More U.S. Fast Food Coming to Colombia – Wingstop is Next


What is likely bad news for some expats that don’t like seeing U.S. fast food places in Colombia is that Wingstop is coming to Colombia. And two U.S. chains that arrived recently in Medellín – Krispy Kreme and Papa John’s – have already opened second locations in the city.

The next U.S. fast food chain to come to Colombia is Dallas-based Wingstop.  The first Wingstop locations in Colombia will be in Bogotá and Cali. It’s somewhat surprising the company chose Cali before Medellín as Medellín has a bigger population.  But reportedly Wingstop also plans to come to Medellín.

This deal is via an international expansion agreement with Colowing.  Their plan is to open 30 locally operated franchise locations in Colombia and Panama over the next five years, starting in 2017.

Ortiz Dominguez, majority partner of Wingstop’s Mexico franchise and the Company’s first international operator, will serve as majority partner of Colowing, which is a newly created entity.

Ortiz is a long time multi-unit operator of quick-serve and fast casual restaurant brands in Mexico.  He helped launch Wingstop’s first international location there in 2009, as well as operating Dominos and Burger-Fi franchises.

Wingstop now has 39 locations in Mexico, including 15 that opened in the last 18 months. The company has been expanding rapidly in Mexico.  And it plans to do the same in Colombia and Panama.

Wingstop is a public company that operates and franchises 914 restaurants across the United States, Mexico, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates.

I’m from Dallas where Wingstop is based and I like Wingstop wings so I’m actually happy they are coming to Colombia.

Inside the second Krispy Kreme in Medellín
Inside the second Krispy Kreme shop in Medellín

Krispy Kreme Now Has Two Locations in Medellín

Krispy Kreme opened its first donut shop in Medellín on March 10 this year, which is located in a new building in El Poblado along the Milla de Oro (Golden Mile).

Since that time, Krispy Kreme already opened a second donut shop in Medellín.  It is located in El Poblado at Carrera 32 #2 Sur-47, which is located in the Mall Zona Dos.

This second Krispy Kreme donut shop is a satellite of the first shop in Medellín.  It doesn’t have a donut machine like the first and is much smaller.

Krispy Kreme entered the Colombian market in Bogotá in late 2013.  They now have six shops in Bogotá plus one located in Chía. The next donut shop they are opening will be in Bogotá at Calle 26 # 92-32.

Krispy Kreme now has over 1,000 donut shops in 27 countries. In Latin America the chain has donut shops in only four countries: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Krispy Kreme is planning to open more donut shops in Medellín and I suspect they will be more satellite shops of the first large shop that has capacity to make huge quantities of donuts.

The first Papa John's in Medellín
The first Papa John’s in Medellín

Papa John’s Also Has Two Locations in Medellín

Papa John’s Pizza opened its first restaurant in in Medellín on September 22 last year, which is located on the ground floor in the La Strada mall in El Poblado.

Since that time, Papa John’s opened a second pizza place in Medellín.  It is located in El Poblado at Carrera 30 #10C-228.

Papa Johns Pizza has been in Bogotá for a while.  And they now have 15 restaurants in Bogotá.  Plus they have one in Chia and one in Cajicá.

The company opened restaurants in Barranquilla and Villavicencio before they opened a restaurant in Medellín. But now Papa John’s has two in Medellín and still only one in Barranquilla and one in Villavicencio.

Papa John’s has over 4,600 restaurants in 34 countries. In Latin America the chain has restaurants in 13 countries: Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela.

Papa John’s also plans to open more locations in Medellín.

The first Starbucks in Medellín
The first Starbucks in Medellín

Which U.S.-based Chain is Next for Medellín?

Starbucks opened its first store in Medellín on September 1 this year located next to the first Krispy Kreme shop.  Starbucks has been busy most times I have walked past it. And the company plans to open five more Starbucks stores in Medellín by the end of next year.

So over the next year we will see several more Starbucks open in Medellín. Also we possibly will see more Krispy Kreme and Papa John’s locations.  And I suspect Wingstop will come to Medellín, perhaps in 2018 or 2019.

Medellín now has several U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food places including Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Hard Rock Café, Hooters, McDonalds, Subway, KFC, Domino’s, Papa John’s, Krispy Kreme and Starbucks.

