Krispy Kreme’s grand opening in Kingston, after some spectacular pop ups, brought various reactions. Many admire the event’s savvy marketing. But others wonder how the new brand will impact Prestige Bakery, a local business known for its jelly-filled sugary donuts. Can Prestige compete with this new shiny donut shop?
The larger question, of course, is whether big foreign corporations are putting local entrepreneurs out of business or just adding healthy competition? Franchises bring to Jamaica huge capital, big marketing budgets, new technologies and wide business experience, all of which gives them a competitive edge. That means their local counterparts are usually scrambling in their wake.
Most of these franchises partner with local businessmen. So it’s difficult to play the foreign exploitation card. They also bring jobs, expertise and training opportunities. Krispy Kreme is an American brand that has partnered with Restaurant Associates, which already has in its portfolio Burger King, Popeyes, and Little Caesars.
Having these choices is an upside of globalization. But it also pushes consumerism in a way that benefits first world products, selling them almost as a form of privilege. That’s why we have mixed feelings about these franchises. Looked through a closer lens they reap greater gains than the local economy.
We hope Prestige remains the go-to doughnut shop for many young Jamaicans, as it is for an older generation. We also encourage them to use local knowledge to market meaningfully to its customer base and give those other people a run for their money.