Applebee’s restaurants in South Jersey are safe from the chopping block, franchise CEO Greg Flynn said Friday.

DineEquity, the parent company of the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar brand, announced Thursday it expects to close as many as 135 restaurants across the country.

“Apple American Group, a subsidiary of Flynn Restaurant Group, wanted to assure our valued guests and employees that this announcement in no way affects franchised Applebee’s locations that we own and operate,” Flynn wrote in a statement Friday.

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Apple American’s Applebee’s locations include Hammonton, Vineland, Mays Landing, Somers Point and Atlantic City. The Flynn group owns and operates 477 Applebee’s, 274 Taco Bell and related Yum! Brand restaurants and 130 Panera Bread bakery-cafes.

“Apple American Group is supported by the strong financial footing of Flynn Restaurant Group and has no plans to close any restaurants at this time,” Flynn said.

During Thursday’s quarterly earnings call, DineEquity announced 105 to 135 Applebee’s restaurants could close, up from a previous expectation of 40 to 60. The casual-dining giant also said it has plans to open 20 to 30 new restaurants worldwide.

“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,” said Richard J. Dahl, DineEquity Inc. chairman and interim CEO.

DineEquity is based in Glendale, California, and operates more than 3,700 IHOP and Applebee’s locations in 18 countries. According to its website, 99 percent are franchised through more than 400 franchisee partners.

Contact:

609-272-7251 CLowe@pressofac.com Twitter @clairelowe

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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