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DALLAS-Cairo, Egypt-based Sewedy Foods will open fivegourmet Mexican restaurants under the Cantina Laredobrand in Egypt over the next five years. The company,which is a division of El Sewedy Industries, signed an international franchise agreement with the chain’s operator, Dallas-based Consolidated Restaurant Operations Inc.

The agreement marks Consolidated Restaurant’s forayinto international franchising. Sewedy Foods, which is franchisee of Sbarro Inc. and also owns Wessaya, a local quick-service sandwich restaurant, plans to open the first Catina Laredo in suburban Cairo before the end of the year. Additionally, the company will open two more units in Cairo, one in Alexandria and one on the Red Sea.

Other American chain’s such as Kentucky Fried Chicken,TGI Friday’s and Chili’s have a presence in Eqypt. Thecountry, with a population of 68 million, isexperiencing increased demand for casual dining from agrowing middle-class called Infitah. To that end, thecountry is an ideal market for Cantina Laredo,according to Adam Mandel, director of franchising for Consolidated Restaurant. He says that Sewedy Foods’ goal is to become the biggest casual dining operator in the Middle East.

The first Cantina Laredo opened in 1984 in Dallas, and currently, there are eight corporate-owned Cantina Laredo restaurants including seven in Texas and one in Scottsdale, AZ, as well as two franchised locations in Florida. The next franchised location will open in the new international terminal of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport later this month.

Consolidated Restaurant plans to open eight to 10 new company-owned Cantina Laredo locations within the next 18 months. The chain will expand in Texas, Arizona and Florida and will enter Colorado, Georgia and Oklahoma.

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