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On Wednesday, October 28th, 2020, Dine Brands Global reported their third-quarter financial results, and also their intention to close up to 100 restaurants.

Dine Brands is the parent company of IHOP and Applebees. Both restaurants experienced sharp declines due to the coronavirus pandemic -- over 40 percent and 20 percent, respectively:

 

  • Domestic development activity by Applebee’s franchisees is expected to result in net closures of approximately 15 restaurants in the fourth quarter of 2020.

  • Given the impact of the pandemic on individual restaurant-level economics, the Company is evaluating the viability of greatly underperforming domestic IHOP restaurants. Based on the Company’s current assessment, it expects the evaluation could result in the net closure of less than 100 restaurants over the next 6 months.

Will Lubbock lose its IHOP and Applebee's restaurants? Honestly, I doubt it, and here's why: we only have two IHOPs and one Applebee's (after the sudden 2017 closure of the northwest Applebee's).

None of these locations were forced to close completely, unlike in other states, and Dine Brands is emphasizing a shirt to "off-premises" dining. Since these restaurants were allowed to at least do curbside and delivery throughout the year here in Lubbock, my guess is that they are more financially secure than other places.

That being said, Lubbock is highly competitive when it comes to dining options. In the past, we had a much higher restaurant per capita rate than the Texas average, and I'm pretty positive that the numbers today would reflect the same, if not more.

Despite the Lubbock restaurant deluge, IHOP and Applebee's both fit into an important niche that many restaurants do not: IHOP is open 24 hours, and Applebee's is open quite late. It doesn't matter how many restaurants a city has if you work overnights and everything is closed. Both locations offer a place to eat even if you have an unusual schedule.

I sincerely hope we get to keep our IHOP and our 'bee's, because I love pancakes and margaritas. And who doesn't?