Applebee will close between 105 and 135 locations in 2017, the restaurant chain's parent company said in a statement Thursday.
DineEquity had previously expected to close 40 to 60 restaurants this year, making the new forecast a significant jump. The closures will be based on several criteria, including franchisee profitability, operational results and meeting the brand’s quality standards.
“We are investing in the empowerment of our brands by improving overall franchisee financial health, closing underperforming restaurants and enhancing the supply chain. We are focusing on operations and elevating the guest experience, whether in our restaurants or off-premise,” Richard J. Dahl, Chairman and interim CEO of DineEquity said in a statement. “We believe 2017 will be a transitional year for Applebee's and we are making the necessary investments for overall long-term brand health and expect to see improvement over the next year.”
With many chain restaurants struggling in recent years, it should come as little surprise that a family-focused, full-service chain like Applebee’s is hurting. Instead, fast-casual restaurants and meal kit delivery services have grown in popularity.