The aviation-themed restaurant Wingstop opened its first location in Indonesia this week at the Kota Kasablanka Mall in Jakarta. Known for its award-winning chicken wings, the restaurant’s opening was attended by many including the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia.
This is just the first of 100 locations set to open over the next seven years through a cooperation agreement made between the American chain and Indonesia-based holding company PT Mega Mahadana Hadiya (Mahadya). According to Izran H. Pulungan, President Director of Mahadya, the agreement will create about 3,000 jobs.
In a discussion with Nation’s Restaurant News this past February, Charlie Morrison, President and CEO of Wingstop Restaurants Inc., expressed his company’s desire to further expand into international markets where there is “great opportunity for growth… Southeast Asia being one.”
With over 650 locations worldwide, Wingstop’s expansion into Indonesia marks the third Asian country for the restaurant after recent openings in the Philippines and Singapore. By adding 100 locations in Indonesia, Wingstop has increased its international commitments by nearly 40%, with nearly half of these in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a confederation of states that has strong trade relations with Texas’s 24th Congressional District, home to Wingstop’s Dallas headquarters. The 24th earned $635 million in goods and services exports to ASEAN in 2012, supporting nearly 4,000 jobs.
Wingstop’s recent expansion mirrors those made by other American companies into the region. Starbucks declared its plan a year ago to open 100 new locations in both Indonesia and the Philippines within four years. At the time of its announcement, Starbucks Coffee Indonesia had 147 locations around 12 major cities. McDonald’s also opened its first location in Vietnam in February of this year. Capitalizing on the growing importance and economic strength of ASEAN and the Southeast Asia region, these new investments by American companies will increase revenues and create jobs across the region.
Kevin Lair is a summer research assistant at the East-West Center in Washington and will be a senior at Washington College this fall.