US fast food chains seen ramping up Middle East growth

US brands eye store rollout as fast food gains in popularity across the region
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Fast-food retailers are increasing in popularity throughout the Middle East
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Customers queue to place their fast-food order at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet at the Dubai Mall
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Between 2000 and 2007, the region saw the arrival of brands like Yo!Sushi, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Wagamamas and Wrapid, among others
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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
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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
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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
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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
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An Emirai passes the logo of McDonald's outside a fast-food outlet in Dubai
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Branded table-service restaurants generate about $600m a year in the UAE, a number set to swell to $780 by 2015