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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
________________________________________________________________________
FORM 10-K
(Mark One) 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                  to                
Commission File Number 001-15283
din-20201231_g1.jpg Dine Brands Global, Inc. din-20201231_g2.jpg
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
        
Delaware95-3038279
(State or other jurisdiction
of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
450 North Brand Boulevard,
Glendale,CA91203-1903
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
(818)240-6055
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 Title of each class Trading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.01 par valueDINNew York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x    No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o    No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x    No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x    No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
 Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
 Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes     No x
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2020 was $603.7 million.
As of February 23, 2021, the Registrant had 16,645,115 shares of Common Stock outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K where indicated. Except as expressly incorporated by reference, the registrant’s Proxy Statement shall not be deemed to be part of this report.



DINE BRANDS GLOBAL, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Annual Report on Form 10-K
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2020
Table of Contents
 Page
 
 
 
 
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied in such statements. You can identify these forward-looking statements by words such as “may,” “will,” “would,” “should,” “could,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal” and other similar expressions. You should consider our forward-looking statements in light of the risks discussed under the heading “Risk Factors,” as well as our consolidated financial statements, related notes, and the other financial information appearing elsewhere in this report and our other filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements contained in this report are made as of the date hereof and Dine Brands Global, Inc. does not intend to, nor does it assume any obligation to, update or supplement any forward-looking statements after the date of this report to reflect actual results or future events or circumstances.

Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the projections, forecasts, estimates and expectations discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, among other things: uncertainty regarding the duration and severity of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its ultimate impact on our business; general economic conditions; our level of indebtedness; compliance with the terms of our securitized debt; our ability to refinance our current indebtedness or obtain additional financing; our dependence on information technology; potential cyber incidents; the implementation of restaurant development plans; our dependence on our franchisees; the concentration of our Applebee’s franchised restaurants in a limited number of franchisees; the financial health of our franchisees, including any insolvency or bankruptcy; credit risks from our IHOP franchisees operating under our previous IHOP business model in which we built and equipped IHOP restaurants and
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then franchised them to franchisees; insufficient insurance coverage to cover potential risks associated with the ownership and operation of restaurants; our franchisees’ and other licensees’ compliance with our quality standards and trademark usage; general risks associated with the restaurant industry; potential harm to our brands’ reputation; risks of food-borne illness or food tampering; possible future impairment charges; trading volatility and fluctuations in the price of our stock; successful implementation of our business strategy; the availability of suitable locations for new restaurants; shortages or interruptions in the supply or delivery of products from third parties or availability of utilities; the management and forecasting of appropriate inventory levels; development and implementation of innovative marketing and use of social media; changing health or dietary preference of consumers; risks associated with doing business in international markets; the results of litigation and other legal proceedings; third-party claims with respect to intellectual property assets; delivery initiatives and use of third-party delivery vendors; our allocation of human capital and our ability to attract and retain management and other key employees; compliance with federal, state and local governmental regulations; risks associated with our self-insurance; natural disasters or other serious incidents; our success with development initiatives outside of our core business; the adequacy of our internal controls over financial reporting and future changes in accounting standards; and other matters in the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, many of which are beyond our control.

Fiscal Year End

We have a 52/53 week fiscal year ending on the Sunday nearest to December 31 of each year. For convenience, in this annual report on Form 10-K, we refer to all fiscal years as ending on December 31 and all interim fiscal quarters as ending on March 31, June 30 and September 30 of the respective fiscal year. There were 53 calendar weeks in our 2020 fiscal year ended January 3, 2021 and our fiscal 2020 fourth quarter contained 14 calendar weeks. There were 52 calendar weeks in our 2019 and 2018 fiscal years that ended on December 29, 2019 and December 30, 2018, respectively.

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PART I

Item 1.    Business
Dine Brands Global, Inc.SM, together with its subsidiaries (referred to as the “Company,” “Dine Brands Global,” “we,” “our” and “us”), owns, franchises and operates the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar® (“Applebee's”) concept in the bar and grill segment within the casual dining category of the restaurant industry and owns and franchises the International House of Pancakes® (“IHOP”) concept in the family dining category of the restaurant industry. References herein to Applebee's® and IHOP® restaurants are to these two restaurant concepts, whether operated by franchisees, area licensees and their sub-licensees or by us. As of December 31, 2020, the substantial majority of our 3,483 restaurants across both brands were franchised. We believe this highly franchised business model requires less capital investment and general and administrative overhead, generates higher gross profit margins and reduces the volatility of adjusted free cash flow performance, as compared to a business model based on owning a significant number of company-operated restaurants.
We generated revenue from five operating segments during the year ended December 31, 2020, comprised as follows:
Our two franchise operations (each a separate operating segment) - primarily royalties, advertising fees and other income from 1,642 Applebee’s franchised restaurants and 1,769 IHOP franchised and area licensed restaurants;
Rental operations - primarily rental income derived from lease or sublease agreements covering 621 IHOP franchised restaurants and two Applebee’s franchised restaurants;
Financing operations - primarily interest income from approximately $44 million of receivables for equipment leases and franchise fee notes generally associated with IHOP franchised restaurants developed before 2003 and approximately $12 million of notes receivable from Applebee's franchisees; and
Company restaurant operations - retail sales from 69 Applebee's company-operated restaurants we acquired from a former Applebee's franchisee in December 2018.
Most of our revenue is derived from domestic sources within these five operating segments, with approximately 68% of our total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2020 being generated from our two franchise operating segments. Internationally, our restaurants are in 16 countries and two United States territories at December 31, 2020. Revenue derived from all international operations comprised less than 2% of total consolidated revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020. At December 31, 2020, there were no long-lived assets located outside of the United States. See Note 18 - Segment Reporting, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, included in this report for additional segment information.
COVID-19 Pandemic
In March 2020, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) declared a global pandemic related to the outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus, designated “COVID-19.” Initially, federal, state, local and international governments reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging or requiring social distancing, instituting shelter-in-place orders, and requiring, in varying degrees, reduced operating hours, restaurant dine-in and/or indoor dining limitations, capacity limitations or other restrictions that largely limited restaurants to off-premise sales (take-out and delivery) in the early stages of the pandemic. Over the course of 2020, certain of these restrictions were relaxed as incidents of infection from the initial outbreak declined, but many of the restrictions were reinstituted as incidents of infection surged in the latter part of the year. The degree and duration of restrictions varied by individual geographic area. We and our franchisees have instituted operational procedures to protect the health and foster the confidence of employees and guests at the restaurants. We and our franchisees continue to monitor developing health authority recommendations and regulatory requirements.
The following table reflects the impact of restaurant dine-in restrictions on our restaurant operations, by month, since the WHO pandemic declaration:
Restaurant StatusStatus as of 2020 Fiscal Month Ended
MarAprMayJuneJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
Dining rooms open*271 85 1,808 3,1382,9953,1103,2273,3442,8282,596
Limited to off-premise sales2,615 2,820 1,429 20237228017885606810
Temporarily closed729 698 355 2321961481301058877
Total3,615 3,603 3,592 3,5723,5633,5383,5353,5343,5223,483
* In most instances, limited to 50% capacity or less and/or reduced operating hours
The operating status of our restaurants remains fluid into 2021 and subject to change as governmental authorities modify existing restrictions or implement new restrictions on restaurant operations in response to changes in the number of COVID-19 infections and the availability and acceptance of vaccines in their respective jurisdictions.
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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our results of operations and liquidity is discussed in Item 7 - Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of this Form 10-K.
Our Goal
Our goal is to accelerate profitable growth and create significant value for shareholders and franchisees.
Our Strategic Priorities
To build value, we seek to maximize our business by focusing on these key strategic priorities:
Evolve strong brands and drive same-restaurant sales, traffic and system sales growth;
Facilitate franchisee restaurant development; and
Maintain strong financial discipline.
Our fundamental approach to brand building centers on a strategic combination of initiatives to continually innovate and evolve our existing brands as well as explore small investments in or acquisitions of new concepts. We intend to leverage our significant scale and our franchise business model to drive robust margins and cash flows. We are actively supporting our brands with focused teams that are responsible and accountable at the brand level to drive strong performance. In partnership with our franchisees, significant investments have been made and will continue to be made in marketing across traditional and digital channels to drive traffic to our restaurants. We are placing greater emphasis on quantitative analytics to leverage our favorable guest dynamics. We are investing in technology to create more ways for customers to access our brands and in growth platforms such as online ordering, off-premise business and delivery. We will continue to focus on generating strong adjusted free cash flow and returning a portion of it to stockholders through quarterly cash dividends and repurchases of our common stock as business conditions warrant. We will reevaluate our capital allocation strategy as industry conditions improve and normal restaurant operations resume. Our business strategy includes evaluating the addition of new brands to our restaurant portfolio through mergers and acquisitions.
Our History
The first IHOP restaurant opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California. Since that time, the Company and its predecessors have engaged in the development, franchising and operation of IHOP restaurants. Prior to 2003, new IHOP restaurants were generally developed by us, and we were involved in all aspects of the construction and financing of the restaurants. We typically identified and leased or purchased the restaurant sites for new company-developed IHOP restaurants, built and equipped the restaurants and then franchised them to franchisees. In addition, we typically financed as much as 80% of the franchise fee for periods ranging from five to eight years and leased the restaurant and equipment to the franchisee over a 25-year period. We refer to this as our “Previous IHOP Business Model,” which accounts for most of the activity in our rental and financing operations.
For most IHOP restaurants opened after 2003, the franchisee is primarily responsible for the development and financing of the restaurant. In general, we no longer provide any financing with respect to the franchise fee, restaurant site or equipment. The franchisee uses its own capital and financial resources along with third-party financial sources obtained by the franchisee to purchase or lease a restaurant site, build and equip the business and fund its working capital needs. We refer to this as our “Current IHOP Business Model.”
The first restaurant in what became the Applebee’s chain opened in 1980 in Decatur, Georgia. Applebee's International, Inc, (“AII”) became a public company in 1989, comprised of 100 restaurants. In November 2007, we completed the acquisition of AII, which comprised 1,455 franchised restaurants and 510 company-operated restaurants at the time of the acquisition. We subsequently refranchised all the Applebee's company-operated restaurants and were 100% franchised until we acquired 69 restaurants from a former Applebee's franchisee in December 2018.
Restaurant Concepts
Applebee's
We franchise and operate Applebee’s restaurants in the bar and grill segment within the casual dining category of the restaurant industry. As one of the world’s largest casual dining brands, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar offers guests a dining experience that combines simple, craveable American fare with classic drinks and local drafts - all for a moderate price. Applebee's restaurants that are franchised are owned and operated by franchisees dedicated to serving great food and also building up the communities that we call home. From raising money for local charities to hosting community fundraisers, Applebee’s is always “Doin’ Good in the Neighborhood”.
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We strive to provide genuine and neighborly service, appetizers, drinks and entrees and limited-time offers. Our menu features a selection of grill and bar fare, such as appetizers, bar snacks, burgers, pasta entrees and lighter fare, as well as cocktails, beers and desserts. During the current global pandemic, we continue to enhance our very popular “Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood” positioning while providing safe and sanitary dining options whether in limited indoor or outside seating or To Go. Applebee's offers online ordering via web and a mobile app for Carside To Go pick up options or Applebee’s Delivery with no-contact options and new tamper-proof packaging. We also contract with all major delivery service providers, such as DoorDash, Uber Eats and GrubHub, providing multiple options for our guests to continue to enjoy Applebee’s at home during this challenging time. Applebee's also opened our first ghost kitchens (small kitchens with no store-front presence, used to fill online orders) in 2020 to further expand our delivery options and reach even more of our customers at home. We began offering catering, a third component of our off-premise options, as a national program in 2019, and plan to continue expansion of our catering offerings to align with the needs of our customers when larger events may again be hosted as COVID-19 infection rates decline.
As of December 31, 2020, 48 franchise groups (30 domestic and 18 international) operated 1,642 Applebee’s franchise restaurants. We operated 69 Applebee's restaurants acquired from a former franchisee in December 2018. Applebee's restaurants were located in 49 states within the United States, two United States territories and 11 countries outside of the United States. The June 15, 2020 issue of Nation's Restaurant News reported that Applebee's was the largest restaurant system in the casual dining category and the 15th largest across all categories in terms of United States system-wide sales during 2019.
IHOP
We franchise restaurants in the family dining category of the restaurant industry under the names IHOP and International House of Pancakes. IHOP restaurants feature full table service and high quality, moderately priced food and beverage offerings in an attractive and comfortable family atmosphere. Although the restaurants are best known for their award-winning pancakes and putting an unexpected twist on “all things breakfast, any time of the day,” IHOP is committed to accelerating growth through menu innovation, daypart expansion, off-premise initiatives and development. Focused on meeting the needs of today’s guest, IHOP leverages industry analytics and brand-specific insights to help effectively drive positive behaviors, including increased frequency of visit and average check.
IHOP restaurants are open throughout the day and evening hours. As of December 31, 2020, approximately 34% of IHOP restaurants operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with 146 additional restaurants operating 24 hours a day for some portion of the week. In comparison, approximately 45% of IHOP restaurants operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with 245 additional restaurants operating 24 hours a day for some portion of the week as of December 31, 2019. Operating hours remain subject to any dine-in restrictions mandated by federal, state, local and international jurisdictions in which the restaurants are located. We announced the most comprehensive remodel program in our brand’s history, “Rise ‘N’ Shine,” in late 2015. Since starting the program in 2016, our domestic franchisees have remodeled over 1,150 of their restaurants. Including new restaurants opened in the past five years, more than 81% of our domestic IHOP franchise restaurants reflect the new, contemporary look. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we allowed franchisees to defer their 2020 unit remodel obligations for up to 15 months.

