Charley’s Grilled Subs, the 454-unit Philly Steak restaurant chain, has grown to 15 restaurants in the United Arab Emirates. The most recent opened Jan. 19 at the Dubai International Airport in Terminal 1.
Prominent businessman Mohammad Al Madani, chairman and CEO of Al Madani Group of Companies (AMG), is leading the Dubai expansion. In addition to overseeing the development in the UAE, the group this month also signed a partnership agreement with Charley’s for exclusive master franchising of the sandwich chain for Saudi Arabia and Oman.
The recent opening is significant since Dubai airport is the 14th busiest airport in the world and is a window to the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. In 2010, more than 43 million passengers visited the airport.
Airports have been a steady point for Charley’s growth since the company first located in Pittsburgh International Airport in 1991. Since then, Charley’s airport presence has grown to eight other airport locations domestically. The Dubai airport marks the country’s first international airport presence at a time when the brand is looking to grow its restaurant count in major airports.
Charley’s, which operates in 46 states and 16 countries including Japan, Germany, and Saudi Arabia, has been well received in international markets due to its quality of ingredients and worldwide appeal of steak sandwiches.
“Grilled sandwiches like the Philly Steak have long been a part of many cultures around the world, which is one of several factors that makes a concept like Charley’s well-suited for both airport and international expansion,” sas Bob Wright, Charley’s president and chief operating officer.
“Partnering with a seasoned franchise veteran like Mohammad Al Madani is beneficial to us internationally because he can help carry out our brand mission in other countries.”
Charley’s was founded in 1986 by the company’s CEO, Charley Shin. In addition to its booming international growth, Charley’s continues its rapid U.S. development as well. Plans call for the franchise to have at least 500 restaurants open by 2012.