- As part of its Asia-Pacific market expansion, Dine Brands partnered with Pakistan-based Gerry's Group to open 19 IHOPs over nine years in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, according to a press release. Gerry’s Group principals will franchise the first nine — the other 10 to be sub-franchised.
- The first IHOP will open in Karachi in late 2019.
- The brand has previously expanded into Puerto Rico, India, Thailand, Guam and 11 other countries. It has plans to expand in Latin America, with sites in Peru and Ecuador to open this year, and in Canada with an expansion into New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. It is exploring opportunities in the U.K. as well.
Pakistan’s fast-food grounds are fertile for the IHOP brand, as the country has been experiencing a QSR boom in recent years — the second-largest industry in the country and the eighth largest fast food and food-reated business market in the world. With 180 million consumers, the industry makes up 16% of all employment in manufacturing. It is also becoming the world's fastest growing retail market, according to Bloomberg.
While IHOP will be new to Pakistan, it will be joining QSRs such as Johnny Rockets, Fat Burger, Burger King, Hardee's, Domino's Pizza (which just launched drone delivery in the region last year), Subway, Pizza Hut and McDonald's, all of which have rapidly expanded.
For Pakistan, it is the country's youth who crave American variety. The Islamic Republics' fast food demand is also due to multiculturalism, ever-changing lifestyles and the very implementation of the QSRs themselves. While researchers say the fast food boom is an unhealthy trend, these chains represent a key source of income for Pakistan’s major cities — Karachi being among them.
As part of Dine Brands' turnaround strategy, the company opened 71 IHOPs in 2018 with 17 coming from international markets, according to a 2018 year-end earnings release. The company said it expects to open 35 to 55 new restaurants around the world, which will be helped by the Pakistan openings. Growth in global markets is part of the company's long-term strategy, CEO Stephen P. Joyce said in 2018.
It might be hard to foresee IHOP's U.S. fate, especially during a time when casual brands are struggling, but Dine Brands is certainly showing confidence in its international markets. And Pakistan's demand seemingly bolsters the company's position.