Johnny Rockets Pushes American Dining Overseas

Johnny Rockets, a family burger chain that is celebrating its 25th anniversery, is trying to make the American-diner experience a big hit overseas.

The signature ShackBurger from Shake Shack.
The signature ShackBurger from Shake Shack.

“The international acceptance of western brands has never been higher," Johnny Fuller, CEO of Johnny Rockets, told CNBC Monday. "Our concept really is about America and the American feel and it really does do well overseas."

Johnny Rockets recently signed a deal with Russia, India and is looking to expand in China. The chain already has 300 restaurantsworldwide in such places as Kuwait and Mexico.

Each year, the privately held company opens 40-50 new restaurants, and Fuller said he hopes more than half of those will be overseas.

“Our ability to get 20-30 (restaurants a year) internationally will be real easy," Fuller said. "And getting another 15-20 in the states over the next twelve months should be easily achieved as well.”

Johnny Rockets is affected by rising food inflation, Fuller said, but the company has been trying to keep a lid on costs by consolidating vendors and distribution.

And even with its overseas expansion, Fuller said the chain doesn't plan to change its image as an American-style restaurant.

“The world is a lot more accepting of western brand and again we are about as western a brand as you can get,” said Fuller.