"We won’t go into a market that we don’t believe in. I really have to believe that I can take a franchisee and make them successful, otherwise the relationship won’t last and the concept won’t last. If you only focus on the money aspect you are doomed to fail," he said.
Bachir Mihoubi, president and CEO of FranCounsel Group LLC, which advises American franchising firms looking overseas, said looking abroad can be lucrative if brands successfully navigate the challenges.
He said many fail to register their trademarks in the target countries in advance, which can present problems later when they go to open stores.
The trademarks themselves can also become a hurdle if they're not culturally sensitive, he said. Church's Chicken is a well-known example of combating this before it becomes a problem: it's known as Texas Chicken in the Middle East and other countries.
While staying aware, American brands should also be ambitious, Mr. Mihoubi said. History has shown that they do well in developing countries, even some that don't get along with the United States.
"It is absolutely amazing that a consumer actually chooses an American brand over a local brand when it comes to having a meal or drinking coffee, but when you ask that same consumer what they think about the U.S. foreign policy they have a completely different attitude," said Mr. Mihoubi, who introduced Cinnabon to Egypt and Caribou Coffee across the Middle East while working with AFC Enterprises.
For more information on Wing Zone's international locations, visit http://www.wingzone.com/international.html
For more on Focus Brands globally, visit http://focusbrands.com/international/
Mr. Mihoubi can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.