American restaurant chain Applebee’s is planning to add 21-to-26 new outlets in the Middle East over the next three years to expand its presence across the region. By the end of the expansion period, the brand’s network will grow from 34 to between 55 and 60 outlets. The company aims to open at least seven new restaurants in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and recruit about 560 new employees this year.
“With the increasing appetite for out-of-home dining and growing discretionary wealth in the Middle East, there is plenty of room for restaurant brands to expand their businesses. Consumers in the region are also increasingly getting accustomed to a mobile lifestyle and this has given rise to the demand for more casual, fast casual and quick service food outlets,” says Gary Moore, Applebee’s regional manager for MENA.
Applebee’s has been registering double-digit growth over the last three years on the back of rising economic momentum in the region. “We find that this is really a very good time for retail and for food and beverage to expand. The Gulf economies are becoming a lot more solid and there have been a lot of employment opportunities. The real estate business is starting to open up and new malls are being built,” he observes.