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Never Seen Anything Like It This IHOP owner was international enough, but what's a pancake?

By Todd D. Maddocks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The explosion was anticipated, but as it ripped through the night, I had to resist the urge to duck. I was in the midst of a lavish Independence Day party thrown by IHOP's largest franchisee, Joe Katin. Joe owns the ranch next door to Southfork Ranch, home of the fictional Ewings, who helped put Dallas on the map. Between bombs bursting in air, I learned of another IHOP success story--Rima Hakim.

Hakim, a petite, 37-year-old single mother of two preteen boys, immigrated to the United States at age 18. Her childhood was spent in a war-ravaged part of the Middle East where the bombs were noted for their destruction, not their beauty.

Hakim embodies a growing breed of franchisees--namely, hard-working immigrants making personal sacrifices to attain success. It's a little-known phenomenon, but it makes sense: The franchise offering circulars for some of our more notable American icons, such as Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, IHOP and Motel 6, show franchising can be a great solution for those who know little of the American culture.

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