Taking a Franchise Overseas Isn’t Always Smooth Sailing

Political protests, disease outbreaks, terrorist campaigns, these are just a few on the unforgiving factors U.S. business owners are considering when expanding a franchise internationally. Fatburger has accomplished the impossible by flourishing in some of the world’s most unstable countries. As of today we have opened restaurants in 32 countries since 2007. I recently had the opportunity to chime in with Businessweek about seeking franchise opportunities overseas:

“Consumers all over the world love American brands, especially burgers, shakes and fries. I knew there was a huge opportunity for us overseas.”

Keeping the dangers of some areas overseas at top of mind, I also added…

“We are always concerned about the security of our employees.”

So, we monitor local events to better manage and assess risk. If the risk is too high, we shift focus to another area.

burger-1920x1080Fatbuger opens in Delihi, India (Source: GQ India)

I took a considerable risk with this global expansion plan and made sure to invest time towards market research in each region before opening any stores there.

American Express also joins the conversation on whether global instability can damage your business. Be sure to read the entire article for some great insights on how I’ve adapted to markets around the globe, but here’s a little teaser featuring yours truly:

“You have to have a long-term view of your business relationship country by country in terms of your strategy[.] If your long-term strategy is that you want to be in this market, then you’ve made that commitment and you have to weather it and stay the course. You may not stay with a particular location if it becomes more trouble than it’s worth to deal with. But it doesn’t mean you’re exiting that country.”