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Applebee's, Carrols make marketing hires

Applebee's Services Inc. and Carrols Restaurant Group both appointed new marketing executives this week.


Applebee's said Tuesday it had named Dawn Bullen vice president of marketing. She most recently served as director of media and integrated marketing for Toys R Us, and as marketing director at Disney Parks and Resorts.




Bullen will report to Rebeca Johnson, senior vice president of marketing and culinary for Lenexa, Kan.-based Applebee's, which has 2,002 locations. Applebee's Services is a division of parent company DineEquity Inc., which also operates and franchises the IHOP chain.




"Dawn's strong retail background will be a tremendous asset as we build out our traffic-driving initiatives," Johnson said in a statement. "Her rich experience and deep knowledge base lend themselves perfectly to our efforts to continually build our brand."




Also Tuesday, Carrols said it had hired two marketing leaders for its Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical quick-service brands. Todd Coerver was named chief marketing officer for Taco Cabana, and Jason Abelkop was appointed to the same position at Pollo Tropical.




Before joining Carrols, Coerver served as vice president of marketing and innovation for Whataburger Restaurants. Abelkop most recently was senior vice president of marketing and national media for Arby's Restaurant Group.




Alan Vituli, chairman and chief executive of Carrols, said the hiring of Coerver and Abelkop is part of a strategy to grow the company's Hispanic brands.




"Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical are dynamic brands known for their exceptional food quality and value, and we are ideally positioned to benefit from current consumer and demographic trends," Vituli said. "Our Hispanic brands are the future of our company, and we look forward to Todd and Jason playing pivotal roles in their expansion and continued success."




Carrols is also Burger King's largest franchisee. The Syracuse, N.Y.-based company operates 559 restaurants and has 32 franchised units.




Contact Lisa Jennings and Elissa Elan at [email protected] and [email protected].



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