They say there isn’t anything left to do which has not been done before…. This certainly seems to be true in the exploding fast food chain knockoff scene.
Because folks, the fact of the matter is, the planet is littered with enthusiastically copied fast food outlets!
The knockoff chains create their own take on popular fast food brands by simply (and eerily!) mimicking the greats. Burger King, McDonald’s, Dunkin' Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and many others have fallen prey to this widespread replication. Sometimes the knockoff outlets do such a great job at impersonating the original brands, that one cannot help but fear for their sakes when it comes to copyright laws. In some cases knockoff outlets get into trouble, but in others, they continue to thrive.
One commonly associates the term ‘knockoff’ with clothes and shoes. However it seems that the knockoff mania has fast spread to the restaurant industry as well. Perhaps this should not be surprising, considering that brand counterfeiting has increased by 10,000% in the last two decades.
China is famous for its ability to produce a multitude of knockoffs, some of which are slightly confusing. Think, a supermarket with the Apple logo, placed into the 7/11 signage background….! In keeping with this, some of the craziest fast food chain knockoff restaurants can be found in China.
Besides China and its unlimited energy to ‘build on brands’, there are trade agreements and policy related laws which can in some instances be a cause of this outbreak of restaurant replicas. In other instance and countries, it seems sometimes someone simply gets a conglobulated idea and runs with it.
This mashup of McDonald’s and kebab must have been thought up by a fan of McDonald’s, who also loves kebabs, and thought that something ought to be done about the fact the McDonald’s does not serve kebabs.
Located in Poland, the McKebabs restaurant grabbed the golden arches from the McDonald’s brand, as well and the ‘Mc’, and combined these with a kebab centric food theme. Oh, and they also thought to add a smiling face into the McDonald’s M, for charisma.
As far as we can tell McKebabs is still running and flourishing. The social page is super active, and from the pics there, their food looks pretty good!
18 Pizza Hat
An obvious replication of the much loved Pizza Hut, the words pizza and hat do not really combine into the most mouth drooling of names!
However, when you think about it, what choice did the owner really have? Pizza Mut... Nah. Or, Pizza Butt? Nut, rut, and putt are just as bad. The other alternatives would be Pizza Mat, Cat, or Rat. All less than ideal…
So we have to at least award the founders the fact that they chose the most appetizing name possible, given the circumstance.
As Pizza Hut was forced to move out of Iran, somebody had to come up with a solution. We really can’t blame the creator of the Pizza Hat chain, as they were simply solving a nationwide problem!
17 Duffin Dagels
Duffin Bagels, I mean Dagels, Dunkin' Dagels, sorry, Buffin Dagels…. Blah! Maybe the creator of this chain decided to make the name such a confusing mix of the nonsensical, that anybody who reads it will get their brain in a knot and not have any mental energy left to ponder infringement.
But if you can get past the brain twister, you will see immediately that Duffin Dagels is a jumbled up replica of the Dunkin' Donuts name. The replication to Dunkin' Donuts does not stop at the name either. The colors of the brands are the same, many of the menu items are the same as those of Dunkin' Donuts (just with different names), and even the website and social pages are very alike to those of Dunkin’s.
This chain of Dunkin' Donuts look-alike outlets is located in Spain, where it is incredibly popular.
Kentucky Fried Chicken is so loved by the world that it is probably one of the most ‘knockedoff’ fast food chains. KFG (we are not sure what it stands for) is merely one of the numerous KFC knockoffs that can be found in China.
The other knockoff Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in China include joints like KLC, FBC, and MFC. Across all of these the red and white brand colors of Kentucky Fried Chicken are used, often also with a sketched face to accompany the logo.
The acronyms do not seem to have obvious meanings, and it would appear that they could be similar to some tattoos people get done in Mandarin, which turn out to be a mix of completely random words.
15 Stars & Bucks
This Starbucks doppelganger is located in Bethlehem, Palestine. Stars & Bucks really pulled out all of the stops when it comes to mimicking Starbucks. The logo and branding goes all out, right down to the printed take-out cups.
