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Getting to know international chains Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
The retailer IKEA hosted a pop-up Dining Club at a store in London that let customers host dinner party assisted by a professional chef, using kitchenware that's for sale at the store.

What we can learn from international restaurant chains

Editor-in-chief Jenna Telesca discusses the International Top 25 ranking

In the United States, we tend to think of ourselves as the epicenter of the world. (Modesty isn’t chief among our traits.) Of course, there is good reason for that; there’s no denying the power and influence of American culture on countries far and wide.

As demonstrated by the 30,000 McDonald’s units across the globe, a U.S. restaurant presence is alive and well abroad. But there is also a lot U.S. companies can learn from their international brothers and sisters. Sure, multi culturalism is thriving in the domestic culinary world with flavors from countries like Israel, South Korea, the Philippines, and India finding their way onto more menus. However, U.S. restaurants can — and should — look beyond international flavor profiles for inspiration.

Take a gander at the International 25 for the top ranking foodservice companies outside the United States and Canada. This report, presented by global market research company Euromonitor International, shows that many nascent trends in the U.S. are already mature in global markets.

Some takeaways from the Top 25 report

· The global diner doesn’t care about eating at a restaurant.
In the International 25, c-stores are prominent. In fact, the top three foodservice chains in the world are c-stores. This list features other nontraditional players: IKEA’s cafeteria ranks number 11 in the world for foodservice sales with only 380 units, and Ministop is expanding its Cisca concept with a dining area, premium alcohol section and deli area for office workers, according to Euromonitor. The international diner doesn’t care where she buys food if it’s fresh and convenient. The American diner has been moving in this direction, too.
· Asia leads in foodservice
Eighteen of the 25 top international chains by sales are headquartered in Asian countries, and 14 of those are headquartered in Japan. You don’t become world-leaders in foodservice without a strong business model. Make sure you get to know these brands. They may be your competition.
· China is way ahead of us in delivery
This report describes a “delivery revolution” in China, driven by investment and consolidation by e-commerce companies Alibaba Group Holdings and Tencent Holdings. The U.S. is awash in so many third-party delivery partners that a shakeout is bound to happen. In preparation, learn from how the Chinese shakeout manifested. 

Global foodservice leaders have adapted to many of the challenges we’re facing in the United States. No need to do the work again. Get inspiration from these international power houses.

Contact Jenna Telesca at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @JennaTelesca

TAGS: Finance
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