Nation’s Restaurant News reports that the company is planning to open 40 restaurants throughout the region in the next five years. Caught in its crosshairs are Kuwait, Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
M.H. Alshaya, the Kuwait-based franchise operator working with IHOP on the expansion, is no stranger to fattening up the populace on America’s exports: The 55 brands it’s already helped bring to the Middle East include P.F. Chang’s, the Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Pinkberry.
And IHOP isn’t the only one looking eastward: Quiznos, Elevation Burger, Chili’s, Fat Burger, and Ponderosa have also made public their plans to colonize the region. As Alison Nelson once remarked of her decision to expand the Chocolate Bar to Dubai, “It’s like going out West to mine for gold.” Or oil.