Entry and Marketing Mix Strategies
The report seeks to (1) Propose a real product or service to serve as the subject of entry into the given markets; (2) Describe the products, markets and marketing problems of proposed product or service; for this report a global brand in operation; (3) present a critical analysis of the markets of Japan, China and Germany; (4) propose an appropriate marketing mix that would facilitate the entry of recommended company into one of the markets being studied; (4) recommend strategies that are seen as viable in the penetration of a specific geographic market.
The report will discuss in detail the profile and the external environment factors pertinent to a geographic market in the operation of an overseas fast food chain. Jollibee Foods Corporation will be the subject of this marketing study. This would include a tabular comparison of relevant market facts and an analysis of the 4 Ps of the subject company which will serve as basis for the formulation and recommendation of strategies.
The report will focus only on the three markets required which include Japan, Germany and China. Priority is given on demographics, general outlook and culture and will only briefly mention the procurement, distribution data as well as cost figures.
II. Background and Situational Analysis
The global fast food market is growing at an accelerated pace as developing countries now earnestly face globalization by opening its borders to foreign trade, welcoming foreign investments and expanding their markets in overseas locations. While global interconnection encourages free trade, increased investments, and reciprocal employment opportunities, it also puts pressure on the local human resource as job requirements become more intricate and time consuming. As the standard of living in urbanized cities soar, people would need to generate increased income levels to support personal expenditures. This promotes the crossover from traditional cultural patterns in terms of households and consumptions. As the trend for single-person households and working mothers escalates, the tradition of house-cooked meals and leisure eating becomes more and more difficult due to time constraints. These developments put to the fore the need for fast and convenient food items only a fast food outlet can provide.
Food Info Net defines fast food as “the sale of food and drinks for immediate consumption, either on the premises or in designated eating areas shared with other foodservice operators, or for consumption elsewhere” (Food Info Net, December 2006).
For the chosen product and service, it would be difficult to program generic strategies for the purpose of penetrating a geographic market. For one, the study is dealing with entry into overseas markets and only an established global brand can pursue expansions outside his turf. Therefore, for this study, the proponent has opted to use as subject an emerging global brand, Jollibee. Through a review of its products, markets and analysis of its marketing problems, the proponent will be able to device relevant entry and marketing strategies.
The company, Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) operates the emerging global brand “Jollibee” which is the top fast food chain in the Philippines. There are over 1,000 company-owned stores and franchise outlets in key cities and provinces at its home market that holds a comfortable 65% share of the local industry. Using a cost-leadership strategy on the premise of good taste, the Jollibee brand managed to outsell multinationals such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and KFC. JFC opened overseas outlets in Asia, Southeast Asia, US Territories and in the United States as well. It also operates other local food outlets such as Greenwich Pizza, Chowking, Delifrance and recently, Red Ribbon Bakeshoppe. The company also has acquisitions overseas such as the fast food chain Yonghe King based in Shanghai where JFC holds an 85% interest.
The product lines of Jollibee such as the Champ Burger and Crispy fries were adapted from the menu of fast food giant McDonalds. However, Jollibee’s more flavorful and affordable food items that are promoted under the tagline “langhap sarap” (smells delicious) suited more the local palate and a bee mascot wearing a chef’s hat—also called Jollibee, became popular among Filipino children.
The Global Challenge
The Jollibee brand was however not able to duplicate in many of its overseas locations the remarkable sales turnover obtained from its home market due to problems in the marketing of its brand and products in such countries. In fact it had to close a few outlets in the Middle East, China and Taiwan. Moreover, the success of its outlets in the United States is yet to be seen. JFC plans to shift its global positioning from “niching” with Filipino expatriates to pursue first mover advantages and gain leadership in untapped, populated countries (Ling, J. et al. September 2005). To do that, Jollibee wants to corner bigger and unserved markets overseas and invest in the population’s market potential. The selection of new markets overseas for the fast food chain Jollibee becomes an interesting subject for this report.
III. Market Analysis
The German Market
Germany is one of the most affluent nations in the world, next to the United States and Japan, with one of the highest GDP and Per Capita Income as well. Being an economic superpower, the country boasts of advanced in-country infrastructures, highly literate manpower support, a stable business environment conducive to trade, level expansion opportunities for foreign direct investments and an efficient distribution system.
