San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Business pulse

Costa Rica's franchise sector grows by nearly 13 percent in 2014

Despite reports of slow growth in Costa Rica’s business sector, those operating under the franchising regime grew by 12.7 percent in 2014, according to the National Franchise Center (CENAF), part of the Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce.

A total of 34 new franchises launched operations this year, 22 of them representing international brands. Another 12 are Costa Rican businesses.

CENAF currently lists a total of 267 franchises, 34 more than those registered in 2013. Of these, 211 are international and 56 are local.

“The franchise sector in the country is estimated to have generated 27,634 direct jobs,” CENAF Projects Manager Susana Chaves Araya said.

This week, two international franchisees reported new investment in the country. Coffee giant Starbucks on Monday opened its fifth location in Costa Rica, while U.S. pizza chain Little Caesars on Friday will open its first restaurant here.

American Franchise Corporation, owners of Starbucks Costa Rica, on Monday opened a new location west of San José, across the street from the National Stadium in La Sabana Park.

Starbucks Costa Rica Manager Mónica Bianchini said in a press release that the country has become an increasingly promising market for them, and the company plans to open three or four more locations in the Greater Metropolitan Area next year.

The popular Seattle-based coffee chain began operations in Costa Rica in 2012. Currently they have two stores west of San José at malls Avenida Escazú and District 4, one north of the capital at Lincoln Plaza, and one at Plaza Freses, east of San José.

Low-priced pizza

The first location of U.S. pizza chain Little Caesars will open tomorrow at Paseo de las Flores Mall in the province of Heredia.

The opening of this new franchise represents an investment of $500,000 for Danube Investments, a consortium of investors from Costa Rica, the U.S. and other Central American countries. They also operate Popeyes and Dairy Queen.

The group said it would open a second location of Little Caesars in early 2015 at Zona Centro Mall in Desamparados, south of the capital, and they currently are “looking for new areas to expand the presence of Little Caesars in Costa Rica,” Marketing Manager Virya Navarro said.

The chain is known for offering pizza at affordable prices. Prices here will start at ₡4,500 ($8.50) for a large pizza.

At the opening on Friday, the restaurant will grant the first 50 customers a coupon valid for a weekly large pizza for one year.

Little Caesars is the fourth largest pizza chain in the U.S. after Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza and Papa John’s. In the region the company also has a presence in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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