United States-based fast food chain Smashburger has announced plans to launch – and aggressively expand – in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
In partnership with Pearll Investments, the company aims to open 26 restaurants across the two countries over the next “several years”, it said in a statement.
Twenty-two of the outlets will open in the UAE and the remaining four restaurants will be located in Qatar.
Smashburger already has operations underway in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It also expects to open in Egypt later this year.
“Smashburger’s international expansion has really taken off and we’re excited to be adding United Arab Emirates and Qatar to our portfolio of international countries,” said president and chief executive officer Scott Crane.
“Our new franchise partners are experienced restaurant operators and we’re confident they will help us grow the brand throughout this part of the region.
“Dubai in particular is an attractive destination for people all across the world, and we’re looking forward to bringing our made-to-order, hand-crafted burgers to a community that is experiencing growth and high traffic visibility year around,” he added.
The Smashburger menu features burgers, sandwiches, fresh salads, veggie frites and hand-spun Haagen-Dazs shakes. It also offers locally inspired items like regional burgers and local craft beer.
“Despite there being an ample number of fast casual restaurants in this region, the industry has yet to reach its potential in the UAE and Qatar and we feel there is a huge opportunity for brands such as Smashburger,” said chairman of Pearll Investments Abdel Hameed.
Smashburger currently operates over 355 restaurants across the US, Kuwait, Canada, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
It has plans to open an additional 60-80 restaurants in 2016 including expansion globally and in new markets in the US.