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If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, some of America’s most popular food establishments have reason to be pleased — or do they? Knockoffs of the most recognizable names in fast food have popped up all over the world, often blatantly copying logos, naming conventions, and even key menu items — changing them just enough to avoid being a direct duplicate. And the results are often bizarre and hilarious. From Sunbucks to Mash Donald’s, here are some of the funniest fast food knockoffs that exist in other countries.
Pizza Hat, Iran
Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, government sanctions have prevented popular American chains from operating in Iran. But that hasn’t stopped local business owners from trying to cash in on the appetite for American fast food, including the rather unappetizingly named Pizza Hat.
The popular replica of Pizza Hut not only replaced the “Hut” in the U.S. restaurant’s name, but also swapped a hat for the iconic little red building in the original logo. Pizza Hat’s logo features a drawing of a person’s face with a red fedora atop their head. The hat also happens to be tilted down over the eyes, lending a mysterious air to the branding.
Pizza Hat does, of course, serve pizza, but patrons also frequent the chain for lasagna, chicken wings, burgers, and sandwiches. Iran isn’t the only place with Pizza Hut knockoffs — there’s another restaurant named Pizza Hat in Libya, while China boasts the spectacularly named Pizza Huh.
Sunbucks Coffee, China
Even when an established food franchise operates within a country’s border, copycats abound. Such is the case with Starbucks in China, the country with the most locations outside of the U.S. Despite this, Shanghai’s Sunbucks Coffee took the Seattle coffee chain’s instantly recognizable green-and-white logo and replaced the mermaid in the center with the face of a Chinese dragon. Elsewhere in China, the lazily-named — but hilarious — Bucksstar Coffee also exists. (Yes, they just reversed the name and also used a green-and-white logo.)
In Palestine, caffeine addicts can satiate their cravings at Stars & Bucks, which not only serves coffee but also dine-in meals and decadent desserts. And in Tehran, Iran, Raees Coffee is a popular spot that has adapted Starbucks’ branding but has otherwise branched out to align themselves with the trendier third-wave coffee culture.
Mash Donald's, Iran
The McDonald’s Golden Arches may be America’s most iconic cultural symbol. That’s why so many places use it, despite the legal risk, in their own restaurants all over the world. In Iran, where McDonald’s and other American franchises have been unwelcome since the 1979 revolution, a well-known knockoff named Mash Donald’s even admitted to capitalizing on the fast food giant’s brand recognition to drum up their own business. Burgers and fries are on the menu, but Mash Donald’s also serves falafel sandwiches, hot dogs, and its own version of a Big Mac. The “baguette burger” consists of turkey, ham, and cheese on — you guessed it — a baguette.
Elsewhere around the world, you'll find McDonner’s serving kebabs under the auspice of golden arches in Kazakhstan, McKebab doing the same in Poland, and a restaurant in China mysteriously named Michael Alone that also uses the famous red-and-yellow color scheme alongside an upside-down McDonald’s logo.
Duffin Dagels, Spain
Aside from sharing the same double “D” alliteration, the Duffin Dagels name alone doesn’t exactly call to mind Dunkin’ Donuts. But take one look at its pink-and-orange color scheme — and the mouthwatering selection of doughnuts, coffee, frappuccinos, and fruit drinks — and there’s no mistaking where this Spain-based chain gets its inspiration. Unlike its American counterpart, Duffin Dagels doesn’t offer a broader breakfast menu, but its doughnut selection is next-level fancy (especially for seasonal holidays). They also boast a selection of artisanal ice cream and decadent waffles and crepes.
Duffin Dagels isn’t the only Dunkin’ doppelganger out there: Germany has the hilariously named Donkey Donuts, while Dunkin’s own home state of Massachusetts also has a Dippin’ Donuts. The owners of Dippin’ Donuts — which recalls the vintage look of Dunkin’ with its brown color scheme and retro counter stools — are former employees of the major chain who went independent in the early 2000s and still make every doughnut by hand.
Burger Friends, Iraq
In 2012, an influx of American-inspired restaurants swept across Baghdad, Iraq. Local entrepreneurs tried to appeal to the local market’s craving for North American-inspired fast food by opening pizza joints, fried chicken spots, and fast-casual pubs offering hot wings and chili. One of the most obvious homages to the beloved American chain restaurant is Burger Friends. The Burger King knockoff didn’t even remotely try to obscure the U.S. chain’s iconic logo, which features the red text of the name nestled in between two golden burger buns.
Another, even more obvious Burger King knockoff found in several places around the world is Burger Queen, while China has its own copycat-logo burger restaurant with the hilariously uninspired name Cheese Burger. But perhaps the best-named of the bunch is Burger Madam & Sir.
It’s not just the name KKFC that could be mistaken for Colonel Sanders’ finger-lickin’ fried chicken. The popular Nepal-based fast food restaurant also uses the same red-and-white design and italicized text as KFC does in its logo and branding. At least the logo doesn’t try to emulate the famous mustachioed Colonel — KKFC, which stands for Krispy Krunchy Fried Chicken, is represented with an illustrated chicken. Like its American counterpart, KKFC offers buckets and meal deals of all varieties of fried chicken. There’s even a sandwich with fried chicken pieces in place of buns called the Double Trouble — a direct copy of KFC’s legendary Double Down sandwich.
Several KFC knockoffs exist in China, all with red-and-white branding and similarly acronymed names, such as KFG and KLC. One of the most popular clones of the American fried chicken institution is KLG, a company that originated in Taiwan and now has locations in China, South Korea, and South Africa. It too uses KFC’s well-known design palette, and even its logo, a cartoon chicken, is wearing glasses and the western bow tie popularized by the Colonel himself.