DineEquity Inc. has moved forward with a franchise agreement to launch six IHOP locations in Panama in the next five years – the first opened in Panama City on Monday.

Panama is new territory for Glendale restaurant operator DineEquity, also parent company to Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar.

“We’ve been interested in being part of this vibrant and growing market for some time, but wanted to ensure that we found a franchise partner that shared our commitment to bringing the very best of the brand to the country,” Daniel del Olmo, president of the company’s international division, said in a statement.

For the new expansion, DineEquity has partnered with franchisee Collins Rada Group Inc. The franchise was founded in 1958 and as of March had 1,684 restaurants in the states and all over the globe.

Shares closed up 90 cents or 1.1 percent to $81.85 on the New York Stock Exchange.