Tough economic times haven't lessened Texas Roadhouse's appetite for expansion.
The fast-growing casual dining chain is planning to expand its business outside the U.S.
In an interview with CNBC, CEO G.J. Hart said, "Where we are in the United States right now, we still have a lot of runway to go, but felt like it is going to take us a few years to really understand the international markets as the next phase for us."
Hart says the company, which competes against rivals such as Famous Dave's of America and Brinker International's Chili's, could grow to as many as 800 restaurants in the years ahead.
The chain currently operates more than 300 restaurants in 46 states. True to its name, the restaurant, which features steak and barbecue ribs, is most heavily concentrated in Texas.
Hart's expansion plans will focus on countries in Asia, the Middle East and Mexico, where he said he believes the restaurant's concept will be most appealing.
The company will begin its expansion through a partnership with M.H. Alshaya to build 35 restaurants throughout the Middle East over the next 10 years.
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