Hakkasan, the luxury Chinese restaurant brand owned by the Abu Dhabi company Tasameem, is hoping to tap a US$600 billion (Dh2.2 trillion) market as it prepares to open an outlet in New York next year and further expand its presence in the US.
The New York Hakkasan restaurant in the Times Square area of Manhattan is expected to open by the spring and the company is close to reaching agreements on other sites in the US, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, it said.
"We're looking at [more] locations in the US, but we've not actually signed anything yet," said Niall Howard, the chief executive of Hakkasan. "We're in quite advanced negotiations."
The company is hoping to make an announcement next month.
"By and large they would be wholly owned. It would be more like leases," said Mr Howard.
Hakkasan already has an outlet in the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami.
The brand launched in the UAE last year, with its first restaurant opening in Abu Dhabi in the Emirates Palace. Hakkasan's Michelin-starred flagship restaurant is in London's West End.
Hakkasan opened an outlet in Dubai, in the Jumeriah Emirates Towers hotel, last month.
Tasameem bought its shares in the Hakkasan Group in 2007 from Alan Yau, the Hong Kong restaurateur who also founded the Wagamama chain.
Hakkasan also recently opened a restaurant in Mumbai.
"High-end restaurants are doing remarkably well in the US, if you pick the right city," said Mr Howard. "We have ambitions to expand in the four global hubs of the Far East, Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. Now it just so happens that fantastic sites came up in America before the other places.
"We just suddenly saw America accelerate beyond the other regions. They're in mega cities and we've done our market research and with each of these cities we're absolutely confident that fine dining is very sought after and will be very successful."
Restaurant sales in the US are projected to reach $604bn this year, according to the National Restaurant Association. Providing 12.8 million jobs, the industry is one of the largest private-sector employers.
"The US restaurant industry is an economic juggernaut whose annual sales are larger than 90 per cent of the world's economies," the association said in a report issued earlier this year.
"Restaurant operators remain relatively optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead," it said recently. The sector has grown this year over last year. "2012 will obviously be an improvement over the 2008, 2009, 2010 timeframe," it said. Shanghai and Doha are also on Hakkasan's radar for expansion.
The Hakkasan group also owns Yauatcha, a Michelin-starred London dim sum restaurant, which it wants to expand through the region to locations including Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"The key issue is finding the right site," Mr Howard said.