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IHOP parent company, Dine Brands Global, searches for new CEO

Dine Brands looks for Steve Joyce replacement

Dine Brands Global, which franchises and operates Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill and IHOP through its subsidiaries, announced it is looking for a new chief executive officer. Its board of directors is working with executive search firm Spencer Stuart to find a successor to current CEO Steve Joyce, who completes his employment agreement February 1, 2021.

During the health crisis, Applebee’s and IHOP had performed well and been able to capture a significant amount of sales even before many states began reopening dining rooms. By April 26, Applebee’s posted domestic comparable sales declines of only 64.4 percent versus prior year, meaning it had recovered nearly 35 percent of its sales while in takeout mode. IHOP, which despite its ever-expanding menu is still considered a morning daypart player, did not perform as well, posting a comparable restaurant sales decline of 75.4 percent.

During Joyce’s tenure, IHOP came up with a fast-casual prototype, Flip’d, which was headed to major markets this year, including Atlanta, New York City, Washington D.C., Denver, and San Francisco prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, sales growth had not been particularly robust in 2019. Applebee’s saw a 0.7 percent decrease in comp sales in 2019, while IHOP increased comp sales only 1.1 percent. Adjusted EBITDA, however, grew 19 percent in fiscal 2019.

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“I am proud of the growth that we have experienced during my tenure as chief executive officer….” said Mr. Joyce. “With the occurrence of the crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is not only essential that we all focus on our current situation, but also our emergence with a strong leadership team for the future.”

Dine Brands Global operates and franchises nearly 3,600 combined Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants. The Glendale, Calif.-based company did not provide additional details on why Joyce’s contract would not be renewed past February 21.

“We appreciate Steve’s considerable contributions to Dine Brands during a critical period for the company accentuated by this current crisis,” said Richard Dahl, chairman of the board.

Photo credit: Dine Brands Global (featured preview image)

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