Applebee's Company History Timeline

1980
The Applebee s restaurant chain was originally founded in November of 1980, by T. J. and Bill Palmer, who debuted with their first restaurant and grill bar, the Applebee s Rx for Edibles and Elixirs, out in Decatur, Georgia.
1983
He left 'HoJo' in 1983 and bought the Red Coach Grill chain of eateries.
They opened a second location outside of Atlanta, Georgia a few years later, and sold the company to W. R. Grace and Company in 1983.
1984
Among Applebee's first regional franchisees was Burton 'Skip' Sack, who purchased the New England franchise rights to Applebee's restaurants in 1984.
1986
Even by 1986, total revenues from franchise fees and other sources were less than 5 million.
He opened his first Applebee's in 1986.
Kansas City franchisees John Hamra and Abe Gustin, however, purchased the Applebee s International Inc, in 1986 from W. R. Grace and Company.
1988
Applebee's major growth spurt began in 1988, after W.R. Grace sold the company.
Under new ownership, revenues at Applebee's soared 500 percent to more than 24.21 million during 1988.
1989
In 1989, Applebee's opened their 100th restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee.
1990
To sustain that growth, Gustin and Hamra had taken Applebee's public early in 1990.
1993
During this time, Hamra retired, and Gustin became chairman, chief executive, and president. 'My original vision was that there could be as many as 500 Applebee's,' Gustin said in the September 20, 1993 Nation's Restaurant News. 'Now we're targeting 1,200 to 1,500,' he added.
1994
For the same years, net income vaulted to 9.5 million before nearly hitting 17 million during 1994.
1994 500th Applebee's Neighborhood Grill Bar opens.
1995
The company had paid 68 million for the operation in 1995, and had ultimately expanded it to 66 locations.
1997
1997 Franchisee Apple South announces plans to sell its Applebee's holdings.
Company-owned restaurants accounted for 452.2 million, or 88 percent of total revenue in 1997.
Applebee's Reports Fourth Quarter Earnings of 31 Cents Per Share Applebee's Concept Exceeds 1.82 Billion in 1997 System-Wide Sales.
1998
Announcing the company's first quarter 1998 results in late April 1998, CEO Lloyd L. Hill said the company was running well ahead of its target for the period.
1999
Sales totals announced for fiscal 1999 showed an increase of 14 percent, with system-wide revenues a record 2.35 billion.
1999 Rio Bravo operations are sold to Chevys, Inc.
Should Apple South fail to sell all of its Applebee's franchises by the end of 1999, the agreement gives Applebee's an option to acquire them according to a pre-determined pricing formula.
2000
In the spring of 2000, Abe Gustin stepped down as board chairman, though he continued to own a number of Applebee's franchises.
2006
In July of 2006, IHOP Corp, the world-renowned conglomerate, announced its plans to acquire Applebee s International Inc, for around 2.1 billion.
2007
2007-present Acquisition by IHOP edit On July 16, 2007, IHOP Corp. announced that it agreed to buy Applebee's International for about 2.1 billion.
With their merger in November 2007, Applebee's and IHOP combined to make the largest full-service restaurant company in the world, with more than 3,250 locations.
2015
On September 3, 2015, it was announced that their parent company, DineEquity, would be consolidating its headquarters for Applebee's and IHOP to DineEquity's Glendale, California, location.
2017
On August 11, 2017, DineEquity announced that Applebee's would close between 105 and 135 locations by the end of the year.
The Dollarita, Applebee's beloved 1 margaritas, was introduced in October 2017 and kicked off a cheap drinks revolution that helped make the restaurant popular again.
Founded
1980
Founders
T. J. Palmer,Bill Palmer

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