Startup Journal:

The hardest thing about franchise training for Kathy and Michael Serls of York, Pa., was getting there. Last May, the new franchisees of Cartridge World spent 21 hours on airplanes to reach the company’s headquarters and training facility in Adelaide, Australia.

During their two weeks Down Under, the Serls learned how to refill ink-jet and laser cartridges for printers, fax machines and photocopiers — and spotted a koala bear at the top of a tree.

Thanks to an influx of foreign concepts, the U.S. franchise scene is getting increasingly exotic. No one, not even the International Franchise Association trade group in Washington, has an exact count. But while U.S. franchisers have been carrying their brands to the far reaches of the world, they’ve passed at least two dozen concepts traveling the other way.

Arrivals From Australia

It’s no surprise that many, like Cartridge World (50 U.S. units), are from Australia, because that country “is the most franchised on the face of the earth,” says William Edwards, president of Edwards Global Services Inc., an international franchise consultancy in Irvine, Calif., that specializes in Australian brands. “They have 800 indigenous franchise systems for a population of 20 million and we have 3,000 for a population of 280 million,” he says. “They’re coming here because they’re running out of places to franchise down there.” Read More