. The baguette itself is anything but crispy and fresh — and the ingredients you have no control over? I think I’ll pass. You don’t need an extensive market research. One walk through the streets of Brno and you’ll know where the best place for –say– a Subway restaurant could be.

All you need to do it find out where the university and office buildings are. And which way the students take on the way from the lectures back to their dorms, or on the way to a railway station. Do you know they spend hours in the library on Saturdays? And that there is NO grocery store within a ten-minute walk radius?

I can hardly think of any explanation, really. Fast food companies have been known for their attempt to generate as much profit as possible [well, just like any company]. There are McDonald’s branches all over Prague at spots and corners you’d never expect them to be.

Czech students are not Chief Wiggums, Dunkin’ Donuts won’t attract them. There are around 25,000 students in Brno. I am surprised nobody has found out but McDonald’s and KFC. By the way, the latter is not that favorite among liberal students, while a baguette is still a baguette. I am quite confident that they would accept a baguette selling chain more than Colonel Sanders’ place… 

There are four franchise outlets in Prague already. For Western tourists and expats who are used to them from their home country. Any brave businessman who would open one in Brno? I promise I would be a daily customer. I would be like Cheers. I could have my own stool just like Norm does. 


One Response to “Fast Food Chains Underestimate Czechs”

  1. Ahoj Petre! I very much enjoy reading your column – I wish I could write in Czech as well as you do in English – but after 15 years here, it still hasn’t happened…

    Wish for Crocodille, the makeer of those nasty plastic-wrapped sandwiches, to open a Boulevard shop there. Half the price of Subway, and just as good…and just as fresh!

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