• Mexican Domino's franchisee boosts position with burgers, coffee

MEXICO CITY -- Alsea SA, a Mexico City-based franchisee of more than 400 Domino's Pizza stores appears to be on its way to becoming that country's newest Tricon as it has added both Burger King and Starbucks stores to its portfolio this year.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, Alsea, owned by the Torrado family, has become a quickservice juggernaut just 13 years after opening its first Domino's.

"They have built the system in Mexico faster and bigger than any other franchisee in or outside the U.S.," Patrick Doyle, executive vice president of Domino's International, told Dow Jones. "They have put an energy into this business that has just been extraordinary."

So pleased with Alsea's success, Domino's arranged for the franchisee to buy out its partners in Brazil, where the chain has about a dozen stores.

Now Alsea has become the first Mexican franchisee of Starbucks, and it bought a 28.5 percent stake in the country's second-biggest Burger King franchiser in July.

The first Mexican Starbucks cafe opened Sept. 6, in Mexico City, and within walking distance from the U.S. Embassy. That store is one of 100 Alsea wants to open in Mexico within the next five years.

Traditionally, Starbucks enters new international markets cautiously and only when it finds the right partner. Following a meeting last year with the Torrado family, it appeared they'd found the perfect one to drive the brand south of the U.S. border.

"We don't have to go up a learning curve with them," Howard Schultz, chairman and founder of Starbucks told Dow Jones. "When you're building a business, you can't play catch up if you don't make the investments early in the infrastructure. They get that. Not all people do."

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