GLENDALE, Calif. and KARACHI, Pakistan – Dine Brands Global Inc. and several principals of Gerry’s Group, a leading logistics and food and beverage group based in Pakistan, reached an agreement to bring 19 IHOP restaurants to Pakistan.

“We are delighted to be bringing the world famous American IHOP experience to our country and to our portfolio of successful companies,” said Akram Wali Muhammad, managing director for Gerry’s Group. “While IHOP will be a new brand in Pakistan, there is already significant awareness of and excitement about IHOP and we look forward to the opening of our first location later this year.”

The deal calls for 19 restaurants to open across the country over the nine years; and Gerry’s Group will franchise nine of those restaurants. The remaining 10 locations will be sub-franchised. The first IHOP is expected to open by the end of 2019.

“My commitment as CEO of Dine Brands Global was to return it to a growth company, and our international development is certainly a major component of that growth,” said Steve Joyce, chief executive of Dine Brands Global, the franchisor of IHOP and Applebee’s Grill + Bar restaurants. “Key to our international strategy is identifying and entering new markets, such as Pakistan, that have a rapidly growing economy, are contiguous to existing markets to offer an economy of scale, and above all, have an appetite for IHOP’s unique guest experience of warm hospitality with world famous pancakes, breakfast and other menu items.

Dine Brands has targeted Asia Pacific as a key area of growth for the company, along with Latin America, Canada and the Middle East. The company has already signed deals to bring the IHOP brand to Peru and Ecuador this year, and to expand its presence in Canada to Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Dine Brands said the company also is actively exploring opportunities to bring the IHOP brand to the United Kingdom.

“We have had a lot of interest in Pakistan from potential franchisees and while it fits perfectly with our expansion strategy in the region, we wanted to be sure we found the strongest partner in the country to take that step,” said Dan Lecocq, executive director, International, Development, at Dine Brands. “Gerry’s Group brings exactly the qualities and qualifications we look for in every franchisee as we look to continue our expansion here and in our other international areas of opportunity.”

Joyce said opportunity to partner with principals from Gerry’s Group was a major factor in the company’s decision to bring the IHOP brand to Pakistan.

“Under their ownership, Gerry’s Group is an experienced, established company based in Pakistan with multinational experience across a broad number of industries as well as Food and Beverage, including operating and owning 40 Costa Coffee locations in the United Kingdom,” he said.

Gary Moore, regional vice president and general manager, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, at Dine Brands said the principals at Gerry’s Group, “…bring an infrastructure — and the shared values and commitment to excellence — that will be key to introducing IHOP in this exciting new country for us.”