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Cheesecake Factory Expands to Middle East

The Cheesecake Factory Inc. entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with a Kuwait-based group of companies to build and operate The Cheesecake Factory restaurants in the Middle East. The agreement with Alshaya provides for the development of 22 restaurants over the next five years in five countries. Those countries are the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. There will also be the opportunity to expand the agreement to include other markets in the Middle East and North Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey. “We are excited to announced announce a significant step forward in the implementation of our global growth strategy through the development of The Cheesecake Factory brand restaurants in international markets, beginning with the Middle East,” said David Overton, the restaurant chain’s chairman and CEO. “Our agreement with Alshaya provides us with another avenue for growth and will enhance our ability to continue delivering shareholder value.” Overton also called Alshaya’s portfolio of restaurant and retail brands “impressive,” and added that it shows the group’s “capabilities in successfully bringing leading brands to the Middle East, a highly desirable and growing market for American brands.” Mohammed Alshaya, chairman of the retail division of Alshaya, said there has been a demand for the restaurant chain’s presence in the Middle East. “We continuously ask consumers in the Middle East to tell us which U.S.-based casual dining restaurants they want in their local markets,” Alshaya said. “The Cheesecake Factory is always at the top of the list. We are delighted to be the company’s initial licensee to develop and operate this outstanding restaurant concept internationally.” Jessica Vernabe

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