5 fast-food chains that went extinct in the US but survived internationally

  • In America, fast-food chains come and go. But sometimes, a restaurant that dies in the US can find success in another country.
  • Kenny Rogers Roasters – a rotisserie chicken chain – died out in America, but was revived in Asia a few years later.
  • We traced the turbulent journey of five fast-food chains that found success internationally, but failed in the US.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Chi-Chi’s, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Oporto.

If you live in America, you might not have heard of them. But once upon a time, these fast-food chains were a significant part of the American eating landscape. Since their heyday, these chains have disappeared from American soil. But for whatever reason, they have managed to survive internationally.

So if you’re a fast-foodie with a desire to reminisce, fear not. Here are the stories of five fast-food chains that couldn’t hack it in America but still exist in other countries.

Kenny Rogers Roasters was a fast-food chain that had its US opening in 1991.

Facebook/Kenny Rogers Roasters

Source: Time

This chain of rotisserie chicken restaurants was founded by country singer Kenny Rogers and former Kentucky governor John Y. Brown Jr.



Kenny Rogers Roasters

The restaurant was made famous by a 1996 episode of “Seinfeld” but went bankrupt in 1998. It was ultimately bought by fast-food company Nathan’s Famous.


Source: IMDB,


Kenny Rogers Roasters eventually died out in America, but the chain experienced an international renaissance after being sold in 2008 to its Malaysia-based franchiser. In 2011, there were close to 140 Kenny Rogers Roasters locations across Asia.

0_Gyrfalcon_0/Trip AdvisorA Kenny Rogers Roasters in Singapore

Source: Nation’s Restaurant News,


Chi-Chi’s was founded in 1975 and was famous for its Mexican food. At its height in 1986, the chain had 237 locations nationwide.

Source: Kiplinger

The restaurant chain was connected to a Hepatitis outbreak in 2003 and went bankrupt shortly after.

Source: New York Times

Chi-Chi’s still maintains a sizable presence in Europe, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

Leda S, Trip AdvisorChi-Chi’s in Luxembourg

Source: Yahoo Finance

Oporto — a Portuguese-style fast food restaurant — had three US locations in California before they were converted to a different restaurant chain in 2013.

Ed K., YelpThree Oporto locations in the US (not pictured) closed in 2013.

Source: QSR Magazine

But the Australian-born fast food chain is still going strong overseas — it has over 170 locations in Australia.

Tony W, Trip AdvisorOporto in North Sydney

Source: Oporto

Oporto is famous for its original Portuguese chilli sauce and flame-grilled chicken.

Edward L. / Yelp

Source: Oporto

Tully’s coffee chain had a tumultuous journey in the US. Founded in Washington in 1992, the chain filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Source: Business Insider

Michael Avenatti — Stormy Daniels’ attorney — and actor Patrick Dempsey bought Tully’s in 2013. But the company faced dozens of lawsuits and closed all US locations by 2018.


Source: Business Insider

Tully’s still has locations outside the US — in Japan, Singapore, and Sweden.

seepoo_tokyo, Trip AdvisorTully’s in Tokyo

Source: Trip Advisor

Teremok is a Russian fast-food chain that was intended to be the McDonald’s of Russian cuisine.


Source: Business Insider

The chain opened two locations in New York in 2017 in an attempt to break into the American food market.

Hollis Johnson

Owner Mikhail Goncharov announced the end of his expansion into America a year later. Both stores closed and Goncharov accused New York City inspectors of “open hostility” towards his staff. One location was accused of violating of health codes.

Hollis Johnson



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