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Applebee’s and IHOP Will Close 100 Locations

Further evidence that mid-level chains are struggling

Mike Mozart/Flickr

It’s no secret that mid-level chain restaurants are having a tough go of things lately, and here’s more evidence to add to that file: More than 100 Applebee’s locations and around 20 IHOPs will shutter this year, CBS reports.

DineEquity, the parent company of both brands, is focusing on shuttering underperforming locations. An earnings report released yesterday shows sales fell by more than six percent at Applebee’s and nearly three percent at IHOP in the last quarter; meanwhile, CBS notes that DineEquity’s stock has lost almost half its value this year.

Diehard Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘n Fruity pancake fans need not despair, though: Parent company DineEquity is forging ahead with expanding IHOP internationally, and Crain’s Detroit reports it still plans to open its first combined IHOP/Applebee’s restaurant in Detroit next March. Currently there are more than 2,000 Applebee’s and 1,600 IHOP locations worldwide.

Many casual sit-down chains have struggled in recent years for several reasons: Diners these days tend to go either high, spending money on special, fine-dining experiences, or low, eating at cheaper fast-casual chains, meaning places in the middle are feeling the squeeze. These kinds of chains tend to suffer from bloated menus that try to do everything at once, versus the currently-booming specialty fast-casual spots that focus on doing one or two things and doing them well, be it poke, fried chicken, or hummus. The rise of meal kits may also be contributing to more people cooking at home instead of going out, though that’s a bubble that may be bursting as well.

IHOP and Applebee’s Closing Over 100 Restaurants [CBS]
New Applebee's-IHOP Restaurant in Detroit Safe Amid Closures [Crain’s Detroit]