Due to its excellent Caribbean location, the Dominican Republic has the presence of different and world-renowned chains of fast food restaurants. This led to the McDonald’s chain of fast food arriving in this country in 1996, initially located in Santo Domingo, capital of the island nation.
A year later, taking advantage of the expansion model that the Alimentos MAC SA brand contemplates with José Joaquín Sosa at the helm, he sees the opportunity to acquire the franchise to place it in the second most important city on the island – Santiago de los Caballeros. “The Dominican Republic has 11 million inhabitants, however, more than half of the population lives in Santo Domingo and Santiago, which is the second city in importance” – says the businessman.
Regarding franchising, José Joaquín sees it pertinent to mention that they are not normal franchisees, since they do not use the same model, “as for example in the United States, because here the franchisees make the total investment of the brand”. This is why the ownership of the restaurants and premises used belong to the MAC Foods, “none is leased”, specifies.
Also, as a result of the negotiation with the brand, the country has three different franchisees, a particular fact that gives freedom to expand within the region.
New market strategies
As part of the MAC Food strategy, McDonald’s comes to the city focusing on covering two important fronts. With the first, and as a way to ensure that the quality of their products and services to the public are the same as those of the parent company in the United States, they focus on continuing with the same common denominator of the franchise. However, Alimentos MAC decides to include typical ingredients of Dominican food, seeking to adapt its menu to the needs and tastes of its new clientele.
“An example of this is the inclusion of mangú inside our menu – a traditional dish of the Dominican Republic made with green plantain -, in addition to the characteristic food of the brand,” says José Joaquín.
The second front was focused on incorporating “individual dessert centers”. Although this idea is not exclusive to Alimentos MAC, since it started in Asia and then developed as a pilot project in Brazil, the company saw an excellent opportunity to incorporate it into its business, “showing very positive results over time”. At present Alimentos MAC has two dessert centers, however, as its manager mentions, “within the company’s growth plan, the idea is to have at least one dessert center for each restaurant opened in the city.”
This format also produced a radical change in the way restaurants are managed, since they incorporated additional services and began to employ young workers, thus contributing to the generation of employment in the city. Today, the brand directly employs around 350 people and is recognized as a source of first employment.
Contributing to the local economy and generating an impact on society
More than a company, José Joaquín believes that McDonald’s is an opportunity to contribute to the development of the region. “As a Dominican and recognizing that we are a third-world country, we wanted to change the company, adapting to the local needs of the environment in which we developed,” says the businessman.
Thus, all its products come from 100% Dominican suppliers. “Products such as coffee, bread, chicken and vegetables, we seek to be from local suppliers that meet the quality standards that the franchise demands. We want to create a platform of local value, “he notes.
McDonald’s bases its principles and values on the responsibility that the product offered has with the community in general. Within their values as part of a franchise, they seek not only to provide quality, satisfaction and value through constant verification throughout the entire production phase of their menu. Comply with that responsibility of providing quality products and meeting the caloric standards for the benefit of their clientele.
However, delivering a quality product and service is not the sole objective of the company. As expressed by José Joaquín, McDonald’s, more than just offering a product, wants to generate a positive impact in the city, and it is in this process that the brand is involved in the needs of society, trying to help in day to day .
Through different activities, McDonald’s seeks to make this impact real and decisive. As part of this strategy, the brand organizes volunteers in hospitals, they have a plan to collect money in each restaurant – “where we can raise between 500 and 1000 dollars for children and mothers who are heads of household” -, they also have a a pilot project that seeks to house mothers of children who come from the fields and there they collect food and they are given a roof to live on.
As a primary source of job creation, McDonald’s gives young Dominicans the opportunity to have a first class job. There they are offered different benefits. “We offer them training in personal budget management; We support them with programs to certify them. We offer general medical, visual and dental insurance, benefits that are not common in companies in the country, “says the businessman. In addition, he points out that with respect to the education issue “it is very complicated because the Dominican Republic is a very poor country. The average salary is around 18,000 Dominican pesos – equivalent to 400 dollars per month. In this sense, these young people do not have the opportunity to prepare professionally. For this reason, we have decided to make a career with them and prepare them from our possibilities “.
Keep working to meet future goals
For José Joaquín, the challenges are constant. Trying to maintain the sustained growth they have shown is not an easy task. This is how Food MAC adheres to its plan to expand and open restaurants.
“Our expansion plan will begin next year, where we will open one restaurant per year. In other words, the goal is to reach 12 to 14 restaurants. Likewise, we want to continue counting on a dessert center for each open restaurant “points the businessman.
Not leaving aside the needs of the community where the company develops is another challenge for the future. According to José Joaquín, “we have been taking steps to possibly bring the Ronald McDonald Foundation to the country. This is not an easy task because of the great investment required, however, our commitment as Dominicans is to return to the community the constant support they have given us. ”
“As a Dominican, I can not live with my back to the reality of the country. If we do well, we will all be well. It is not an easy task, however, my commitment as an entrepreneur is also to create an effective platform to help “concludes.
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