Funnily enough, this particular knockoff outlet was not designed to cater to the city's residents, so much as to the tourists. According to its old website, the Stars & Bucks cafe is considered by its owners to be a ‘touristic masterpiece’.
They serve similar items to what is on the Starbucks menu, as well as providing hookahs for customers. They social presence is highly active, and if you are curious to see what their specials are, just check the facebook page!
14 Mash Donald’s
Mash Donald’s anyone?
This really does not sound good. The first image that comes to mind is, naturally, mashed up burgers. Or fries. Or both!
Really not an appetizing choice of name, but once again, we cannot blame the creators of Mash Donald’s. Mash Donald’s is located in Iran, and Mcdonald's is unable to open outlets there. So, in order to solve a need, some considerate and innovative people hit upon opening up Mash Donald’s.
The owner at this point does not reveal his name, however he says that it was his son who advised him to go with Mash Donald’s rather than using the name of McDonald's (as he was thinking to do), so that there wouldn’t be any trouble from ‘the hardliners’.
13 Dairy Fairy
In case you were about to wonder, Dairy Queen did not escape being imitated. There are a number of Dairy Queen look-a-likes around the world. This particular one is based in China, and recently opened up in South Africa.
While the brand got a little original with their colors (swapping the red for orange), it is easy to spot that the logo style and general brand idea must have come directly from Dairy Queen.
According to their webpage, Dairy Fairy is a ‘popular global brand of soft serve ice cream and now officially landing in South Africa!’ However there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the chain exists anywhere else except in China.
The brand slogan is ‘the taste of California’...
12 Donkey Donuts
You would think one would have to be nuts to call your donut joint Donkey Donuts! But it appears that the automatic association with the branding of Dunkin' Donuts is so strong and so positive, that having the word donkey together with donuts is a non-issue in this case.
This Dunkin' Donuts knockoff is not nearly as widespread as the aforementioned Duffin Dagels chain in Spain. Donkey Donuts is in Germany, and as far as we can make out, only has one outlet in Nuremberg, which is a city in Bavaria. Also, unlike Duffin Dagels, they do not have an active social media presence.
11 Cheese Burger
If you thought Burger King would get off without being knocked-off, then think again. This joint has taken the Burger King brand, and seemingly distilled it down into one menu item. The cheese burger.
It seems like a random choice of name, but maybe it was a no brainer. Perhaps the founder just really likes cheese burgers, to the point where any other burger is superfluous? We can only guess that the logic behind this must have been something along theses lines.
Cheese Burger is located in China, so unfortunately we were prevented from visiting to see if they just sell cheeseburgers, or if some of the other classic Burger King menu items remain.
10 Sunny Day
The imitation of the Subway chain here is pretty clear. But it is done in such a way as to perhaps ride above the jurisdiction of copyright infringement. Sunny Day rings pretty close to ‘Subway’, but as the words are completely different in meaning it may be hard for the Subway brand to do anything about it.
Sunny Day uses the exact same color scheme as Subway, and their menu items seem to be also sandwiches. It would be pretty surprising if they sold burgers instead! The fast food chain is based and located in Yemen.
9 Dairy King
Here is another humorous replication of Dairy Queen. All they needed to do was switch the gender from Queen to King, and replicate a simplified version of the logo in two colors.
We don’t know who the owners think they are fooling, as anybody can spot from a mile away that this in not Dairy Queen. This unimaginative fast food joint is located in Norwalk in southwestern Connecticut.
But this Dairy King is not alone, many others exists as well. Most of the Dairy King variations have logos which differ substantially from Dairy Queen, which makes this particular joint stand out as having the least inventiveness.
8 Pizza Huh
Pizza what? Huh? Yes, Huh. Pizza Huh sounds like a cross between a knock-knock joke, and someone choking! As far as names go we think we prefer Pizza Hat, over Pizza Huh.
As you can see, Pizza Huh made no effort to be original in their signage, and it appears went out of their way to look as similar to Pizza Hut as possible. Probably in order to bamboozle customers.
This blatant knockoff joint, is by no means alone. It is located in a mall, which is dedicated to knockoff stores and restaurants. A veritable mall of knockoffs.
