EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 77, Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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

Introduction: Prices – both up and down – once again highlight our biweekly global business update newsletter. From what a Starbuck’s coffee costs around the world to higher hotel rates due to recovering travel to dropping shipping container costs to a 34% salary increase for Delta Airlines pilots. Interesting AI analyses. And the strange McDonald’s® menu items to be found around the world.

The mission of this newsletter is to use trusted global and regional information sources to update our 1,400+ readers in 20+ countries on key global and local trends that can impact the success of their businesses at home and abroad.

To receive this biweekly newsletter that is read by over 1,400 people in 20 countries, click here:

First, A Few Words of Wisdom From Others

“The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in a person’s determination.”, Tommy Lasorda

“When you’re good at something you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.”, Walter Payton

“There is only one way to succeed in anything….and that is to give it everything.”, Vince Lombardi

Highlights in issue #77:

  • Brand Global News Section:  Appleby’s®, Chili’s®, F45®, Gelatissimo®, McDonalds® and Starbucks®

NOTE: Bolded headlines in this newsletter are live links where the article is available without a paid subscription.

Interesting Data and Studies

The Price of Starbucks Coffee, by Country – In 1971, three former students from the University of San Francisco set up the first Starbucks at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, selling fresh roasted coffee beans, teas, and spices from around the world. This was a relatively humble beginning for what is now the largest coffeehouse chain in the world. Today, Starbucks boasts 32,000 stores across 80 countries, second only to McDonald’s in the fast-food chain business. And like McDonald’s, the price of a coffee at Starbucks varies wildly depending on the country you’re in. This map made by SavingSpot has the answer to which country has the most and least expensive Starbucks coffee…”, Visual Capitalist / SavingSpot, February 24, 2023

Black swans, gray rhinos, and silver linings: Anticipating geopolitical risks (and openings) – The global order still reels from disruptions related to the war in Ukraine, including those in energy, food security, supply chains, and more. A central concern among global CEOs who speak with us is whether and how they will contend with additional geopolitical ruptures when they occur. The imperative to lift one’s gaze and look around the corner has become key to strategy and performance—scenario planning is squarely back.”, McKinsey & Co., February 24, 2023

The Rise of ChatGPT and the Future of White-Collar Jobs – Since its release on Nov. 30, 2022, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot called ChatGPT has taken the world by storm with its ability to provide in-depth answers to a variety of questions and seemingly hold meaningful conversations. The seeming leaps and bounds that ChatGPT represents in the field of AI are refueling age-old fears about the impact of new technologies on the job market, fears that date back perhaps most memorably to the early 19th-century Luddite movement.”, RANE Stratfor Worldview, March 2, 2023

KPMG Global Study Confirms Trusting AI Remains A Major Employee Confidence Gap – Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly used to invent new products and services, enhance productivity, improve decision making and reduce costs, including automating administrative tasks and improving cyber security. However, integrating AI into the everyday workplace still creates challenges, especially without a clear policy and communication process to ensure employees trust the technology methods, approaches, and societal reasons for deploying the new practices and solutions. AI poses unique challenges in employee minds, including the big question – Can they trust the technology?”, Forbes, February 25, 2023

Global Supply Chain, Energy, Commodities, Inflation & Trade Issues

How a Global Shortage Turned Into a Shipping Container Glut – Facing slack demand, low order volumes and rising materials costs, China’s globally dominant container-manufacturing industry is slashing output. Less than two years ago, authorities exhorted companies to dramatically increase production in response to logistics disruptions caused by the pandemic. The Taicang factory in eastern China’s Jiangsu province has cut more than 80% of its capacity and stopped hiring. Chinese factories build more than 96% of the world’s dry cargo containers and 100% of the world’s refrigerated containers, according to U.K. maritime consultancy Drewry.”, Caixin Global, March 2, 2023

