Ponderosa Steakhouse, the family dining steakhouse concept that will enjoy its 50th anniversary in 2015, opened its first location in Cairo, Egypt, on September 28 at the Citystars Shopping Center in the upscale Heliopolis suburb of Cairo. Homestyle Dining LLC, the parent company of the Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse brands, and a new fast casual steakhouse concept called Bo’s Steak & Grill, also announced that a fourth Ponderosa Steakhouse will open in Dubai in November 2014 making that seven Ponderosa restaurants in the Middle East, with Dubai being the fourth in the United Arab Emirates.

The Ponderosa in Cairo is owned and operated by franchisee Kareem Awny Abdel Dayem, who plans to open four additional Ponderosa Steakhouses in Egypt in the next few years. Abdel Dayem is a part owner of Alpha Tex Group, a textile company established by his grandfather in the 1930s. He is also the co-founder of Kryptonite Toys, a specialty store that is located in the Citystars Center, which sells licensed and proprietary collectibles, vintage comic books, and hobby items.

Abdel Dayem recalls fond memories of frequenting the Ponderosa Steakhouse in Orlando as child, and when Homestyle Dining announced plans to franchise internationally, he jumped at the chance to bring the concept to his country.

“It’s a pleasure to bring this “taste of America” to my home country of Egypt,” says Abdel Dayem. “Since we opened in late September, we have been received with open arms by our guests, who appreciate the American steakhouse offerings, the welcoming experience, and the value of the Ponderosa brand.”

“As we ramp up our international franchising efforts, we are committed to maintaining our core mission of offering a quality American steakhouse experience to dining consumers around the globe,” says Tom Sacco, CEO, Homestyle Dining LLC. “When Kareen and I toured our U.S. restaurants in late 2013, I knew Kareem’s service-oriented attitude and passion for excellence would provide great leadership for launching our refreshed Ponderosa brand in Egypt. Kareem and his team in Cairo have created a truly astounding Ponderosa Steakhouse and we look forward to working with him as he opens more Ponderosa restaurants in Egypt.”

The new restaurant features a similar menu to that offered in the United States, with a variety of local dishes on the all-you-can-eat buffet. The food offerings reflect the brand refresh and culinary revitalization that was embarked upon in late 2013 and includes several new entrees and appetizers, as well as a selection of more healthy items for more health-conscious guests. The Ponderosa in Cairo also offers a full array of beverages from fresh juices and soft drinks to espresso, Lattes and cappuccino. In Cairo, the restaurant is full-service in contrast to the fast-casual type of service offering in the United States. 

The interiors have been refreshed to reflect a more contemporary aesthetic reflecting a classic American steakhouse, with cream banquettes, dark woods, and tiled walls in neutral tones. The Cairo location also offers a kid’s play area and a semi-private meeting room.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Pizza, Ponderosa