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Applebee’s and IHOP are sister brands, despite their menus having little in common (via Restaurant Business Online). Applebee’s, like its near relative, has had issues as a result of COVID-19. During the second two quarters of 2020, Applebee’s had to close 35 restaurants permanently.
For some years, the all-American brand has been plagued by issues. According to KSDK, after losing $330 million in 2017, they announced the closure of 80 outlets in 2018. The restaurant chain had failed to adapt its menus and business approach to appeal to a younger demographic.
Recognizing their error, Applebee’s rebranded, alienating the families they had previously served. It’s hardly the only casual dining chain that’s had problems. The most appreciated Italian restaurant in America, Olive Garden, has also had trouble staying relevant and found it hard to keep up with the changing times, but they have recently recovered their sales.