MARIETTA, Ga.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Buffalo’s Franchise Concepts Inc. (BFCI), owner of the Buffalo’s Southwest Cafe restaurant concept, recently opened its first international unit in Salmiya, Kuwait.

The two-story location is the largest Buffalo’s Southwest Cafe to date and is hoped to be the driving force behind a new expansion effort in the Mideast.

The Kuwait restaurant is owned and operated by Hussain Al-Saeed, who has franchise rights for BFCI in the region. A native of Kuwait, Saeed graduated from the University of Southern California. He enters the restaurant industry with an extensive business background, as owner of a real estate agency, construction company and consulting firm.

“Hussain is a man of great ability and vision,” said Ray Cabana, BFCI president and chief executive officer. “His business experience and resources will be an asset to his restaurant operations. We look forward to working with him to lead our expansion effort in the Middle East.”

The Kuwaiti unit is 6,000 square feet with a seating capacity of approximately 250. The building features dining rooms on both floors, a bar, meeting room and a walled-in patio featuring murals with a southwestern motif. On the rooftop customers can dine while enjoying a view of the Persian Gulf.

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Like all Buffalo’s Southwest Cafes, the menu features the company’s award-winning Buffalo-style chicken wings and a variety of southwestern-flavored menu items – all cooked to order. The restaurant’s rustic decor captures the feel of an old American Southwest cafe, with wood floors, distressed metal ceilings, American antiques, artifacts, memorabilia and hundreds of period photographs lining the wooded walls. The Mideast unit has, however, special changes to adapt to Kuwaiti culture. For example, no alcohol, pork or bacon is served and local fish items have been added to the menu. BFCI maintains strict quality-control by shipping a majority of the food prepared at the restaurant, including wings and steaks, from the United States.

The Kuwaiti restaurant is backed by an experienced staff. Ali Hojeij, head manager, formerly managed a Buffalo’s Southwest Cafe in Jonesboro, Ga. He returned to the United States before the Kuwait opening for training in the new restaurant menu and procedures. The restaurant employs 45 people.

According to Cabana, the Kuwaiti restaurant is only the beginning for BFCI in the Middle East. The company is already considering opening one to two more units in the upcoming year, with Al-Saeed leading the effort.

“From what we’ve seen so far people love the food. This could be the beginning of a whole new phase for Buffalo’s,” said Cabana, who was in Kuwait for the opening.

Founded in 1985, Buffalo’s Southwest Cafe has approximately 50 restaurants in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio, with several new units under construction. The company plans to continue its aggressive growth, with expansion predominantly in the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest regions of the United States, as well as internationally. BFCI is based in Marietta, Ga.

SOURCE: Buffalo’s Franchise Concepts Inc.