DETROIT (WWJ) – Once popular spots for a family meal, many now struggling Applebee’s restaurant locations will close their doors.

DineEquity, parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, said in a press release Thursday it will be shutting down between 105 and 135 restaurants. That’s quite a few more than the 40 to 60 the company earlier said it would shutter.

As the locations set to close have not yet been announced, it’s unclear at this time how many, if any, Detroit area restaurants will be affected.

“Oh no! Not Applebee’s!” said Brian L., who didn’t want his last name published. He likes the southwest fajita roll up. “It’s going to be the one in Roseville, I know it, and then my life is ruined.”

DineEquity said the closures will be based on several criteria, including franchisee profitability, operational results and meeting our brand quality standards.

“We are investing in the empowerment of our brands by improving overall franchisee financial health, closing underperforming restaurants and enhancing the supply chain.  We are focusing on operations and elevating the guest experience, whether in our restaurants or off-premise (catering),” Richard J. Dahl, Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer of DineEquity, Inc., said in a statement. “We believe 2017 will be a transitional year for Applebee’s and we are making the necessary investments for overall long-term brand health and expect to see improvement over the next year.”

The dinner crowd at Applebee’s and other full service chain restaurants has thinned in recent years as the Millennial generation gravitates instead toward locally owned farm-to-table fare, fast-casual spots (think Chipotle) and now-trendy meal kit delivery services.

There are currently more than 60 Applebee’s locations in Michigan and over 2,000 worldwide.


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