As a market for products and services, it is home to a population of 82.5 million, where 27.2 million live in the metropolitan cities of Hamburg, Berlin and Cologne, mostly of affluent and middle class background. Germany however holds an aging consumer base, with around 67% of the population within the 15 to 64 year old bracket. According to the Gain Report by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, around 15% of the total national expenditure consists of food and beverage items, with about 19% of such figure expended in places where food and beverages are served on premise (Wagner, C. April 2006).
Germany’s stagnant economy puts in single digit growth figures for the local fast food industry. Growth opportunities however still abound for this sub-sector, given the highly fragmented profile of its market and for the fact that this sub-sector contributes 49% of the total sales of Germany’s commercial food sector (based on end 2005 figures). In a report by the US Commercial Service, it was mentioned that growth in fast food outlets all over Germany has been stirred by only a number of existing global food chains such as Burger King, McDonald’s and Subway. This accounts for 225 of the 256 new restaurants opened between 2002 and 2004 (Winkler-Helmdach, D. December 2005).
While growth prospects are sluggish with the fast food sector, other sub-sectors offer opportunities that can be tapped by potential foreign investors. The 2006 Gain Report provided growth estimates for the German food sectors, with ratings in favor of the Take Away, Coffee Bars/Shops and Gas Station snacks sectors (Wagner, C. April 2006).
Moreover, the consumption patterns of German consumers are still inclined towards fast and convenient meals as they continue to lead hectic lives. The increase in single-person households and working women, supported by higher disposable incomes and some increase in the population ensure a stable demand for this sector. However, food outlets should look towards providing healthier food items as an aging population puts more value on fitness and health, particularly in the food that they consume.
Expanding a fast food chain in Germany
Germany instated laws that are generally friendly to foreign traders and investors. It has also enacted policies that put local and overseas investors on level footing in terms of tax benefits, investment grants, loans and R&D grants. An overseas fast food company can benefit from the mature franchise market of Germany. However, any investor should take into consideration competition, name recognition challengers, pervasive labor regulations and high salary costs plus the differences in market structure and conditions (Winkler-Helmdach, D. December 2005). Furthermore, the German market puts high regard on brand quality in their purchases and overseas investors should ensure that their products or services meet set standards (World Wide Tax, 2004b).
The Japanese Market
There is intensified competition in the Japanese market for products and services. This is generally evident in the urban areas of Metropolitan Tokyo where many fast food chains and restaurants have for years fiercely competed in the form of price wars, location and also by way of imitating a rival’s competitive advantage. A few global fast food chains such as KFC and McDonald’s have survived while many have bolted out of the competition.
Despite the mature fast food market, plenty of prospects are still available to a newcomer. Based on demographics, the Japanese market is easily a 127.5 million consumer base with around 80 million Japanese residing in urban areas and 12 million of which are based in Metropolitan Tokyo. Moreover, complementing the high standards of living in its urban areas are higher personal disposable incomes and savings rates that permit consumers to indulge in expensive meals and other purchases. Japan boasts of high per capita incomes and GDP at US$ 33,100 and US$ 4,367 respectively.
Much like in Germany, there is an increasing trend for single-person households and working mothers. This development has its effect on reduced home-cooked meals and the outright penchant for take away food items and services.
The Japanese puts value on US brands and can be quickly enticed to try out Western brands. “Japanese are obsessed with what’s novel and eye-catching.” says Hikaru Hayashi, a senior researcher at think-tank Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living. Hayashi adds that “Smart marketing draws instant crowds in Tokyo, but only some products survive the test of time” (Kageyama, Y. March 2007). When said curiosity dies down, consumers revert back to traditional consumption patterns for food items and outlets.
To sustain operations in an intensely competitive market, an overseas food service firm should invest heavily in expanding into multiple locations. According to a report from the Japan External Trade Organization or JETRO, “In the fast food market, where shops are generally small, it is considered that 100 outlets are the minimum requirement for a chain to take hold.” Therefore, should it be that capital is not enough to initially open the recommended number of outlets; then it would not be wise for the investor to proceed with the expansion or the firm will not be able to generate revenues adequate to sustain operations. The report adds that “To boost sales and put the business in orbit, therefore, it is necessary to make the shop name known in a short span of time” (JETRO, 2003).
