What FRANdata Thinks

Franchise Brands Expanding into the United States

May 19th, 2021 by TJ Wagman

FRANdata tracks all franchise brands in the US and almost nothing gets us as excited as when we see new groundbreaking concepts entering franchising, and that includes international brands entering the US.

This chart is an outcome of our quarterly New Concept Report. One of the data points we include in each quarterly report is “country of origin” for each brand. Since we identify 200-300+ new brands each year, about 10-15% of them are international brands. As the chart shows, we’ve been seeing a consistent uptick of new international brands since 2017 with an unsurprising downturn in 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic. We  predict that things will begin trending upwards again for this year and the next couple of years as multinational brands restart their global growth plans.

# of new international franchise brands in the US by year

Here are a couple of international brands we’re keeping our eyes on:

  • Bonchon: Originated/founded in South Korea and has successfully scaled in the U.S. Bonchon expects to add 15 new U.S. outlets during the rest of 2020, per CEO Flynn Dekker, who was named to his position in 2019. As of 2020, Bonchon had 104 outlets in the U.S. and more than 300 worldwide. By 2026, they plan to have 500 restaurants in the U.S. and 500 internationally, for 1,000 total. Originally, Bonchon awarded franchises to operators who liked Korean food, and who “came knocking on our door.” But with its new restaurants, Bonchon has now changed its approach by giving preference to established franchise owners, who already have an operating structure in place and experience with one or more types of restaurant concepts.
  • Yoshinoya: Japanese multinational fast food chain established in 1899 in Tokyo. Yoshinoya opted for the company-owned development approach. Japanese CEOs came to the U.S. to establish the brand. To this day, 76 of the 110 American locations are company-owned. The chain is undergoing what it says are “extensive remodels” of its restaurants, including updated locations rebranded as “Japanese Kitchens” in Canoga Park and on La Cienega Boulevard in Pico-Robertson. The remodels feature new plumbing and restrooms, exterior stone paneling and window accents, replacement countertops, new floor and ceiling tiles, and a redone menu board.
  • The Grounds Guys: The masterminds behind The Grounds Guys, a Canadian-based full-service grounds care franchise, always knew that the United States was a great market for its concept and originally planned to expand into the U.S. on their own. But when they came across The Dwyer Group, they felt confident that it was the right company to partner with. Tim van Stralen and his nine brothers founded Sunshine Grounds Care, a landscape maintenance business, in 1987. In 2010, they teamed up with The Dwyer Group to use the experience and knowledge gained in running Sunshine Grounds Care to create and franchise a new company: The Grounds Guys. By teaming up with The Dwyer Group, they tapped into a pool of resources and knowledge that greatly facilitated the daunting task of introducing their concept in the U.S.


Learn more about the New Concept Report here. You can also view our post from the archives on the 5 Common Mistakes Franchisors can Make in a Global Expansion.

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