A venerable chain of diners founded in Bloomington Normal is headed to the Mideast. Steak `n Shake says it and regional partner Saleh Bin Lahej Group plan to open 40 restaurants starting next year across the United Arab Emirates, a seven-state federation that includes the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is 78-year-old Steak `n Shake's first foray outside the United States. Financial terms weren't disclosed. American and other foreign brands have flocked to the rapidly developing UAE in recent years. Bloomingdale's has its only international store in Dubai's biggest mall, and Cheesecake Factory and IHOP have recently opened their doors in the cosmopolitan trade hub. Steak `n Shake is now owned by San Antonio, Texas-based Biglari Holdings, which is led by activist investor Sardar Biglari.
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