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Applebee's is an American company which develops, franchises, and operates the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar restaurant chain.

GenreCasual dining
FoundedNovember 19, 1980; 38 years ago (1980-11-19)
Decatur, Georgia, U.S.
FoundersBill Palmer
T. J. Palmer
Number of locations
1,830 (March 31, 2019)[1]
Areas served
United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait
Key people
John Cywinski (President)[2] Stephen Bulgarelli
(Chief Culinary Officer)[3]
RevenueIncrease US$2.5 billion (2006)[4]
Increase US$131 million (2006)[4]
Increase US$81 million (2006)[4]
Total assetsIncrease US$935 million (2006)[4]
Total equityIncrease US$487 million (2006)[4]
Number of employees
28,000 (2013)[5]
ParentDine Brands Global
DivisionsApplebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar

As of March 31, 2019, there were 1,830 restaurants operating system-wide in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and 15 other countries, including 69 that are company owned and 1,761 that are franchised.[1] The company was headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, after moving from bordering Johnson County, Kansas[6] in September 2011.[7] On September 3, 2015, it was announced that their parent company, DineEquity, would be consolidating its headquarters for Applebee's and IHOP to DineEquity's Glendale, California, location.[8] As a result, President Steven R. Layt chose not to relocate and resigned effective September 4, 2015.[9]

The Applebee's concept focuses on casual dining, with mainstream American dishes such as salads, chicken, pasta, burgers, and "riblets" (which is considered Applebee's signature dish). All Applebee's restaurants feature a bar area and serve alcoholic beverages (except where prohibited by law).


The Applebee's chain was started by Bill and T. J. Palmer, who opened their first restaurant, T.J. Applebee's Rx for Edibles & Elixirs, in Decatur, Georgia, on November 19, 1980.[10] After opening a second, the pair sold their company to W. R. Grace and Company in 1983. As part of the transaction, Bill Palmer was named president of the Applebee's Division, an indirect subsidiary of W. R. Grace and Company. In that capacity, Palmer guided the operation from its entrepreneurial beginnings to a full-fledged franchise system. He became an Applebee's franchisee in 1985 and today owns more than three dozen Applebee's restaurants.

In 1986, the name of the concept was changed to Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar to reflect the Palmers' original concept of a place people could call their own. In 1988, Applebee's International, Inc., became the restaurant chain's franchiser when Kansas City franchisees Abe Gustin and John Hamra purchased the rights to the Applebee's concept from W. R. Grace.[11]

On August 11, 2017, DineEquity announced that Applebee's would close between 105 and 135 locations by the end of the year.[12]

Former headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas (now called Restaurant Support Center)

Acquisition by IHOPEdit

On July 16, 2007, IHOP Corp. announced that it agreed to buy Applebee's International for about $2.1 billion. Applebee's shareholders would receive $25.50 in cash per share, representing a 4.6% premium to the closing price on July 13, 2007.[13]

On November 29, 2007, IHOP (now DineEquity) announced that it had completed a $2 billion purchase of the Applebee's chain.[13][14]After the acquisition, IHOP Corp. changed its name to DineEquity, Inc.[15] DineEquity, which franchises nearly all of its restaurants, said it hoped to employ that strategy with Applebee's.

With their merger in November 2007, Applebee's and IHOP combined to make the largest full-service restaurant company in the world, with more than 3,250 locations.[14][16]

Company headquartersEdit

Applebee's Kansas City–area headquarters was at 3929 Broadway in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1988. In 1993, it relocated to Overland Park, Kansas. In January 2008, it relocated to neighboring Lenexa, Kansas, per an agreement made in 2005 before it was taken over by IHOP (now DineEquity) to a new 175,000-square-foot (16,300 m2) building designed by BNIM (lured by a 90 percent property tax reduction offer).[17] However, DineEquity has since been downsizing the headquarters presence as it has begun a strategy of converting its company-owned restaurants to franchises with a goal of having 98 percent of its restaurants franchised by 2013. In July 2008, DineEquity sold the headquarters (officially called the Restaurant Support Center) for $39 million in a sale-leaseback arrangement. The company has now listed the headquarters for sale and is reported looking for new space after it was announced on January 30, 2009, that its headquarters staff of 325 did not meet Lenexa's requirement that at least 497 be employed at the headquarters to receive the property tax abatement.[18] In 2011, it announced plans to relocate to 8140 Ward Parkway in Kansas City proper after receiving $12.65 million in incentives from Missouri.[19] Due to Applebee's parent company, Dine Brands consolidating their business operations to one location, the company (alongside with IHOP, which Dine Brands also owns) relocated its headquarters once more to Glendale, California, in September 2015.[20]


