US-based full-service dining company DineEquity has opened its first Applebee’s Grill + Bar restaurant in Panama City.

Featuring the latest “Celebration” model design, the new Applebee’s restaurant can accommodate approximately 199 guests.

The brand is expected to generate 70 new jobs and add to the local Panama economy, tax revenue and ongoing local spending on supplies, ingredients and marketing and other services.

DineEquity International CEO and president Stephen Joyce said: “We are delighted that we will now have both of our leading and iconic brands in Panama, particularly given the warm welcome and success we’ve seen with our IHOP brand in the past year.

“This opening represents our continued strategy of bringing our brands to Latin America and we are pleased to expand our relationship with our franchisee Collins Restaurant Group, which was instrumental in bringing IHOP Fresh & Go to Panama.”

The latest restaurant is the first of five planned locations in Panama, which will be opened in partnership with its franchisee Collins Restaurant Group in the next five years.

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Collins Restaurant Group president John Collins said: “We’ve always felt that the unique Applebee’s experience and food would be a great match for Panama and we are delighted and excited to bring it here.

“We’ve had such a great experience with DineEquity through IHOP Fresh & Go that we knew we wanted to be the ones to bring their other great brand to Panama.”

Based in California, DineEquity has more than 3,700 restaurants in 18 countries and US territories and over 400 franchisees. DineEquity’s brands have also grown internationally in new countries and territories including Thailand, India and Lebanon.

Over 2,000 Applebee’s franchise restaurants are operated in all 50 US states, Puerto Rico, Guam, Canada and 15 other countries.