Los Angeles Business Journal

Higher DineEquity Profit Still Disappoints

By Business Journal Staff Thursday, May 1, 2014

DineEquity Inc. reported on Thursday rising net income and revenue in the first quarter, but it missed analysts’ profit estimates as its Applebee’s chain underperformed.

The Glendale operator of the Applebee’s and IHOP restaurant chains posted net income of $20.5 million ($1.08 a share) for the quarter ended March 31, compared to $17.9 million (93 cents) for the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 2.5 percent to $167.2 million.

Eight analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial estimated net income of $1.14 a share on revenue of $164 million.

Same-store sales at IHOP restaurants increased 3.9 percent, which marked the chain’s fourth consecutive quarter of positive same-restaurant sales. However, Applebee’s sales decreased half a percent.

Chief Executive Julia Stewart said the company is pressing the "reset” button on Applebee’s with the rollout of tablet menus. The company announced in December it would add 100,000 tablets for the casual dining chain’s 1,800 locations. After some technical difficulties in the initial deployment, it has just started the rollout for a group of 100 to 200 stores.

“We have to continue to evolve, move fast and think bigger,” Stewart said. “I am very excited about the rest of 2014 and beyond.”

Shares closed up $5.08, or nearly 7 percent, to $80.89 on the New York Stock Exchange.