DineEquity to Shower Middle East With IHOPs

Forty new IHOPs will pop up in the Middle East within the next five years, marking the restaurant chains first major expansion outside of North America and the brands largest ever international development deal.

The worlds largest full-service restaurant company and owner of the IHOP chain, DineEquity (NYSE:DIN) said it has inked a deal with Kuwait-based M.H. Alshaya for the development of restaurants in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Egypt.

DineEquity, which also owns Applebees Neighborhood Grill, said the deal illustrates its commitment to increase the brands accessibility by expanding beyond its traditional markets. IHOP, which opened its 1,500th restaurant last year, plans to open between 55 and 65 new restaurants this year.

While its growth has historically focused on North America, with franchises in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, recent international developments have led to the opening of stores in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guatemala.

We look forward to working with Alshaya to make IHOP, with its unmistakable offerings and excellent service, a destination of choice for guests throughout the Middle East, DineEquity CEO Julia Stewart said in a statement.

DineEquity said IHOP will be one of the most recognized American family dining brands to enter the Middle East as its restaurants gradually open in the region over the next five years.