San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Applebee's Hires Advertising Agency

By Helen Floersh Monday, March 13, 2017

DineEquity Inc. restaurant brand Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar has selected Grey Global Group as its advertising agency of record.

Grey was chosen to lead Applebee’s creative marketing initiatives following a formal request for proposals process, Applebee’s said on Monday. The New York advertising firm has been in business for nearly 100 years and claims a fifth of all Fortune 500 companies as clients, according to its website. Its first task with Applebee’s will be to design an integrated communications plan, Applebee’s said.

“In addition to their deep experience, capability and creativity, the team at Grey has a solid understanding of Applebee’s evolving consumer,” Jeannine D’Addario, interim senior vice president of marketing and culinary at Applebee’s, said in a prepared statement.

Applebee’s recently has been looking to revitalize the image of its casual-dining restaurants, which saw a 7 percent decline in same-store sales during fourth-quarter 2016. Last week, the brand announced that former chief marketing officer John Cywinski, who was responsible for the restaurant’s “Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood” ad campaign as well as its Weight Watchers partnership, had been hired as its president.

Meanwhile, Glendale parent company DineEquity, which also owns IHOP restaurants, continues to hunt for two top executives following the resignation of Chief Executive Julia Stewart and Chief Financial Officer Thomas Emrey. The interim CEO and CFO roles are being filled by Chairman Richard Dahl and Corporate Controller Greggory Kalvin, respectively, until replacements are found, the company said.

Shares of DineEquity Inc. (DIN) on Monday fell 31 cents, or less than a percentage point, to close at $55.07 on the New York Stock Exchange.