Supply Chains Aren’t Fixed, But They’re Getting There Problems remain, but complaints of missing parts, delivery delays and gluts of half-finished products are becoming rarer. While companies that produce memory chips used in phones and PCs are cutting production as they grapple with a historic plunge in demand, manufacturers continue to struggle to get enough of the microprocessors that enable the injection of software into a wide range of industrial products….But complaints of missing parts, delivery delays and gluts of half-finished products are becoming rarer. Overall, running an assembly line feels less and less like a random game of whack-a-mole.”, Bloomberg, February 24, 2023

Consumer Price Inflation, by Type of Good or Service (2000-2022) – The Consumer Price Index (CPI) provides a steady indication of how inflation is affecting the economy. This big picture number is useful for policymakers and professionals in the financial sector, but most people experience inflation at the cash register or checkout screen. Since the start of the 21st century, U.S. consumers have seen a divergence of price movements across various categories. Nowhere is this better illustrated than on this chart concept thought up by AEI’s Mark J. Perry. It’s sometimes referred to as the “chart of the century” because it provides such a clear and impactful jump-off point to discuss a number of economic forces.: Visual Capitalist, February 22, 2023

Global economy: will higher wages prolong inflation?  Price growth remains stubbornly high and central bankers worry that pay settlements will keep it that way. Whether the world’s workers can press home their demands for better pay is the single biggest question facing central bankers around the world this year as they fight to curb the rates at which prices are rising. ‘Even after energy and pandemic factors fade . . . wage inflation will be a primary driver of price inflation over the next several years,’ Philip Lane, chief economist at the European Central Bank, warned in November.”, The Financial Times, February 28, 2023

Global & Regional Travel Updates

Travel demand fuels a boom in Asia Pacific — in hotel rates. Finding a great hotel deal may be harder than ever before. Finding a great hotel deal may be harder than ever before. Hotel rates are at an “all-time high,” Alan Watts, Hilton’s Asia-Pacific president, told “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday. Rates are being fueled by travel demand that is like “a feast … to offset the famine,” he said, referencing the pandemic. According to earnings reports, Hilton’s average daily rates increased by 8% in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared with the same period in 2019. Similarly, Marriott and IHG hiked prices by 13%, while Hyatt had a 14% daily rate increase.”, CNBC, March 5, 2023

Delta Pilots Ratify Contract With Massive 34% Salary Hike – Roughly 78% of Delta’s 15,000 pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), voted to ratify the new contract, which includes over $7 billion in cumulative increases through December 2026. Delta’s pilots get an immediate raise of at least 18%, with another 5% after one year, 4% after two years and 4% after three years, according to a contract seen by Forbes.”, Forbes, March 1, 2023

Qantas to Hire 8,500 Workers Over Decade to Reverse Covid Cuts – Roles include pilots, engineers and cabin crew, airline says Expansion underscores aviation’s post-Covid growth trajectory. With potentially more than 300 new aircraft arriving in the next 10 years, Qantas also plans to open an engineering academy to help maintain the fleet, it said Friday.”, Bloomberg, March 2, 2023

Country & Regional Updates


“Australia’s economy grows 0.5% in December quarter powered by household and government spending –  The country’s GDP grew by 2.7% through the year, marking the fifth consecutive quarterly rise in GDP. Consumer spending and government expenditure were the driving forces behind the 0.4% increase in overall consumption, with the retail, hospitality and transportation industries seeing the most significant gains. Meanwhile, the export sector experienced 1.1% growth, mainly thanks to a surge in demand for travel services and the continued interest from foreign markets in Australia’s coal and mineral ores.”, Proactive, March 2, 2023


Bank of Canada expected to hold rates steady in face of conflicting economic signals – After eight consecutive rate increases, central bank officials believe they’ve done enough to get inflation back under control. The pace of consumer price growth remains well above the bank’s target. But there are increasing, if conflicted, signs that higher borrowing costs are having their intended effect: slowing the economy and weighing on price growth. In January, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem announced a “conditional pause” to further rate hikes, teeing up the March 8 rate decision as a turning point for monetary policy.”, The Globe & Mail, March 5, 2023


