SAN ANTONIO, TX, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Steak n Shake, the pioneer and market leader of the premium burgers segment of the restaurant industry, announced today its first international development agreement, which will bring this notable "better burger" chain to the Middle East. Steak n Shake has signed an exclusive area development agreement with the Saleh Bin Lahej Group to open 40 restaurants throughout the United Arab Emirates. This agreement represents the initial expansion of the "better burger" brand outside the continental United States. The Saleh Bin Lahej Group is in the vanguard of international franchise operators of major restaurant brands such as Chili's, Macaroni Grill, Black Canyon Asian Cuisine, El Chico Mexican Restaurant, The Pizza Company, and Cantina Laredo. The new partnership further develops the Saleh Bin Lahej Group Hospitality Division, which has grown impressively in recent years as demand for international brands in the Middle East has burgeoned. Sardar Biglari, Chairman of Biglari Holdings, which owns Steak n Shake, said, "We are excited about turning Steak n Shake into a global brand. I am honored to be partners with Mohammed Saleh Bin Lahej, a visionary who is taking an iconic American brand to the UAE as our introductory international partner. He has been responsible for creating a company dedicated to high, unmatched operating standards within the industry. Like us, he does not compromise on quality and always considers the customer first. I am delighted he will make Steak n Shake history by opening in UAE, a country that is simply remarkable for its achievements. UAE will be the springboard from which we plan to grow the Steak n Shake brand in multiple dimensions and in many other countries." Mohammed Saleh Bin Lahej, Group Chief Executive Officer of Saleh Bin Lahej Group commented, "I am confident that our partnership with Steak n Shake will prove to be prosperous and will mark a notable achievement for both parties. It is our pleasure to carry such a reputable brand in the fast casual industry here in the UAE. We have always taken pride in our company with the ability to pioneer breakthrough brands that have continuously allowed us to serve and connect with a diverse range of customers." Steak n Shake expects to open its first location in Dubai during 2013. About Steak n Shake Steak n Shake is a classic American brand serving premium burgers and shakes. Founded in 1934 in Normal, Illinois, Steak n Shake is the leader in the fast casual "better burger" segment of the restaurant industry, offering its famous, original Steakburger™ and its delicious hand-dipped Milk Shakes. The hand-crafted steakburger, freshly prepared to each guest's order, is made with 100% beef, and contains no preservatives and no artificial ingredients. All the food on the menu is prepared according to the guest's specifications. Steak n Shake establishes and operates both corporate and multi-unit franchise territories with nearly 500 restaurants. Steak n Shake is the 2010 recipient of the Nation's Restaurant News Golden Chain Award. In 2012 Zagat recognized Steak n Shake as having the #1 Milkshake. Steak n Shake is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Biglari Holdings Inc. (NYSE: BH).