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When the 10,000th Burger King opened last week in Penrith near Sydney, Australia, the company celebrated by giving away cheeseburgers for 10,000 seconds.
The milestone, reached far from the company's South Florida roots, has mixed symbolism. There are Burger King restaurants in 55 countries now, and sales outside North America have climbed to more than 20 percent of the system. More than 700 stores have been added internationally since 1994.
But the $10 billion Burger King, the world's fourth largest fast food chain, has seen its global expansion, at times, get botched in the drive-thru. Meanwhile, arch competitor McDonald's Corp. has restaurants in more than 100 countries.
Over the summer, Burger King refocused its global growth.
It finalized a departure from France, left 13 franchisees in Portugal, fired its Spanish subsidiary management and pushed expansion heavily in Asia and the Pacific Rim. It is also pursuing a new policy to snap up more …