Applebee's to take grill restaurants across Asia

Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:39am EDT

SHANGHAI Oct 26 (Reuters) - Applebee's International Inc APPB.O, which runs around 2,000 grill restaurants mostly in North America, plans to open three more outlets in China as part of an Asian expansion drive that could take in India and Southeast Asia. "China is a spring board for us for all of Asia," Rohan George, president in charge of international business, said in an interview in Shanghai, where Applebee's first Asian store opened on Friday.

"Our timetable is based on how we grow in China," George said. "As our model takes shape, we'll start moving very quickly."

Applebee's plans to open the three restaurants in Shanghai by the end of next year, and is looking to enter other Asian markets including India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines.

(US$1=7.48 Yuan)

((Reporting by Samuel Shen, editing by Dominic Whiting; samuel.shen@reuters.com; Reuters Messaging: samuel.shen.reuters.com@reuters.net; +86 21 6104 1789)) Keywords: APPLEBEE'S ASIA/

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