Just eight months after signing a franchisee agreement with Duck Donuts, Marcial Dieguez-Acuna cut the ribbon this week to open the first of 10 planned locations in Chile.
Dieguez-Acuna, CEO of franchisee group OBX Alimentos, was joined by Duck Donuts founder and CEO Russ DiGilio for the opening at Alto Peñalolén, a new open-air mall in Chile’s capital of Santiago. With its made-to-order donuts and array of toppings, Dieguez-Acuna says the “superior donut” offering of Duck Donuts will stand out to Chilean consumers and the experience of watching each donut get dipped and topped is unique to the market.
Dieguez-Acuna shared more about the growing donut business in Chile and his plans for Duck Donuts in this month’s Franchise Times. He also talked about Chilean consumers’ appreciation for U.S. brands, specifically because they’re known for “better service,” and how the country’s “foodie scene” is thriving.
“People are looking for a more elaborate, sophisticated product,” said Dieguez-Acuna.
“Chileans watch a lot of cable TV,” he continued. “They’re exposed to Guy Fieri, Alton Brown, so that has sped up interest in these types of products.”
For his next locations Dieguez-Acuna is eyeing areas with a mix of commercial businesses and residential high rises. “We’re concentrating our efforts to be in high-end neighborhoods of Santiago,” he said, while also noting he expects Duck Donuts to also do well with middle-class consumers because Chile’s economy is growing and people are willing to spend more money for high quality food items.
The location in Santiago is Duck Donuts’ first outside the U.S., and DiGilio said the brand is actively seeking more franchise partners to develop the concept abroad.