EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 50, Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Trends in this issue:

Lots of unusual global brand news in this, our 50th edition. The Big Mac Index is updated. 62% of the world’s population has received at least one vaccination shot. The United Kingdom ends COVID restrictions. Canada’s labor force is ahead of 2019. Fast food chains in Asia are running out of French fires. You will soon be able to order a Big Mac virtually in the metaverse.

First, A Few Words of Wisdom

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up.”, Winston Churchill

“The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.”, Napoleon Hill

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”, Warren Buffett

Highlights in issue #50:

  • Brand Global News Section: Grill’d®, McDonalds®, Pret-A-Manger®, Starbucks®, Taco Bell®, YUM Brands® and White Castle®

Interesting Data and Studies

The Big Mac Index: A Measure of Purchasing Power Parity – The Big Mac was created in 1967 by Jim Delligati, a McDonald’s franchise owner in Pennsylvania. It was launched throughout the U.S. the following year, and today you can buy one in more than 70 countries. However, the price you pay will vary based on where you are, as evidenced by the Big Mac Index.”, The Economist and Visual Capitalist, February 16, 2022

Mapped: Inflation Forecasts by Country in 2022 – Today, this is a question on many investors’ minds. Across several countries, inflation has hit its highest level in decades. Supply shortages and massive monetary stimulus have contributed to increasing consumer prices. Asset prices, including houses, have also risen significantly. In this Markets in a Minute from New York Life Investments we show inflation by country in 2022 according to IMF projections.”, Visual Capitalist, February 10, 2022

Labor markets rebound – “Labor markets in advanced economies bounced back super-fast relative to pre-pandemic levels, but the U.S. is slightly behind. Why it matters: Consider it took years for jobs to come back after the 2008 financial crisis. This is like no other economic recovery in history, said Claire Li, an assistant vice president at Moody’s who helped put together this data. The United Kingdom and Euro area are ahead partly because of the way they headed off job losses at the start of COVID, using fiscal relief to keep workers attached to the job market — instead of paying unemployment benefits to workers.”, Axios, February 10, 2022

Mapped: Corruption Around the World – For more than a decade, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) by Transparency International has been the world’s most widely-used metric for scoring corruption. This infographic uses the 2021 CPI to visualize corruption in countries around the world, and the biggest 10-year changes.”, Visual Capitalist and Transparency International, February 10, 2022

A Global Risk Assessment of 2022 and Beyond – Since the start of the global pandemic, we’ve been navigating through tumultuous waters, and this year is expected to be as unpredictable as ever. In the latest annual edition of the Global Risks Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), it was found that a majority of global leaders feel worried or concerned about the outlook of the world, and only 3.7% feel optimistic.”, Visual Capitalist and World Economic Forum, January 31, 2022

Global Energy

China’s Reliance on Foreign Oil Declines for First Time in 20 Years – China’s crude oil imports and reliance on foreign oil declined for the first time in two decades, reflecting rising global petroleum prices, expanding domestic production and strengthened supervision of local refiners.”, Caixing Global, February 18, 2022

Here’s How Much You’ll Be Spending to Charge Your Electric Car by 2026 – Expect a 390% growth in electric-vehicle spending globally over the next five years. According to Juniper Research, the lower cost and convenience associated with home charging will lead to a 390% increase in global spend over the next five years. This means the $3.4 billion that was spent on EV charging at home in 2021 will rise to $16 billion by 2026.”, PC Magazine, February 18, 2022

Battery Swapping Boosts Appeal for New-Energy Heavy Trucks – Almost every new-energy heavy truck sold in China last month had a swappable battery, in a sign Chinese fleet operators are embracing the technology to beat the traditional limits of electric vehicles and reduce their operating costs. All but 20 of the 2,283 new-energy heavy vehicles sold in January were equipped with a power replenishing system capable of replacing the exhausted battery with a fully charged one in just a few minutes.”, Caixing Global, February 21, 2022

Global Supply Chain & Trade Update

Fast food chains in Southeast Asia are running out of french fries – Signs at some of Yum! Brands Inc.’s KFC outlets in Singapore informed customers that the company would replace side orders of fries with potato waffles due to a “global supply disruption.” McDonald’s Corp. stores in Malaysia and Indonesia halted sales of large-size portions of fries late last month for the same reason, according to company notices posted on Twitter.”, Fortune, February 18, 2022

Asia rethinks ‘just-in-time’ strategy as pandemic upends logistics industry – Pandemic-era disruptions have upended distribution networks and exposed vulnerabilities in supply chains from Hong Kong to Singapore to Australia. Businesses are starting to stockpile more and diversify their suppliers, as regional governments look to shore up supplies of raw materials and essential goods.” South China Morning Post, February 19, 2022

