Opening a franchise business as a foreigner

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Opening a franchise business as a foreigner

Postby dan2006 » 13 Jun 2010, 12:59

I have recently narrowed down some options for a business, one is a juice/tea franchise location. I have scoped out a few locations that would seem to do well, and that are not well served by this, and I like the idea of a franchise as they have the brand recognition, and the know how to get someone set up for the first time.

However, I was speaking to a foreigner recently who owns his own business, and he feels that when Taiwanese see a foreigner, they immediately expect that the product you will sell is unique in some way (eg western bar, Mexican food). But that if they see you selling something like tea which is not special in any way (something they can get at a different stand just as well), they will avoid the foreign shop.
Obviously this gave some pause to my plans. Unless of course I buy it, hire Taiwanese to run it, and just show up from time to time through the back alley behind :D

I can't really make it all special inside to feel foreign or offer special promotions, or even special drinks not usually offered as it is franchised so I am sure they won't allow that.

In addition, I have seen foreigners in night markets, but they don't seem to attract much business.

What says everyone, will this be a problem?
I have not yet contacted the franchise companies yet, as I want to do some preliminary research first.
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Re: Opening a franchise business as a foreigner

Postby Formosa Fitness » 13 Jun 2010, 15:15

dan2006 wrote:However, I was speaking to a foreigner recently who owns his own business, and he feels that when Taiwanese see a foreigner, they immediately expect that the product you will sell is unique in some way (eg western bar, Mexican food). But that if they see you selling something like tea which is not special in any way (something they can get at a different stand just as well), they will avoid the foreign shop.


I can only tell you that as a foreigner selling a local service in the past, i couldn't make it work. I had to switch to a foreign service and foreign product for my business to work. So my guess is the advice you got was good.

As you say, you could just be the boss and let the locals handle sales and service. That also sounds like a solid plan.
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Re: Opening a franchise business as a foreigner

Postby dan2006 » 14 Jun 2010, 01:47

Thanks, so it seems that is true then.
I kind of figured, as the foreigners I saw in the night markets werent selling much. It seemed as if the locals seemed scared to talk to them, perhaps due to a fear of a language barrier, however these foreigners spoke quite good chinese.

I was told to start a business, I should speak to a company called Nexia, but I wonder if calling the franchise company would be able to set me up without going through a third party?
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Re: Opening a franchise business as a foreigner

Postby Formosa Fitness » 14 Jun 2010, 08:35

Selling in a night market for a foreigner isn't smart marketing anyway IMO. It would be the last avenue to try. People who shop at night markets aren't likely people with money and aiming a business at them isn't the wisest idea. If you're a foreigner with a foreign product then you give the idea of authenticity and expertise right away but being at the night market will kill that.

Even if you speak Chinese, having a foreign face is both an asset and a liability. We've found that certain people, even if they have good English, will not inquire about our services and products if the web page is in English. They feel intimidated.

Don't let what I'm saying discourage you, though. I think you could make a tea stand franchise work. If you open one, let us know and maybe we'll stop by.
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Re: Opening a franchise business as a foreigner

Postby headhonchoII » 14 Jun 2010, 10:23

Some Taiwanese are afraid of talking to foreigners. However it's not always true that foreigners won't do well in a night market, I remember alibaba had an extremely popular stall in Shilin night market. But yet most foreign stalls food doesn't sell particularly well.
If you want to run a drinks place you don't need to show your face there. In some ways this plan is good as you are dealing with the regular market, less variables such as will they like your product/presentation or not.
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Re: Opening a franchise business as a foreigner

Postby Fox » 14 Jun 2010, 10:30

Actually, years ago when those chicken sandwich kabab things were popular, I knew a white American guy who was selling them in a night market, making a small fortune (100s of thousands a month). You can make money in night markets. I'm sure, but you are stuck working in a night-market.

You could try opening one of these franchises:
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