A Look at the Geography of Poland
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east and, to the north, Lithuania. The country consists mostly of flat land from the Baltic Sea to the southern border, with the Carpathian Mountains on the Southern Borders. The geographical advantage of this is that Poland shares borders with many countries and is a link between Eastern Europe and Western Europe, helping considerably in making it the largest economy in Central Europe. And with a current population of over 38.5 million with the population desity being 328 people per square mile, it makes Poland the ninth largest country in Europe, In comparison, the current US population is over 318 million with only 87 people per square mile. The closeness of people would be benifical in a resturant expanasion.
In the North and West there is more of a maritime climate, meaning that they have mild winters and wet summers. In the East, there is a continental climate, meaning they experience harsh winters and hot, dry summers. It’s important to have a sense of understanding in the weather in areas of a potentially new location because you have to understand what types of weather your business, it’s customers, and its employees are facing.
Poland is well developed and would not be seen as a problem for a U.S. Restaurant. They already have a high rate of roadways and railways that transport people all over the country, and have adequate visitation from neighboring countries to help boost appeal. Poland has 128 Airports (ranked 47th, US is 1st with over 13,000) 15 of these airports offer international and domestic commercial flights. Poland has plenty of railways for its size, 12,072 miles. Ranking 15th in the world, US is 1st with over 130,000 miles. The country also has 256,026 miles of roadway (ranked 15th, US is 1st with over 4 million miles) and 2,483 miles of waterways (ranked 28th, US is 5th with over 25,000 miles). Poland’s public transit is well developed, granting access to nearly every town by rail or road. The solid development of transportation infrastructure in Poland is a great support to any company wishing to expand to a foreign country. Being a rather small county, about the size of New Mexico, it makes for travel between cities easily accessible. A restaurant expansion could move into on of Poland’s major cities without any serious doubt that they would not be without plenty of customer opportunities as long as their marketing was targeted correctly.
Poland’s Strengths and Concerns
Poland has low agricultural productivity making it difficult for restaurants to get fresh food for their business. However they have high potential to increase their productivity so in the long run this could change and making it easier to get fresh farm grown food. Poland produces the second largest amount of coal in the EU but is not a major exporter as they use about 85% of what they produce within the country. A new restaurant expansion would benefit from this because their electricity cost would be much lower due to not have to pay higher prices for importing energy.
According to Financial Times, the EU hopes to use extra funding to encourage Poland and other reluctant east European nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by switching to clean energy sources. Poland’s prime minster, Ewa Kopacz, argues that the EU’s target goals for cutting emissions gases is not realistic and is concerned that such lofty goals would increase Pole’s power bills. She expressed that the polish people have worked so hard to increase their country’s economy and increasing their energy expenses would not be a fair reward.
As mentioned before, Poland relies on coal for close to 85 per cent of its power needs, but many of its power stations are outdated and the country’s mining industry is woefully inefficient and lossmaking.
As we look at the arable land use, the difference between Poland and the United States is staggering. Poland has almost 20% more arable land, that is used for crops like wheat, maize, rice, of which are replanted after each harvest. This may be more appealing to a restaurant that uses those items; it may cost less to be able to use local producers of the crops instead of having to import them. On the opposing side of that, the United States has 20% more roads and developed areas. Both of these factors could be applying to any company considering starting business in either Poland or the United States.
Polish Communication Infrastructure
It has now become common knowledge that the level of Internet users in a state is a key factor that is considered tremendously positive for commerce and trade. So then, thankfully, we see in Poland a country that is “wired for success.” In fact, according to 2011 figures compiled by the World Bank, Internet usage per 100 people in Poland was 61.9, which compares quite favorably to the U.S.’s figures for the same year, 69.9. This level of Internet usage bodes well for Western businesses considering expanding into this attractive market, not only because said infrastructure is critical for the conduct of day-to-day business operations, but because it makes viable for companies, especially ambitious fast-food franchises, to exploit a market that is ripe and receptive for increased take-out services (Euromonitor International), akin to those offered in America by franchises, like Papa John’s Pizza. While economic slowdown is a challenge that Poland is grappling with presently, it only further bolsters the business potential for those fast-food chains that are wise enough to seize upon this attractive market now (Euromonitor International). After all, such restaurants offer to Pole consumers what they need most and desire at this juncture in time: Delicious food at a price that doesn’t strain the pocketbook and the convenience that at-home delivery and takeout provide.