Applebee's is getting an overhaul as parent company DineEquity strives to "push the reset button," said DineEquity chief Julia Stewart. The restaurants are testing tabletop tablets and experimenting with fast-casual lunch options, but Stewart emphasized that the updates are not about catering to a certain age demographic but working on the connection to the dining experience.
Applebee's and IHOP parent DineEquity reported higher-than-forecast third-quarter profits on lower costs as a result of selling more of its company-owned restaurants to franchisees. IHOP also booked its biggest same-store sales increase in five years as changes to the menu steered customers to spend more on appetizers and higher-priced entrees, resulting in higher average checks that offset traffic declines, the company said.
Cheesecake Factory operates 170 restaurants with menus that boast about 300 different dishes made with ingredients from a large number of suppliers, making it tough to track all the data. The chain has added new software from IBM designed to help each location track issues with specific products.
DineEquity-owned Applebee's and IHOP have signed a 10-year deal to serve Pepsi products exclusively at their more than 3,300 restaurants, starting in July. "By consolidating our business with PepsiCo, we achieved more advantageous terms for our franchisees than ever before, while securing the widest variety of beverage options for our guests," said CEO Julia Stewart.
Applebee's parent DineEquity said it will sell 17 corporate restaurants in the mid-South region to franchisee Apple Investors for $15.9 million as part of an ongoing refranchising program. Apple Investors already operates 27 Applebee's restaurants in New Mexico and Virginia.