Applebee’s parent names John Peyton CEO

Dine Brands Global will replace Steve Joyce with the CEO of the real estate brokerage company Realogy Franchise Group.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The parent of Applebee’s and IHOP has reached into the real estate business to hire a franchising veteran as its new CEO: John Peyton, currently head of a real estate brokerage holding company, Realogy Franchise Group.

Peyton will succeed Steve Joyce as CEO of Dine Brands Global on Jan. 4. Joyce, who has held the top job at the restaurant franchising company since September 2017, did not have his contract renewed by Dine Brands’ board of directors.

Like Joyce, who joined Dine Brands from Choice Hotels, Peyton spent much of his career in the lodging industry. Before joining Realogy, the franchisor of such brokerage chains as Century 21 and Coldwell Banker, the University of Pennsylvania graduate spent 17 years with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. His positions with the parent of Westin and Sheraton included CMO and COO of Starwood’s North American operations. Among the duties he held was overseeing the restaurants and food and beverage operations of Starwood properties.

“John’s extensive background working in the hospitality industry enables him to provide outstanding leadership and guidance as Dine Brands continues to accelerate long-term growth,” Richard Dahl, Dine Brands’ chairman, said in a statement. “Dine Brands is confident in the talented executive team in place to ensure a smooth transition and Peyton’s onboarding after the first of the year.”

The reasons why Joyce’s contract was not renewed was never revealed. Joyce has been CEO of the Glendale, Calif.-based Dine Brands since 2017.

Peyton will join Dine Brands as the chain’s biggest holding, Applebee’s, is bouncing back from the sales wallop of the pandemic. The industry’s largest casual-dining chain recently posted a gain in same-store sales, a rarity in the full-service sector since the COVID-19 crisis hit the industry in March.

IHOP, like many of its family dining peers, has had a more difficult recovery. Dine Brands recently revealed that up to 100 units of that chain could close because of problems that were underscored by the pandemic.

But both brands have been underperforming their top rivals in recent years. Applebee's same-store sales have not performed as well as the casual dining chain Chili's, while Denny's bested the Dine Brands concept IHOP. 

Joyce has not revealed his future plans.

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