Progress of a sort

by on January 3, 2013 at 3:12 am in Current Affairs, Food and Drink | Permalink

The Libyan sweet tooth has embraced American sticky buns at Tripoli’s Cinnabon outlet, where sales are three times higher than the chain’s global average.

Randy Mercer, regional vice president of international operations for Focus Brands, which owns Cinnabon, told Libya Herald: “Sales have continued to perform at three times the average unit volume of Cinnabon.” He added that the investors were pleased with the returns they were seeing on their capital.

Cinnabon’s Tripoli store was the first American franchise in Libya after the revolution, opened in July by brothers Arief and Ahmed Swaidek. More than two years in the planning, the bakery-cafe chain that specialises in sugary baked goods and cream-laden drinks was clearly a good business choice.

Here is more, and more here too, and here.

1 Ray Lopez January 3, 2013 at 3:51 am

This is typical in any country outside the USA. There is a percentage of people–some estimates I’ve seen informally peg it at 33%–who ape the USA (it’s a fashion statement)–so businesses cater to them. There’s also a minority of business people, like here in Greece, who make money by importing things from outside the USA, slapping a local content label on it (e.g., instructions in Greek) and making a profit (e.g., with trademarked goods). Then of course there are the counterfeiters. Nothing unusual here, move on. TC–when are you going to blog on the benefits of protectionism? Infant industries, beneficial externalities (clustering & Krugman’s work), how modern industry is de facto an oligopoly where the first to establish the same wins this concession, Patents ‘R Good, the poverty trap of being an agricultural country, Brazil vs Mexico vs Singapore vs Hong Kong…the good stuff?

2 affenkopf January 3, 2013 at 7:28 am
3 Ray Lopez January 3, 2013 at 8:08 am

Then there’s the well known Afghanistan ice cream factory that got a lot of press last summer:

4 dearieme January 3, 2013 at 7:35 am

And next the silly sods will start drinking brown sugar water.

5 IVV January 3, 2013 at 9:07 am

Would it surprise you to discover that they already do?

6 Jan January 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Good ole’ sweetened tea.

7 Rahul January 3, 2013 at 7:41 am

He added that the investors were pleased with the returns they were seeing on their capital.

I’m confused. In a place like Libya would the general risk mean investors settle for low baseline rates of return or high to compensate for the risk?

8 gwern January 3, 2013 at 11:48 am

Why would they settle for low baseline rates of return on top of general risk, when they could export their capital to somewhere safer and also higher returing?

9 Rahul January 3, 2013 at 11:59 am

Because some capital might be immovable / illiquid?

10 farmer January 3, 2013 at 8:05 pm

the asset they may be getting returned might be non-monetary. Ie- you start a few businesses in a sleepy city, do well, and you can be mayor/governor/BigMan in the future with the money and goodwill you’ve earned. If you look, I bet most of these are owned by ex-pat Libyans who would re-patriate if they could keep their standard of living and *presto*, they now have a way

11 Dredd January 3, 2013 at 9:29 am

They had free education, health care, interest free loans, and a host of other social sharing of their nation’s oil money.

Now they have cinnamon buns are large grave yards.

Gotta luv that progressive

12 JWatts January 3, 2013 at 9:51 am

I clicked on that link. That was a mistake. A Jesus doll loading a mortar? Really? And ironically, the idiot who captioned it actually wrote: “Enduring Freedom Jesus Christ Doll w/ Rocket Launcher” & “includes projectile bombs w/ depleted uranium tips”. It’s rare to find such complete and utter ignorance all summed up in one picture. There are at least 3 errors in just those two short phrases.

13 IVV January 3, 2013 at 9:54 am

Dredd is always shilling his blog here.

14 Jim K January 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm

This is significant in that America’s love of cinnamon is sometimes a source of confusion in other parts of the world.

15 Ricardo January 3, 2013 at 9:20 pm

According to Cinnabon’s corporate website, it has a major and disproportionate presence in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE. There are far more locations in these countries than in Europe or most East Asian countries so this is obviously something that appeals to a significant number of Arabs. Libya is a natural place to expand to.

16 January 5, 2013 at 5:45 am

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