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USA Today reports that DineEquity, patent company to Applebee’s and IHOP, plans to close as many as 160 restaurants, more than double the number of closings that it previously had announced.

According to the story, 105 to 135 Applebee's restaurants will close, up from the original 40 to 60 slated to be shuttered; as many as 25 IHOP locations will close, up from about 18.

However, the company said that it plans to make up for the closures by opening as many as 125 locations globally, but in new sites and cities.

USA Today notes that “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.” Applebee’s especially is seen as being “out-of-favor with casual-dining consumers.”

However, a DineEquity spokesperson said that closures are part of the business, that the locations were dated and badly performing, and that in the end by closing bad restaurants that company would improve its brand equity.
KC's View:
Call me a food snob, but you could shutter both chains completely and I’d never notice.

And one other thing. I have real questions about any company that lets so many stores fall into the kind of condition that closing them helps the brand. Keeping the shine on the brand - the physical location, the people who work there, the product served, and the value/values proposition - is an everyday job.

Sounds like it is a job that has been largely ignored in this case.