Here's Why Applebee's Will Close Dozens Of Restaurants This Year

Applebee's will close hundreds of outlets in 2024, forcing some customers to find a new burger and appetizer place.

Dine Brands, Applebee's parent company, said on a Feb. 28 earnings call that 25 to 35 net restaurant closures are expected in 2024.

The reason? Applebee's President Tony Moralejo says majority of the restaurants they close are in underperforming trade areas.

He said closing a restaurant is "an incredibly difficult decision" and a "last resort" for the corporation and franchisees.

This year's closures will continue Applebee's recent decline. To eliminate underperforming restaurants, the chain has closed hundreds since 2017.

Applebee's hoped to grow again in 2023 after these major closures, but it didn't. According to Restaurant Business Magazine, it lost 36 eateries this year.

According to the shutdown plans, Applebee's won't be allowed to expand in 2024. During the earnings call, Dine Brands President and CEO John Peyton emphasized getting Applebee's back to net unit growth.

It intends to do that by establishing a new restaurant prototype that gives franchisees a better ROI. Dine Brands didn't divulge much about the new prototype, but Peyton told Nation's Restaurant News that they hope to open the restaurants in 2025 "and beyond."

In January, Dine Brands added a chief development officer to assist Applebee's, IHOP, and Fuzzy's Taco Shop thrive. Companies promoted international president Scott Gladstone to the job.

"We are positioning Dine Brands to take advantage of and aggressively pursue growth opportunities across each of our brands," Peyton added. "

Scott's leadership, together with a realignment of and incremental addition to internal resources, expanded capabilities, and targeted investments, will allow Dine to prioritize development as the key growth driver for near and long-term growth."

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