Excerpt from USATODAY
The parent company of Applebee's and IHOP plans to close up to 160 restaurants, vastly boosting the number of eateries from the two comfort-food chains that it plans to shutter.
Some 105 to 135 Applebee's restaurants will close, up from the 40 to 60 that parent DineEquity said would close in the first quarter. Also on the chopping block are an estimated 20 to 25 IHOP sites, up from about 18.
At the same time, the two chains now will open 125 restaurants globally between them in new locations, DineEquity said.
The casual-dining segment, where both chains are positioned, is experiencing increased troubles as more customers have gravitated to the quick-service restaurants like Panera Bread or Chipotle Mexican Grill, many of which market themselves as offering healthier and more upscale food.
Analysts say Applebee’s, in particular, has had a hard time.
Applebee’s "remains out-of-favor with casual-dining consumers....Sister concept IHOP may be feeling the effects of DineEquity’s struggles as well," said Instinet analyst Mark Kalinowski in a report released Friday.
But DineEquity officials say the painful job of closing restaurants will help in the long run.
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