7 Star Box Coffee
Star Box Coffee is a tiny coffee hut in London.
Unlike the other Starbucks knockoff businesses that exist, this particular one is actually quite a vague knockoff. The owner did not use the Starbucks colors, or try to copy their iconic logo.
In contrast to some of the more blatant Starbucks copies that exist and thrive, this coffee hut and its owner were targeted by Starbucks for impersonating the brand.
Starbucks requested that the owner remove the word ‘star’ from all of his signage and cup stickers; the owner was forced to comply. The kiosk and its coffee is now simply called “Box Coffee”.
6 Burger Friends
This friendly burger joint is of course another Burger King knockoff. While stealing anybody’s idea is not too friendly, even if it is from a massive corporation, somehow we can’t seem to find it in our hearts to shun this fun sounding place.
And, what is more, Burger Friends is located in Baghdad. Like Pizza Hat and Mash Donald’s, Burger Friends was most likely opened up to provide people in Baghdad with the Burger King experience which they have been unable to enjoy; Burger Friends has risen to meet the need.
5 Dominic's Pizza
Domino’s Pizza also has its impersonator sibling chain, called Dominic’s!
There are actually a number of individually owned pizza restaurants called Dominic's Pizza. However the set that we want to single out, are the Dominic’s Pizza outlets over in the UK. The other stand alone Dominic’s pizza places obviously mean no harm (maybe the owner’s name is actually Dominic) as their signage, logo and branding is very far removed from that of Domino’s Pizza.
However, the UK based Dominic's Pizza quite obviously did a spin on the Domino's logo. It's cleverly done, and if you don’t look properly before walking into a joint, you may assume you are at Dominos!
4 Michael Alone
This knockoff of McDonald’s in China has replicated the golden arches (and turned them upside down), the food line and the red and yellow scheme of the decor, but decided to go completely in another direction with the name. Michael alone? This sounds awfully lonely. And who is Michael. Michael Jackson?
Micheal of course did sing ‘You Are Not Alone’, so maybe the founder of this restaurant was going for a comforting theme? As in we've got fast comfort food for you, and you are not alone?
Funny, from this picture the restaurant does look kind of lonely. There is not a soul in it!
What is even odder is that this knockoff of McDonald’s, seems to have a been knocked-off itself! See below…
3 Wichael Alone
Wicheal Alone appears to be a take on Michael Alone… Or so we assume. Also located in China, Wichael Alone put even more effort into mimicking the McDonald’s brand theme, completing their store front with a Ronald McDonald clown figure.
The interior also follows the red and yellow color scheme of a genuine McDonald’s. If it was not for the outlandish name, the outlet could most easily be mistaken for a real McDonald’s!
We were so fascinated with this knockoff of a knockoff, that we scoped their twitter page, to find the tweet ‘just kickin' it at Wickey A's’. And we have got to admit, Wickey A’s has a ring to it!
2 Wbauacysse (We Think)
It is hard to establish exactly what the name of this Subway knockoff is. As they took a bunch of letters, including some of the exact ones in the Subway logo, and simply placed them at random all over the restaurant sign.
This Subway substitute is also located in Iran, where Subway does not operate due to sanctions. It is unclear when this will change, so for now business minded people around Iran are making a plan and opening up their own versions of favorite fast food chains.
Far from feeling duped, much of the population welcomes the food diversity springing up, and some people interviewed say that it brings a feeling of normality to the war torn zone.
1 Bucksstar Coffee
On the other side of the Eurasian continent, lives another Starbucks look-alike, this time named ‘Bucksstar Coffee’. Again, one can't miss that the logo and branding look very much like those of Starbucks.
It is debatable whether or not the knockoff outlet still exists. It got quite a lot of heat when a branch opened up in the mall dedicated purely to knockoff shops. Not all customers were impressed, saying that many people may be deceived by the mimicry, and think they are getting the real thing.
The Twitter account has not had anything posted on it since May 2014, so maybe the ‘brand’ got into a little trouble. Seeing the second most recent post says “we will be selling Starbucks lattes and Voodoo Donuts”, and uses the actual Starbucks logo, it wouldn't be a surprise!