DineEquity, the owner of both the Applebee’s and IHOP franchises has agreed to a franchisee’s plan to open a restaurant offering IHOP’s breakfast-oriented menu in the morning and Applebee’s evolving menu – their focus will be more steak-focused – the rest of the day. DineEquity also suggested in a press release that the new place, which will be in General Motors’ Renaissance Center development in Detroit, may feature a bar – a key Applebee’s profit center.
The new facility – construction is due to start in April – will occupy 12,000 sq ft and will seat 300. It will be run by Livonia, MI-based Team Schostak Family Restaurants, a franchisee of Applebee’s, Del Taco and Mod Pizza. This will be Team Schostak’s first project with IHOP.
DineEquity has spend more than $70 million in its attempts to turn around the fortunes of Applebee’s, which, no doubt because it hadn’t innovated or changed – upgraded itself – in any significant way for years – started losing the public’s attention half a decade or so ago. My family (my then-wife and I) went to one fairly regularly for a while when we first moved to Virginia, in 2011, but then… it got boring. We went a couple of more times, and noticed on each occasion that there was less traffic than before. So we weren’t the only ones becoming disappointed/disengaged from the franchise.
One of the most exciting things DineEquity has done as part of its turn-round effort is to install wood fire grills, and spend a lot of time training their cooks to work differently. A big ad campaign – launched last summer in California, where a lot of emphasis was put on wood fire grills being used to give salads “a smokey twist” – is expected to draw former and new customers in.
Hmm, I’ve never had a smokey salad. ‘Might be worth a try; And I’m always up for a wood fire-grilled steak!