Over the past year, McDonald’s invested more than US$4m in opening five new restaurants in Peru, bringing the total to 14. Management anticipates a 72% increase in sales this year, in spite of the fact that consumer power remains stagnant. One key to the chain’s expansion plans is a shift toward serving a middle to upper-middle class customer base, while other restaurants tend to be concentrated in exclusive neighbourhoods.

Up to now, McDonald’s has limited its presence to the capital city, which accounts for about 30% of the nation’s consumer base. For the first time this year, management plans to expand into other urban markets including Arequipa, Chiclayo, Cusco and Trujillo. In recent years, the chain expanded its use of locally produced food items to include bread, chicken, ice cream, milk, onions, and tomatoes. Patented products such as cheese, chips, and sauces still come from production centres in the US.

By Steve Lewis, just-food.com correspondent