McDonalds Plans Big For S. Africa, India

McDonald’s plans to open 100 more restaurants in South Africa and 120 in India over the next five years as the company seeks out further growth in emerging markets, according to recent interviews with two of the company’s top executives.

Tim Fenton, president of the chain’s Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions, told Bloomberg News the area’s growth is now responsible for about 14% of the company’s operating income, compared with less than 8% five years ago. According to Fenton, China is the main focus for regional investment, with plans for 2,000 McD’s outlets there by 2013.

"It took us 19 years to get to 1,000 restaurants in China," Fenton told Bloomberg. "We will hit the second thousand in four years." McDonald’s has what he termed the "critical mass" there for 15% new-store growth for the next four years. India and South Africa also have reached the point at which the company can take advantage of economies of scale and a reliable supply chain to grow faster, Fenton added.

Don Thompson, McDonald’s No. 2 and COO, echoed those comments in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Since taking the reins in January, Thompson has been on a world tour of the chain’s 32,000 stores to look at growth opportunities in each market. On a visit to South Africa for the World Cup, Thompson affirmed Fenton’s plans for that country. "We have 134 outlets here now and we plan on building at least another 100 to 150 here over the next five years."

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