How Foodservice Managers Can Choose a Country

Guest blog by Tesla Martinez

On Oct. 31, 2011, the United Nations announced that the global population had exceeded seven billion people, introducing a new age of business opportunities. Businesses can benefit from an expanding global population, as this is direct growth in consumer markets.


To increase the chances of identifying the best fit for a product or brand, managers can apply four principles that form an iterative process: 1. Let the Industry Provide Direction – To gauge the potential success of a new foodservice product launch in a different country, managers should first initiate a review of the product or brand opportunity at a 40,000-foot regional or global level; that is, do not begin at the 10,000-foot intramarket view. This means producing size and share modeling metrics of an entire region or the global opportunity for the product (or sub-product types).

This principle and exercise will reveal countries of opportunity by first-, second- and third-tier opportunities. Forecasting these figures will present management with a multiyear strategy of markets to enter now and markets to potentially conquer later. Once a proper cross-country data comparison reveals robust markets of healthy opportunities, managers should then repeat the same steps at the 10,000-foot dive for intramarket estimates at the city, state or regional level. This will help identify the best locations for setting up shop or the largest pockets of consumers eager to try your brand.

2. Let the Consumer Design Local Adaptation – Before selecting a country, managers should conduct due diligence to understand the local consumer preferences. For example, while preferences and tastes vary from country to country, closer scrutiny may disclose they may differ from region to region within a country. Identifying the factors influencing a nation’s lifestyle choices and revealing consumers – what they do and where and how they do it – require managers to examine national lifestyle habits, ranging from health and living standards, income and earning patterns, to eating and drinking habits. Managers can benefit from using this principle by reviewing population data broken down by consumer segment in a given market. Furthermore, this presents an indication of which countries offer the best prospects for your organization.

3. Let the Country Paint a Lay of the Land – By analyzing the political and economic structure of a given country, managers build a snapshot of opportunity and future risks. Managers can measure political risk using quantitative and qualitative factors describing the political system in a country; e.g., repetitive government/parliament elections before the end of their term, potential internal and external conflicts, ethnic structure diversity, history of the country, non-democratic political system, weak legislative power of the parliament, corrupted authorities, etc. You can generally measure economic risks using quantitative variables showing the development of the country as well as its potential weaknesses and risks.

4. Evaluate Competitors – Building competitor profiles to develop a full picture of the strengths and weakness of current and expected rivals in the industry enables management to assess the best strategies employed by players in related markets. Following industry news will provide managers with up-to-date developments and activities of select companies/industries of interest.

Tesla Martinez is the president of Terra Nova Insights LLC. The firm supports international growth strategy for a wide array of consumer foodservice multinationals. For more information, email Please join Tesla in her webinar, "International Business Skills for Communications Executives," on Thursday, Aug. 2. You can participate at and use the discount code "TeslaMartinez" to receive 50 percent off future purchases. Food & Drink magazine is pleased to present the points of view of many different industry stakeholders. If you would like to contribute your own guest blog to our site, please contact the editor at



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