American restaurant chains eye Middle East for expansion

Tuesday 26 July 2011 00:00 BST

US-based family restaurant chain Applebee's has announced plans to expand into Egypt with 10 new restaurants over the next decade, as part of parent company DineEquity Inc.'s aggressive push into the Middle East.

Applebee's currently operates 147 restaurants in 15 countries outside the US. The expansion of the Applebee's brand will be tied in with the aggressive development of IHOP, its sister brand which is set to open 40 new restaurants over the next five years in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Egypt.

Announced in June, IHOP's entry into the Middle East marks the first major expansion outside North America and the largest international development deal in the brand's history.

Though Applebee's core menu will center around signature dishes like its "Riblets" - pork button bones basted with barbecue sauce and served with fries and coleslaw, and burger menu, the menu will also feature local flavors and incorporate local images to reflect the neighborhoods.

Applebee's will be partnering with the same franchise developer AMECO, which is currently in plans to set up 30 Dairy Queen locations across the country.

Consumers in the Middle East will soon see an influx of US restaurant brands setting up shop in their midst. According to industry publication Nation's Restaurant News, other brands that have announced plans to expand into the region include Quiznos, Chili's Grill & Bar, Fatburger and Ponderosa.

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