Steak Escape is defying borders and expanding with a new location in Dubai, and more Steak Escape stores are being built throughout the Middle East as the restaurant chain gains popularity.

Ibrahim Shallal of HMS Holdings opened a Steak Escape restaurant in early October at Business Bay Dubai, a central business district with commercial and residential developments. Dubai has a population of more than 2 million people.

"We are very excited about the launch of Steak Escape and believe the concept will do well in the Middle East,” Ali Mahmoud of HMS Holdings sayd. “The taste, … the fresh preparation of each order tailor made to the customer's wishes, and the detailed system of a well thought out franchise, will all contribute to the success of this brand."

Mahmoud is part of HMS Holdings, a Steak Escape master franchise group, and is also spearheading Steak Escape development in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

A Steak Escape unit will open in Erbil, Iraq, next month and another early 2013.

While this is the first location to open in Dubai, a major hub for business and travel, it’s not the first Steak Escape to appear in the Middle East. There has been a Steak Escape restaurant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for almost two years, and there are more Steak Escape restaurants to come.

Steak Escape vice president of international franchising Lloyd Allen says Steak Escape has been well received in the Middle East and investors are eager to open new Steak Escape locations.

“The Steak Escape concept has been very well received by the Middle Eastern culture, says Lloyd Allen, vice president of international franchising for Steak Escape. “Once one unit opens, it gains traction and generates interest from other Middle Eastern countries.”

Saudi Arabia’s second Steak Escape location opened earlier this year at Prince Turki bin Abudulziz Street, with two more restaurants opening in November and December.

A second Dubai Steak Escape restaurant will open by the end of the year, with two restaurants to open in Erbil and Kurdistan in November and early next year, respectively. An Oman location is expected to open early 2013.

Another master franchisee, 7-Corners, is headquartered in Riyadh and owns the master franchise rights to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Waleed Altuwaijri and Modather Idris of the 7-Corners group have been in the Steak Escape system for four years and will open their fourth unit by the end of the year.

“Both are top notch professionals and committed veterans to the Steak Escape system," Allen says.

Escape Enterprises has master franchise agreements in Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Allen says a master franchise agreement is within a few days of being executed for Oman.

Steak Escape is also looking to expand into Asia. An agreement was recently signed with Pacific Trident International to represent Steak Escape in Japan.

"The principal, Steve Basford, lived in Japan for many years and has a tremendous amount of knowledge and respect for Japan and its people,” Allen says. “His experience is essential to our success in Japan.”

Exciting things are happening with Steak Escape in the United States as well.

EscapeEnterprise just opened two of its next-generation Steak Escape units called Steak EscapeSandwich Grill. A third will open shortly in the downtown Arena District of Columbus,Ohio.

Additional Steak Escape Sandwich Grills are opening soon in North Carolina,Mississippi, and West Virginia.

The new Sandwich Grill concept boasts a new logo, store design, and product delivery system, enhancing the customer experience in the areas ofspeed, choice, healthy alternatives, and overall dining ambience. 

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Emerging Concepts, Growth, News, Steak Escape