Vietnam is one of many overseas markets tackled by Auntie Anne's, the pretzel franchise run by Atlanta-based Focus Brands, which is owned by Roark Capital. Photo by Trevor Williams.

Atlanta-based Focus Brands, franchisor of Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Moe’s Southwest Grill and other brands, opened its 1,500th store internationally this week, more evidence that a strategy of pursuing ex-U.S. growth is paying off.

The newest location is an Auntie Anne’s in a large outdoor shopping mall in Liverpool, United Kingdom, a country Focus also hopes will be home to Cinnabon soon as well, according to a news release.

But Focus’s reach extends far beyond Western Europe, spreading across more than 55 countries spanning nearly every geography.

Auntie Anne’s, for instance, saw its first store open in Indonesia in 1995 and is strongest now in South Korea. It even has a location in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, an emerging market for American brands that saw its first Starbucks and McDonald’s open within the last five years.

Cinnabon, meanwhile, opened in Canada first in 1988 but now is performing well in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, as well as in Latin America.

This year alone brands across the Focus portfolio have opened more than 100 new stores internationally.

Focus’s full slate of brands includes Carvel, Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Jamba Juice, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s, McAlister’s Deli, as well as Seattle’s Best Coffee on certain military bases and in certain international markets. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...

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