We remain committed to giving more people, more reasons to enjoy more IHOP, more often. Placing an emphasis on building its IHOP ‘N’ Go business, IHOP offers an online ordering platform, a mobile app, and a national delivery program with leading service providers including DoorDash, Uber Eats and GrubHub this year. Our off-premise business experienced significant growth in 2020 driven by increased usage catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing mandated dine-in restrictions across the country. We now offer delivery directly through our website and mobile app at close to 100% of our restaurants, as well as Curbside Pickup options. We believe the convenience of take-out and delivery will remain appealing to our guests even as dining room restrictions are eased across the country. Additionally, we implemented several measures to enhance our in-restaurant health safety and sanitation operational procedures in order to protect the health and foster the confidence of employees and guests at the restaurants.
As of December 31, 2020, 300 franchise groups (279 domestic, 21 international) operated 1,769 IHOP franchise and area license restaurants. These restaurants were in all 50 states within the United States, in the District of Columbia, in two United States territories and in nine countries outside of the United States. We no longer operate any company-owned IHOP restaurants on a permanent basis, but we may operate, on a temporary basis until refranchised, IHOP restaurants that we reacquire for a variety of reasons from IHOP franchisees. There were three such reacquired restaurants at December 31, 2020. The June 15, 2020 issue of Nation's Restaurant News reported that IHOP was the largest restaurant system in the family dining category and the 24th largest across all categories in terms of United States system-wide sales during 2019.
See Item 2 - Properties, for the geographic location of all Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants.


