Applebee's to close 24 restaurants

by Staff
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OVERLAND PARK, KAS. — Applebee’s International Inc., which currently operates 528 company-owned restaurants and more than 1,940 system-wide, announced it will close 24 company-owned restaurants, with 19 of the closings scheduled to occur by the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

A strategy committee recently evaluated the company’s strategic alternatives and business and financial strategies. The committee identified restaurants that were failing to meet certain levels of return on investment and other operating indicators.

"These restaurant closures will have a positive impact on our future earnings, cash flow and return on invested capital," said Dave Goebel, president and chief executive officer. "In particular, following these closings, our New England market will be stronger and better positioned for future growth and success."

Ten of the closing restaurants are in New England and the other 14 are located in nine other states. Previously, the restaurant chain closed an average of one or two company-owned restaurants per year.

Mr. Goebel also said the closings reflect a commitment to disciplined capital allocation and maximizing physical assets and human resources.

The company also is selling its current headquarters in Overland Park, Kas., and will be moving into a new headquarters building in nearby Lenexa, Kas., by the end of the year.

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