How Supply Chain Issues Continue To Impact The Restaurant Industry – As more independents and franchised QSR’s, Fast Casual and full service restaurants reopen to standard capacity, increasing supply chain issues and problems have made it challenging for business owners, dealers, and operators in the industry……In addition, did you know that continued demand for takeout has exacerbated shortages of items, such as coffee cups, plastic straws, and to-go containers?”, Forbes, February 14, 2022

Global, Regional & Local Travel Updates

12 things to consider for international business travel – To help you prepare for an international business trip, we asked business leaders and travel professionals this question for their best insights. From updating your vaccinations to securing your devices, there are several considerations that may help you best prepare for your international business travels.”, AZ Big Media, February 20, 2022

Australia’s border reopens to international visitors – Australia has reopened its international border for the first time in nearly two years, bringing joyful family reunions and a boost to tourism. The country imposed some of the world’s strictest travel bans after shutting itself off in March 2020 due to Covid.”, BBC News, February 19, 2022

Air France to Introduce 200 New Direct Flights From the U.S. to Paris This Summer – Air France is restoring several flights between the U.S. and Paris this summer, the airline announced recently, as Europe heads into what the World Health Organization described as a “long period of tranquility” in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”, Travel & Leisure, February 14, 2022

Vietnam to Lift Curbs on Tourists March 15 – International tourists must have proof of being vaccinated or recovery from COVID-19 with a negative test result ahead of departure under the current plan, the website reported. They would be required purchase Covid-19 medical insurance coverage worth $10,000.”, Bloomberg, February 16, 2022

Global COVID & Vaccine Update

62.3% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 10.57 billion doses have been administered globally, and 31.82 million are now administered each day. Only 11.4% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.”, Our World In Data, February 20, 2022

Country & Regional Updates

European Union

“Eurozone economic activity rises at fastest pace since September – February PMI shows strong momentum in manufacturing and services while signalling concern over rising prices. The flash purchasing managers’ composite index for the eurozone, an important measure of the health of the manufacturing and services sectors, rose to 55.8 in February, up from 52.3 in January and the highest since September.”, The Financial Times, February 20, 2022


China Tries a Balancing Act as Economy Hits Cross-Currents – As China’s property slump slows its economy, there’s increasing focus on how the central bank and government are going to support growth. As for government spending, that hasn’t ramped up as quickly as some had been expecting. While authorities have emphasized infrastructure investment, their actual spending hasn’t matched the rhetoric.”, Bloomberg, February 21, 2022

Hershey officially denies withdrawing from China saying it is working with dealers to resolve supply issues – On February 11, in response to the rumors of withdrawing from the Chinese market, Hershey told today that China has always been one of the important markets for Hershey Company, and Hershey Company will still maintain an operation team . Continue to invest in the Chinese market and lead the continuous business promotion of distributors in China.”, Caijing (Chinese), February 11, 2022. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto


“Japan’s Economy Recovered in Fourth Quarter – GDP expanded at annualized rate of 5.4% after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, but the new year has brought a surge in infections. The growth was due largely to private spending, which increased 2.7% from the previous quarter. Spending on services recovered solidly after a state of emergency in Tokyo and other cities was lifted on Sept. 30. About 80% of the nation’s population was vaccinated by the end of 2021, making people feel safer to dine out or travel.”, The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2022


“Can Erdogan’s gamble keep the Turkish lira steady? Erdogan argues that his “new economic model” will attract foreign direct investment that will bring hard currency into the country. Even with rock bottom valuations, western investors who have traditionally been the strongest source of FDI into Turkey remain hesitant due to concerns about the country’s economic management and the rule of law.”, The Financial Times, February 19, 2022

United Kingdom

U.K.’s Boris Johnson Ends Covid Rules in England in Major Policy Shift – U.K. premier says Covid restrictions in England to be lifted Plan welcome by ruling Tories key to his political survival. Boris Johnson said the U.K. must learn to live with coronavirus as he ended pandemic rules in England, becoming the first major Western government to do so even as his scientific advisers warned infections will rise.”, Bloomberg, February 20, 2022

The (UK) economy has shaken off the effects of Omicron restrictions at the start of the year to rebound this month. The flash IHS Markit/CIPS composite purchasing managers’ index rose to 60.2 in February, from 54.2 in January, well above the consensus, 55.3. A figure above 50 indicates growth. A strong recovery in consumer spending on travel, leisure and entertainment boosted services companies. The flash services PMI increased to 60.8, from 54.1. Meanwhile, manufacturing PMI held steady at 57.3 as weaker employment growth offset a rise in the output balance.”, The Times of London, February 20, 2022

United States

U.S. Retail Sales Rise Most in 10 Months in Broad-Based Rebound. Total value of receipts jumps 3.8% after dropping in December. Non-store retailers, furniture and autos among biggest gains. The value of overall purchases rose 3.8% in January after a downwardly revised 2.5% drop in the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed Wednesday. The advance was nearly double the median estimate of 2%.”, Bloomberg, February 16, 2022

