Cash in on this Growing Snack Trend Overseas

Malaysia is on the rise. The middle class is growing, disposable income is increasing, and it is one of the easiest places in the world for a foreigner to set up business—ranked 12th of 185 by the World Bank.

In my experience of observing start-ups here in Malaysia, franchising is a very feasible business opportunity in this economy. English is widely spoken among the population of more than 28 million—70% of which is urban based. This offers a good consumer base to potential franchisees considering locating here.

Malaysian multiculturalism has given rise to a tradition of casual dining, and adventurous entrepreneurs might be interested in acquiring a franchise in snacks and fusion food.

As more malls and modern townships are developed in prime areas in Malaysia, the younger consumer population, which is generally well educated and has good income, forms a strong customer-base for food franchises. There has been a surge in demand for higher-end food products provided by trendy international franchises—and local brands—which appeal to the growing middle class.

The country’s franchise business has grown by 20% over the past two years. In January this year, there were 603 franchise brands in Malaysia and some 6,000 franchisees nationwide.

Café outlets are fast becoming informal meeting and dining places where the young and old, traditional and trendy, locals and tourists converge. A renowned Hong Kong dessert chain famed for its sweet soup and desserts is just one company looking for franchisees. It also has an array of dim sum (bite-sized Cantonese snacks) and Chinese-styled cuisine on its menu.

Another franchisor will set you up for around $21,000. If your budget is low, you can start off with an outlet as small as a food stand and develop it into a larger kiosk as the business grows.

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