When the time is tough, people tends to go out for food especially fast-food restaurants. Unless you’ve an army family to feed, sometimes it’s more economical to eat outside rather than cook on your own. The reason is pretty easy – raw ingredients are getting expensive regardless whether it’s chicken, beef, fish, vegetables or sugar. That’s why it’s laughable to hear half-past-six politicians claiming GST can lower prices of goods.
There’re reasons why fast-food restaurants could provide a cheaper meal to you. They have the economy of scale to bring down the prices on their various menus. They sell thousands of birds and hamburgers per day, thanks to their hundreds of outlets via franchising. While fast-food restaurants is traditionally related to American, there are actually tons of fast-food restaurants that is doing great in other part of the globe.
Here’re 15 fast-food chains that you wish could be around your neighbourhood for obvious reason – delicious food. If you have the financial means and would like to explore into food business via franchising, you could also consider these brands.
[ 1 ] Supermac’s (Ireland)
Founded in 1978, Supermac’s is Ireland’s largest and fastest growing indigenous fast food group. If you haven’t heard of this brand, well, what about Papa John’s Pizza? Besides Papa John’s, Supermac’s offers ice creams, Quiznos Sub, chicken, fish, potato fries, sausages and 100% Irish Beef Burgers. All beef in Supermac’s burgers is 100% Irish, fully traceable back to the farm and DNA tested to prove that it is 100% Irish beef (*wink-wink*).
Besides 100% Irish beef, Supermac’s sells a unique ‘cod burger’ made with deep fried cod. But nothing beats their famous fries – curry fries, coleslaw fries, garlic fries and cheese fries.
Signature Menu Item: Curry fries, Coleslaw fries, Garlic fries & Cheese fries
Revenue: €82 million
[ 2 ] Dicos (China)
Founded in 1994, Dicos is the third biggest fast-food in China (behind KFC and McDonald’s) with almost the same number of restaurants as McDonald’s. Dicos is actually owned by Ting Hsin International Group, a Taiwanese-owned food manufacturer with a broad production base in China. Aiming to become the first “Chinese people’s own brand” to make it to top place in China, the company aims to have a total of 3,000 outlets by 2015, 4,000 by 2017, 5,000 by 2020 and a whopping 25,000 outlets by 2040.
Dicos offers localized food such as rice burgers, lotus roots soup, herbal tea, soybean milk, fried chicken, chicken sandwich, curry chicken with rice, salads, nuggets, onion rings, tortilla wraps, fries, hot drink (Longan and Jujube Tea), purple yam taiyaki.
Signature Menu Item: Hamburger served on a bun made of rice
Revenue: $540 million (2010)
[ 3 ] Kaati Zone (India)
Founded in 2004, this Bangalore-based chain of Indian fast-food restaurants is famous for its Chicken Tikka and Mixed Vegetable Rolls. In fact, Kaati Zone is the first Indian fast food chain in India specializing in Kaati rolls. Apart from the rolls, kaati zone also offers meals and combos – Vada Pao, veg cutlet, masala fries for the veggies and chicken chatpata, chicken crispy and omlette pao for the non veggies, desserts, salads.
Having served over 1,000,000 rolls through its 25 stores, Kaati Zone’s first venture into the American market occurred on Oct 2013 at George Street, New Brunswick. Not bad for a fast-food restaurants with its motto of “No wait, no mess, just delicious,” mimicking Indian-style street food.
Signature Menu Item: Kaati rolls; Chicken Tikka and mixed vegetables are the two most popular fillings.
[ 4 ] Kung Fu (China)
Founded in 1990, KungFu Catering (真功夫), or popularly known as KungFu, this fast-food restaurants possesses 448 restaurants in 12 provinces (39 cities) and hosts nearly 300,000 customers every day. Its main products consists of primarily steamed Chinese dishes and soups. Still, it’s hard to guess its website address except the familiar Bruce Lee-liked logo. Lousy marketing or not, this fast-food chains is perhaps the cleanest, most efficient and fastest of all fast-food players in China. It makes it a point to deliver orders under 60 seconds.
From breakfast to lunch, dinner, supper and snacks, you can find meals closest to the authentic Chinese food possible. On the menu: steamed chicken and mushrooms, egg custard with preserved pork and fish ball noodle soup, noodles, beef with rice, pork ribs and whatnot.
Signature Menu Item: Mushroom chicken with rice and a drink.
Revenue: RMB 1 billion (2008)
[ 5 ] Toast Box (Singapore)
Founded in 2005, breakfast-and-lunch purveyor Toast Box now has more than 30 locations in the city-state and 12 elsewhere in South Asia and the Pacific, including Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Surprisingly, the dish it specializes in has been served locally by roadside kopitiams (or coffee stalls) since the 1920s.
