Foodservice Equipment Reports

Middle East Chain Openings Continue Apace

The restaurant landscape in the Middle East continues to fill with a diverse array of U.S. chains.

In a region where the average daily temperature measures three digits, Dairy Queen has opened its largest store, a 7,500-sq.-ft. unit seating 240 customers. The DQ Chill & Grill in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is the chain’s only two-story restaurant. The Minneapolis company, which operates stores in Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, will build five more units this year and plans to have 32 locations across the kingdom by 2015 under a franchise deal with retailer Al Safwa Food Group.

Other chains expanding in the region include El Chico, which in June launched its first unit in Riyadh. It already has stores in Dubai and Cairo. CRO, Dallas-based parent of the Tex-Mex chain, plans five more units there.

Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin’ Donut has five stores opening in Muscat, Oman, this year. Pancakes are popping up too. IHOP parent DineEquity has reached a deal with franchiser Alshaya to launch 40 restaurants in nine countries there over the next five years. The agreement is IHOP’s first major expansion outside of North America and the largest international development deal in its history. 

Finally, Beautiful Brands Int’l. will grab a slice of the Gulf region market; it has agreements to develop up to 20 Top That! Pizza locations there.The personal-pizza chain launched 10 months ago in BBI’s hometown, Tulsa, Okla.

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