Here’s how much economists expect China s GDP to grow this year – The Chinese government is widely expected to announce on Sunday a GDP growth target of around or above 5% for the year. The average estimate among economists is slightly higher, at 5.21%, according to CNBC analysis. China’s latest factory data marked the highest reading in nearly eleven years, indicating further recovery ahead.”, CNBC, March 1, 2023. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

Private Sector’s Shrinking Share of China’s Top Stocks – The share of private enterprises in the total market capitalization of China’s top 100 listed firms has suffered an unbroken decline since peaking in mid-2021, according to new research by U.S. think tank the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE). As of the end of 2022, companies less than 10% state-owned comprised 42.8% of the total market cap of China’s top 100 listed firms, down 1.7 percentage points in six months, data compiled by PIIE researchers Tianlei Huang and Nicolas Véron show.”, Caixin Global, February 22, 2023


Dollar Woes, Inflation Batter Egyptian Firms’ Hopes for 2023 –  Activity in Egypt’s non-oil economy contracted for a 27th month, with businesses seeing little prospect that high inflation and foreign-currency shortages will ease this year, a survey showed. The Purchasing Managers’ Index compiled by S&P Global, which measures the performance of the private sector, rose to 46.9 in February from 45.5 the month before, yet remained well below the 50 mark that separates growth from decline.”, Bloomberg, March 5, 2023

Eurozone & European Union Countries

Europe’s Top Economies Lag Behind on Pandemic Export Rebound – Cross-border trade in all European Union countries is now above pre-pandemic levels. Yet a closer look reveals that Germany’s exports in 2022 were only 18% above those in 2019 and France trailed even more with a mere 15%. That compares with a euro-area average of 30%. Within the 20-member currency bloc, Slovenia, Latvia and Greece lead the export recovery, all showing increases higher than 60% versus the pre-pandemic period.”, Bloomberg, February 23, 2023


Pay attention to Indonesia. It will help determine the future of Asia – It’s hard to think of another country as big and important as Indonesia that is so completely ignored by the American public. With a population of 274 million, it is the fourth-largest country in the world, the third-most populous democracy, and the most populous Muslim-majority country. It is the world’s largest producer of nickel and could become the second-largest producer of cobalt. It dominates one of the world’s most strategically important waterways — the Straits of Malacca, linking the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Most of China’s energy supplies pass through the Straits.”, Washington Post, February 20, 2023

Nickel Shows Indonesia How to Escape the Middle Income Trap – The success of its strategy to boost investment in smelting has encouraged the government to expand the idea to other industries. The goal is to double per-capita GDP to $10,000 by 2045, which would bring Indonesia close to the World Bank’s high-income threshold. At the same time, the shift would create new centers of growth outside Java, its richest and most populated island.”, Bloomberg, February 24, 2023


“Country Announces Public-Private Partnerships to Boost Economic Activity – The Peruvian minister of production announced the launch of more than 30 public-private partnerships, collectively worth more than $9 billion, in a bid to boost the economy….The projects are in a variety of sectors including road maintenance, energy and sanitation. The first two months of 2023 saw economically disruptive protests as Peruvians demanded early elections and the release of former left-wing President Pedro Castillo, who was impeached and detained on Dec. 7, 2022, following a coup attempt. Peru was the fastest growing economy in South America over the past decade, with an annual average of 5.9% gross domestic product growth.”, RANE Stratfor Worldview, March 1, 2023


Over 1,000 Companies Have Curtailed Operations in Russia—But Some RemainSince the invasion of Ukraine began, we have been tracking the responses of well over 1,200 companies, and counting. Originally a simple “withdraw” vs. “remain” list, our list of companies now consists of five categories—graded on a school-style letter grade scale of A-F for the completeness of withdrawal.  The list below is updated continuously by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his team of experts, research fellows, and students at the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute to reflect new announcements from companies in as close to real time as possible.”, Yale School of Management, March 2, 2023


