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IHOP, Applebee’s Plan to Open in United Arab Emirates

Dine Brands Global Inc. will expand into the United Arab Emirates with multiple IHOP and Applebee’s restaurants set to open in the region through a new franchise agreement, the company announced Thursday.

Existing IHOP franchisee Mohamed Makawi will lead the expansion into Dubai later this year. Financial terms of the agreement with Makawi were not disclosed.

“Mohamed, as a long-time IHOP operator in the U.S., is an ideal franchisee to lead the new openings of Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants in the UAE market. His passion for our brands, cultural understanding of the Middle East market, paired with his focus on creating exemplary guest experiences, position him to succeed in this new endeavor,” Tony Moralejo, president of international at Dine Brands, said in a statement.

Moralejo added that the brand’s success in the region has increased through ghost kitchen operations. Also, the re-establishment of brick-and-mortar locations will capitalize on increasing tourism business in the area.

“For over 20 years, I’ve had the pleasure of developing the IHOP brand in the U.S. With this new venture, I look forward to gaining the support of the communities we plan to serve internationally,” Makawi said in a statement. “We’re going to hire a local team and are confident guests in the UAE will love joining us in our restaurants for IHOP’s world-famous pancakes and familiar comfort foods, as well as Applebee’s craveable American fare.”

Shares of Glendale-based Dine Brands Global Inc. (DIN) closed up $1.28, or just over 2 percent, to $66.10 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, a day when the Dow Jones industrial average closed up nearly 1.7 percent.

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert
Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert
Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert is a Los Angeles-based reporter covering retail, hospitality and philanthropy for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. In addition to her current beat, she is particularly interested in criminal justice topics, health and science stories and investigative journalism. She received her AA in Humanities from Moorpark College in 2016, her BA in Communication from Cal Lutheran University in 2019 and followed it up with a MA in Specialized Journalism from USC in the summer of 2020. Through her work, Katherine aspires to help strengthen the fragile trust between members of the media and the public.
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