US fast food chains seen ramping up Middle East growth

US brands eye store rollout as fast food gains in popularity across the region
Fast-food retailers are increasing in popularity throughout the Middle East
Customers queue to place their fast-food order at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet at the Dubai Mall
Between 2000 and 2007, the region saw the arrival of brands like Yo!Sushi, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Wagamamas and Wrapid, among others
US-based chains are set to open some 250 outlets across the Middle East over the next decade, as profits slow in their domestic markets
Brands including Shake Shack, Red Lobster and Texas Roadhouse have all debuted in the UAE market in recent months, under tie-ups with local firms
Darden, the biggest casual-dining operator in the US, opened its first Red Lobster in the Dubai Mall in July and will open two more restaurants in Kuwait City in 2012
Smashburger will open its first international store in Kuwait next year. The Denver-based chain has agreed to open 37 stores in the Middle East
An Emirai passes the logo of McDonald's outside a fast-food outlet in Dubai
Branded table-service restaurants generate about $600m a year in the UAE, a number set to swell to $780 by 2015