Toast Box is part of BreadTalk Group Limited, which has revenue of almost S$400 million (2013). Other brands under BreadTalk Group include Din Tai Fung, Food Republic, RamenPlay, Carl’s Jr., Bread Society, Thye Moh Chan and The Icing Room.
Signature Menu Item: “Crispy grilled” kaya (coconut jam) toast with slices of butter, a soft-boiled egg, and a mug of signature Nanyang kopi (coffee).
Revenue: S$400 million (part of BreadTalk Group)
[ 6 ] Teremok (Russia)
Founded in 1998, there are three types of Teremok outlets: street kiosks, food court outlets and restaurants. With over 112 restaurants and 70 pavilions and kiosks in Moscow and St. Petersburg, CNN said this Russian fast food chain was among the 8 best fast food worldwide. Teremok’s flagship product, blini and caviar – worth about $7.50 each – is a thin, triangular-shaped, wheat pancakes wrapped around various fillings (sweet or savory) and are baked to order.
To the Russian, Teremok is also known as a pancake house synonym with its red signboards all over the country. Other side dishes include potato-based Olivier salad, borsch, pea soup, buckwheat porridge, potstickers, syrniki with sour cream and pancakes, of course.
Signature Menu Item: Blini filled with red caviar or salmon roe
Revenue: 3.5 billion rubles (2011)
[ 7 ] Wienerwald (Germany)
Founded in 1955, this franchise chain of fast-food restaurants has stores in Austria, Turkey, Egypt, Romania and of course, Germany. At one time, it grew to become Europe’s largest chain of fast-food restaurants with more than a mind-boggling 1,600 restaurants (1978). It even bought 273 restaurants from KFC owners. However, due to over expansion and snowballing debts, Wienerwald was declared bankrupt in 1982 and had to divest all its 880 restaurants in the United States.
Not until Wienerwald’s grandchildren bought back the rights to the brand in 2007 that the company saw a new lease of life into the iconic German brand. So, what’s so special about this restaurants? It’s decades old guarded rotisserie chicken recipe, of course.
Signature Menu Item: Rotisserie chicken
Revenue: €43 million (2010)
[ 8 ] Lotteria (Japan)
Founded in 1972, Lotteria opened its first shop in Tokyo, Japan. It then established itself in South Korea before spreading to China, Myanmar, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia. Wait a minute! Isn’t this a Korean fast-food restaurants instead of a Japanese, considering the founder is a Korean (Shin Jun Ho)? Heck, even the name Lotteria is part of South Korean Lotte Group. Well, the story was about a Korean entrepreneur setting up a restaurant in Japan and later bring the brand back to South Korea, of which it became part of Lotte Group.
Lotteria became so successful in South Korea that it is now the number one fast food restaurant chain in the country. The company tries to imitate the western idea of fast food by Koreanized its own signature burgers, such as “kimchi” burger or “ramen” burger. Sure, it offers sandwiches, desserts, baked potatoes, salads, yogurt, squid rings, cheese sticks and whatnot. But Lotteria is so obsessed with burgers that it is better known as Japanese burger chain in Japan.
It’s latest outburst product is a burger topped with everything that you can imagine – beef patty, additional patty with cheese, shrimp cutlet, rib patty, bacon, sliced cheese, spicy mayonnaise, regular mayonnaise, tartar sauce, ketchup, teriyaki sauce, egg (soft-boiled), cabbage, lettuce and pickles. The price – 1,130 yen (US$11).
Signature Menu Item: Shrimp Burger
Revenue: 450 billion won (2008)
[ 9 ] Telepizza (Spain)
Founded in 1987, this Spanish fast food chain is perhaps the largest in terms of outlets in town. There’re a whopping 650 pizza parlours in Spain, not to mention 400 outlets in Central America, Chile, Portugal and Poland. Half of the outlets is controlled by the family of chairman Pedro Ballvé Lantero. Some say their success was due to its pizza dough although others say it was their efficient home delivery service that differentiate itself from competitors.
The restaurants serve a variety of pizza styles and toppings, including beef, chicken, pork, and tuna, as well as other items such as gazpacho, stuffed potatoes, and wrap sandwiches. Aside from pizza, you can also choose from a selection of pastas, calzones, salads, kebabs, hamburgers, and even bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Telepizza also has gluten-free options of some of their pizzas, such as the Four Cheese and Ham and Bacon pizzas.
Signature Menu Item: The “Mexican” with chili, beef, onions and jalapeno peppers.
Revenue: $419 million (1999)
[ 10 ] Chicken Licken (South Africa)
Founded in 1982, this South Africa-based fast-food fried chicken chain is the second largest fast food brand in South Africa. They have outlets in Botswana, Zambia and Nigeria as well. In total, Chicken Licken has over 200 stores in four African countries. In fact, Chicken Licken is the biggest non-American fried chicken franchise in the world. Muslims should take note that all Chicken Licken outlets serve halal food, at least that was what they claim.
