Starbucks comes to Panama

By Juan Carlos Martinez


Great news for coffee lovers. Starbucks is one of the most well-known American franchises in the world. The Salvadoran company “Corporación de Franquicias Americanas” closed a deal with Starbucks Coffee Company which granted them a license to open Starbucks shops throughout the region, including Panama

CFA already has experience in managing United States franchises, however Starbucks will be their first venture into Panamanian soil. CFA with the Starbucks franchise in Panama will be a 100% foreign owned corporation as they are not looking for local partners. On November 5 they inaugurated the first Starbucks store in San Salvador however they have not disclosed information on other store openings thus far.

Needless to say all Starbucks stores will have the same specification and quality control as US stores. They are expecting excellent results in the Panamanian market due to the number of tourists that visit the country plus a savvy local consumer base who know the brand and have been waiting for it. Starbucks in Panama will compete directly with other coffee stores such as Duran's Coffee Stores which currently can be found in every mall in town. It will also compete indirectly with other American franchises present in Panama such as Cinnabon and Dunkin Donuts.

The franchise market in Panama seems to be growing strongly. Within this past year Taco Bell opened its doors, Cinnabon will be expanding soon and Papa John's pizza will soon be joining the market. One interesting point in Panama's franchise market is that it not only has American franchises; it also has multiple franchises from Colombia, Venezuela and some from Europe though not necessarily food franchises.

Particularly from Europe and Venezuela are two franchises that are in a niche quite distant from the food franchise. Eco-friendly dry cleaners are becoming quite common in the market. These franchises offer the consumers more choices. These dry cleaners have set up in the more affluent neighborhoods of Panama City. Such as Punta Paitilla and Albrook.

If you have lived in Panama even for a bit you know that dry cleaners are everywhere and most are run by Chinese. It is also very inexpensive to have clothing dry cleaned and ironed in these neighborhood cleaners. The new eco-friendly dry cleaners are not competing with the more established businesses on price as they can be two or three times more expensive than a traditional dry cleaner. However the new eco-friendly dry cleaners are also consumer friendly and offer multiple services to consumers saving them time and effort, such as free pick-up and delivery, 24 hour boxes for remote clothing drops, tailoring services among others.

The new eco-friendly dry cleaners use machinery that is more energy and water efficient as well as dry clean machinery that ensures that harmful residue does not get into the environment while filtering and purifying the soap so it can be reused. Some of the franchises that have opened are Clean & Clean and Centronet.


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