News / USA

Smoking Joe's BBQ, American Small Business, Sees Future in Asia

Diners enjoy a meal at the newly-opened Smoking Joe's Barbecue and Lounge, which serves genuine American barbecue, in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 2011
Diners enjoy a meal at the newly-opened Smoking Joe's Barbecue and Lounge, which serves genuine American barbecue, in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 2011

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +
Brian Padden

As many countries in Asia continue to show steady economic growth, multinational corporations are not the only businesses looking for opportunities. The economic slowdown in the U.S. and Europe, and the growing middle class in countries like Indonesia, are motivating even some small businesses to expand their operations overseas.

The grand opening of Smoking Joe's Barbecue and Lounge, complete with a rock band and parade of models, is aimed at spreading the word about this new upscale restaurant that serves traditional American slow-cooked barbecue in Indonesia’s capital city.

For Joel Rozelle, the founder and chef of Smoking Joe's, this lavish affair is a good beginning for his first business venture outside of the United States.

“I was born in the U.S. I spent all of my life in the U.S.," he said. "I, of course, have traveled abroad, never been to Asia. But I feel very much at home here.”

His decision to expand operations to Indonesia follows a trend set by big investors. It also reflects the World Bank's prediction that emerging economies like Indonesia will far outpace growth in advanced countries in the next 15 years.

Indonesia's abundant natural resources, including coal, oil and gas, continue to attract the majority of foreign investment.

The country's relatively low wages and stable political environment also have encouraged some international companies to open manufacturing operations.

But for Rozelle, who owns four barbecue restaurants in the midwest American city of St. Louis, Missouri, these macro economic indicators did not entice him to move to Asia. Instead, opportunity found him.

Indonesian businessman Sammy Bolung and his wife were in St. Louis on business when they first went to Smoking Joe's for dinner. The meal was a hit.

“I had the combination platter, the pork ribs, beef brisket, sweet potato fries, everything," said Bolung. "And Joe even gave me the turkey, everything.”

“Every night for the next five nights they came back to Smoking Joe's and he starting asking more detailed questions,” said Rozelle.

And from there a U.S.-Indonesian partnership was formed.

But despite the successes of these small scale joint ventures, the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, Scot Marciel, said some U.S. companies are still reluctant to invest in Indonesia.

“But to be honest there is still some concern," he said. "They look at the... I think it's the World Bank's survey of doing business, ease of doing business. Indonesia frankly ranks very low.”

Some investors worry that corruption, cumbersome regulations and restrictions on foreign ownership in Indonesia make running a business there too daunting.

But Rozelle said his experience has been positive. And he is optimistic that his special barbecue blend and authentic slow cooking style will be popular in Asia.

“I like the fact that I've got a whole different group of people that has, for the most part, have never tasted American style barbecue the way it should.”

Rozelle and Bolung are already making plans to open Smoking Joe's restaurants in Bali, Singapore and Taiwan.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid