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DineEquity's iternational restaurant development has reported a compound annual growth rate of more than 8 percent in the past five years.

DineEquity's President of International Steps Down

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Daniel del Olmo held the role since 2013.
By Danny Klein August 2017 Chain Restaurants

DineEquity Inc., the parent company of Applebee’s and IHOP, filed a brief document with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday announcing the resignation of Daniel del Olmo, the company’s president for international.

According to the document, DineEquity accepted del Olmo’s resignation August 24 and the move will take effect September 13. “Mr. del Olmo is leaving to pursue another opportunity,” the document said. No other details were given. It was filed by Bryan R. Adel, the senior vice president, legal, general counsel, and secretary.

Del Olmo was appointed to the role in December 2013. He was previously the senior vice president and managing director of Wyndham Hotel Group for Wyndham Worldwide, where he helped grow multiple hotel brands overseas.

The hire signaled DineEquity’s first run at consolidating its international operations and development for the two chains. The company said he would “lead a single team that will serve the needs of international franchisees and work to grow the global footprint of DineEquity’s iconic brands.”

“A fundamental priority wherever we do business is to capitalize on every opportunity to leverage the full power of DineEquity and help our franchisees succeed and grow,” said Julia A. Stewart, DineEquity, Inc.’s chairman and CEO at the time. “The success of all our franchisees across the globe is our mission, and the key to the worldwide success and growth of DineEquity is a focus on developing each brand’s unique presence around the world. In Daniel, we have found a tremendous leader who has a track record of success.”

This is the latest in a series of leadership changes for the casual dining company, which has struggled to generate positive comps and traffic in recent quarters.

DineEquity announced Stewart’s resignation in February. John Cywinski, a former Brinker executive, stepped into the president role in March.

Stephen P. Joyce, the former chief executive officer of Choice Hotels, was named CEO in August. Richard J. Dahl, operating as interim CEO following the resignation of Julia Stewart in March, is serving as chairman and will continue to hold the CEO position until September 12, when Joyce takes over.

On Tuesday, Stephen Bulgarelli’s anticipated move to chief culinary officer was made official. Bulgarelli spent the previous five years as vice president of food and beverage at Chili’s.

DineEquity’s international business is growing. During its August 10 second-quarter earnings release, the company said it expects franchisees to develop between 20–30 Applebee’s, the majority of which are expected to be international openings. In the U.S., up to 135 could close in fiscal 2017.

Dahl said in a conference call that international restaurant development has reported a compound annual growth rate of more than 8 percent in the past five years. “We should be up to approximately 290 restaurants by year-end 2017. Currently, IHOP development is outpacing Applebee's and the key markets are Mexico, Canada and the Middle East,” he said. “Many opportunities exist throughout the Far East and Latin America as well.”

As of June 30, DineEquity operated 157 international Applebee’s and 106 IHOPs.

Total, there were 1,752 total IHOP units (1,646 domestically) and 1,968 (1,811 in the U.S) Applebee’s.

IHOP’s domestic same-store sales declined 2.6 percent year-over-year in the second quarter. They were down 1.7 percent in the first quarter.

At Applebee’s, sales dropped 6.2 percent versus the prior year quarter. For the first six months of fiscal 2017, Applebee’s same-stores sales declined 7 percent compared to 2016.