EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 82, Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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

Introduction: In this issue, Artificial Intelligence apps are impacting all aspects of business but in different ways in different countries. Airports are fuller than 2019. Inflation continues its slow decline from on high. ‘Hybrid’ workers have a better life, apparently. McDonalds® find a way to become accepted in France while Starbucks® opens in Rome.

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

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”, Leon C. Megginson

“All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.”,  

Max McKeown

“Honesty is the best policy in international relations, interpersonal relations, labor, business, education, family and crime control because truth is the only thing that works and the only foundation on which lasting relations can build.”, Ramsey Clark

Highlights in issue #82:

  • Brand Global News Section:  Burger King®, Carl’s Jr.® & Hardees®, Dominos®, McDonalds® and Tim Horton’s®


Interesting Data and Studies

Visualizing Global Attitudes Towards AI – Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest growing and most disruptive technologies in the world today. Because it has the potential to drastically impact society, it’s important to measure how people are feeling towards it. This infographic visualizes survey data from market research firm, Ipsos, to see how attitudes towards AI varies by country. By including each country’s GDP per capita, we can see that wealthier populations are more skeptical about products and services that use the technology. This data is based on a 28-country survey of 19,504 adults aged 18 to 74. Polling took place between November and December 2021, and the results were published in January 2022.”, Visual Capitalist, May 9, 2023

The jobs AI won’t take yet – A March 2023 report from Goldman Sachs estimated that AI capable of content generation could do a quarter of all the work currently done by humans. Across the European Union and US, the report further notes, 300 million jobs could be lost to automation. Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. The experts issue their warnings with a caveat: there are still things AI isn’t capable of – tasks that involve distinctly human qualities, like emotional intelligence and outside-the-box thinking. And moving into roles that centre those skills could help lessen the chances of being replaced.”, BBC New, May 8, 2023


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

Annual % change in consumer price index

Global inflation tracker – Inflation has started to show signs of easing from the multi-decade highs reached in many countries following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The latest figures for most of the world’s largest economies still make for worrying reading, with price pressures remaining high as the war in Ukraine continues to keep energy and food prices elevated. But in some countries pressures have eased and energy and food wholesale prices have declined. Economist and investors also expect inflationary levels to stabilise in the next few years.”, The Financial Times, May 10, 2023


Global & Regional Travel Updates

The World’s Busiest Airports, by Passenger Count – The infographic above uses data from Airports Council International (ACI) to rank the top 10 busiest airports in the world, looking at total passengers enplaned and deplaned, with passengers in transit counted once. In 2022, worldwide passenger traffic came near to 7 billion, an increase of almost 54% from 2021, and a 74% recovery from pre-pandemic levels.”, Visual Capitalist, May 8, 2023


Country & Regional Updates


Hybrid workers are eating healthier, sleeping and exercising more, survey finds – A recent report by IWG, a global operator of flexible workspaces, found these workers eat healthier, exercise more and drink less alcohol, too. The company’s survey of 2,000 workers in Canada shows: More than 70 per cent of hybrid workers now cook and eat healthier meals; Workers enjoy an extra 73 hours of sleep a year; Exercise over 40 minutes per week longer compared to before the pandemic; More than a quarter (27 per cent) said they have decreased their alcohol consumption. Overall, 82 per cent of respondents believe hybrid working has improved their quality of life and 66 per cent reported improved mental health and well-being.” The Globe and Mail, May 14, 2023


Charting and Mapping China’s Exports Since 2001 – In 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization, the value of its merchandise exports stood at $266 billion. Over the next seven years, the country’s exports grew uninterrupted until the 2008 financial crisis caused a sharp decline in global trade. This cycle would repeat again with consecutive growth until 2015 (another global trade slowdown), followed by slowed growth until 2020 (the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic). But merchandise exports skyrocketed by 30% in 2021, and by the end of 2022 had grown to an estimated $3.6 trillion per year. That means China’s exports alone are bigger than the entire economies of countries like the UK, India, and France.”, Visual Capitalist, May 2, 2023

China’s data-security laws rattle Western business executives – Authorities go after foreign companies for hazily defined data transgressions. Chinese firms that sell information about the Chinese economy and companies are being forced by their domestic overseers to curtail their operations abroad. Firms supplying Chinese corporate records, such as Qichacha, are no longer permitted to do so outside China. To the dismay of academics around the world, cnki, a digital subscription platform for Chinese research papers, suddenly became inaccessible to accounts outside the country in March. In just the past few months many of the links that have helped the world understand China have been severed.”, The Economist, May 4, 2023


