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Global Franchising: Planet of the Apps

Many of the leading global food franchise brands have apps for ordering and delivering food. Some of these companies report that over 50% of their business is driven by digital channels, often from their app. Having a localized app in the local language, or second language of a country, could be the difference between succeeding in a market or not as consumers often make their buying choices by what is most convenient.

Global Food Franchise Apps

McDonald’s has multiple apps. In the U.S., they offer their apps in English and Spanish. Their app for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has over 500,000 downloads and is supported in Arabic and English. Their McDonald’s App – Caribe supports most Central and South American countries and has over 10 million downloads.

Domino’s has a Domino’s Pizza USA app in English and Spanish, including an app specific to their customers in Puerto Rico. They also have international apps for their business in the Caribbean. I saw on their UAE website that they have a translated order tracking app in English and Arabic. I’m certain they support many additional languages, which you can check via the app store for your phone in your local market.

In Apple’s app store, the Subway app is available in English and French. Subway has locations in over 100 countries with websites in local languages. It is likely they soon will expand their language support for their app in more global markets as they support many languages on their global websites. Their UAE website, which is provided in English and Arabic, does not appear to allow you to place orders via the website or show that an app is yet available for this market.

Rolling out an app for the global marketplace is not a simple process and requires customization in each market. Your global app must be able to provide a successful customer experience, or you may lose customers.

Delivery Service Applications

A small franchisor may not be ready to invest in developing an app, but one option for them may be to piggyback on a delivery service application that is localized. DoorDash currently supports English, French and Spanish for their North American markets.

This Net Solutions article by Amandeep Singh from late 2019 highlights the best of the food delivery apps globally.

Services such as Zomato, Foodpanda and UberEats are available in many cities around the world. The article tells how Siggy has had 1.5 million downloads in India and is the #1 app for food delivery in the country. These service apps may help smaller food franchises compete with the larger global brands.


It is a digital world and mobile devices are used even in the smallest markets around the world. Access to your customers via an app can drive business. If you are relying solely on traditional advertising channels, you are missing out on many customers who you would be able to reach with localized, online messaging and applications.

Whether you are a large, global franchise or a smaller franchise, having a localized digital presence should be a part of your global market expansion strategy.

Editor’s note: Due to the current global pandemic and how the restaurant industry has been affected by COVID-19, having applications for food ordering and delivery has become essential to remaining in business. This trend will likely continue as social distancing will be apart of people’s lives for an undetermined time. The restaurants who have mobile applications for ordering and delivering in place are a step ahead and will have an easier time adapting to the current environment.