At its annual franchise conference last week, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar announced the launch of a new scholarship program for employees and honored its top team members of the year.

John Cywinski, Applebee’s president, announced the launch of the Bill Palmer Legacy Scholarship in honor of Applebee’s late founder, Bill Palmer. It was established by Palmer’s former franchise group, Neighborhood Restaurant Partners. The annual scholarship program will provide $5,000 scholarships to 100 current Applebee’s team members and their children.


“Bill was a true pioneer and an industry icon,” Cywinski said in a statement. “Most importantly, he was a champion for our exceptional restaurant teams who represent the Applebee’s brand day in and day out, under challenging circumstances. I can’t think of a better legacy for Bill than providing annual college scholarships for deserving team members and their families.”


The Glendale-based restaurant chain, a subsidiary of Dine Brands Global Inc., also named William Reed, a Philadephian Applebee’s team member for more than 20 years, its general manager of the year for 2021. Apple American Group received the Abe Gustin Franchisee of the Year award, Doherty Enterprises was declared the Lloyd Hill Neighbor of the Year and the Bill Palmer Heart of Applebee’s Award went to Neighborhood Restaurant Partners.


Shares of Dine Brands Global (DIN) closed up 43 cents, or a fraction of a percent, to $80.12 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, a day when the Dow Jones industrial average closed up a fraction of a percent.