The fast food chain’s outlet size also promotes its credibility in the minds of the Japanese consumer. “You like Wendy’s? Yes we have (it), but it is very hard to find where it (Wendy’s) is, Wendy’s has 90 shops in Japan, on the other hand, McDonalds has over 3,800 shops.” Says Mari, a Japanese blogger on SMT (Mari, September 2005). Thus, more outlets and right out visibility makes a fast food outlet more salable in Japan.
Expanding a fast food chain in Japan
In expanding operations in Japan, an overseas investor should get a good grasp of the system and structures at play. For starters, it is necessary to introduce a fresh fast food concept into the market. Much like bringing a new culture into Japanese shores. This was fundamental to the success of global chain McDonalds. “When foreign chains landed in Japan, they found a virgin market for their product. Then, without hesitation and with conviction, they lead the local market into new territory with gratifying success” (JETRO, 2003).
On the management side, it is important for an overseas firm to partner with a good marketing or distribution firm that is highly committed in the venture. Joint ventures have better chances of success than technical partnerships. Moreover, it is wise to designate internal management in the hands of the Japanese partner. Also important is to forge strong ties with commercial wholesalers for meat, vegetables, condiments and other ingredients in order to facilitate supply and distribution.
So where should an overseas food chain locate its initial outlets? Den Fujita, president of Fujita Shouten and local partner for McDOnalds Japan has this to say “Japanese culture respects all that comes down from the center. The center of Japanese culture today is Tokyo, and that will be where our deployment should start – in the heart of the bustling center of Tokyo” (JETRO, 2003).
The Chinese Market
Many say that China is an emerging economic superpower. What with a population of over 1.3 billion and cheap labor costs is a combination attractive to foreign investors. Ever since China’s re-entry at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2002, foreign trade policies have been eased out, heavy tariffs rates were considerably reduced and foreign direct investments (FDIs) are on the rise with the liberalization of many of its industries. According to the Worldwide-Tax.com, Chinese laws concerning foreign investments have been significantly eased. The attitude to foreign investment in China has changed, among other matters; foreign investors are permitted to form companies that are 100% owned by foreign capital (Worldwide-tax.com. 2004a).
By literally opening its doors to overseas investors, China unleashed its hold on domestic markets and transformed local hunger for imported products and services into opportunities for international expansion.
Complementing its population strength is a younger age structure, where 50% of Chinese consumers are aged below 29 years old. This translates into long-term prospects for many foreign-owned companies seeking growth rates from outside their saturated market bases. Apart from that, individual purchasing power has been on the rise with the steady increase of GDP and per capita income. China’s per capita income is much lower than that of the U.S., but it’s been rising at an average of 8% per year for the last eight years (Steiner, C. May 2005).
Many overseas fast food companies have looked favorably on China’s fast growing market. To big global brands such as McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut, sales turnover in China is outpacing that of its home base. For other Asian food chains, China either voids the slack at its home market or serves as a breather from the intense competition in Japan’s fast food industry that limits revenue margins and slacks up on corporate growth. Goto Shiro, president of Japanese-owned fast food chain Hachiban remarked: “We think it’s a better idea to expand overseas (in China), where there are fewer rivals, rather than make futile attempts in fiercely competitive Tokyo” (Japan Echo Inc. 2005).
China’s communistic orientation has had much impact on its way of life. Prior to its participation in the WTO, a number of foreign fast food chain already located outlets in China. And yet in an effort to limit foreign influence to its domestic markets, high tariff rates induced high prices for imported products and services that deliberately increased production costs of foreign-owned fast food chains and restaurants. These policies turned locals to stick with traditional food menus and dine with home-based restaurants. With the liberalization of China, the locales have since then altered their consumption patterns, transforming their limitless interest for global brands into a regular eating habit.
AC Nielsen China Managing Director Glen Murphy commented that busy lifestyles and ease of access to a wide variety of fast food restaurants have proven to be “a powerful combination” in attracting Chinese customers. This was to support findings of an AC Nielsen market survey in 2005, which revealed insights on the fast food eating patterns of Chinese. According to the survey, around 97% of consumers based in mainland China frequent fast food restaurants with 30% of respondents eating 2 to 3 times a month (English.people.com. January 2005). This largely explains the phenomenal sales turnover experienced by many fast food chains as China embraces a shift in lifestyle from traditional to more urbanized preferences that is brought about by the increase in disposable incomes, more fast food choices and the work opportunities now available at mainland China.
