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How Local Franchises Are Becoming International Brands

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This story appears in the January 2014 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There's a certain cachet to franchises that become international brands. It means the company has the finances, expertise and confidence to translate a franchise concept for a foreign culture. It may give the impression that the company has grown so big that one country can no longer contain it. But many U.S. franchise systems that boast international reach have just a few units in Canada--and that's it. Not that expanding north of the border doesn't take work, but it's not quite as pioneering as exporting your burger brand to Nigeria or your electronics store to Yemen.

Many North American franchises are wary of selling units outside the region, or outside the English-speaking bubble. Doing so means adapting products and services to other cultures, operating in a different business climate, rerouting supply chains and relying on partners who are often unknown entities.

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