By the way, do you know that Nando’s chicken also originated from South Africa instead of UK as many perceived? On the menu: Easy Bucks Menu, Chick’n Sylders, Chicken Meals, ‘Lil Licken Munch, Chick’n Rappin, Salad Licken, Just Hot Wings, Love Me Tender, Soul to Soul, Soft Drinks.
Signature Menu Item: Love Me Hot burger with a chicken filet and signature sauce in a toasted bun.
Revenue: R850 million (2010)
[ 11 ] Hesburger (Finland)
Founded in 1966, Hesburger is a fast-food chain based in Turku, Finland. Today, it is the largest Finnish hamburger restaurant chain, with a larger presence in the Finnish market than U.S.-based McDonald’s. With over 200 restaurants in 60 towns across Finland, it also has presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lituania, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.
Known for its delicious hamburger sauces and salad dressings, Hesburger’s product consists of various hamburgers, salads, milkshakes, ice-creams, pastries (donut, cookie and muffin), soft drinks, fries, nuggets and tortillas.
Signature Menu Item: Falafel Burger
Revenue: €198 million (2011)
[ 12 ] MOS Burger (Japan)
Founded in 1972, MOS Burger is the second-largest fast-food franchise in Japan after McDonald’s Japan. Besides 1,400 shops across Japan, MOS Burger also has presence in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, China and Australia. MOS Burger’s main business is selling burgers – more than 30 types – with combinations of beef, chicken, seafood and vegetables. So, why was MOS Burger so successful?
The answer could be in the freshness of its vegetables. MOS Burger has a policy of not using vegetables that are produced abroad or preserved for long periods in refrigerators. The company has contracted with some 3,000 farmers from Hokkaido to Okinawa Prefecture, making it possible to use vegetables from northern Japan during the summer, while procuring those from southern Japan during the winter.
Signature Menu Item: MOS Rice Burger and Takumi Burger
Revenue: 60 billion yen (2010)
[ 13 ] Chicken Cottage (UK)
Founded in 1994, this UK-based fast food chain has over 115 outlets in the UK and over 160 outlets worldwide. So, what’s on the menu? How about peri-peri grilled chicken, peri-peri grilled wings, peri-peri grilled chicken wrap, peri-peri grilled chicken burger, fresh salad, chicken salad, and grilled chicken salad? OMG, another Nando’s wannabe? Yeap (*yawn*), Chicken Cottage gives you an alternative to Nando’s famous peri-peri chicken. But Chicken Cottage food is halal so if you’re a Muslim, here’s one more place for you to hangout.
According to statistics, Chicken Cottage is the only independent that can boast an average gross profit of 60% for its menu and more than 55% overall activity which makes Chicken Cottage one of the most profitable franchising concepts in the UK.
Signature Menu Item: Peri-peri grilled chicken
Revenue: €55 million
[ 14 ] Pizza-La (Japan)
Founded in 1980, Pizza-La is the highest-grossing pizza chain in Japan with chain located in 34 of Japan’s 47 prefectures. Well, Pizza-La is the largest pizza chain in Japan in terms of number of stores and sales. If you’re sick and tired of Pizza Hut, Domino Pizza and Papa John’s, then Pizza-La is the best choice simply because this Japanese fast food player knows how to satisfy you.
Let’s see – Scallop Butter Soy Sauce Pizza, Teriyaki Chicken Pizza, Cheese & Honey Pizza, Sausage & Thickly-sliced Bacon Meat Sauce Pizza, Spicy Bulgogi Pizza, Anchovy Seafood Basil Pizza and whatnot. There’re also pasta, lasagna, soup, nugget, popcorn shrimp, salads, ice-creams and drinks.
Signature Menu Item: Scallop Butter Soy Sauce Pizza
Revenue: 100 million yen
[ 15 ] Nordsee (Germany)
Founded in 1896, Nordsee is a German fast-food restaurant chain specialising in seafood. As of 2007, there are over 400 Nordsee franchises operating in Europe alone. There’re not many fast-food restaurants that offer steamed fish as a fast-food staple. But if you like precisely that – Codfish, plaice, pollock, salmon, and other fish – then Nordsee could be your favourite dining restaurant. You can choose the fish to be steamed, grilled or fried.
This is a good choice for people who are looking for something healthier than burgers and fried chicken. Nevertheless, be prepare to burn a hole in your pocket as the price could be rather pricey though. A starter and a main with soft drink could set you back between €25 – €30 per person.
Signature Menu Item: The Nordsee Plate, with steamed codfish fillets in a mustard sauce with chives, mixed vegetables, and parsley baby potatoes
Revenue: €360 million (2007)
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