That is, taking advantage of their often eclectic menus of fast food served overseas, where patrons tend to be more accepting of unusual new sandwiches and side dishes. At least one fast food chain with a big international presence may have realized the sales potential of sourcing new products from abroad.
On Wednesday, Pizza Hut announced that beginning on June 18, one of its large one-topping pizzas will feature 28 hot dog bites baked into the crust that can be pulled off and shared. The pizza was inspired by similar products sold in the Middle East, Japan and the U.K.
"We create a lot of pizza all around the world, and sometimes they cross the pond and get attention here -- no pizza has been requested more by fans here in the U.S. than the hot dog pizza," said Pizza Hut spokesman Doug Terfehr in an interview. Terfehr added, "Outside the U.S., people love this idea of American foods, and they are willing to mash those up and try those things together."
For some of the largest fast food chains in the world, importing an unusual sandwich or item from abroad would make all sorts of sense from sales and marketing standpoints. U.S. diners seem to have grown bored with McDonald's (MCD) Big Macs and run-of-the mill deep dish pizzas at Yum! Brands (YUM) Pizza Hut. Consequently, sales have stagnated in the U.S. for many of the largest fast-food chains.
At McDonald's, U.S. same-restaurant seal declined 2.1% last year, and have continued to decline in 2015, due in large part to a lack of interesting new foods on the menu. Although Wendy's (WEN) and Burger King (QSR) have outperformed the struggling Golden Arches amid several limited-time sandwiches, sales at each chain in 2014 weren't anything to write home about.
Wendy's and Burger King saw U.S. same-restaurant sales gains of 2.3% and 2.1%, respectively, in 2014. But fast-growing fast causal chains such as Shake Shack (SHAK) and Chipotle (CMG) continue to delight U.S. diners with more interesting offerings, which keeps them hooked and visiting frequently through the week. Same-restaurant sales for Shake Shack and Chipotle increased 4.1% and 16.8%, respectively last year.
TheStreet takes a look at five seemingly offbeat fast foods from abroad that with a tweak here and there, could get people in the U.S. talking. And, more importantly for the fast food chains, spending. The list concludes with the one product that would bring the biggest challenge operationally to the fast food company, but potentially the biggest reward.