I wouldn’t be surprised if several of the U.S.-based fast food places in Medellín end up getting locations in the new large mall being built in Envigado where the Exito and Homecenter are located along Avenida Las Vegas.

Bogotá has many more U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food places that aren’t available yet in Medellín, including Pizza Hut, Chili’s, TGI Fridays, P.F. Changs and Taco Bell.

I believe that we will see one or more additional U.S.-based chains open locations in Medellín over the next few years. These most likely would be U.S.-based chains that are already operating in Bogotá.

For expats that don’t want to see U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food places that are expanding globally, you’ll have to go to a much, much smaller city than Medellín.  There’s already over 125 locations of U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food chains found in Medellín.

In Medellín you will also find many U.S.-brand stores.  Some that come to mind include American Eagle, Calvin Klein, Coach, Forever 21, Levi’s, Office Depot, Nike, The North Face and Victoria’s Secret.  But you can find many more in Bogotá.

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    • Are you sure it’s a Wingstop and authentic?

      None are listed on the company website in Colombia and they would have mentioned that in their press release – see: where it says “the first locations planned for Bogota and Cali, Colombia.” I also talked to their headquarters in Dallas and they didn’t mention anything about having one already in Medellín only that they expected to have one in Medellín in perhaps a couple years.

    • I walked past KFC on Calle 10 in El Poblado today and there is no Wingstop, as I thought.

      But there is a Wing Zone (, which is an Atlanta based chain ( It looks to be the only Wing Zone in Colombia per their website and there isn’t one in Bogotá. I have eaten at Wing Zone before and it’s not the same as Wingstop. I like Wingstop better.

      Note that if Wingstop was in Colombia they would already have a website and Facebook site like they do in Mexico, which can’t be found for Colombia. Wingstop won’t be in Colombia until next year as their press release indicates.

  1. First come Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, KFC, Krispy Kreme and alike. Second come another kind of chain businesses like Herbalife to help people lose weight. Sad to see Colombia going down this path when it has so much potential to remain authentic. Yet it’s on a path to become another Panama, slowly but surely. Guess free trade agreements have their dark side, too. Don’t even want to think what they will do to Cuba once it has become democratic.

    • Yes, Pierre you are correct… more unhealthy processed food, just what everyone really needs. Medellin is starting to feel a lot like the average mall “food” court. It’s a worldwide plague delivered in catchy environments and deliciously retouched photos… Why think for yourself when the marketing departments and food scientists are happy to remove that burden!

      • Was married to a Colombian for 12 years.the waist lines on the girls gets bigger and bigger.the ugly tatoos are appearing. Pretty soon they will look like the fat slobs we have in the states.

  2. All that crapola has been up and running in Medellin for many moons. I walk past chicken joints every day around la 70 and the deep fried smell is repugnant; seriously nauseating to me. Exactly the same “aroma” I’ve smelled about a million times in Mexico and they aren’t Gringo franchise joints.

  3. Twenty five years ago, when I first arrived, none of this existed in Colombia. I now see more people overweight, many with diabetes and other illnesses. They went from a diet they had for over two centuries to the great American cancer causing fast food. We (Americans) really haven’t done any good but flash our fat dollars, show our arrogance and attempt to Americanize a wonderful culture, that use to have family values, to our lifestyle of ‘fast and furious’. Assimilation by us into their culture is not in us. But we expect them to cater to us in english and our way of life. Even the music is blasted in many areas is not Colombian anymore. Un bathed, smelly, flipflop saddled ‘Hippy’ American and foreign backpackers bring nothing but more drug dealers. They contribute money more the drug trade than the restaurants, hotels and commercial markets. We can blame it on social media, which exploded here a decade ago, but in reality we used it to fuel immorality and loss of family values. I’ll never win a writers prize for this “Speak my mind”. When I came here a quarter of century ago was to assimilate with the Colombians and put the American rat race out of my life.

    • Can’t argue with much of what you stated.I first arrived in Barranquilla 16 years ago,no fat people no cell phones.Now many are fat and they sit around staring at their cell phones.sad

  4. Kind of an off topic question, where can you find a Thanksgiving turkey in Medellin, hopefully an already cooked one. And cranberry sauce and gravy.