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Red Lobster is coming to Mexico.

Darden Restaurants on Thursday announced that it signed an agreement with CMR, Mexico’s largest casual-dining company, to open 37 Red Lobster, Oliver Garden and The Capital Grille restaurants in the country over the next five years.

The announcement comes a month after Orlando, Fla.-based company opened its first Red Lobster location in the Middle East, in Dubai.

“We’re excited to build upon that milestone with the announcement of our agreement with CMR, the leading full-service restaurant operator and franchisor in Mexico,” said Kim Lopdrup, Darden’s senior VP of business development. “With its growing middle class and strong affinity for American brands, Mexico is an attractive growth market for Darden.”

Red Lobster is North America’s largest casual-seafood chain, with more than 680 restaurants across the United States and Canada.

CMR operates more than 100 restaurants in 26 cities across Mexico, including Fonda Mexicana, Destilería, Elago and Chili’s.

Lopdrup reiterated that Darden remains committed to owning and operating its restaurants domestically but that the best way for it to expand internationally is by selecting partners like CMR.

Last October, Darden signed an agreement with Americana Group to develop a minimum of 60 Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates over the next five years.


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