As part of the company's marketing campaign and slogan, Wanda Sykes was hired to voice the chain's new mascot, the Applebee's Apple.[21] The character appears in commercials touting Applebee's various specials and stating the new slogan, "Together is good." or saying, "Get it together, baby!" as the slogan appears at the bottom right of the screen. A new campaign started on February 25, 2008, without Sykes' character (the spokesapple) with its slogan, "It's a whole new neighborhood." The commercials used both the company's original and new logos.[citation needed] In 2009, Applebee's changed its slogan again to "There's no place like the neighborhood."

From 2012–2016, Applebee's aired an advertising campaign focusing on fresh ingredients and new dishes, narrated by Jason Sudeikis, featuring the slogan, "See you tomorrow".[22]

In late September 2017, Applebee's brought back its most famous slogan from the early-to-mid 2000s, "Eatin' Good in the Neighborhood." They also engaged in an alcohol–based advertising campaign to attract new customers by having a "drink of the month" at a reduced price.[23]


Side-work compensationEdit

Since 2006, Applebee's and its servers have been engaged in a lawsuit over hourly wages. The servers, who received a federal minimum wage of $2.13 per hour as tipped employees, allege that the company requires them to spend 20% of their time doing non-serving labor, for which they should be paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The case has gone through several stages, including a judicially mandated binding arbitration session.[24][25]

In September 2012, a judge in Illinois ruled in favor of the Applebee's employees and will evaluate damages at a later date.[26]


  1. ^ a b "Dine Brands Global, Inc". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. April 25, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  2. ^ "John Cywinski named Applebee's brand president". March 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Schouten, Rebekah (August 29, 2017). "Applebee's hires new chief culinary officer to lead menu revamp". Food Business News. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Applebee's, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Mar 1, 2007" (PDF). Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  5. ^ "FAQs". Applebee's. Archived from the original on November 30, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  6. ^ Davis, Jim (April 25, 2004). "Applebee's will add a headquarters move to its menu". Kansas City Business Journal. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "Applebee's, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Apr 5, 2011". Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "DineEquity, Inc. - Investor Relations – News Release". Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  9. ^ Greg Palmer. "Applebee's moving from Kansas City to California". Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  10. ^ Palmer, T.J. Applebees founder history. "Opening. Retrieved on April 16, 2012.
  11. ^ "Hoover's – Company Locations and Addresses: Applebee's International, Inc".[dead link]
  12. ^ Abrams, Abigail. "Applebee's Will Close at Least 105 Restaurants This Year". Fortune. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Applebee's, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Dec 5, 2007". Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  14. ^ a b "IHOP Corp. Successfully Completes the Acquisition of Applebee's International, Inc" (Press release). IHOP Corp. November 29, 2007. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  15. ^ "DineEquity, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Jun 2, 2008" (PDF). Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  16. ^ "Applebee's, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Jul 16, 2007". Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  17. ^ Klaus, Krista (April 8, 2011). "Applebee's will leave Lenexa headquarters". Kansas City Business Journal. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  18. ^ "Applebee's job, salary levels come up short for abatement on HQ". Kansas City Business Journal. February 9, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  19. ^ David, Mark. "Applebee's to move headquarters to California, lay off some area employees". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  20. ^ Shamout, Omar (September 3, 2015). "Applebee's Moves HQ to Glendale". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  21. ^ Quenqua, Douglas (October 25, 2007). "Polishing Up the Apple in Applebee's". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  22. ^ "Applebees 2012 Commercials". AdWhois. Archived from the original on August 1, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  23. ^ "Are Applebee's $1 Cocktails Really a Good Idea?". Eater. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  24. ^ "Judge orders mediation in Applebee's lawsuit". Kansas City Business Journal. October 12, 2007. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  25. ^ Prewitt, Milford (October 21, 2007). "Applebee's wages fight over nontipped duties". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  26. ^ O’Donnell, Matt; Mirando, Sarah (September 4, 2012). "Applebee's Workers Win Compensation In Wage Class Action Lawsuit". Top Class Actions. Retrieved June 21, 2019.

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