Expanding a fast food chain in China
A good 500 million of China’s population resides in urbanized, coastal areas while 50% of the population, comprising of farmers are based in interior provinces. Rural-urban migration has increased residence on the more prosperous, coastal section of china. Foreign restaurant and supermarket chains have entered coastal cities, such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dalian, and Qingdao, drawn by their residents’ purchasing power and their looser restrictions on foreign businesses (Gale, F. June 2003). It is therefore necessary to locate food outlets in the coastal cities to benefit from the large population base, bigger disposable incomes, the larger propensity to spend for fast food items and the more efficient distribution system for supplies.
Moreover, a foreign fast food chain needs to work with a good distributor that would most likely enforce the agreed upon terms since most of the meat, rice and vegetable supplies required to produce fast food items can be procured locally. From an online review of the US-DA Foreign Agricultural Service, it was mentioned that “Chinese business is famously a “relationship culture,” in large part because the rule of law is weak, and contracts are difficult to enforce. Face-to-face contact is essential to beginning and maintaining a relationship with a distributor” (Yang, M. July 2006).
Entry into the Chinese fast food market can be by way of joint ventures, technological transfers to a partner and even through full foreign ownership. Likewise, laws permit the limitless establishment of branches by foreign enterprises but again selective to sub-sectors (Wang and Wang, 2007).
Comparative Analysis of Markets
Comparative Market Demographics
25.6% (56 YO and older by 2030)
50% younger than 29 YO
67.3% (15 – 64 YO)
· China has a population strength that is more than ten times that of Japan and Germany.
· More of Japan’s population, at around 60%, is based in urban areas.
· Germany leads in terms of number of immigrants that is 18% of the total population.
· China is a younger market and Germany is an aging market
(Austrade Publication Team, 2007)
Comparative Economic Indicators
(CIA Publications Team, 2007)
(*in US Dollars )
Per Capita Income*
Recovering from burst of bubble economy
Recovering for economic downsizing
Standard of Living
On the rise
· Japan leads in terms of GDP figures and has the lowest inflation rate; signs of recovery from the ill effects of the bubble economy.
· Economic downsizing generated a stagnant economy for Germany; Economic indicators are however encouraging and inflation is kept below 2%
· China is really a fast growing economy despite a lower GDP and per capita income.
(CIA Publication Team, 2007)
Fast Food Service Market
Mature to Decline
McDonalds, KFC, Yum and Denny’s
KFC, McDonalds and Pizza Hut
McDonalds, Burger King, Yum, Nordsee and Edeka
Potential Outlet Locations
Inside Metropolitan Tokyo
· For a mature market, there is intense competition from among fast food players at metropolitan Tokyo
· Under a stagnant economy, it appears that the fast food sub-sector is easing along the lines of maturity and decline but the market in major cities remains highly fragmented.
· The coastal cities of China are an emerging and growing market for fast food products and services. Thus, market profile is fragmented.
Foreign Direct Investment Profile
Corporate Income Tax Rates
Labor Cost Profile
Bargain; extremely low
(1) Tax Benefits: Offset of loses for up to 10 years; (2) Loan Guarantees; (3) Investor Assistance through trade organizations; and (4) Local Taxes: Exception and reduction.
(1) 100% wholly foreign owned companies; recognized but selective; and (2) tax benefits such as value added tax, customs and income tax benefits
(1) 100% overseas ownership is recognized; no discrimination—local versus multinationals; (2) investment grants; (3) tax benefits and (4) low loan interest rates.
· From among the markets, China offers the lowest labor cost while the price of labor in Germany tends to be very high in comparison
· All three markets offer vast opportunities and benefits for FDIs.
Cultural Dimensions Comparative Ranking (Geert Hofstede Variables)
Power Distance Index (PDI)
Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)
Long-Term Orientation (LTO)
· There is greater economic inequality in China based on the PDI ratings.
· Germans are more individualistic while China’s communistic roots breed collectivism.
· The Japanese are more aggressive than either China or Germany based on the MAS variable.
· In the UAI, China can tolerate more uncertainties while in terms of the LTO variable China is more oriented towards the long term virtues of thrift and perseverance.
(Hofstede, G. 2007)
IV. Strategy Recommendations
For a fast food chain that intends to penetrate overseas markets, it is necessary to maintain flexibility with the menu of food and beverage items offered in outlets. While it is crucial to maintain one’s brand identity in terms of offerings and taste, fitting menus to the location through the integration of popular local food items encourages clients to dine again and not just sample the unique offerings of the fast food chain.