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Franchising

Franchisee Relationships

We highly value good relationships with our IHOP and Applebee's franchisees and strive to maintain positive working relationships with them. For several years, IHOP and Applebee’s franchisees have participated in Company-sponsored advisory groups. These groups provide a forum for franchisees to share demonstrated best practices, offer counsel and review successful strategies, while working side-by-side with management of the Applebee's and IHOP brands. Applebee’s sponsors its Franchise Business Council (“FBC”), which consists of eight elected franchisee representatives, with one of the seats currently vacant. IHOP sponsors its Franchise Leadership Council (“FLC”), an elected and appointed body of 12 IHOP franchisees. The Applebee's FBC and the IHOP FLC assist Applebee's and IHOP senior management in key areas of the business and strategy, including brand marketing, operations, restaurant development, information technology, menu, and innovation.
Franchise Agreements and Fees
Franchise arrangements for Applebee's restaurants typically consist of a development agreement and a separate franchise agreement for each restaurant. Development agreements grant to the franchisee the exclusive right to develop Applebee's restaurants within a designated geographical area over a specified period of time. The term of a domestic development agreement is generally 20 years. The development agreements typically provide for initial development periods of one to five years as agreed upon by us and the franchisee. At or shortly prior to the completion of the initial development schedule or any subsequent supplemental development schedule, we and the franchisee may execute supplemental development schedules providing for the development of additional Applebee's restaurants in the franchisee's exclusive territory.
Prior to the opening of each new Applebee's restaurant, we enter into a separate franchise agreement with the franchisee for that restaurant. Our current standard domestic Applebee's franchise agreement provides for an initial term of 20 years and provides an option for four successive renewal terms, in five-year increments, for up to an additional 20 years, upon payment of an additional franchise fee. Our current standard domestic Applebee's franchise arrangement calls for a development fee equal to $10,000 for each Applebee's restaurant that the franchisee contracts to develop and an initial franchisee fee of $35,000 for each restaurant developed (against which the $10,000 development fee will be credited) and a royalty fee equal to 4% of the restaurant's monthly gross sales. Our agreements for most Applebee's restaurants opened before January 1, 2000, provide for a royalty rate of 4%, while the terms, royalty rate and advertising fees under a limited number of franchise agreements and other franchise fees under older development agreements vary from the currently offered arrangements.
Under the Current IHOP Business Model, a potential franchisee that is approved first enters into a single-restaurant franchise agreement, a single-restaurant development agreement, or a multi-restaurant development agreement with us and is responsible for the development and financing of one or more new IHOP franchised restaurants. Our current standard domestic IHOP franchise agreement typically provides for an initial term of 20 years and permits one renewal for a term of 10 years, upon payment of a renewal fee of $10,000.
The revenues we receive from a typical domestic franchise development arrangement under the Current IHOP Business Model include (a) a location fee equal to $15,000 for an IHOP restaurant that the franchisee contracts to develop upon execution of a single-restaurant development agreement; (b) a development fee equal to $20,000 for each IHOP restaurant that the franchisee contracts to develop upon execution of a multi-restaurant development agreement; (c) an initial franchise fee equal to (i) $40,000 (against which the $20,000 development fee will be credited) for each restaurant developed under a multi-restaurant development agreement, (ii) $50,000 (against which the $15,000 location fee will be credited) for a restaurant developed under a single-restaurant development agreement or (iii) $50,000 for a restaurant opened pursuant to a single-restaurant franchise agreement, in each case paid upon execution of the franchise agreement; (d) franchise royalties equal to 4.5% of weekly gross sales; (e) revenue from the sale of our proprietary pancake and waffle dry-mixes; and (f) franchise advertising fees.
The principal commercial terms of the franchise arrangements under the Previous IHOP Business Model and the Current IHOP Business Model, including the franchise royalties and the franchise advertising fees, are substantially the same except with respect to the terms relating to the franchise fee, lease or sublease rents for the restaurant property and building, and interest income from any franchise fee notes and equipment leases.
Development of Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants outside of the United States has historically been conducted through a separate development agreement and franchise agreement. More recently, certain franchisees have entered into a multi-unit franchise agreement that governs the rights and obligations to develop a territory, in addition to terms of operating each restaurant opened in the territory. The term of a franchisee’s exclusive right to develop a territory expires when the agreement’s development schedule is completed. The term to operate the restaurant is typically 20 years, subject to applicable renewals.
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In limited instances, we have agreed to accept reduced royalties and/or lease payments from franchisees or have provided other accommodations to franchisees for specified periods of time to assist them in either establishing or reinvigorating their businesses. In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our franchisees, we allowed our franchisees to defer their development obligations for up to 15 months. We offered Applebee's franchisees the opportunity to defer payment of their royalty, advertising and other fees, and IHOP franchisees the opportunity to defer payment of their royalty, advertising, equipment rent and sublease rent payments, primarily for the months of March and April 2020.

We have the contractual right, subject to applicable law, to terminate a development and franchise agreement for a variety of reasons, such as a franchisee’s failure to make required payments when due, failure to timely develop restaurants and failure to adhere to specified brand policies and standards.
Advertising Fees
The Applebee's franchise agreements generally require domestic franchisees of Applebee's restaurants to (i) contribute 3.25% of their gross sales to a national advertising fund, which funds the development of national promotions, television and radio commercials, print advertising materials and digital marketing and (ii) spend at least 0.5% of their gross sales on local marketing and promotional activities. Under the current Applebee's franchise agreements, we have the ability to increase the amount of the required combined contribution to the national advertising fund and the amount required to be spent on local marketing and promotional activities to a maximum of 5% of gross sales. All domestic Applebee’s franchisees have either entered into an amendment to their franchise agreements to increase their contribution to the Applebee's national advertising fund (the “Applebee’s NAF”) or entered into new franchise agreements in connection with renewals setting forth the current advertising contribution requirements. Virtually all franchisees who entered into amendments agreed to an incremental temporary increase in the national advertising contribution rate to 4.25% effective July 1, 2018 and have agreed to subsequent amendments in 2019 and 2020 to extend the temporary increase through December 31, 2021, with no requirement that franchisees spend on local marketing during that time.
IHOP franchisees allocate a percentage of their sales to local advertising cooperatives and a national advertising fund (the “IHOP NAF”). The IHOP franchise agreements generally provide for advertising fees comprised of (i) a local advertising fee generally equal to 2.0% of weekly gross sales under the franchise agreement, which is typically used to cover the cost of local media purchases and other local advertising expenses incurred by a local advertising cooperative, and (ii) a national advertising fee equal to 1.0% of weekly gross sales under the franchise agreement. Area licensees are generally required to pay lesser amounts toward advertising.
The local IHOP advertising cooperatives have historically used advertising fees for various local marketing programs. The IHOP NAF is primarily used for buying media and national advertising, in addition to the related production costs. The IHOP NAF is also used to defray certain expenses associated with our marketing and advertising functions.
Beginning in 2005, and every year thereafter, we and the IHOP franchisees agreed to reallocate portions of the local advertising fees to purchase national broadcast, syndication and cable television time to reach our target audience more frequently and more cost effectively.
In 2014, we and franchisees whose restaurants account for a large majority of total annual contributions to the IHOP NAF entered into franchise agreement amendments that increased the advertising contribution percentage of those restaurants' gross sales. Pursuant to the amendment, for the period from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2017, 3.50% of each participating restaurant's gross sales was contributed to the IHOP NAF with no significant contribution to local advertising cooperatives required. The amended advertising contribution percentage also was applicable to all new franchise agreements and to IHOP company-operated restaurants open at the time. In 2016, we and franchisees whose restaurants account for a large majority of total annual contributions to the IHOP NAF extended this additional contribution through 2022. The current IHOP franchise agreements generally provide for advertising fees comprised of (i) a local advertising fee equal to 0% of gross sales under the franchise agreement, and (ii) a national advertising fee equal to 3. 5% of weekly gross sales under the franchise agreement. Commencing on January 1, 2023, the local advertising fee and the national advertising fee are subject to change.
The Company temporarily discontinued the national advertising programs of both brands in March 2020 due to uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic; both brnds returned to national media advertising in July 2020.
IHOP Area License Agreements
We have entered into three long-term area license agreements for IHOP restaurants covering the state of Florida and certain counties in the state of Georgia, the province of British Columbia, Canada and the country of Pakistan. The area license agreements provide the licensees with the right to develop and franchise new IHOP restaurants in their respective territories and provide for royalties ranging from 1.0% to 4.5% of gross sales and advertising fees ranging from 0.25% to approximately 2.0% of gross sales. During 2014, the advertising fee contribution provisions of the Florida area license agreement were amended for
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the period through December 31, 2017 on substantially similar terms as the franchise agreement amendment described above and such amendments were subsequently extended through 2022. We also derive revenues from the sale of proprietary products to these area licensees and, in certain instances, to their sub-franchisees. Revenues from our area licensees are included in franchise operations revenues.
As of December 31, 2020, the area licensee for the state of Florida and certain counties in Georgia operated or sub-franchised a total of 149 IHOP restaurants. The area licensee for the province of British Columbia, Canada operated or sub-franchised a total of nine IHOP restaurants. The area licensee for the country of Pakistan opened its first franchise IHOP restaurant in 2020 and may begin to sub-license restaurants once a required number of franchise restaurants have been opened. The area license for British Columbia expires in 2026, the area license for Pakistan expires in 2047 and the area license for Florida and Georgia expires after the year 2100, with the date of expiration changing depending on the number of qualified restaurant openings and closures by such licensee.

Other Franchise-related Revenues and Fees

Approximately 89% of franchise segment revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 consisted of Applebee's and IHOP royalties and advertising revenue. Most of the remaining 11% consisted of sales of proprietary products (primarily IHOP pancake and waffle dry mix), initial franchise and renewal fees and software maintenance and support fees. Depending on circumstances, we may seek to recover a portion of any royalties and fees lost due to early termination of a franchise agreement; however, not all franchise restaurant closures necessarily result in our receipt of such fees.
International Franchising
We continue to pursue international franchising of the Applebee's and the IHOP concepts. To this end, we seek qualified franchisees that possess the financial, development and operational resources needed to open multiple restaurants in each territory and are experienced in conducting business in the development territory. We work closely with our international franchisees to develop and implement the Applebee's and IHOP systems outside the United States, recognizing commercial, cultural and dietary diversity. Differences in tastes and cultural norms and standards require that we be flexible and pragmatic regarding many elements of the Applebee's and IHOP systems, including menu, restaurant design, restaurant operations, training, marketing, purchasing and financing.
The success of further international expansion will depend on, among other things, local acceptance of the Applebee's and IHOP concepts and menu offerings and our ability to attract qualified franchisees and operating personnel. Our franchisees must comply with the regulatory requirements of the local jurisdictions.
Domestic and International Franchise Restaurant Development
Each franchisee is responsible for selecting the site for each new restaurant. We may consult with franchisees when they are selecting appropriate sites, and selections made by franchisees are subject to our approval. For domestic restaurants, we also conduct a physical inspection, review any proposed lease or purchase agreement for compliance with our requirements and may make available to franchisees demographic and other studies for domestic restaurants. We make the design specifications for a typical restaurant available to franchisees, and we retain the right to prohibit or modify the use of any set of plans.
As of December 31, 2020, we had signed commitments from IHOP franchisees to build 377 IHOP restaurants over the next eight  years, comprised of 98 restaurants under single restaurant or non-traditional development agreements, 140 restaurants under domestic multi-restaurant development agreements and 139 restaurants under international development agreements. The signed agreements include options to build an additional 24 restaurants over the next seven years, primarily under domestic multi-restaurant development agreements. As of December 31, 2020, we had signed commitments from Applebee's franchisees for the opening of 30 international restaurants over the next eight years. We do not expect a significant number of Applebee's restaurants will be opened domestically in the near future. Developers’ level of compliance with development obligations varies per year and could change; therefore, the number of signed commitment and/or development agreements in place at any given time may not be a reliable indicator of future development activity. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we allowed franchisees to defer their 2020 development obligations for up to 15 months.
Franchise Operations
We continuously monitor franchise restaurant operations. Company and third-party representatives make both scheduled and unannounced inspections of franchised restaurants to ensure that only approved products are in use and that our prescribed operations practices and procedures are being followed. We have the right to terminate a franchise agreement if a franchisee does not operate and maintain a restaurant in accordance with our requirements. Due to cultural and regulatory differences, we may have different requirements for restaurants opened outside of the United States. We also monitor the financial health of our franchisees through business and financial reviews.
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Composition of Franchise Systems

