July 20, 2024
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The Habit inks international expansion deal


The Habit Burger Grill is headed to the Middle East, and maybe beyond.

On Jan. 7, The Habit Restaurants Inc., the chain’s parent company, served up its first international franchise agreement with Food Quest Restaurant Management for the development of up to 50 new Habit restaurants. The agreement will put locations in six countries in the Middle East over the next 10 years. The agreement gives Food Quest exclusive rights to open restaurants in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Goleta-grown fast-casual burger chain The Habit readies to go public. The company, now based in Irvine, has seen 34 percent revenue growth over the past three years. (Courtesy photo)

Goleta-grown fast-casual burger chain The Habit, now based in Irvine, has seen 34 percent revenue growth over the past three years. (Courtesy photo)

“Food Quest is a great restaurant operator and franchise business partner and we are proud to be working together to introduce The Habit Burger Grill brand to the Middle East,” Russ Bendel, Habit CEO, said in a release.

Food Quest is a restaurant master franchise investor and operator that develops international food and beverage brands across the Middle East and North Africa region. Current brands under management and development include Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Zambar, Punjab Grill & Asia7. Food Quest also provides management support to Advance Investment LLC for Denny’s development across the region.

“We are thrilled to be bringing The Habit Burger Grill to the United Arab Emirates and the entire Gulf Region,” said Darryl Bearer, general manager of Food Quest. “We have been long time fans of The Habit brand …”

The companies plan to open the first restaurant in the United Arab Emirates in the second half of 2015. The original Habit opened in Goleta in 1969. The Habit, now headquartered in Irvine, has grown to over 100 restaurants in 10 markets throughout California, Arizona, Utah and New Jersey. The company debuted on the Nasdaq Nov. 20, raising more that $89 million in its initial public offering. The company’s stock was up 6.6 percent, pushing its share price to $32.55 at the market’s close on Jan. 7.