DineEquity hires two senior execs

The parent company of IHOP and Applebee’s is quietly adding two high-level executives to foster growth for the franchised brands.

Adrian Butler is joining DineEquity as chief information officer, with responsibility for global operations across the two restaurant chains, according to DineEquity CEO Julia Stewart. Butler was previously an executive at the Target retail chain.

Jim Anhut has agreed to come aboard on Aug. 17 as DineEquity’s senior vice president of development, Stewart told financial analysts last week. Among his duties will be the development of new restaurant prototypes and building designs, she said.

Anhut will join the restaurant franchisor from Intercontinental Hotels, a chain with properties throughout the world. But “at least for the time being, Jim is very focused on the domestic U.S.,” not international growth for IHOP or Applebee’s, Stewart emphasized. She stressed that his charge will be expanding the chain by brainstorming new styles of restaurants and other development opportunities for franchisees.

Stewart indicated that the new prototypes would be in addition to a possible acquisition. She had announced last fall that the franchisor was interested in buying a third concept to franchise, likely in the fast-casual market.

She did not provide an update on the search during last week’s analyst call.

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