) --

Cheesecake Factory

(CAKE) - Get Cheesecake Factory Incorporated Report

shares jumped Tuesday morning after the casual dining chain said it plans to open restaurants in the Middle East.

Cheesecake Factory said late Monday it entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with the Kuwait-based


group to build and operate 22 of its namesake restaurants over the next five years in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

>> 10 Restaurant Stock Winners of 2010

The agreement also includes the opportunity to expand to other emerging markets such as North Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey.

"Our agreement with Alshaya provides us with another avenue for growth and will enhance our ability to continue delivering shareholder value," said CEO David Overton.

The news led analysts at Miller Tabak to upgrade Cheesecake shares to buy from hold, setting a $35 price target.

Cheesecake Factory shares gained 3.9% Tuesday morning to trade at $31.18.

A number of U.S.-based restaurant chains such as

Yum! Brands

(YUM) - Get Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM) Report



(MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Report



(SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report

have recently made announcements about expansion in emerging markets.

Last week

Yum! said it plans to put restaurant chains

Long John Silver's


A&W All-American Restaurants

up for sale as it pushes to expand in international markets .

TheStreet Recommends

>> Yum! to Sell Long John Silver's, A&W

McDonald's said in December it plans to grow its presence in China by 40% this year, opening 200 new stores in the country over the next three years.

The Golden Arches said its investment will include opening new restaurants and updating existing stores. Among the new store openings, about half will be drive-through locations, McDonald's said. McDonald's currently operates more than 1,200 restaurants in China.

McDonald's Asia President Tim Fenton alluded in November to the company's plans to have more than 2,000 restaurants in China within the next four years.

McDonald's also plans to double its presence in South Korea within the next five years. That would bring McDonald's total presence in South Korea to around 500 restaurants.

Earlier this month

Starbucks announced plans to expand in India through a non-binding memorandum of understanding with India's

Tata Coffee

. Under the terms of the deal the pair will collaborate on sourcing and roasting green coffee beans in Tata Coffee's Coorg, India-based facility, as well as jointly exploring "the development of Starbucks retail stores in associated retail outlets and hotels."

>> Starbucks to Expand in India

In November

Starbucks said it plans to open 500 stores this fiscal year, 400 of which will be outside the U.S. The company's China chief, Jinlong Wang, said Middle Kingdom customers can expect to choose from over 1,000 Starbucks locations in the "near future."

As in India,

Starbucks also plans to grow coffee beans in China.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Miriam Reimer


>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to


>To submit a news tip, send an email to:


Readers Also Like:

>>Education Stocks: 2011 Outlook

>> 10 Top Dividend Stocks for 2011

>> Bankruptcy Watch: 20 Riskiest Restaurant Stocks

Get more stock ideas and investing advice on our sister site,

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.