Applebee's Inc. buys franchise in Cape

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Business Today

Applebee's International Inc. recently announced that it has reached an agreement with its biggest franchisee, Thomas and King Inc., to buy the assets of 11 Applebee's restaurants - including the one in Cape Girardeau - for $23.2 million in cash.

The other restaurants are in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

"The sale makes sense from both sides," said Thomas and King Inc. executive vice president Bill Hilliard.

Hilliard said the Applebee's restaurants they sold were farther away from the other restaurants it owns. He said representatives from Applebee's Inc. and Thomas and King met with general managers from the Cape Girardeau Applebee's in late January.

The Applebee's in Cape Girardeau is at 202 S. Broadview.

"These restaurants are contiguous to the St. Louis market that we acquired in 1997," Hill said in a statement. "Their addition will provide geographic and operations synergy to our base of company restaurants." Hill said the restaurants' comparable sales are higher than those of the systemwide average, with weekly sales in excess of $44,000, or more than $2.28 million a year.

The company thinks there is room for four more Applebee's restaurants in that territory.

Higher customer traffic prompted Applebee's to see a January sales increase compared with last year. For the four weeks that ended Jan. 26, systemwide comparable sales rose 3.3 percent from the same period last year, the company said.

Applebee's owns and franchises 1,502 Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants in 49 states and nine other countries.

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