The Cheesecake Factory plans Asian expansion

American restaurant company The Cheesecake Factory is planning to expand in Asia after signing a licensing deal with a Hong Kong restaurant operator, the Wall Street Journal reports. The deal, according to the report, could see the company open as many as 14 restaurants in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and mainland China over the next 10 years. The first restaurant could open as early as next year, and an agreement with Maxim’s Caterers Ltd also ‘includes the opportunity to expand to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand,’ the report quotes the company as saying. “International expansion will become an increasingly meaningful driver to achieving our goal of delivering mid-teens earnings per share growth over time as the number of restaurants operated by our licensees gradually increases,” David Overton, The Cheesecake Factory’s chief executive is quoted as saying. The restaurant chain is known for its casual dining, and operates some 169 restaurants and 11 Grand Lux Cafes. Earnings, however, fell 11 percent in the first quarter ‘on higher costs as severe weather and holiday shifts [in the US] weighed on same-store sales growth,’ the report added.