Here are ten American fast food restaurant chains operating in the Netherlands. Many are well-established, while others are just beginning their roll out into the Dutch marketplace…
McDonald’s – The first location in Netherlands opened in 1971 in the city of Zaandam (near Amsterdam). The company struggled at first, failing to fully understand key differences in the market. They had located their initial restaurants on freeways rather than in city centers. Once addressed, the brand began to flourish. Today there are approximately 250 McDonald’s restaurant locations across the Netherlands, primarily located in city centers and shopping malls.
Burger King – The fast food burger chain first opened in the Netherlands in 1981. It has since expanded with over 50 locations across the country including the major cities of Amsterdam (8), Rotterdam (3), The Hague (2), Eindhoven (2), Arnhem (2), Delft (2) and Utrecht (2).
KFC – The first Kentucky Fried Chicken location in Holland opened in 1972 in Rotterdam. Today there are approximately 55 KFC locations in the Netherlands with one third (18) in the province of South Holland. Yum Brands (parent company of KFC) recently sold many Dutch KFC locations to Collins Foods, the largest Australian KFC franchisee. Collins Foods plans to open an additional 20 locations in the Netherlands by 2021.
Subway – The company’s first location in the Netherlands opened in 2000 in Eindhoven. The brand has expanded quickly via a network of franchisee-owned locations. Today there are 180 Subway locations across the country including Amsterdam (12), The Hague (12), Rotterdam (10) and Utrecht (5).
Domino’s – Domino’s Pizza established its first regional resource center outside of the U.S. in 2001 here in the Netherlands when it bought a majority stake in the local franchisee. The move helped fuel its further expansion into Europe. Domino’s is the dominant player in pizza delivery in the Netherlands, but unlike in the USA, where the company was founded, most locations in Holland don’t open until 16:00. Currently, there are approximately 50 Domino’s Pizza in the Netherlands (a whopping 13 in Amsterdam alone).
Taco Bell – Another division of Yum Brands, Taco Bell opened its very first location in the Netherlands just last year in Eindhoven. It has since expanded with a location in Breda and another in Tilburg.
Starbucks – The first Starbucks shop in the Netherlands opened ten years ago at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (operated by HMS Host). In 2009, Servex a subsidiary of the Dutch national rail operator NS, opened the first Starbucks in a train station (Leiden). Two years later, the first free-standing coffee house (fully-owned by Starbucks Netherlands) opened on Leidsestraat in the Amsterdam city center. Today there are approximately 50 Starbucks points-of-sale throughout the country including 15 in Amsterdam, 5 each in The Hague and Rotterdam.
Dunkin Donuts – The popular American donut seller wasn’t so popular during its first attempt at entering the market in the late 1990s. After nearly two decades away, the company opened in Amsterdam in 2017 with 4 locations. It has since expanded to over 10 shops with additional locations planned. You can currently find Dunkin’ Donuts in Amsterdam (8), Amstelveen (1), Hilversum (1), Utrecht (3), Tilburg (1) and Eindhoven (1).
Five Guys – The Five Guys American fast food burger chain is expanding across the pond. It started opening restaurants in the Netherlands in 2017 and as of mid-2018 operates 6 locations – Almere, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht (2). The company has been in a fight with the city of Amsterdam, which is trying to block the chain from opening locations in the city as part of the municipality’s crack down on the high number of fast food restaurants.
Pizza Hut – A third Yum Brands-owned entity, Pizza Hut, has been established in the Netherlands for over 25 years, but only on a small scale. Following the 2016 closure of its restaurant in The Hague, the brand was down to just location (Schouwburgplein in Rotterdam). But don’t count them out. In 2017, the company introduced a takeaway-only format, with the first located in the Utrecht train station. Since then, the company has opened five additional takeaway locations in Rotterdam (2), Delft, Gouda and Amersfoort.
According to the Dutch national statistics bureau, CBS, the fast food category recently showed the highest growth rate in the food and beverage sector in the Netherlands.