Once Europe’s Headache, Greece Finds Its Feet – Ahead of elections, doubts on country’s euro membership have gone away. Greece’s economy nearly broke the euro last decade. Now it is one of the fastest-growing in Europe’s common-currency zone.  Nobody frets about Grexit any more in Greece’s once-again bustling capital city. In streets that were previously blighted by closed storefronts, locals complain about rising rents and the spread of Airbnb apartments.”, The Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2023


Slowest India Inflation in 18 Months Boosts Rate Hold Calls – Consumer prices rose 4.70% in April versus 4.76% estimate within target band will give RBI room to support growth. A third straight month of cooling prices brings the marker closer to the mid-point of the Reserve Bank of India’s 2%-6% target.”, Bloomberg, May 11, 2023

A digital payments revolution in India – How emerging economies from India to Brazil built alternative payments models. The Unified Payments Interface (upi) is a platform that allows free and fast account-to-account transfers using fintech apps such as PhonePe or Google Pay. Unlike AliPay in China, it is open, so users are not locked into a single company and can take their financial history to competitors, notes Praveena Rai, the chief operating officer of the National Payments Corporation of India (npci), which manages the platform. And it is facilitated by qr codes or easy-to-remember virtual ids.”, The Economist, May 15, 2023


Indonesia emerges as world’s second-largest cobalt producer – Fast-growing supply depresses prices but raises fears about China’s control of market. The south-east Asian country generated 9,500 tonnes of cobalt last year — 5 per cent of the global supply — up from minimal volumes before 2021, according to an annual market report by the Cobalt Institute, an industry group. That means it has overtaken established producers Australia and the Philippines.” , The Financial Times, May 9, 2023


Starbucks moves into central Rome as Italy surrenders to Frappuccino – Starbucks has advanced its stealthy conquest of Italy by opening its first café in central Rome, close to the city’s parliament, allowing Italian MPs the chance to pop out for a frappuccino during recess. Long considered off limits by the Seattle coffee giant, Italy is fast surrendering to the company’s large pots of milky, frothy, fruit-flavoured coffee, with 25 stores now open and more to come. ‘Italy is not easy, but people are appreciating the coffee,’ said Vincenzo Catrambone, the chain’s Italy general manager.”, The Times Of London, May 11, 2023

The Philippines

Cooling Philippine Inflation Boosts Odds of Rate Pause – Month-on-month consumer price index fell 0.2%, same as March Central bank says risks to CPI outlook ‘tilted heavily’ upside. Philippines’ overall inflation cooled for a third straight month in April from a year ago and was below all analysts estimates, supporting the case for a pause in monetary policy tightening.”, Bloomberg, May 4, 2023

United Kingdom

Bank of England boosts forecasts for UK growth – The upgrade is the largest in the monetary policy committee’s 26-year history and contrasts with dire warnings last autumn that the UK was heading for the longest recession in half a century. The outlook has shifted so much because global wholesale gas prices have fallen below their levels before the Ukraine war and household spending has been boosted by government support measures. Unemployment also remains low. The Bank warned inflation would fall more slowly than previously projected, dropping to 5 per cent at the end of 2023, compared with February estimates of 3.9 per cent.”, The Times of London, May 12, 2023

Mortgage lenders offer 100% loans for first time since 2008 – This will be the first 100 per cent mortgage available since the last financial crisis. The deal will be fixed for over two years to guard against the risk of borrowers ending up in negative equity. Some banks, including Barclays, Lloyds and some smaller building societies, are willing to lend up to 100 per cent of a property’s value but only if the borrower’s family put down a deposit of up to 20 per cent.”, The Times of London, May 8, 2023

United States

(U.S) Workers Are Happier Than They’ve Been in Decades – Labor shortages and shifting expectations lead to improvement for millions, survey shows. Job satisfaction hit a 36-year high in 2022, reflecting two effects of the tight pandemic labor market: The quality of jobs improved as wages and work flexibility increased, and workers moved into positions that were a better fit. Last year, 62.3% of U.S. workers said they were satisfied with their jobs, according to new data from the Conference Board, up from 60.2% in 2021 and 56.8% in 2020. The business-research organization polled workers on 26 aspects of work, and found that people were most content with their commutes, their co-workers, the physical environment of their workplace and job security.”, The Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2023

