- Applebee’s President John Cywinski is leaving the chain effective Jan. 6 for a position as CEO at another unnamed restaurant company, parent company Dine Brands said Wednesday. Cywinski has been president of Applebee’s for six years.
- Tony Moralejo, currently president of Dine Brands International and Global Development, has been appointed president of Applebee’s U.S. while Scott Gladstone, SVP of strategy and innovation at Applebee’s, will become president, international and corporate development at the chain.
- During Cywinski’s tenure at Applebee’s, he built a strong leadership team, grew sales, revamped marketing and menus and improved franchisee relationships, Dine Brands CEO John Peyton said in the press release.
Cywinski leaves Applebee’s during a period of sales growth. During Q3 2022, comp sales were up 16.9% compared to Q3 2019, Cywinski said during the company’s November earnings call. The company’s off-premise business made up $12,800 of weekly sales per restaurant during the quarter, and the chain opened its 10th drive-thru pick up window.
The casual chain also returned to a 100% franchised business model with the sale of 69 company-owned restaurants to Thrive Restaurant Group, Cywinski said. The restaurant closed 15 restaurants through Q3 2022, its fewest closures in 10 years, and is on track to return to net new unit growth in 2023 or 2024, he said.
Moralejo brings over two decades of experience in the restaurant industry, with expertise in operations, development and franchisee relations, to his new position. He joined Dine Brands in 2020. Prior to Dine Brands, he was EVP for international business and global development at Church’s Chicken and its international brand, Texas Chicken. Moralejo worked over 18 years at Burger King in various positions.
Gladstone, who has been at Dine Brands since 2016, will bring strategic expertise into his new position. He previously worked at The Boston Consulting Group, where he worked with Fortune 100 companies across various industries.
“Both Tony and Scott have deep institutional knowledge about Applebee’s, IHOP, and the industry, and they are the ideal leaders to take us to the next level of growth,” Peyton said.