Brand News

Why Grill’d next move could put some customers off – Customers will have to shell out more money for some of their favourite items as burger chain Grill’d flagged increasing prices in the coming months. Grill’d co-founder and managing director Simon Crowe blamed rising supply chain costs and inflationary pressures as the reason for the rises, noting he hadn’t seen this level of pricing pressures from all angles for over 10 years. It’s turned two of its restaurants entirely plant-based, renaming the new venues which are based in Darlinghurst in Sydney and Collingwood in Melbourne, as Impossibly Grill’d.”,, February 9, 2022. Compliments of Jason Gehrke, President, the Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane

Get Ready to Order Your Big Mac from a Virtual McDonald’s in the Metaverse – Earlier this week, trademark attorney Josh Gerben reported that McDonald’s had filed 10 new trademark applications indicating that it is planning to open a virtual restaurant in the online metaverse.”, Food and Wine, February 11, 2022

Why Pret-A-Manger’s UK Customers Are Seeing Red Over Its Coffee – It must have sounded like a good idea at the time for British chain Pret-a-Manger to offer guests five daily handcrafted beverages, covering choices that included “up to five organic coffees, teas, lattes, hot chocolates and more every day” if they paid a flat fee of 20 GBP ($27.22) monthly (via Pret-a-Manger).  But things don’t always go according to plan.”, Mashed, February 19, 2022

Can Starbucks China s Price Increase for Some Products Win the Future? Starbucks has already taken the lead in raising prices in the US domestic market. CEO Kevin Johnson said at the earnings conference that some product price hikes were aimed at countering the impact on profits from wage hikes and other cost increases.”, (Chinese), February 2, 2022. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

Taco Bell sets sights on reaching 1,000 units outside the U.S. – The brand’s largest international market surpassed the 100-unit milestone and others are soon to follow. As a member of the Yum portfolio, Taco Bell’s strength has come from domestic growth over the past few years. But now Taco Bell is standing out for its success with international locations. The Irvine, Calif.-based chain ended the year with 7,791 units, of which 789 were international — and that growth outside the U.S. is a 25% increase from the roughly 600 international units at the beginning of 2021.”, Nation’s Restaurant News, February 15, 2022

White Castle to hire 100 robots to flip burgers – The robotics program will take place in nearly one-third of the company’s locations. The hamburger chain announced plans this week to install Miso Robotics’ “Flippy 2” in 100 locations. The Ohio-based chain has been experimenting with the robotic fry cook since September 2020, when the original “Flippy” was installed in a Chicago area restaurant.”,, February 18, 2022

Yum China’s fourth quarter 2021 net profit drops 93 percent, plans to add 1,000 stores in 2022. Affected by the epidemic, same-store sales, an important indicator of chain restaurants, fell further in the fourth quarter of 2021, down 11% year-on-year, with KFC and Pizza Hut down 12% and 8% respectively.”, Caixin (Chinese), February 9, 2022. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

This Issue’s Cartoon

Articles & Studies For Today And Tomorrow

2022 Franchising Outlook – Franchising had an exceptional year in 2021, and 2022 looks to be another strong year of recovery. Bolstered by both the strengthening labor market and steady consumer spending, franchising is expected to continue to expand, trending upwards with the United States’ overall economic progression, but the pace of the growth in 2022 is most likely to moderate, due to the current headwinds in the economy.”, The International Franchise Association and FRANdata, February 2022

Coee production and consumption have been consistently on the rise in the past 2 decades. Interestingly, there are some periods that production were surpassed by domestic consumption. Top 10 producing countries provide 83% of world coffee beans. Top 10 markets consumes 81% of world beans. Top market is European Union which consumes 40% of the world beans. United States as a single country consumes 22% of the world beans.”, Tableau Public, 2021

Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.  Please feel free to send us your input for the biweekly report.

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William (Bill) Edwards, Your Newsletter Editor, has a four-decade career successfully accelerating the international growth of more than 40 brands. Bill Edwards has a four-decade career successfully accelerating the international growth of more than 40 brands. Bill is known as an international Problem Solver and Advisor. Over the years, Bill has made and/or seen most of the mistakes companies make when going global. In Bill’s role as a Global Advisor to ‘C’ level executives, his objective is to impart the wisdom he has learned over time to help them minimize costly mistakes.

With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East.  He has lived in China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran and Turkey and has worked on projects in over 50 countries.

Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) provides a complete International solution for companies Going Global. From initial global market research and country prioritization, to developing new international markets, providing in-country operations support and problem solving around the world. Our U.S. based executive team has experience living and working around the world. Our Team on the ground overseas covers 40+ countries.  EGS has twice received the U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence.

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For advice on doing business successfully across 40+ countries, contact Bill Edwards at or +1 949 224 3896.