With an investment of $1.3 million for each building, the Aguaceros de Esperanza Group has scheduled opening its first restaurant in Santa Ana, San José, in late 2009.
According to Nacion.com, group president Cristian Villegas stressed that "Applebee's Costa Rica will be aimed at the middle, upper middle and high class ‘with a family-menu,’ featuring salads, quesadillas, meats (ribs and chicken filets and fajitas), seafood, pasta, burgers, desserts and beverages."
The new restaurants aim to compete with "Friday's, TGIF (both casual dining facilities), El Novillo Alegre (meat) and Chancay (Peruvian cuisine)."
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The restaurant chain Bagelmen's has closed seven stores which had been operating in the country for fourteen years, in addition to the recent closure of Wendy's, which closed its doors in early January.
Bagelmen's is the second large fast food chain which has closed its operations in the country this year.
The Salvadoran fast food chain opened its first restaurant in Guatemala, and it plans to open 3 more for 2010.
With the creation of 55 jobs, the new Biggest restaurant will open in mid-June in Barberena, Santa Rosa. The chain plans to open another restaurant in the second half of 2009 or three in 2010.
The industry is facing a drop in sales at an average of 20% and changes in consumption habits.
Business owners of several restaurants shared their impressions, perspectives and some strategies on how to deal with the crisis with the El Periodico newspaper in Guatemala.
Erick Cacacho, from the Los Cebollines chain commented: "Our clients have not stopped dining at our restaurants.
In Costa Rica, the business sector expected a greater drop in the level of reservations for this past Easter.
The study "Perceptions of Costa Rican Tourism Entrepreneurs on the Effects of the Economic Crisis on the Tourism Industry" conducted by the National Chamber of Tourism shows that 71.2% of the entrepreneurs in the sector who in March had projected a decrease in reservations for Easter Week with respect to 2008, only 51.7% still believe that reservations were lower."