California-based restaurateur DineEquity Inc. has opened its first IHOP branch in Jeddah , marking its first move outside the UAE and Kuwait in the Middle East. Alshaya executive chairman Mohammed Alshaya  said the company opened the Jeddah location after its first four locations in Dubai and Kuwait drew customers. "We have already had good success with our IHOP restaurant locations, and the brand’s debut in Saudi Arabia supports our objective of introducing internationally-recognized brands to new customers in new markets across the Middle East,” he said in a statement. The restaurant is in a large indoor mall in Jeddah, and is operated by M. H. Alshaya Co. W.L.L., which has an agreement to franchise 40 IHOP restaurants in the Middle East and North Africa.  This outlet is the fifth restaurant under this agreement. Further plans include expansion in Lebanon, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Egypt. In light of this international expansion, the US-based company, which also owns the Applebee’s chain, has hired a new executive to oversee the growth.