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Dine Brands moves to cut expenses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dine Brands Global furloughs some office staff, freezes new hiring, in response to coronavirus

Parent of Applebee’s and IHOP defers franchise fees

Dine Brands Global Inc., the parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP, has moved to cut expenses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, the Glendale, Calif.-based company said it had eliminated travel, frozen new hiring and suspended contractors. It also said it would furlough “certain team members across various functional groups in its restaurant support centers and company-operated restaurants.”

Dine Brands didn’t say how many people would be furloughed, but it did say it would continue to provide medical, dental and vision benefits and also was temporarily waiving the requirement of those workers to pay a portion of the premium for those benefits.

It also has terminated any outstanding orders for repurchases of common stock and its board is “evaluating its dividend policy,” it said in the filing.

Dine Brands said it is now offering paid sick leave for hourly employees in its company-owned locations who are affected by COVID-19.

To help franchisees, Dine Brands has deferred royalty, advertising and other fees. On a case-by-case basis it also has deferred lease payments and remodeling obligations.

Although both Applebee’s and IHOP were required to close their dining rooms in most jurisdictions, most restaurants have remained open for takeout and delivery. Dine Brands said that approximately 62 company-owned and 1,339 franchised Applebee’s, and 1,372 franchised IHOP restaurants, were still operating as of April 13, 2020.

As of the end of 2019, there were 1,787 Applebee’s in the United States, of which 69 were company-owned, and 1,841 IHOP restaurants, all of which are franchised.

As with most restaurants in the country, Dine Brands said it “began to experience significant impacts from COVID-19 in March 2020.” It said off-premise business had experienced growth as restaurant dining rooms closed, but didn’t provide any further details.

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Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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