IHOP Franchise Company LLC has signed a multi-restaurant franchise agreement for the development of 40 new IHOP restaurants in several countries in the Middle East.

IHOP, a subsidiary of Glendale-based DineEquity Inc., signed the agreement with Kuwait-based M.H. Alshaya Co., WLL. The new IHOP restaurants will be located in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Egypt.

In January, Calabasas-based The Cheesecake Factory announced it also entered into a franchise contract with Alshaya to expand to several Middle Eastern countries.

The agreement marks the restaurant chain’s first major expansion outside of North America and represents the largest international development deal in the brand’s history.

“The Alshaya agreement marks a major milestone in IHOP’s international development strategy and reflects our commitment to make the brand accessible to more guests,” said Jean Birch, president of IHOP.

The new IHOP restaurants will start opening within the next year, with all 40 restaurants expected to be open the next five years.

“The popularity and international appeal of the IHOP brand, combined with our proven track record of operating and delivering exceptional service customized to the local market promises to create a powerful partnership,” said Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of Alshaya Co.

Jessica Vernabe