As of December 31, 2020, 30 Applebee’s franchisees owned a total of 1,531 domestic Applebee's restaurants. The number of domestic restaurants held by a single franchisee ranged from one restaurant to 444 restaurants. As of December 31, 2020, 18 franchisees owned a total of 111 international Applebee's restaurants. The number of international restaurants held by a single franchisee ranged from one restaurant to 23 restaurants. Our five largest Applebee’s franchisees owned 52% of the total 1,642 Applebee's franchise restaurants.

As of December 31, 2020, 279 franchisees owned a total of 1,667 domestic IHOP restaurants, including 110 franchisees that each owned one restaurant. The largest single IHOP franchisee owned 273 domestic restaurants. As of December 31, 2020, 21 franchisees owned a total of 102 international IHOP franchise restaurants. The number of international restaurants held by a single franchisee ranged from one restaurant to 15 restaurants. Our five largest IHOP franchisees owned 30% of the total 1,769 IHOP franchise restaurants.
Company-Operated Restaurants
In December 2018, we acquired 69 Applebee's restaurants in North Carolina and South Carolina from a former Applebee's franchisee. While we currently intend to own and operate these restaurants for the near term, we will assess and monitor opportunities to refranchise these restaurants under favorable circumstances. We believe this transaction was a unique circumstance and should not be considered a change in our business strategy. Our business strategy includes the possible addition of new brands to our restaurant portfolio, which may result in our acquiring additional company-operated restaurants.
From time to time, we also may reacquire a small number of restaurants from franchisees for a variety of reasons. Historically, we have been able to refranchise these restaurants quickly to new franchisees. When reacquired restaurants are not refranchised quickly, we typically operate the reacquired restaurants until they can be refranchised. These temporarily reacquired restaurants may require investments in remodeling and rehabilitation before they can be refranchised. As a result, a reacquired restaurant may incur operating losses for some period of time. IHOP had three such reacquired restaurants at December 31, 2020.
Supply Chain
In February 2009, Centralized Supply Chain Services, LLC (“CSCS” or the “Co-op”), an independent cooperative entity, was formed by us and franchisees of Applebee's and IHOP domestic restaurants. CSCS has been appointed as the sole authorized purchasing organization and purchasing agent for goods, equipment and distribution services for Applebee's and IHOP restaurants in the United States. As of December 31, 2020, 100% of Applebee's domestic franchise restaurants and 97% of IHOP domestic franchise restaurants were members of CSCS.
CSCS combines the purchasing volume for goods, equipment and distribution services within and across the Applebee's and IHOP concepts. Its mission is to achieve for its members the benefit of continuously available goods, higher quality equipment and distribution services in adequate quantities at the lowest possible sustainable prices. We do not control CSCS, but do have contractual rights associated with supplier certification, quality assurance and protection of our intellectual property. The operations of CSCS are funded by a separately stated administrative fee added to one or more products purchased by operators.
We believe the larger scale provided by combining the supply chain requirements of both brands provides continuing cost savings and efficiencies while helping to ensure compliance with our quality and safety standards.
Industry Overview and Competition
Applebee's and IHOP are among the numerous restaurant chains and independent restaurants competing in the restaurant industry in the United States. The restaurant industry is generally categorized into segments by price point ranges, the types of food and beverages offered and the types of service available to customers. These segments include, among others, fast food or quick service restaurants, fast-casual dining, family dining, casual dining and fine dining. Casual dining restaurants offer full table service and typically have bars or serve liquor, wine and beer, while family dining restaurants offer full table service, typically do not have bars or serve liquor, and usually offer breakfast in addition to lunch and dinner items.
Applebee's competes in the casual dining segment against national and multi-state restaurant chains such as Olive Garden, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili's Grill & Bar, Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse, among others, as well as fast-casual and quick service restaurant chains. In addition, there are many independent restaurants across the country in the casual dining segment. The June 15, 2020 issue of Nation's Restaurant News reported that Applebee's was the largest restaurant system in the casual dining category and the 15th largest across all categories, in terms of United States system-wide sales during 2019.
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IHOP competes in the family dining segment against national and multi-state restaurant chains such as Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Denny's, Golden Corral, Waffle House and Bob Evans Restaurants. IHOP also faces competition from fast-casual and quick service restaurant chains that serve breakfast. In addition, there are many independent restaurants and diners across the country in the family dining segment. The June 15, 2020 issue of Nation's Restaurant News reported that IHOP was the largest restaurant system in the family dining category and the 24th largest across all categories, in terms of United States system-wide sales during 2019.
The restaurant and related food-service industries are highly competitive and are affected by, among other things, economic conditions, price levels, on-going changes in eating habits and food preferences, population trends and traffic patterns. The principal bases of competition in the industry are the type, quality and price of the food products served. Restaurant location, quality and speed of service, advertising, name identification and attractiveness of facilities are important. Additionally, changes in the price of groceries may influence the attractiveness of dining at home versus dining out.
The market for high quality commercial real estate is also very competitive. We and our franchisees compete with other restaurant chains and retail businesses for suitable sites for the development of new restaurants. We also compete against other franchisors both within and outside the restaurant industry for new franchisees. For further information regarding competition, see Item 1A, Risk Factors.
Trademarks and Service Marks
We and our affiliates have registered or submitted registrations for certain trademarks and service marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and various international jurisdictions, including “Dine Brands GlobalSM.” We own trademarks and service marks used in the Applebee's system, including various logos and the trademarks “Applebee's®,” “Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar®” and variations of each. In addition, we own trademarks and service marks used in the IHOP system, including various logos and the trademarks “IHOP®,” “International House of Pancakes®” and variations of each.
We consider our trademarks and service marks important to the identification of our company and our restaurants and believe they are of material importance to the conduct of our business. Depending upon the jurisdiction, trademarks and service marks generally are valid as long as they are used and/or registered. We generally intend to renew our trademarks and service marks as they come up for renewal. We own or have rights to all trademarks we believe are material to our restaurant operations. In addition, we have registered various domain names on the Internet that incorporate certain of our trademarks and service marks and believe these domain name registrations are an integral part of our identity. From time to time, we may take appropriate legal action to defend and protect the use of our intellectual property.
Information Technology
We use in-house developed and third-party point of sale systems, kitchen data systems, and back-of-the house systems for accounting, labor and inventory management in our franchisees' restaurants.  In addition, we have several consumer-facing technology initiatives focused on improving our customers' experience. Sales and product mix information is transmitted to our restaurant support centers daily and this information supports our operations and marketing initiatives.  We mitigate the potential impact from operational interruption of our information technology systems through a disaster recovery plan that is updated on a regular basis. We believe that technology is and will continue to be a key component of our long-term plans and are committed to providing system stability and targeted innovation.  Our use of technology, particularly in terms of managing electronic payments and confidential information, also represents security and operational risks that we must manage and may result in additional costs incurred.

Protection of financial and personal information is a high priority for us, led by our Cybersecurity Department with a committee representing key functional areas. We continuously focus on enhancing our cybersecurity capabilities, educating our team members on cybersecurity importance, and managing our cyber risks. In addition, we participate in annual audits of our financial and human resources systems to verify that measures are in place to protect our employees' personal information. We accept credit cards, third party gift cards, and branded gift cards as payment in our restaurants.   We submit our systems to regular audit and review, as required by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (“PCI DSS”), including periodic scanning of our networks to check for vulnerability.  To further secure customers' payment data, we worked with our franchisees to deploy and implement encryption and tokenization technologies, ensuring credit card data is not stored in our franchisees' and our restaurants systems. This includes installation of equipment to improve authentication and to prevent fraud using EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) technology. We and our franchisees are required and responsible for maintaining compliance, with PCI DSS, and we regularly communicate and encourage our franchisees to maintain compliance and to manage risk. For further information regarding Information Technology, see Item 1A, Risk Factors.