Comparing the Speed of Interest Rate Hikes (1988-2023) – After the latest rate hike on May 3rd, U.S. interest rates have reached levels not seen since 2007. The Federal Reserve has been aggressive with its interest rate hikes as it tries to combat sticky inflation. In fact, rates have risen nearly five percentage points (p.p.) in just 14 months. In this graphic— inspired by a chart from Chartr —we compare both the speed and severity of current interest rate hikes to other periods of monetary tightening over the past 35 years.”, Visual Capitalist, May 7, 2023

SBA Research Sheds New Light on Small Business ExportersThe U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released new findings from a commissioned study on the Total Addressable Market (TAM) of small business exporters in America.  Among the key findings from the study is new data, based on recent business surveys, that places the number of exporting small businesses at 1.3 million – an almost fivefold increase over the estimates previously published by the federal government. Furthermore, the research places the potential market size, or total addressable market, at over 2.6 million small businesses, representing 42 percent of all small employer businesses.”, U.S. SBA press release, March 14, 2023


Brand & Franchising News

This Fast-Food Chain (Burger KING®) Is Shutting Down Up to 400 Restaurants – The affected restaurants will close by the end of 2023. By the end of 2023, Burger King will shut down hundreds of its nearly 7,000 restaurants across the country. Up to 400 Burger King locations will close by the end of 2023, in addition to 124 locations that have shut down this year already.”, Taste Of Home, May 11, 2023

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s to roll out A.I. drive-thru ordering nationwide – CKE Restaurants, the parent of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, has partnered with Presto and OpenCity, which both have the ability to launch at the company’s locations nationwide. Presto Voice is already used at Del Taco and Checkers & Rally’s restaurants, while OpenCity’s Tori has been used by a Popeyes franchisee. Additionally, Valyant AI has a deal with CKE to use its voice-ordering tech at 32 locations, with the ability to expand to another 21 restaurants in the coming months.”, CNBC, May 4, 2023

Domino’s Pizza eyes 420 more stores in China after Hong Kong IPO – DPC Dash entered the cities of Qingdao, Changzhou, and Wenzhou last Saturday, taking the store count to 638 as of April 30. ‘The recent listing was a great achievement for DPC Dash as well as for our global franchisor, Domino’s Pizza,’ said Frank Paul Krasovec, director and chairman at DPC Dash. ‘With the newly raised proceeds, we aim to aggressively expand across the greater China region and to bring our comprehensive product offerings to hundreds of millions of potential Chinese consumers.’”, Inside Retail Asia, May 5, 2023

Tim Hortons to enter South Korea this year – Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons is set to expand into South Korea this year through a master franchise agreement with local quick-service restaurant firm BKR. ‘South Korea is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing coffee markets,’ said David Shear, president international of Restaurant Brands International. According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation, the number of coffee shops in the country reached its peak last year with about 99,000 stores, increasing 17.4 per cent year on year.”, Inside Retail, May 11, 2023. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

The Genius Way McDonald’s Held Its Own In France – One of McDonald’s’ earliest targets, however, was also one of its trickiest: France. Unsurprisingly, one of the culinary capitals of the world took some convincing to get on board with McDonald’s hegemony. Shockingly, though, it’s now quite popular there, all because McDonald’s eventually embraced French culture. McDonald’s didn’t have success in France until the turn of the millennium, when executives decided to really lean into McDonald’s becoming French.”, The Daily Meal, May 10, 2023

NZ attractive to international franchise brands – The latest quarterly GlobalVue™ chart from Edwards Global Services (EGS) once again ranks New Zealand in the top 10 countries in the world for franchises to consider when expanding internationally. In fact, New Zealand comes in equal third, just behind the USA and the United Kingdom, and on a par with Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Canada and Israel, and marginally ahead of Australia, France and Saudi Arabia. The long-running ranking chart from the US franchise consultants is significant because it reflects conditions in 40 countries on an international basis, regardless of short-term media stories.”, Franchise New Zealand, May 9, 2023. Compliments of Simon Lord, Publisher, Franchise New Zealand, Auckland

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

William “Bill” Edwards: Global Advisor Is Uniquely Qualified to Steer Sr. Executives Successfully Through the Complex Waters of Going Global. 

With four decades of successful international business experience spanning virtually every corner of the world and many business sectors, Bill Edwards understands the global business landscape like no other.  He has been a County Master Franchisee in five countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East; the Senior VP for a franchisor operating in 15 countries and a full-service consultant taking 40 franchisors global.

For a complimentary 30 minute consultation on how to take your business global successfully, contact Bill Edwards at or +1 949 224 3896.

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