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Applebee’s® Honors Top Franchisees at Annual Business Meeting

Franchisees Celebrated for Achievements in Philanthropy and Exceptional Guest Service at This Year’s Virtual Awards Ceremony

(GLENDALE, CALIF., Dec. 23, 2020) Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar® celebrated the franchisees that have continuously demonstrated success in operational performance and leadership at the 2020 Applebee’s Business Meeting, which was held virtually on November 6, 2020.


“After facing an unprecedented year, it was an honor to applaud and recognize our industry-leading franchisees for their achievements, partnership and commitment to community,” said John Cywinski, president of Applebee’s. “This year we also celebrated a remarkable 40 years of our great brand, founded by Bill Palmer, who we tragically lost just this month after a battle with pancreatic cancer. His entrepreneurial passion, intellect, creativity and generosity will always be present among our team and within our restaurants. What he created made an indelible impact on the entire restaurant industry.”


This year’s recipients were awarded based on their commitment to brand success, guest service, operational excellence, and community involvement. The winners include:


Abe Gustin Franchisee of the Year: Apple Mountain
This award, in honor of the man who helped Applebee’s become one of the nation’s most iconic brands in casual dining, recognizes a franchisee that embodies what it means to be Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood® and Doin’ Good in the Neighborhood®. This year’s Franchisee of the Year is Apple Mountain led by James Long for their sales performance and outstanding commitment to the guest experience, team culture and collaboration. They are dedicated to being a positive presence within the communities they serve.


Lloyd Hill Neighbor of the Year: T.L. Cannon
Named after of one of the brand’s historic leaders, this award celebrates an Applebee’s franchisee that has displayed a tremendous amount of love, compassion, and care for their neighbors through a variety of causes, activities and initiatives. This year’s recipient is T.L. Cannon. Although many of their traditional charitable contributions were put on hold beginning mid-March, the T.L. Cannon teams stepped up to the plate. From hosting National Heroes Month in May and donating food to hospital workers and first responders who worked tirelessly to supporting their own furloughed team members, the teams proved that even while they struggled in their own ways, supporting their communities was still top priority.


Bill Palmer Heart of Applebee’s: Quality Restaurant Concepts
This award is named after the founder of the Applebee’s brand, and recognizes a franchisee that has shown the greatest commitment to an individual cause or organization this past year. The 2020 recipient is Quality Restaurant Concepts (QRC). Over the past seven years, QRC has raised more than $400,000 to purchase 27 special track wheelchairs for disabled veterans who were no longer able to enjoy the outdoor activities they enjoy due to their disability. These chairs provide expanded mobility and are able to provide a freedom to veterans who have made a tremendous sacrifice for their country.


Doin’ Good Lifetime Achievement Award: Doherty Enterprises
This award recognizes a franchisee who has embodied the spirit of “Doin’ Good in the Neighborhood” throughout their tenure with Applebee’s by being good neighbors every day in their restaurants and local communities. Ed and Joan Doherty at Doherty Enterprises for the past 27 years have created a profound culture of care and set the standard for what it means to give back to communities and team members – especially in the face of a global pandemic. The Doherty team’s commitment to their people when forced to furlough valued employees was astounding through support with company discounts, paid health insurance, financial assistance and more. And ever-present is their commitment to the neighborhood. Even with a pandemic, they hosted hundreds of community events providing more than $325,000 in food and $300,000 in donations to their community this past year.

Applebee’s congratulates the 2020 franchisee honorees and all franchisee partners for their hard work, dedication and growth.


About Applebee's®

As one of the world’s largest casual dining brands, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar serves as America’s kitchen table, offering guests a lively dining experience that combines simple, craveable American fare with classic drinks and local drafts. Applebee's restaurants are owned and operated by entrepreneurs dedicated to more than serving great food, but also building up the communities that we call home. From raising money for local charities to hosting community fundraisers, Applebee’s is always Doin’ Good in the Neighborhood. Applebee’s has 1,728 franchise and company-operated restaurants in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and 11 other countries as of September 30, 2020. Applebee's is franchised by subsidiaries of Dine Brands Global Inc. [NYSE: DIN], which is one of the world's largest full-service restaurant companies.


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