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Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill

Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill is the largest casual-dining restaurant chain in the United States with more than 1,600 locations nationwide. It has been a sister chain with family-dining brand IHOP since that chain purchased it in 2007. Then-CEO Julia Stewart ran both chains until a failed attempt at making Applebee’s more upscale with hand-cut steaks and wood-fired grills failed. She was temporarily replaced by the company’s lead director, Richard Dahl, before former Choice Hotels CEO Stephen Joyce was hired to fill that position in August of 2017. He, in turn, was replaced by John Peyton in November of 2020 after Joyce’s retirement.

Joyce, Peyton and Applebee’s president John Cywinski, who took that position in May of 2017 — a month after Stewart resigned — worked to stem losses during the pandemic with upgrades in digital technology, including improvements in successful curbside pickup, and the launch in 2021 of virtual brand Cosmic Wings.

Applebee’s was founded by Bill Palmer with his wife at the time, T.J., in 1980 as T.J. Applebee’s Rx for Edibles & Elixirs in Decatur, Ga., in 1980. He sold it to W.R. Grace and Company in 1983 and became a franchisee in 1985, operating in Atlanta until his death in late 2020.

Headquarters: Glendale, Calif.

Segment: Casual dining

Restaurant Segment: FSR American

Number of U.S. Locations: 1,604

2020 Sales: $2.78 billion

Annual Growth:

Source: Datassential Firefly 500

CEO: John Peyton

Parent Group: Dine Brands Global