From McDonald’s to Burger King, KFC, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell, fast food chains are all over the American landscape, and you can’t go anywhere in America without seeing a few fast food joints along the way. With speedy service and satisfying guilty pleasures, these restaurants are always enjoyable
But not every chain manages to be as big as McDonald’s. Some chains actually started up in America but died out over time, only to become more popular in international locations. Read on to learn about five fast food chains that were bigger abroad than at home.
We’re living in an excellent age for cafés and coffee shops, with the likes of Starbucks dominating the entire world with its countless coffee concoctions. Back in 1992, a coffee chain named Tully’s started up in Washington. It survived for two decades, going bankrupt in 2012.
There’s quite an interesting story behind this one, as actor Patrick Dempsey, in conjunction with celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti, bought up the chain in 2013 to try and bring it back, but lots of lawsuits and other issues forced a total US shutdown in 2018. That said, Tully’s still exists overseas in Asia and Europe.
Oporto was quite a unique fast food chain in that it shined the spotlight on Portuguese-style cuisine, offering something a little different to all the burger and fried chicken fast food chains elsewhere around the nation. Oporto initially had just a few locations in California, but the brand ended up merging with another chain, and the Oporto name disappeared.
Over in Australia, however, where Oporto first began, the brand is still doing very well. There are close to 200 Oporto locations in the land down under, and it’s one of the most popular names for Aussie fast food.
Opened in 1991 and named after the legendary singer of the same name, Kenny Rogers Roasters was quite a popular chain in the US for a little while. It served rotisserie chicken meals, and Rogers himself helped to found it. A classic episode of the hit sitcom Seinfeld helped the restaurant earn some new fans, but it wasn’t enough to keep the flame going.
KRR went bankrupt in 1998. A decade later, in 2008, a Malaysia-based franchiser bought the brand, and there are nowadays there are actually dozens of Kenny Rogers Roasters locations all over the Asian continent.
There are many Mexican-themed fast food chains beloved all over America, and older generations will remember Chi-Chi’s as one of the earliest brands of all. Founded back in 1975, Chi-Chi’s was a big name in the 70s and 80s, eventually boasting over 200 locations across the nation.
However, when a hepatitis scandal hit a Chi-Chi’s in 2003, the chain quickly fell out of favor, going bankrupt. In spite of this, there are still plenty of Chi-Chi’s locations around the Middle East and in Europe.
Imagine McDonald’s, but Russian. That was the initial concept behind Teremok. It’s an interesting idea, but it was sadly doomed to fail in the United States. A pair of Teremok locations opened up in New York back in 2017, but they weren’t successful at all.
Owner of the chain, Mikhail Goncharov, decided that his brand just didn’t have enough appeal for the American market and chose to shut down the restaurants in 2018. Goncharov also claimed that health inspectors had acted in a hostile manner towards the locations’ staff, and one of the branches was accused of violating health codes.