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Meet the Speed Matcher: shadowing Kahala!

Major American food and beverage group Kahala will be participating in Speed Matching at MAPIC 2011. We spoke with Eddy Jimenez, Kahala Vice President of International Development & Logistics, to see how the company is preparing for the main event.

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Speed Matching 2010

Speed Matching is a must-see MAPIC innovation that you won’t want to miss. This event sparks deals, fosters partnerships, and enables participants to explore new opportunities.

Featuring a select group of handpicked retailers and developers, Speed Matching gives nominees a short seven minutes to present their projects before linking up with partners during a networking session.

We spoke with Eddy Jimenez from American food and beverage giant Kahala, to get a better idea of what Speed Matching is all about from someone who really knows: a participant.

America’s finest

One of the fastest-growing franchising companies in North America, Kahala is a privately held corporation dedicated to the franchising, development, and marketing of quick-service restaurants. Since its inception in 1988, the company has grown from a small juice bar concept to to one of the largest franchisors in the USA, offering a selection of quick-service restaurant brands including Cold Stone Creamery, Blimpie, Great Steak, and America’s Taco Shop. Kahala has over 3,750 stores and is currently operating in 18 countries.

One of the company’s best known brands is Cold Stone Creamery, an ice cream parlour chain based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Known for its super-indulgent premium ice cream made onsite and customised to order, Cold Stone has also expanded its menu with a variety of other products including cakes, sandwiches and iced coffee. The brand’s first franchise store opened in 1995, and Cold Stone now boasts 1,400 locations worldwide, with stores across Asia, North America and the Middle East.

At MAPIC 2011, Kahala will be presenting Cold Stone Creamery, along with five of the company’s other biggest brands: Blimpie, Great Steak, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Ranch One, America’s Taco Shop.

It’s showtime

Kahala has previously participated in Speed Matching at MAPIC and will be making a repeat appearance at this year’s conference. Jimenez sees great value in the event and is keen to take part again this year.

“It is a great forum for presenters and audience members to meet, network and discuss ideas,” he explains. “The program offers a highly efficient way to help companies like Kahala to present our projects, and it gives audience members and decision makers a great opportunity to learn and potentially get interested in some of the projects.”

A motto to live by: be prepared!

Jimenez is preparing for Speed Matching by creating a cutting-edge presentation and ensuring every MAPIC attendee gets to know Kahala’s brands. “We’re contacting people every day, and we’re being contacted too. I get at least 10 emails each day from people who have found us via the Online Database and who want to connect.”

As for expectations, Jimenez knows what he wants coming out of Speed Matching. “I hope to get three to five great, solid contacts or leads. That will be my measure of the success for this venture,” he says.

Taking a stand

For the first time, Kahala will also have a stand at MAPIC. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase our brands and products– we plan to have a lot of visuals and videos plus representatives to answer questions,” Jimenez says.

Jimenez recognises what an event like MAPIC, and Speed Matching in particular, can offer a major franchise: “It means great networking, with the ultimate goal of establishing relationships with key industry leaders and decision makers. We want to expand our brand into new markets and this is the way to do it,” he says.

Keep your eye on the MIPIMWorld blog—we’ll follow Kahala as it navigates the fast-paced, action-packed waters of the latest retail projects in Speed Matching.

Kahala will be presenting during the Speed Matching session on Wednesday 16 November, at 11.30. You can visit them on Stand R35.02.

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