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

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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More