Spain’s February jobless rises 0.1% from January to 2.91 million – The number of people registering as jobless in Spain rose by 0.1% in February from a month earlier, or by 2,618 people, leaving a total of 2.91 million people out of work, data from the Labour Ministry showed on Thursday. The number of unemployed people was the lowest registered in a month of February since 2008, the ministry said, adding that the data reflected ‘a trend of stability in the labour market’. Meanwhile, consumer prices in Spain rose 6.1% year-on-year in February – a faster pace than the 5.9% during the 12 months to January – preliminary data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) showed on Tuesday.”, Reuters, March 2, 2023


Thai economy seen growing 3% to 4% this year, inflation to fall – Thailand’s economy is seen growing between 3%-4% this year as it follows a sustained recovery path despite a global slowdown, with tourism and private consumption key drivers, the central bank said on Tuesday. Headline inflation, above target at 5.02% in January, should return to within the targeted 1%-3% in the second half of 2023, the Bank of Thailand said, citing a speech on Monday by its governor, Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput.”, Reuters, February 28, 2023

United Kingdom

World’s Largest Four-Day Work Week Trial Finds Few Are Going Back – And about one in six employees in the study said no amount of money would convince them to return to five days a week. The study involved 61 organizations and about 2,900 workers who voluntarily adopted truncated work weeks from June to December 2022. Only three organizations decided to pause the experiment, and two are still considering shorter hours, data released Tuesday showed. The rest were convinced by revenue gains, drops in turnover and lower levels of worker burnout that four is the new five when it comes to work days.”, Bloomberg, February 20, 2023

HSBC to halve space for head office – HSBC told staff that it may yet remain at its tower in Canary Wharf, with renovations. HSBC moved into the tower, owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, in 2002. Its lease expires in early 2027. HSBC’s mooted departure from Canary Wharf echoes law firm Clifford Chance, which is ditching 700,000 sq ft of space in a Canary Wharf tower for a City office less than half the size. The enduring popularity of remote working is forcing Canary Wharf Group, the site’s owner, to offset the fall in office workers by attracting more families and tourists. Chief executive Shobi Khan is seeking to diversify away from banks and law firms, by building lab space to attract companies in life sciences.”, The Times of London, February 21, 2023

United States

Brisk Sales Are Powering Restaurant Stocks – High inflation hasn’t prevented chains from thriving. The restaurant industry usually fares well when labor and food costs rise gradually, and attracting customers with lower prices becomes easier. Even though inflation has remained stubbornly high of late, that hasn’t prevented restaurant companies—and their stocks—from thriving. Shares of restaurant chains have been among this year’s stronger performers, after lagging behind in early 2022.  Restaurants haven’t been immune to rising labor and food costs, but prices at grocery stores have actually risen more quickly than on restaurant menus over the past year, driving more traffic to restaurants.”, The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2023

Bars, Hotels and Restaurants Become the Economy’s Fastest-Growing Employers – Hospitality companies revive their hiring after pandemic cuts, offsetting slower growth in tech jobs. The leisure-and-hospitality industry is rebuilding its workforce after cutting back during the pandemic’s early days. In contrast, companies focused on providing business and tech-related services have slowed their growth in recent months. Because the hospitality industry includes a larger number of private-sector jobs than the tech and information sectors, the shift in hiring patterns has helped keep the U.S. unemployment rate at a 53-year low and the overall job market tight.”, The Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2023

Brand & Franchising News

Applebee’s Is Closing Even More Locations Nationwide – Applebee’s parent company Dine Brands anticipates that the chain will have between 10 and 20 fewer restaurants in its roster when 2023 comes to a close, Restaurant Business Magazine reported. This would be an even larger decrease in store count for Applebee’s than in 2022, when it ended the year with nine fewer stores after closing 13 and opening four new locations.”, Eat This, Not That!, March 3, 2023

