At this year's franchise expo in New York City, Americans dreaming of opening up their own pizza shop or burger joint were often fourth in line behind Kuwaiti, Chinese or Peruvian executives, CNNMoney reported.

 

Foreign nationals made up nearly a fifth of the attendees, and even small companies found themselves awash in attention. There's an insatiable appetite abroad for American franchises.

 

American brands are growing faster abroad than they are domestically, according to a CNNMoney review of industry data collected by the Franchise Times. From 2010 to 2012, domestic growth was largely flat -- or even down -- for the top 10 brands. Meanwhile, growth exploded abroad.

 

The number of McDonald's Corp. locations grew by 1 percent at home, but locations abroad grew 5 percent. Convenience store chain 7-Eleven expanded its outlets by 10 percent domestically, versus 19 percent internationally. KFC closed more U.S. units than it opened, while it expanded by 14 percent elsewhere.

 

The U.S. economic downturn made it harder for American brands to expand domestically. Read more.