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Food Franchises: Beware Of Foreign Imposters

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I dobt a lot food franchises operating in foreign markets view the rise of imposters so kindly.


The LA Times has a fascinating story on how many popular franchises are having the menu and aesthetic duplicated in China. In-N-Out is one of the west coast's favourite burger chains. They were shocked to learn of the emergence of a 'red-and-yellow doppelganger called CaliBurger laying claim to its signature burger, touting "Animal Style" fries topped with cheese, special sauce and onions, and planning to serve thick shakes in palm-tree-print cups.'


Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the story is that Caliburger is not based in Beijing or Shanghai but California. The Times also speak to an employee of CaliBurger in Shanghai was admits that In-N-Out Burger was the inspiration for their menu.


While In-N-Out Burger has filed a lawsuit 'alleging CaliBurger's actions led to "substantial damages" and "irreparable harm"' last year, it's unclear if they can top CaliBurger from duplicating their food and catch phrases.


All in all, it's one of the best reasons for franchises to expand into the likes of China and India: establish your brand's footprint before an imitator pirates your menu.

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