How Chili’s Is Prepping for Tough Times, Starting With the Fries – Rising costs and a shortage of workers are pushing the Southwest-style restaurant chain to do more with less. When Kevin Hochman became CEO last June of the company that owns Chili’s Bar & Grill, amid a labor shortage and escalating costs, he started looking for bottlenecks in the kitchen. When he started the new job last year, inflation was spiking, and the economy was blinking early warnings of a slowdown. In the months since, he has trimmed menu offerings, raised prices and streamlined kitchen procedures.”, The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2023

Take a Crack at These Breakfast Franchise Opportunities – Breakfast is a multibillion-dollar opportunity for entrepreneurs. Gen-Zers – adults born between 1993 and 2003 – consistently buy breakfast through third-party delivery services. In fact, two-thirds of Gen-Zers buy breakfast outside the home at least once a week, according to food manufacturer J.M. Smucker Co. But is owning a breakfast franchise a wise investment? If the success of American icons like Denny’s and IHOP are any indication, breakfast franchises are a hit in any community. Here are 13 breakfast franchise opportunities to consider in 2023.”, FranchiseWire, February 27, 2023

Multiple F45 Training gyms collapse, equipment up for sale on Facebook Marketplace – A popular Aussie gym franchise has suffered an epic fall from grace with staff laid off, mass resignations from board members and its share price staying stubbornly low. And now it’s emerged that a number of stores have gone into liquidation in the past several months while gym equipment is being sold incredibly cheaply online in a sign of the business struggling to stay afloat. F45 Training – which known for its functional high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes that takes place in 45 minutes – was at first an Australian success story after hitting the New York Stock Exchange in 2021 and raking in $500 million on the first day.”,, February 22. 2023. Compliments of Jason Gerhrke, Managing Director, Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane

Gelatissimo opens stores in Thailand, Singapore, Hawaii – Australian gelato chain Gelatissimo has opened five new stores – including in Thailand and Singapore – taking its international store network to 70. One store has opened in Sunny Laguna in Phuket, Thailand, another in Hawaii’s Royal Hawaiian Center at Waikiki and a third at Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore. In Australia, the company opened stores in Rhodes, NSW, and Highpoint, Victoria.”, Inside Retail, February 22, 2023

Strange McDonald’s menu items around the world – The fast-food place has created menu items that fall in line with a foreign country’s culture. McDonald’s doesn’t operate like a regular fast-food corporation. With over 38,000 locations in over 100 countries, the chain prides itself on two things — uniformity and cultural awareness. The latter is evident in its menus in other countries, whether it’s replacing the famous Big Mac with a pork burger in Thailand or offering a larger variety of vegetarian options in India. Here is a look at unique menu items specific to other countries.”,  Deseret News, February 18, 2023

Starbuck’s China: Big opportunities inject shot of caffeine into smaller cities – Popular chains bank on lower costs, ties with customers for rapid expansion. Starbucks entered the Chinese market 24 years ago and, beginning in January, consumers in the downtown area of Suihua, Heilongjiang province, can also enjoy Starbucks beverages as the coffee chain has opened its first store in the smaller city. The move into lower-tier Chinese cities signals the rapid expansion from top on-premise coffee chain players to grab more consumers at better costs, said an industry expert.},  China Daily, February 21, 2023. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

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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™ on the ground covering 25+ countries provides us with updates about what is actually happening in their specific countries. 

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Over 4 decades William (Bill) Edwards has steered more than 40 brands successfully through the complexities of Going Global. Problem-solver, strategist, visionary and trusted Global Advisor, Bill Edwards sees what others don’t. Now he’s sharing this unmatched experience and wisdom with select senior executives traversing the complex international growth landscape.

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