Applebee’s president resigns amid operational consolidation at DineEquity

Applebee’s President Steven Layt has resigned from his position, effective Friday, according to the casual-dining brand’s parent company, DineEquity.

His resignation comes amid a newly announced effort by DineEquity to consolidate corporate headquarters for its Applebee’s and IHOP brands. As part of the consolidation plan, Applebee’s headquarters will move from Kansas City, Mo., to DineEquity’s home base of Glendale, Calif. The company said Layt had declined to relocate.

As many as 90 of the 220 people currently employed at Applebee’s headquarters will remain in Kansas City, a DineEquity spokesman told a local paper. Only 10 percent to 20 percent of the others will be relocated.

The move will cost DineEquity close to $13 million through fiscal 2016 in moving costs, lease and facility expenses, and severance and associated personnel costs.

"This move best positions the company to act as a nimble, effective, and efficient force for the future," said Julia A. Stewart, CEO of DineEquity. "Consolidating most brand-centric, franchisee and consumer facing aspects of Applebee's is an important step in that direction. While there will be some costs associated with this, we remain fully committed to returning substantially all of our free cash flow to shareholders."

Consolidating support functions could also be a plus in assimilating a third restaurant brand into the company’s fold. DineEquity has acknowledged that it’s searching for a third franchised growth vehicle, but has not identified the potential targets of an acquisition.

Layt had served as president of Applebee’s since February 2014. Stewart will serve as interim president in his absence.  

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