1. Alsea (Latin America)
U.S. concepts it operates: Burger King, California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s, Domino’s, Italianni’s, P.F. Chang’s, Starbucks
A gatekeeper for Central and South America, the Mexican company’s portfolio encompasses 400 restaurants in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and its home nation. It has also operated in Spain. The array of restaurants includes units subfranchised to others (Alsea served as Burger King’s master franchisee for Mexico until March) as well as a few proprietary brands.
Alsea, which is publicly owned, has said it intends to keep growing at a rapid clip, and representatives have mentioned the possibility of buying a concept in the United States.
2. Alshaya (Middle East, North Africa, Europe)
U.S. brands it operates: Blaze Pizza, Bouchon Bakery, The Cheesecake Factory, Dean & Deluca, IHOP, Pei Wei, P.F. Chang’s, Pinkberry, Raising Cane’s, Shake Shack, Starbucks, Teavana, Texas Roadhouse
One of the world’s largest franchisees, the Kuwait-based company operates 90 retail brands in total, including 26 restaurant concepts, with more on the way. Roughly half of the foodservice outlets hail from the United States, and they range from fine dining (Bouchon Bakery, one of chef Thomas Keller’s brands) to quick service (Pinkberry, Raising Cane’s). The company is known as a top operator with more than 30 years of experience in matching concepts to sites, in markets ranging from Europe through Turkey.
3. Maxim’s Group (Asia)
The Hong Kong-based company is known globally for the caliber of its operations and service; the stated mission for one part of the extensive restaurant portfolio, a group of Cantonese restaurants, is, “Chinese food, Western service.”
In total, Maxim’s runs 980 restaurants in Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam and Cambodia. The operations range from Jade Garden, a well-known full-service restaurant in China, to 120 quick-service places.
4. Rosinter Restaurants (Central and Eastern Europe)
U.S. concepts it operates: TGI Fridays, McDonald’s (transportation centers only)
An early proponent of capitalism in the former Soviet Union, the Russia-based company has amassed 259 restaurants in seven nations, with a concentration in urban areas (28 cities). Among its first partnerships with U.S. brands was a pact to bring TGI Fridays to the U.S.S.R. while the restaurant brand was owned by the parent of Radisson Hotels. Today, it operates 22 units of the American casual chain.
In 2012, Rosinter secured a deal through a subsidiary to develop McDonald’s units in transportation facilities inside Moscow and St. Petersburg. It also is a Russian franchisee of Costa Coffee, the British cafe chain that The Coca-Cola Co. has agreed to buy.
Most of Rosinter’s restaurants operate under its proprietary brands. They include Planet Sushi, Mama Russia (featuring Russian comfort food), American Bar and Grill (Cajun fare), Shikari (Asian fusion) and Il Patio (Italian).
5. Olayan Group (Middle East)
U.S. concepts it operates: Burger King, Church’s (d.b.a. Texas Chicken), Buffalo Wild Wings
The highly diversified private company has holdings in 40 countries, but its business is centered on its homeland of Saudi Arabia, where it’s been an economic driver since 1947, with a presence in other Arab Middle Eastern markets as well. A number of franchisees operate under the Olayan umbrella. Together, they run some 400 BKs, 30 Texas Chickens (the name Church’s Chicken uses overseas) and two branches of Buffalo Wild Wings, the most recent U.S. brand to be added to its fold.