Guillermo Perales’ Sun Holdings Inc. has bought 41 locations of IHOP from a franchisee that went bankrupt this spring.
The restaurants, which are now owned by Sun Holdings subsidiary Suncakes LLC, are in Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina and were previously owned by CFRA Holdings, which filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in May and closed 49 IHOP restaurants.
Ownership was transferred in July, according to a statement from IHOP, which is a subsidiary of Glendale, Calif.-based Dine Brands Global.
These are the first IHOP restaurants owned by Dallas-based Sun Holdings, which is one of the United States’ largest franchisees with more than 1,000 locations including Burger King, Popeyes, Arby’s, Cicis, Golden Corral and Krispy Kreme restaurants, as well as GNC stores and T-Mobile locations. Most of Sun Holdings’ locations are in Florida and Texas.
IHOP president Jay Johns said Perales’ purchase of IHOP restaurants underscored the brand’s potential.
“As the owner and operator of multiple iconic brands, Suncakes’ investment in IHOP reinforces the strength of our franchise opportunity and the future viability of our business,” he said. “We are thrilled to welcome Guillermo and the Suncakes team to the IHOP family and are confident that their immense industry and brand expertise will undoubtedly yield success.”
For his part, Perales said IHOP had been enjoying considerable momentum before the family-dining chain was affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We take great pride in joining IHOP, an iconic brand that has built significant momentum in the industry in recent years,” Perales said. “Our goal is to ensure that each and every guest that walks into one of our restaurants receives the quality service and familiar experience they’ve come to expect from IHOP for over 60 years.”
Although IHOP was badly hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and related dining-room closures, same-store sales steadily improved for 12 consecutive weeks during the second quarter of 2020. The decline went from 81.5% to 34.4% over the course of the quarter. During the second quarter earnings call, Johns said IHOP was well poised as the economy recovered because the chain's customers had learned to use it for off-premise dining, which they hadn’t done before the pandemic.
“If we can maintain even half of the increase we’ve gotten on that, and get our dining rooms back with full capacity ... that’s going to lead to higher profits,” he told investors.
Parent company Dine Brands is scheduled to announce third-quarter results on Oct. 28.
Update, Oct. 15, 2020: This story has been updated with more details about Sun Holdings' restaurants and about IHOP's performance during the coronavirus pandemic.
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