My partner and I are thinking of moving to BA. (He was born there.) Currently we're living in Atlanta and getting tired of American cities that are just big shopping malls. We're considering buying a Havanna cafeteria franchise. Anybody have any comments about that idea?
I have a very good friend that bought a franchise a couple of years ago, and he has not had a very good experience. Franchises are called a normal job in disguise by some, and this seems to reflect his experience. The master franchise imposes certain terms & conditions that make it hard for you to control your profit margins... you are forced to purchase key products & materials from the main network at "transfer" prices that eat into your margins...etc. Of course, many of my above comments apply to many franchises, not just Havanna. On the other hand, Havanna is facing strong competition from Bonafide, Cafe Martinez and others so its not all roses. Another thing for you to consider is that one of the largest components of your cost will be rent... and with current Real Estate prices in Buenos Aires this is a huge issue. In my view, unless you have the capital to buy a local where you will be operating the business and jump in on the long term real estate gain game, there is a chance that you end up working just to pay your rental and not much more. Just my two cents.
Forgot to add... if you like the Coffee shop bet, I would look into a Cafe Martinez franchise rather than a Havanna. Cafe Martinez is trying to emulate Starbucks and IMHO has a far better (more modern, hip) business plan. As an example, they recently annouced an alliance with La Nacion, one of BA's top newspapers whereby when you buy a breakfast menu you get a free newspaper.... you can see that the folks at Martinez think marketing in a broad sense and are able to cut deals with important companies.
Hope this helps.
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