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Fatburger CEO: We'll Survive the Better-Burger Shakeout

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We sold out the entire territory in the Middle East in a couple of years. We have approximately 40 units open in that region right now, and we'll open another two to three dozen this year just in that region. We've got commitments that total close to 100 in that region. We've got stores open in Beijing and Korea, and under development in a couple of other countries like Singapore.

We'll open in Cairo this year. We're already open in Iraq. We'll open in Libya this year. So it's interesting markets. We opened a store in Pakistan, which has a line out the door from the minute it opens to the minute it closes because the Pakistani culture, they like hamburgers, and they have no issue with it.

Why are the Middle East and Asian markets such hot expansion areas?

Wiederhorn: My belief is that there are certain types of foods that travel well internationally, such as pizza, coffee, burgers, ice cream, and there's certain foods that don't travel well, like Mexican food. So burgers are something that everybody likes around the world, and if you've got a really good burger, and you've got some brand recognition where people can identify with the quality and the freshness, then you stand out.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York

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