DineEquity, Inc., the parent company of IHOP Restaurants and Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar, announced the opening of the first IHOP restaurant in the Middle East, an IHOP in The Mall of the Emirates, in the Al Barsha district of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The opening marks the first of a 40-restaurant development agreement between IHOP and M.H. Alshaya Company for restaurants in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Egypt.

As a leading international retail franchise business, Alshaya operates more than 2,200 stores across seven divisions: fashion and footwear, health and beauty, foodservice, optics, pharmacy, office supplies, and home furnishings.

Alshaya’s stores can currently be found in 19 markets across the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, Turkey, and Europe, and the company employs more than 28,000 people from more than 90 nations.

“This marks a major milestone in IHOP’s international development strategy and we are delighted to make the IHOP experience available to guests in the Middle East,” says John Merkin, IHOP VP of development and international. “In this venture, we are proud to partner with one of the premier franchisees of international brands in the Middle East. Together we plan to expand the IHOP brand to a new continent and provide our signature menu to an entirely new set of guests and their families.”

Duncan Garrood, president of Alshaya’s food division, says, “IHOP has international recognition and appeal and we are delighted to welcome it to the Middle East with this prime location at Dubai’s Mall of the Emirate. We look forward to expanding IHOP across the region and working in partnership with the brand to introduce a growing number of customers to the great quality and value that IHOP represents.”

The restaurant features the brand’s latest international designs, will seat 225 guests, and will be open seven days per week.

With the popularity of breakfast growing in the region, this newest IHOP menu offers many of the same traditional favorites as U.S. locations, including traditional breakfast pancake/egg/meat combinations, hearty omelets, and signature pancakes. All meats at IHOP in Dubai will feature Halal-certified turkey hams, veal sausages, and beef bacon.

Dubai’s first IHOP has a prime location in the Mall of Emirates, one of the largest shopping malls in the Middle East, drawing more than 31 million visitors each year. The newest IHOP is adjacent to the world’s biggest man-made indoor ski slope.

The Dubai opening marks the first IHOP expansion into the Middle East. Other international IHOP restaurants locations include Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Industry News, NextGen Casual, IHOP