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Seasonality
We do not consider our operations to be seasonal to any material degree. We typically experience a slight increase in system-wide sales in the first quarter of our fiscal year due to redemptions of gift cards sold during the preceding December holiday season. In terms of average sales over the 2015-2019 time period, 26% of our annual system-wide sales (retail sales reported to us by our franchisees plus sales at our company-operated restaurants) occurred in the first quarter of the fiscal year, 24% in the third quarter and 25% in both the second and fourth quarters. The 2020 time period was excluded in our description of seasonality above due to distortions caused by COVID-19 pandemic. Sales at restaurants owned by franchisees are not attributable to the Company.
Government Regulation
We are subject to regulation by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and a number of foreign and state laws that regulate the offer and sale of franchises. We also are subject to a number of foreign and state laws that regulate substantive aspects of the franchisor-franchisee relationship. The FTC's Trade Regulation Rule on Franchising, as amended (the “FTC Rule”), requires us to furnish to prospective domestic franchisees a Franchise Disclosure Document containing information prescribed by the FTC Rule.
State laws that regulate the offer and sale of franchises and the franchisor-franchisee relationship presently exist in a number of states and some of these laws require registration of the franchise offering with state authorities. Those states that regulate the franchise relationship generally require that the franchisor deal with its franchisees in good faith, prohibit interference with the right of free association among franchisees, limit the imposition of unreasonable standards of performance on a franchisee and regulate discrimination against franchisees with respect to charges, royalty fees or other fees. Although such laws may restrict a franchisor in the termination and/or non-renewal of a franchise agreement by, for example, requiring “good cause” to exist as a basis for the termination and/or non-renewal, advance notice to the franchisee of the termination or non-renewal, an opportunity to cure a default and a repurchase of inventory or other compensation upon termination, these provisions have not historically had a significant effect on our franchise operations.
Each restaurant is subject to licensing and regulation by a number of governmental authorities, which may include liquor license authorities (primarily in the case of Applebee's restaurants), health, sanitation, safety, fire, building and other agencies in the state or municipality in which the restaurant is located. We are also subject to new laws and regulations, which may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, relating to nutritional content and menu labeling.
More stringent and varied requirements of local governmental bodies with respect to zoning, land use and environmental factors could delay or prevent the development of new restaurants in particular areas.
Various federal and state labor laws govern our relationship with employees and our franchisees' relationship with their own employees. These include such matters as minimum wage requirements, overtime, tip credits and other working requirements and conditions. Significant additional government-imposed increases in minimum wages, paid leaves of absence, mandated health benefits, changes to the tip credit or increased tax reporting and tax payment requirements with respect to employees who receive gratuities could be detrimental to the economic viability of company-operated restaurants and our franchisees' restaurants.
We are subject to a number of privacy and data protection laws and regulations globally, including, without limitation, the California Consumer Privacy Act and pending California Privacy Rights Act. The legislative and regulatory landscape for privacy and data protection continues to evolve, and there has been increased attention in privacy and data protection issues. This has the potential to affect directly our business, including recently enacted laws and regulations in the United States and internationally requiring notification to individuals and government authorities of security breaches involving certain categories of personal information.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the “ACA”) are far-reaching and are intended to expand access to health insurance coverage over time by adjusting the eligibility thresholds for most state Medicaid programs and providing certain other individuals and small businesses with tax credits to subsidize a portion of the cost of health insurance coverage. The laws include a requirement that most individuals obtain health insurance coverage and a requirement that certain large employers offer coverage to their employees or pay a financial penalty. Since its enactment, there have been judicial and political challenges to various aspects of the ACA and certain challenges to the ACA are expected to be addressed by the Supreme Court in the near future, although it is unclear when or how the Supreme Court will rule. It is also unclear how other efforts to challenge, repeal or replace the ACA will impact the law. With enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Congress eliminated certain tax penalties in the ACA, effectively repealing the “individual mandate” portion of the ACA. The repeal of this provision, which required most Americans to carry a minimal level of health insurance, became effective in January 2019, although several states have implemented similar
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individual mandates. The ACA and similar state laws have increased our franchisees' employee costs in some respects and may continue to do so.

In recent years, there has been an increased legislative, regulatory and consumer focus at the federal, state and municipal levels on the food industry including nutrition and advertising practices. Restaurants operating in the quick-service and fast-casual segments have been a particular focus. In addition to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s menu labeling requirements for restaurants requiring that chain restaurants include calorie information on their menus or make other nutritional information available, a number of other jurisdictions around the United States have adopted regulations related to disclosure of other information, such as sodium content, and imposing requirements for children's menus. Initiatives in the area of nutrition disclosure or advertising, such as requirements to provide information about the nutritional content of our food, may result in increased costs of compliance with the requirements and may also change customer buying habits in a way that adversely impacts our sales. For further information regarding governmental regulation, see Item 1A, Risk Factors.
Environmental Matters
We are subject to federal and state environmental regulations, but historically these have not had a material effect on our operations. We are not aware of any federal, state or local environmental laws or regulations that are likely to materially impact our revenues, cash flow or competitive position, or result in any material capital expenditure. However, we cannot predict the effect of possible future environmental legislation or regulations.
Human Capital
We view our employees as one of the three core strategic pillars of our business - People, Brand, and Growth. We believe that hiring, developing and retaining team members is critically important to our operations and that our corporate responsibility begins with our team members. We are focused on a comprehensive approach to diversity and representation across leadership, team members, franchisees, partners and the community.
At Dine Brands, we believe the power to meaningfully impact the people and communities we serve is realized when each team member is personally and professionally fulfilled. One of our primary focuses is to ensure the health and well-being of our team members. Our Total Rewards Program plays a big part in our commitment to creating an environment of well-being. We believe that when team members are supported with the resources they need to care for themselves and their loved ones, they are able to be at their best. Dine Brands has a consistent and fair compensation program that reflects our pay-for-performance philosophy and rewards our team members for their contributions to our success. We offer comprehensive health and protection benefits that support our team members and their families’ overall well-being. Dine Brands also contributes to programs that provide our team members with financial security, now and in the future. We offer other rewards that focus on recognition, career building, health and wellness, time-off benefits, and other perks that are designed to make our peoples’ experience as Dine Brands team members productive and fun.
We assess our culture and listen to our workforce through periodic employee engagement surveys. Numerous policy changes have been made or been influenced by the feedback we receive from our employees.
Dine Brands values, encourages and appreciates the diversity of our workforce. We embrace our personal differences - whether it be race, gender, age, religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, veteran status, national origin or physical ability - and the benefits that an array of backgrounds, cultures and thinking styles bring to our organization. We are committed to sustaining an environment that accepts, includes and engages everyone in our workforce and encourages open dialogue, empowerment and a sense of belonging. While the world and our business change rapidly, our management believes that respecting individual differences will continue to be essential to our long-term success.
We recently launched seven Team Member Resource Groups (TMRGs) as part of our diversity and inclusion efforts. TMRGs are team member-led, self-directed, voluntary groups, each sponsored by a member of our Executive team, that offer internal networking opportunities, career development, expand our innovation and problem solving and in general, act as a vehicle to enhance diversity and inclusion.
We believe in accountability that starts with our leadership and extends to all of our team members. Our Chief Executive Officer, John W. Peyton, has taken the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge. Substantially all our restaurant support center team members as well as our Board members have undertaken a comprehensive diversity and inclusion training seminar.
As of December 31, 2020, we had 3,447 employees, of whom 2,952 were employees of our company-owned restaurants and 495 were corporate employees at our restaurant support centers or in the field. Of our corporate employees, 61% are male and 39% are female, while 61% are white and 39% are people of color. Approximately 80% of our corporate employees are salaried with 20% paid hourly.
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Of our company owned restaurant employees, 59% are female and 41% are male, while 51% are people of color and 49% are white. Nearly 93% of our company-owned restaurant employees are paid on an hourly basis, while certain restaurant and operations management and corporate positions are salaried. We employ both full-time and part-time restaurant employees in order to provide the flexibility necessary during peak periods of restaurant operations and meet the individual needs of our employees. Our employees are not presently represented by any collective bargaining agreements and we have not experienced any significant work stoppages. We believe our relations with employees are good. Our franchisees are independent business owners and their employees are not our employees. Therefore, their employees are not included in our employee count.
Corporate Information

We were incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware in 1976 with the name IHOP Corp. In November 2007, we completed the acquisition of Applebee’s, which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. Effective June 2, 2008, we changed our name to DineEquity, Inc. and on February 20, 2018, we changed our name to Dine Brands Global, Inc. Our principal executive offices are located at 450 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale, California 91203-2306 and our telephone number is (818) 240-6055. Our Internet address is www.dinebrands.com. Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) and trades under the ticker symbol “DIN.”

