As part of its turn-around strategy, DineEquity Inc. plans to close even more Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP restaurants than it originally planned.
It previously announced plans to close 40 to 60 Applebee's, but it now plans to close 105 to 135 locations. It also planned to close 18 IHOPs, but now it will close 20 to 25 locations. It didn't release the locations of the stores that will close but said the closings will be based on several criteria, including franchisee profitability, operational results and meeting brand quality standards.
It also plans to open 20 to 30 new Applebee's globally and 80 to 95 IHOPs.
In a statement, Richard Dahl, chairman and interim CEO, said, "We are investing in the empowerment of our brands by improving overall franchisee financial health, closing under-performing restaurants and enhancing the supply chain. ... We believe 2017 will be a transitional year for Applebee's and we are making the necessary investments for overall long-term brand health and expect to see improvement over the next year. ... IHOP remains on solid ground, despite soft sales this quarter."
In late 2016, two Kansas City area Applebee's shuttered.
In May, local franchisee Apple Central KC LLC closed three locations — in Lee's Summit, south Kansas City and near Liberty. But in July, it said it would invest more than $3 million in its remaining 20-plus restaurants over the next two years.
Applebee's has tried to beef up sales with new offerings, such as the Topped & Loaded menu, customizable entrees offered for a limited time, while IHOP recently introduced limited-time French-toasted doughnuts.