Burger King to open in Curacao

MIAMI Burger King Corp. said it has awarded development rights for the island of Curacao to the franchisee group JDA Foods BV, which plans to open six restaurants over the next five years.

The first restaurant is expected to open during the first half of this year in the capital city of Willemstad. Curacao, located off the north coast of Venezuela, is part of the Netherlands Antilles.

"We believe that Curacao is an attractive market with excellent growth potential for the Burger King brand," Armando Jacomino, president of Burger King's Latin America and Caribbean division, said in a statement. "We are excited about this Caribbean entry as we strive to touch every island in this sub-region. We are also eager to work with JDA Foods BV, a business known for its strong quick service restaurant experience and commitment to excellent customer service."

Burger King currently has units in 25 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, where it has restaurants in Aruba, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The company said at an analyst meeting last week that about 80 percent of its expansion over the next five years would occur abroad. Burger King said it would add about 300 restaurants in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The chain's unit tally will increase by 3 percent to 4 percent annually in subsequent years, company officials said.

Miami-based Burger King operates or franchises 11,395 units in 69 countries, including 7,500 in the United States and Canada.