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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid