Applebee's Is Shrinking & Closing Dozens of Restaurants This Year

1. Applebee's is set to continue its trend of closing underperforming restaurants, with an expected 25 to 35 fewer locations by the end of 2023, a larger decrease than initially anticipated. 

2. The additional closures are attributed to changing consumer behaviors post-COVID-19 and challenges in renewing leases for some franchisees, reflecting broader shifts in the casual dining industry. 

3. Applebee's sees this as an opportunity to open new trade areas and align with its broader development strategy. The company is working closely with franchisees to leverage opportunities for future growth and long-term financial success. 

Applebee's has announced that it expects to end 2023 with 25 to 35 fewer restaurants, a bigger decrease than the initially expected 10 to 20 net closures. 

The chain has been shrinking for years, closing hundreds of locations to remove underperforming restaurants. The net unit count hasn't taken such a major hit since 2020 when 67 fewer restaurants were reported. 

Applebee's had been eyeing 2023 as the year to start growing again, but higher development costs have slowed down new restaurant openings. The company is still working to weed out underperforming locations and set up franchisees for long-term financial success. 

The closures come after a period where Applebee's ended 2021 with just 1,578 restaurants in the United States, its lowest total in more than a decade. The company's new vice president of development is working closely with franchisees to take advantage of growth opportunities.