When the recession hit in 2008, quick serves in the U.S. got a wake-up call: Even in the Western world, where drive thrus and combo meals were invented, quick serves are not immune to tight wallets and budget cuts.
While brands in the U.S. struggled, some had a saving grace: an international presence. Take Dairy Queen, for instance. Since the brand is still in expansion mode in China, the economic slowdown didn’t affect sales there the way it did in the U.S.
“We’re still kind of riding on that growth spurt,” says Brad Houser, executive vice president of international for Dairy Queen.
Of course, taking a concept overseas is easier said than done. That’s why QSR spoke with three brands with varied plans for international expansion to see the different challenges—and opportunities—quick serves can expect to find along the way.