DineEquity, Inc. Names President Of Applebee’s

by Katie Lee

Glendale, Calif. — DineEquity, Inc., the parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar® and IHOP® restaurants, has appointed John Cywinski as president, Applebee’s, effective March 9, 2017. He rejoins the company from Brinker International.

In his original stint at DineEquity, Cywinski served as chief marketing officer of Applebee’s from 2001 to 2006. Most recently, he served as Brinker’s executive vice president of strategic innovation and marketing (Brinker is the parent company of Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy). Prior to Brinker, he was at Yum! Brands from 2010 to 2014, where he was the president of KFC’s $4.4 billion, 4,400-restaurant U.S. business. Before joining Yum! Cywinski spent 4 years as a franchisee himself, owning and operating Dunkin’ Donuts and Sonic restaurants in Chicago; he has since sold all of his restaurants.

“We are pleased that John is rejoining the Applebee’s team, this time as brand president,” says Richard J. Dahl, DineEquity’s chairman and interim chief executive officer. “John is a highly-regarded industry veteran with more than 25 years of leadership experience, including leading quick-service and casual dining brands. Through his previous work with KFC and Applebee’s, John has proven his ability to work with franchisees to revitalize a brand, and we couldn’t imagine a better fit to lead Applebee’s turnaround.”

Continues Dahl: “Applebee’s is an iconic brand, Number 1 in its category, with a broad footprint and sophisticated franchisee base. While the business, like the category, is going through a challenging period, we are confident that we can improve performance and drive long term growth again under John’s leadership. DineEquity’s highly-franchised model continues to generate significant cash flow, which will enable us to make substantial investments in the brand, and we are thrilled to have John on board to guide our growth initiatives.”

“I’m thrilled to be back at Applebee’s, where I was previously part of a terrific senior team and franchise community that led the transformation of the company,” says Cywinski. “This is a very meaningful homecoming for me.”

Based in Glendale, Calif., DineEquity, Inc., through its subsidiaries, franchises restaurants under the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar brand and franchises and operates restaurants under the IHOP brand. With more than 3,700 restaurants combined in 18 countries and three U.S. territories and approximately 400 franchisees, DineEquity is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world. For more information, visit www.dineequity.com.

SOURCE: DineEquity, Inc.

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