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US casual dining concept Tony Roma's is to be developed in Saudi Arabia under a new international franchise signed between its US owner Romacorp, Inc. and Food and Entertainment Co., LTD. The agreement will see a minimum of six restaurants opened throughout the country, with the first scheduled to open in Riyadh in early 2007.

International Trading Franchises, LLC, owned by Al-Naboodah Group and based in Dubai, already operates franchises in the region under Cinnabon, The Pizza Company, Carvel and Seattle's Besst Coffee. "We are very honoured and excited to be awarded the Tony Roma's development rights in Saudi Arabia," says Talal Azhari, General Manager of Food and Entertainment. 'Our group has been very successful in the country and we are confident that we will build high quality Tony Roma's with great food and service that our guests will enjoy throughout Saudi Arabia."

Further sites have been identified in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar with a second restaurant planned for later next year. "We are extremely pleased to sign such a high quality franchise partner as Food and Entertainment to develop new Tony Roma's in Saudi Arabia," adds Romacorp COO Marc Buehler. "Our initial success in the Middle East with Master Developer ITF has been outstanding and we anticipate that F&E's new Tony Roma's will definitely strengthen our market share in the region. The group's successful operation of other food concepts will give them a strong advantage in their Tony Roma's development in Saudi Arabia."

Adds Romacorp Vice President of Franchise Development Ken Myres: "Tony Roma's is one of the leading casual theme concepts throughout the world, and the addition of Saudi Arabia marks our presence in 32 countries with total development commitments in over 43 countries worldwide. We had extremely high franchise interest in Saudi Arabia and are confident that Food and Entertainment will be an outstanding franchise partner."


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