Available Information

Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and amendments to those reports filed with or furnished to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are available free of charge through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after electronically filing such material with the SEC. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains periodic reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding our filings at www.sec.gov. The above references to our website and the SEC’s website do not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained on those websites and should not be considered part of this document.

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Item 1A.    Risk Factors.
The occurrence of any of the events discussed in the following risk factors may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, which may materially adversely affect the value of our common stock. It is not possible to identify or predict all risk factors. There may be risks and uncertainties that are not currently known or that are currently deemed by us to be immaterial. These other risks and uncertainties may also impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Relating to Our Business and Financial Condition
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted and may further disrupt our business, which could further materially affect our operations, and business and financial results. In addition, any other epidemic, disease outbreak or public health emergency may result in similar adverse effects.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and may continue to impact sales and traffic at our and our franchisees’ restaurants, may make it more difficult to staff restaurants and, in more severe cases, may damage our reputation, cause an inability to obtain supplies, increase commodity costs or continue to cause partial or total closures of impacted restaurants. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic and other epidemics, disease outbreaks or public health emergencies will impact our business, liquidity, financial condition, and results of operations, will depend on numerous evolving factors that we may not be able to accurately predict or assess, including the duration and scope of the pandemic, epidemic, disease outbreak, or public health emergency; the negative impact on the economy; the short and longer-term impacts on the demand for restaurant services and levels of consumer confidence; the ability of us and our franchisees to successfully navigate the impacts; government action, including restrictions on restaurant operations; increased unemployment; and reductions in consumer discretionary spending. Even if a virus or other disease does not spread significantly, the perceived risk of infection or health risk may damage our reputation and adversely affect our business, liquidity, financial condition and results of operations. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened many of the other risks described in this Item 1A, “Risk Factors.”

We and our franchisees have been and could further be adversely affected by government restrictions on public gatherings; shelter-in-place orders; and limitations on operations of restaurants, including dine-in restrictions, mandatory or voluntary closures or restrictions on hours of operations. Certain restaurants in the U.S. and abroad are currently under government mandates or guidelines to temporarily suspend operation of restaurants or limit restaurant dine-in business in light of COVID-19. We are unable to predict when these measures may be scaled back, or how quickly our operations will return to previous levels after the measures are scaled back. Certain other restaurants have had dine-in restrictions and other operational limitations lifted but we are unable to predict whether or when these restrictions may be reinstated or new restrictions may be implemented if the COVID-19 pandemic worsens. To assist franchisees impacted by COVID-19, we have offered deferral of royalty, advertising, and other fees, including, in some cases, lease payments. We have allowed franchisee to defer development obligations for up to 15 months. These changes and any additional changes may materially adversely affect our business, liquidity, financial condition, and results of operations, particularly if these changes are in place for a prolonged amount of time. The COVID-19 pandemic as well as other epidemics, disease outbreaks or public health emergencies may also materially adversely affect our ability to implement our growth plans, including delays in development of new locations or adversely impact our overall ability to successfully execute our plans to enter into new markets.

As we previously announced, we drew down a significant majority of the amount available under our revolving facility. The increase in our level of debt may adversely affect our financial and operating activities or ability to incur additional debt. Furthermore, the impacts of COVID-19 could cause us to fail to meet certain financial performance measures, including debt service coverage ratios and minimum domestic franchise system sales amounts, that must be met to avoid a possible rapid amortization event or event of default under the terms of our existing debt arrangements. In addition, as a result of the risks described above, we may be required to raise additional capital, and there is no guarantee that debt and/or equity financings will be available in the future to fund our obligations, or will be available on terms consistent with our expectations.

Our business is affected by general economic conditions that are largely out of our control. Our business is dependent to a significant extent on national, regional and local economic conditions, and, to a lesser extent, on global economic conditions, particularly those conditions affecting the demographics of the guests that frequently patronize Applebee's or IHOP restaurants. If our customers' disposable income available for discretionary spending is reduced (because of circumstances such as job losses, credit constraints, higher housing costs, changes to tax regulations, energy costs, interest rates or other costs) or if the perceived wealth of customers decreases (because of circumstances such as lower residential real estate values, increased foreclosure rates, changes to tax regulations or other economic disruptions), our business could experience a decline in sales and/or customer traffic as potential customers choose lower-cost alternatives (such as quick-service restaurants) or other alternatives to dining out. Additionally, negative trends in the availability of credit and in expenses such as interest rates and the cost of construction materials could affect our and our franchisees' ability to maintain and remodel existing restaurants. Any
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decreases in customer traffic or average customer check due to these or other reasons could reduce gross sales at our and our franchised restaurants, resulting in lower revenues, royalty payments and other payments from franchisees. This could negatively impact the financial performance of our company-operated restaurants and reduce the profitability of franchised restaurants, potentially impacting the ability of franchisees to make royalty payments owed to us when due and negatively impacting franchisees’ ability to develop new restaurants as may be required in their respective development agreements.
Our level of indebtedness could adversely affect our financial health and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under our debt. As of December 31, 2020, certain of our indirect, wholly-owned subsidiaries had approximately $1.5 billion of long-term debt. In addition, we had approximately $0.5 billion in operating lease, finance lease and other financing obligations as of December 31, 2020. We may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future. If new debt is added to our current debt levels, the related risks that we now face could increase. Our level of indebtedness and the financial and other restrictive covenants in our indebtedness could have important consequences to our financial health. For example, it could:

make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our debt or refinance any of our debt on attractive terms, commercially reasonable terms, or at all;
increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions or a downturn in our business;
require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to debt service, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flow to pay dividends to our stockholders, repurchase shares of our common stock, fund working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes;
limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate;
place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that are not as highly leveraged;
limit our ability to borrow additional funds;
prevent us from taking actions that we believe would be in the best interest of our business and make it difficult for us to successfully execute our business strategy;
subject us to risks associated with rising interest rates and uncertainty related to the proposed phase-out of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR); and
result in an event of default if we fail to satisfy our obligations under our debt or fail to comply with the financial and other restrictive covenants contained in our debt documents, which event of default could result in all of our debt becoming immediately due and payable and could permit certain of our lenders to foreclose on our assets securing such debt.

The terms of the securitized debt issued by certain of our indirect, wholly-owned subsidiaries have restrictive terms and the failure to comply with such restrictive terms could put us in default, which would have an adverse effect on our business and prospects. Unless and until we repay all outstanding borrowings under our securitized debt, we will remain subject to the restrictive terms of the securitized debt issued by certain of our indirect, wholly-owned subsidiaries. For example, the indenture entered into by such subsidiaries in connection with the securitized debt contains covenants that limit the ability of certain of our wholly-owned subsidiaries to, among other things: sell assets; alter the business conducted by such subsidiaries; engage in mergers or acquisitions; declare dividends or redeem or purchase certain equity interests; incur, assume or permit to exist additional indebtedness or guarantees; make loans and investments; incur liens; and enter into transactions with affiliates other than on an arms-length basis. These covenants are applicable only to the securitization subsidiaries and do not apply to any of Dine Brands Global, Inc., International House of Pancakes, LLC, Applebee’s International, Inc. or Dine Brands International, Inc. as these entities are not parties to the indenture. A breach of a covenant could result in a rapid amortization event or default under the securitized debt.

Further, the securitized debt also includes limitations on our ability to incur additional indebtedness and contains a number of financial performance measures that must be met to avoid a possible rapid amortization event or event of default. The most significant of these measures include a minimum debt service coverage ratio and minimum domestic franchise system sales. The ability to meet these financial performance measures can be affected by events beyond our control and there can be no assurance that we will satisfy these financial measures.

If amounts owed under the securitized debt are accelerated because of a default and we are unable to pay such amounts, the investors may have the right to assume control of substantially all of the securitized assets, which consist of substantially all of our domestic revenue-generating assets and domestic intellectual property.

During the five-year term following issuance, the outstanding fixed-rate class A-2-I senior notes will accrue interest at a rate of 4.194% per year. During the seven-year term following issuance, the outstanding fixed-rate class A-2-II senior notes will accrue interest at a rate of 4.723% per year. Additionally, the fixed-rate class A-2-I and class A-2-II senior notes have scheduled quarterly principal amortization payments of $1.75 million and $1.5 million, respectively. If we maintain a leverage ratio of less than or equal to 5.25x total debt to adjusted EBITDA, we may elect to not make the scheduled principal payments. From time
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to time, our leverage ratio has exceeded the 5.25x total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio and we have made the required scheduled principal payments. If we are unable to refinance or repay amounts under the securitized debt prior to the expiration of the applicable five- or seven-year term, our cash flow would be directed to the repayment of the securitized debt and, other than a weekly management fee sufficient to cover minimal selling, general and administrative expenses, would not be available for operating our business.

