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Dine Brands Global’s Chains, Explained

Skift Table Brand Explainers break down restaurant groups by their individual brands in order to better understand their respective parts as well as opportunities for groups to expand or consolidate. 

Dine Brands Global changed its name from DineEquity, Inc. in February. But the more impactful change at the restaurant group of late can be seen on its balance sheet.

Following Stephen Joyce’s arrival in the summer of 2017 from Choice Hotels International, Applebee’s and IHOP have undergone a bit of a resurgence—thanks in large part to heavy product promotions, brand marketing gimmicks (IHOB), and a large spike in off-premise sales.

The restaurant group is also focused on expanding its brand portfolio, which is currently at only two. Adding brands is a strategy Joyce is very familiar with. As the leader of Choice Hotels, he grew the hospitality chain’s total assets from nine to 13 in just four years.

“There is plenty of opportunity to add brands,” Joyce noted at Barclays’ Investor Day conference last month. “But we want to start small, and are looking at categories we are not in, such as fast casual and QSR.”

With Joyce coming up on his second full year as CEO of Dine Brands, he’s moving slowly on mergers and acquisitions activity, given his previous track record. There are also a number of chains looking for new buyers in the restaurant industry, including Jack in the Box and Papa John’s, with many others recently going off the market.

For now, Dine Brands remains just Applebee’s and IHOP.

Note: Global footprint and employee metrics for Applebee’s and IHOP are taken from S&P Market Intelligence’s database, Dine Brands’ website, and its aforementioned subsidiaries websites.


Dining Sector: Casual dining

Number of Employees Worldwide: Approximately 28,000

Official Delivery Partner: DoorDash

Percentage of Franchised Stores: 100 percent

Global Footprint: Applebee’s has 1,856 restaurant locations operating in all 50 U.S. states, its territories, and 13 international markets, as of Sept. 30.

Dine Brands Take: Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants are known for their fun and family-friendly neighborhood atmosphere and signature grill & bar menu items that guests can only get at Applebee’s.

Skift Take: What a difference a year has made for Applebee’s. The chain posted the best same-store sales jump of any restaurant chain, regardless of dining sector, last quarter at 7.7 percent. Its success has come behind heavily discounted limited time offers on food and drinks, such as the Dollar Jolly and Dollarita, as well as a clear view of who their core customers are: working-class families. Dine Brands’ delivery partnership with DoorDash also resulted in a 37 percent bump in its off-premise business in the third quarter. It reported results on Oct 30.


Dining Sector: Casual dining

Number of Employees Worldwide: IHOP does not reveal its employee count at the store level

Official Delivery Partner: DoorDash

Percentage of Franchised Stores: 100 percent

Global Footprint: IHOP has 1,814 IHOP brick-and-mortar restaurants in the U.S., its territories, and 11 international markets, as of Sept. 30.

Dine Brands Take: For nearly 60 years, the IHOP family restaurant chain has served its world-famous pancakes and a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items that are loved by people of all ages. IHOP offers its guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service.

Skift Take: IHOP is still best for breakfast, but the company tried to change that narrative with its hinted name change to IHOB last summer. The launch of its Ultimate Steakburgers platform in June has been received well by customers, and has resulted in consistent weekly positive comparable store sales at dinner time, President Darren Rebelez said last month. Expect even more promotions and television ads around its lunch and dinner options, with growth for IHOP closely tied to getting diners into its restaurants after noon. On a positive note, IHOP has found equal success with its DoorDash partnership as its sister company. Off-premise orders for the chain were up 35 percent last quarter.

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