US-based restaurant company Applebee’s Neighbourhood Grill + Bar has completed an acquisition of 69 own-branded restaurants in North and South Carolina from its Raleigh, N.C., franchisee Apple Gold Group.

Having closed the deal on 12 December, the company now plans to own and operate these restaurants, but will assess and monitor refranchise opportunities in future.

Applebee’s brand president John Cywinski said: “Through Q3 2018, Applebee’s business performance has been the best it’s been in more than a decade as we continue to lead the casual dining category.

“I’m pleased with this transaction and confident in our plans to evolve and selectively refine our restaurant portfolio. We are consistently reviewing our portfolio and making strategic decisions to better position our brand for the future.”

“We are consistently reviewing our portfolio and making strategic decisions to better position our brand for the future.”

In addition, Dine Brands Global has reached a settlement with the brand’s second-largest franchisee RMH and its affiliates regarding a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed in May 2018. Applebee’s is franchised by subsidiaries of Dine Brands Global.

As part of the settlement agreement, RMH will have to pay all past due royalty and advertising fees, as well as reimbursement of termination fees related to Applebee’s restaurant closures. RMH, however, would retain ownership of all of its 135 restaurants.

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The settlement also terminates all outstanding litigation between the companies.

Cywinski said: “We’re pleased to have come to a resolution with RMH and its owners. We remain confident and look forward to 2019.”

The restaurant chain, a subsidiary of Dine Brands Global, currently operates more than 1,700 franchise restaurants in 50 US states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 13 other countries.