In the event that a rapid amortization event occurs under the indenture (including, without limitation, upon an event of default under the indenture or the failure to repay the securitized debt at the end of the applicable five- or seven-year term), the funds available to us would be reduced or eliminated, which would in turn reduce our ability to operate or grow our business.

Our ability to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness or obtain additional financing depends on many factors beyond our control. No assurance can be given that any refinancing or additional financing will be possible when needed or that we will be able to negotiate favorable terms. In addition, our access to capital is affected by prevailing conditions in the financial and capital markets and other factors beyond our control. There can be no assurance that market conditions will be favorable at the times that we require new or additional financing. Further, changes by any rating agency to our credit rating may negatively impact the value and liquidity of both our debt and equity securities, as well as the potential costs associated with refinancing our debt. Downgrades in our credit ratings could also affect the terms of any such financing and restrict our ability to obtain additional financing in the future.

We are heavily dependent on information technology and any material failure of that technology could impair our ability to effectively and efficiently operate our business.  We rely heavily on information technology systems across our operations, including point-of-sale processing in our and our franchisees' restaurants, online ordering and delivery, management of our supply chain, collection of cash and other receivables, payment of obligations and various other processes and procedures. Our ability to effectively and efficiently manage our business depends significantly on the reliability and capacity of these systems. The failure of these systems to operate effectively, problems with maintenance, upgrades or the transition to replacement systems, inaccurate or fraudulent manipulation of sales reporting from our restaurants resulting in loss of sales and royalty payments, or a breach in security of these systems could be harmful and cause delays in customer service, reduce efficiency in our operations and negatively impact our business. Significant capital investment might be required to remediate any problems.

In addition, we outsource certain essential technology-based business processes to third-party vendors and we may share sensitive financial and other information with third party vendors which subjects us to risks, including disruptions in business, increased costs and exposure to data breaches or privacy law compliance issues of our third-party vendors.

The occurrence of cyber incidents, or a deficiency in our cybersecurity, could negatively impact our business by causing a disruption to our operations, a compromise or corruption of our confidential information, and/or damage to our employee and business relationships, all of which could subject us to loss and harm our brands. Any adverse event that threatens the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of our information resources is considered to be a cyber incident. More specifically, a cyber incident is an intentional attack or an unintentional event that can include gaining unauthorized access to systems to disrupt operations, corrupt data, or steal confidential information about our customers, franchisees, vendors and employees. As our reliance on technology has increased, so have the risks posed to our systems, both internal and those that we have outsourced. Primary adverse events that could directly result from the occurrence of a cyber incident include (i) exposure of confidential data about our customers, franchisees, vendors and employees, (ii) damage to the reputation of our brands (iii) damage to our relationship with our franchisees; (iv) interruption of our business; and (v) an event of default under our securitized debt agreements if a cybersecurity breach impacts our ability to comply with the terms of securitized debt agreements. We, our franchisees, third-party vendors and others with whom we may do business or interact with may have inadequate cyber liability insurance or coverage terms may be restrictive or insufficient to cover potential losses and remediation costs associated with a cyber incident.

As a merchant and service provider of point of sale related services, we and our franchisees are subject to PCI DSS, issued by the Payment Card Industry Council. PCI DSS contains compliance guidelines and standards with regard to our security surrounding the physical and electronic storage, processing and transmission of individual cardholder data. Despite our cybersecurity measures and our efforts to comply with PCI DSS guidelines, we cannot be certain that all of our information technology systems are able to prevent, contain or detect any cyber-attacks or security breaches from known malware or malware that may be developed in the future.


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Our use of personal information is regulated by international, federal and state laws, as well as by certain third-party agreements. If our security and information systems are compromised or if our employees or franchisees fail to comply with these laws and regulations, and this information is obtained by unauthorized persons or used inappropriately, it could adversely affect our reputation and could disrupt our operations and result in costly litigation, judgments, or penalties resulting from violation of federal and state laws and payment card industry regulations. As privacy and information security laws and regulations change, we may incur additional costs to ensure that we remain in compliance with those laws and regulations. For example, we are subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act and pending California Privacy Rights Act, which require various processes and protections to be implemented.

We face a variety of risks associated with doing business in international markets. Our expansion into and continued operations in international markets could create risks to our brands and reputation. There is no assurance that our international operations will be profitable or that international growth will continue. Our international operations are subject to the same risks associated with our domestic operations, as well as a number of additional risks. These include, among other things, international economic and political conditions, issues with collections, international currency fluctuations, difficulty in enforcing intellectual property rights, terrorism, civil unrest, global travel risks and differing cultures and consumer preferences.

We also are subject to governmental regulations throughout the world that impact the way we do business with our international franchisees and vendors. These include antitrust and tax requirements, import/export/customs regulations, anti-boycott regulations, other international trade regulations, the USA Patriot Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Failure to comply with any such legal requirements could subject us to monetary liabilities and other sanctions, which could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We may be subject to litigation and other legal proceedings that could be time consuming, require significant amounts of management time and result in the diversion of significant operational resources. We are involved in lawsuits, claims and proceedings incident to the ordinary course of our business. Litigation is inherently unpredictable. Any claims against us, whether meritorious or not, could be time consuming, result in costly litigation, require significant amounts of management time and result in the diversion of significant operational resources. There have been a growing number of lawsuits in recent years. There also has been a rise in employment-related lawsuits. From time to time, we have been subject to these types of lawsuits. The cost of defending claims against us or the ultimate resolution of such claims may harm our business and operating results. In addition, the increasingly regulated business environment may result in a greater number of enforcement actions and private litigation. This could subject us to increased exposure to stockholder lawsuits.

       We and our franchisees are subject to complaints or litigation from guests alleging illness, injury or other food quality, food safety, health or operational concerns as well as claims related to social issues (e.g., allegations of discrimination), the Americans with Disabilities Act and other premises liability. We and our franchisees are also subject to "dram shop" laws in some states pursuant to which we and our franchisees may be subject to liability in connection with personal injuries or property damages incurred in connection with wrongfully serving alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person.

Although our franchise agreements require our franchisees to defend and indemnify us, we may be named as a defendant and sustain liability in legal proceedings against franchisees under the doctrines of vicarious liability, agency, negligence or otherwise. Claims against our franchisees may reduce the ability of our franchisees to make payments to us. We may also initiate legal proceedings against franchisees for breach of the terms of their franchise agreements, including underreporting of sales, failure to operate restaurants according to standard operating procedures and payment defaults. These claims also may reduce the ability of franchisees to enter into new franchise agreements with us.

Third-party claims with respect to intellectual property assets, if decided against us, may result in competing uses or require adoption of new, non-infringing intellectual property, which may in turn adversely affect sales and revenues. We regard our service marks and trademarks related to our restaurant businesses as having significant value and being important to our marketing efforts. To protect our brands from infringement, we rely on contracts, copyrights, patents, trademarks, service marks and other common law rights, such as trade secret and unfair competition laws. We have registered certain trademarks and service marks in the United States and international jurisdictions; however, effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every country in which we have or intend to open or franchise a restaurant. Although we believe we have taken appropriate measures to protect our intellectual property, there can be no assurance that these protections will be adequate.

In addition, there can be no assurance that third parties will not assert infringement or misappropriation claims against us, or assert claims that our rights in our trademarks, service marks and other intellectual property assets are invalid or unenforceable. Any such claims could have a material adverse effect on us or our franchisees if such claims were to be decided against us. If our rights in any intellectual property were invalidated or deemed unenforceable, it could permit competing uses
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of intellectual property which, in turn, could lead to a decline in restaurant revenues and sales of other branded products and services (if any). If the intellectual property became subject to third-party infringement, misappropriation or other claims, and such claims were decided against us, we may be forced to pay damages, be required to develop or adopt non-infringing intellectual property or be obligated to acquire a license to the intellectual property that is the subject of the asserted claim. There could be significant expenses associated with the defense of any infringement, misappropriation, or other third-party claims.

Our delivery initiatives and use of third-party delivery vendors subjects us and our franchisees to a variety of risks related to the delivery of our products by third parties and may not generate expected returns. There can be no assurance that delivery vendors will not take actions that could have a material adverse effect on our brands and or subject us to increased litigation and costs. Our delivery initiatives also introduce new operating procedures to our and our franchisees’ restaurants, which could adversely affect the business, brands, and the experience of our guests.

