Most international restaurant franchises look to London to open an initial flagship restaurant to test the waters before expanding further. Like many things American, American Restaurant Chains strive to enter new international markets and become huge global successes. However for some popular American chains that have entered the UK market, they’ve simply come and gone……
Dunkin Donuts- pulled out in the mid 90’s but might be considering a comeback. Sister shop, Baskin Robbins still thriving in the UK and hoping to expand in the near future.
Chili’s Grill and Bar- It’s London and Reading locations went bankrupt in 2009. It’still has successful locations open in Germany and Russia.
Outback Steakhouse- Its 2 Essex locations packed up in 2011.
Hooters – Still hanging in there with its original location in Nottingham that opened in 1998, but it’s Bristol and Cardiff location were only open for 2 years and closed in 2012. Was it the feminist uproar that led to its demise?
Krispy Kreme- has had to close 50 stores with one of them being Oxford. It still has limited shops open and is still sold widely in Tescos and Welcome Breaks/Moto/Road chefs.
Successful so far, but limited American franchises-
Tony Roma's 2 locations only in Kingston Upon Thames and Glasgow.
Ruby Tuesday's 2 locations only in Cheltenham and Cardiff.
New Chains on the horizon-
Chipotle Mexican Grill has been open in UK since 2010 and has 6 locations in London and also do local online orders.
5 Guys- Just opened summer 2013 in Covent Garden. Huge queues that wrapped around a block were reported.
Shake Shack – Also, just opened summer 2013 with 1 location in Covent Garden.
Chains that have investigated the opportunity to come to UK but no sign, as of yet-
Denny’s and Cheesecake Factory
I don’t know about you, but my American to UK restaurant dream would be to see a Waffle House open up over here, now that I would queue for!