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How One Burger Chain Profits From Turmoil Abroad

A Fatburger outlet in Karachi, Pakistan
A Fatburger outlet in Karachi, PakistanPhotograph by Rizwan Tabassum/AFP via Getty Images

Political protests, disease outbreaks, terrorist campaigns—U.S. business owners considering expanding internationally would be forgiven for deciding to stay at home. But name a tumultuous spot abroad—Hong Kong, Iraq, Egypt—and Andy Wiederhorn has probably opened a burger shop there in the past seven years.

Wiederhorn has taken his Los Angeles-based franchise, Fatburger, from a struggling also-ran to a $125 million company by opening in 32 countries since 2007. He has 200 international locations now and an additional 350 in development, including in places rocked by unrest, such as Tunisia and Libya. Despite the advances of Islamic State, a second store in Iraq is also in the works.