The largest Cheesecake Factory restaurant in the world has opened at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai.
The US-based eaterie, occupying 2,120 sq m with 526 seats, is the brand’s second opening in the UAE.
The launch was announced by Kuwait-based retailer MH Alshaya Co, the first international licensee for The Cheesecake Factory.
“The response to The Cheesecake Factory’s international debut in the UAE last summer and at The Avenues in Kuwait last month was truly overwhelming, and we are delighted this momentum is being sustained by opening in such a prime location at Mall of the Emirates,” said Duncan Garrood, president of Alshaya’s food division.
The Cheesecake Factory Inc, the New York-listed restaurant chain, last year signed a deal with Alshaya to franchise its outlets across the Gulf in its first overseas expansion.
The deal allowed for 22 restaurants to be built over the next five years in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.
The UAE restaurant market is set to grow 30 percent to $780m in the next four years and will be dominated by American-style fast food brands, an industry expert said in November 2011.
Branded table-service restaurants generate about $600m a year in the UAE, a number set to swell to $780 by 2015, said Stefan Breg, founder of Tribe Restaurant Creators in Abu Dhabi.
In a poll of dining outlets in the Gulf state, Tribe found American brands comprised up to 47 percent of food and beverage offers in Dubai malls.
IHOP, Papa Murphy’s and Russo’s New York Pizzeria are among other US food brands looking to expand into Gulf markets.
Alshaya is the franchise operator for over 70 of the world’s most recognised retail brands.