In the case of Jollibee, the chain can retain its flavorful burger, pasta, French fries and sandwiches. Its prime positioning tells a customer that its food items are not bland—unlike McDonalds. However, should Jollibee decide to open outlets in Germany, JFC should provide low-calorie and healthy products that must also be tasty from which its food items are known for. If a China outlet is opened, JFC should extend its menu offerings to include popular Chinese dishes. Venturing Japan is a different story. JFC’s outlets in the United States should work out well in order to stir the interest of the regular Japanese consumer.
Pricing of food and beverage products is relative to production costs and per capita income of the overseas market. For high per capita income markets such as Japan and Germany, a fast food chain need not limit its pricing to the minimum except as a means of positioning its products to the market. For markets with low per capita income, the fast food chain should now put premium on being cost effective through cost cuts from distribution down to production and also with on-premise services. However, this would largely depend on the global identity of the chain. Should it be known for its premium pricing rates, then the chain should stick with it, since the market will adjust its incomes just to avail of premium products and services.
In the case of Jollibee, it would be favorable for JFC to maintain its cost-effectiveness. In developing Jollibee as a global brand, it is necessary to crossover to overseas markets its home positioning of “low cost but more delicious meals”
The world is a vast marketplace that global fast food chains can tap. Markets have varying demographic, economic, cultural and business profiles that could come as favorable to one entity and disadvantageous to another. Nevertheless, it is necessary for a fast food chain to carefully weigh circumstances and options in the selection of overseas markets to expand to. Naturally, the viability of a location is relative to the external environment factors and the ability of the chain to respond to it. Where production costs are high, it would not be advisable for chains with cost-leadership strategies to put up outlets. Where competition is intense, small entrants would not survive. It would also take more effort to sell new outlets in mature markets.
Again in the case of Jollibee, it should consider its corporate financial firepower, its willingness to work with an overseas partner, some cultural variables and the suitability of its current offerings to fit market preferences. Germany, China and Japan are potential markets for Jollibee. And only through efficient matching of internal strengths against external factors can the more suitable market be determined.
Fast food chains cannot sustain growth in overseas markets without the help of promotions. Promotion efforts should be intensified particularly in overseas markets as compared to what is regularly done in home markets. In many instances, fast food chains will find it necessary to modify logos color schemes and concepts just like with Jollibee’s to fit local culture. While it is being promoted in its home market as a family restaurant, this concept may not work well in more mature markets or in locations where single-person households are increasing or where preferences are inclined towards sophistication and individualism.
V. Recommendations and Conclusions
Based on the above discussions and the data presented, the proponent recommends expansion of JFC’s core business, which is Jollibee, in China. As per demographics, JFC’s intention of tapping highly populated locations matches with China’s population. The age structure makes it even more viable. In terms of market dynamics, it could be said that JFC cannot work out first mover advantages in China given that other global chains already have established outlets. However, the market structure is fragmented. And as such, there is still that possibility of cornering a niche from which to establish leadership. Should it decide to focus on being cost-effective, it is more likely for the company, considering that most of the food and beverage supplies can be sourced out locally in China and labor is generally cheap.
JFC will surely find favor in operating at growth markets like China than in the mature markets of Japan and Germany. The intense competition in Japan requires much capital funds to open at least 100 outlets and given that Jollibee is just an emerging global brand, success is less likely in fad-crazy Japan. In Germany, the aging population and highly individualistic culture (based on Hoofstead ratings) will not find meaning in Jollibee’s message of family values despite the country’s fondness for hamburgers. Moreover, the high cost of labor is not suited to JFC’s cost-leadership strategies.
Therefore, all roads lead to China as a suitable overseas expansion site for Jollibee. From the data, we find a viable match from demographics, economic variables, market profile and even cultural dimensions. China’s individualism and masculinity rating would work well with a Filipino partner. Apart from that, JFC has had previous experience operating in China. It once had an outlet in Xiamen, maybe re-entering China with an expanded menu base can help capture a larger percentage of the Chinese fast food market. Moreover, JFC owns Yonghe King and tapping into its production system and wholesale networks would most likely create synergistic benefits in terms of cost and overall efficiency.
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