DineEquity could close up to 160 Applebee’s and IHOPs, but will open dozens of new restaurants

In this 2009 file photo, customers enjoy lunch at an Applebee's in New York. DineEquity said Thursday it could close up to 160 Applebee's and IHOP locations, but it will open dozens of new restaurants.
(Mark Lennihan / AP)
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The Glendale-based parent of Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants said Thursday that as many as 160 locations could close throughout this fiscal year, though the company also plans to open dozens of new restaurants.

DineEquity Inc. revised expectations for the full fiscal year during its quarterly earnings call, saying that 105 to 135 Applebee’s restaurants could close, compared to previous expectations that 40 to 60 locations could shut down. These closures will be determined based on criteria such as store profitability, operational results and “brand quality standards.”

At the same time, DineEquity said it expected to open 20 to 30 new Applebee’s restaurants across the globe, most in international locations. In a best-case scenario, the net number of Applebee’s closures could be 75.


On the IHOP side, DineEquity said closures could range between 20 and 25 restaurants, while the company expects to open 80 to 95 new locations, most of which will be in the U.S. That could mean 75 net openings for the chain.

The company said it did not have a list of closures, noting that the exact locations have not been determined.

John Cywinski, Applebee’s president, said during the call that the brand will be “aggressive” on restaurant closures this year. Most of the locations fall into two categories: older restaurants in less-busy areas and restaurants that have performed worse than expected.

Worldwide, there are 1,968 Applebee’s locations and 1,752 IHOP restaurants.

DineEquity also named Stephen Joyce, former head of hotel firm Choice Hotels International Inc., as its new chief executive. Joyce replaces Julia Stewart, who engineered the IHOP and Applebee’s merger but resigned as chairman and CEO in March.

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3 p.m.: This article was updated to include information about DineEquity’s new chief executive, Stephen Joyce.

This article was originally published at 2:50 p.m.