Our business depends on the proper allocation of our human capital and our ability to attract and retain talented management and other key employees. We have dedicated brand resources for key functions such as marketing, consumer insights and operations and a shared service model for certain other functions such as legal, technology and human resources. There can be no assurance that our allocation of our human capital will effectively meet the needs of our business and brands. Further, our business is based on successfully attracting and retaining talented employees. The market for highly skilled employees and leaders in our industry is extremely competitive. If we are less successful in our recruiting efforts, or if we are unable to retain management and other key employees, our ability to develop and deliver successful products and services may be adversely affected. Effective succession planning is also important to our long-term success. The departure of a key executive or employee and/or the failure to ensure an effective transfer of knowledge and a smooth transition upon such departure may be disruptive to the business and could hinder our strategic planning and execution.

Our failure or the failure of our franchisees to comply with federal, state and local governmental regulations may subject us to losses and harm our brands.  We and our franchisees are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (which governs such matters as minimum wage, overtime, collective bargaining and other working conditions), along with the Americans with Disabilities Act (which provides civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities in the context of employment, public accommodations, and other areas), the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, various family leave mandates and a variety of other laws enacted, or rules and regulations promulgated by federal, state and local governmental authorities that govern these and other employment matters, including tip credits, working conditions, safety standards, collective bargaining and immigration status. There have been several complaints alleging franchisors to be joint employers with franchisees. Although we do not consider ourselves to be joint employers with our franchisees, there can be no assurance that other franchisors will not receive similar complaints in the future which may result in legal proceedings based on the actions of franchisees. Increases in payroll expenses as a result of any federal and state mandated increases in the minimum wage or changes to the tip credit may negatively impact our and our franchisees’ profitability. Enactment and enforcement of various federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations on immigration, collective bargaining and labor organizations may adversely impact the availability and costs of labor in a particular area or across the United States. Other labor shortages, unionization or increased team member turnover could also impact labor costs. In addition, our vendors may be affected by higher minimum wage standards or availability of labor, which may increase the price of goods and services they supply to us. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has impacted our franchisees’ employee costs in some respects. There are no assurances that a combination of cost management and price increases can accommodate all of the costs associated with compliance.

We and our franchisees are subject to extensive federal, state and local governmental regulations, including those relating to food safety and inspection and the preparation and sale of food and alcoholic beverages. Disruptions within any government agencies could impact the U.S. food industry, which may have an adverse effect on our business. We and our franchisees are also subject to laws and regulations relating to building and zoning requirements. Our and our franchisees' restaurants are also subject to licensing and regulation by alcoholic beverage control, health, sanitation, safety and fire agencies in the state, county and/or municipality where the restaurant is located. We cannot assure you that we or our franchisees will not encounter material difficulties or failures, including with respect to obtaining and maintaining required licenses and approvals, which could impact the continuing operations of an existing restaurant, or delay or prevent the opening of a new restaurant.


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In addition, we are subject to laws and regulations, which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, relating to nutritional content and menu labeling. Compliance with these laws and regulations may lead to increased costs and operational complexity and may increase our exposure to governmental investigations or litigation. In connection with the continued operation or remodeling of certain restaurants, we and our franchisees may be required to expend funds to meet federal, state, local and international regulations. The inability to obtain or maintain such licenses or publicity resulting from actual or alleged violations of such laws could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

We are subject to federal regulation and certain foreign and state laws, including state laws that govern the offer and sale of franchises. Many state franchise laws contain provisions that supersede the terms of franchise agreements, including provisions concerning the termination or non-renewal of a franchise. Some state franchise laws require that certain materials be registered before franchises can be offered or sold in that state. The failure to obtain or retain licenses or approvals to sell franchises could adversely affect us and the franchisees. Changes in, and the cost of compliance with, government regulations could have a material effect on operations.

Finally, regulatory changes or actions under current or future U.S. political administrations may impact the laws or regulations described above. We cannot predict whether or when any of these potential changes in law might become effective in any jurisdiction nor the impact, if any, of these changes to our business.

We are subject to risks associated with self-insurance for medical, dental and vision benefits. We self-insure all of our employee medical, dental and vision benefits. We maintain a per claim stop loss coverage but do not maintain coverage at an aggregate level. Our reserves are based on historical loss trends that may not correlate to actual loss experience in the future. If we experience an unexpectedly large number of claims that result in costs or liabilities in excess of our projections, our reserves may prove to be insufficient and we may be exposed to significant and unexpected losses. For these and other reasons, including our inability to renew stop loss coverage at competitive rates, we are subject to risks associated with self-insurance that may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and operating results.

In addition, access to personal medical information is regulated by federal, state and/or local laws as well as by certain third-party agreements. If our security and information systems or the systems of our third-party vendors are compromised, we could be subject to costly litigation or penalties and our reputation and operations could be adversely affected.

Any inability or failure to execute on a comprehensive business continuity plan following a major natural disaster such as an earthquake, tornado, flood or a man-made disaster, including terrorism, civil unrest or a cyber incident, at or affecting our corporate facilities could materially adversely impact our business. Our corporate systems and processes and corporate support for our restaurant operations are handled primarily at our restaurant support centers. We have disaster recovery procedures and business continuity plans in place to address most events of a crisis nature, including earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and other natural or man-made disasters, and back up and off-site locations for recovery of electronic and other forms of data and information. However, if we are unable to fully implement our disaster recovery plans, we may experience delays in recovery of data, inability to perform vital corporate functions, tardiness in required reporting and compliance, failures to adequately support field operations and other breakdowns in normal communication and operating procedures that could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operation and exposure to administrative and other legal claims.

Development initiatives outside our core business could negatively impact our brands. Our business expansion into non-traditional restaurant formats, including restaurants with a smaller footprint, restaurants located in non-traditional locations and restaurants that operate on a delivery-only and/or ghost kitchen basis, could create new risks to our brand and reputation.

Failure of our internal controls over financial reporting and future changes in accounting standards may cause adverse unexpected operating results, affect our reported results of operations or otherwise harm our business and financial results. Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining effective internal controls over financial reporting. Internal controls over financial reporting is a process to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting for external purposes in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting is not intended to provide absolute assurance that we would prevent or detect a misstatement of our financial statements or fraud. Any failure to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting could limit our ability to report our financial results accurately and timely or to detect and prevent fraud. A significant financial reporting failure or material weakness in internal control over financial reporting could cause a loss of investor confidence and decline in the market price of our common stock.


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A change in accounting standards can have a significant effect on our reported results and may affect our reporting of transactions before the change is effective. New pronouncements and varying interpretations of pronouncements have occurred and may occur in the future. Changes to existing accounting rules or the questioning of current accounting practices may adversely affect our reported financial results. Additionally, our assumptions, estimates and judgments related to complex accounting matters could significantly affect our financial results. Generally accepted accounting principles and related accounting pronouncements, implementation guidelines and interpretations are highly complex and involve many subjective assumptions, estimates and judgments by us. Changes in these rules or their interpretation or changes in underlying assumptions, estimates or judgments by us could significantly change our reported or expected financial performance.

Risks Related to Our Franchised Business Model

Restaurant development plans under development agreements may not be implemented effectively and developed restaurants may not achieve desired results. We rely on franchisees to develop Applebee's and IHOP restaurants. From time to time, our franchisees have failed to fulfill their commitments to build new restaurants in the numbers and within the timeframes required by their development agreements, and we expect that this will continue to varying degrees in the future. Restaurant development and the success of restaurants opened by our franchisees involve substantial risks, including the following:

the demand for Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants and the selection of appropriate franchisee candidates;
costs of construction, permit issuance and regulatory compliance;
the availability of suitable locations and terms for potential development sites, including lease or purchase terms for new locations;
the availability of financing, at acceptable rates and terms, to both franchisees and third-party landlords, for restaurant development and/or implementation of our business strategy through new remodel programs and other operational changes;
delays in obtaining construction permits and in completion of construction;
competition for suitable development sites;
changes in governmental rules, regulations, and interpretations (including interpretations of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act); and
general economic and business conditions.

Additionally, developed restaurants may not achieve desired revenue or cash flow levels once opened. This could result in restaurant closures, which may be significant in number, and may cause our royalty revenues and financial performance to decline. The inability to open new restaurants that achieve and sustain acceptable sales volumes and/or the closure of existing restaurants that do not achieve or sustain acceptable sales volumes may have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.

We are significantly franchised; as a result, we are highly dependent upon our franchisees. All IHOP and almost all Applebee’s restaurants are owned and operated by our franchisees. Our dependence on our franchisees could adversely affect us, our brands, and our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our financial results are significantly contingent upon the performance of our franchised restaurants because we derive a substantial portion of our revenues from royalties that are based on a percentage of gross sales at franchised restaurants. Worsening economic conditions and declining trends in sales, traffic and/or average check could impact the performance of our franchised restaurants, resulting in lower royalty, advertising fund and other payments from franchisees. If declining conditions persist, franchisee profitability and financial health may worsen and franchisees may suffer from financial, personal or other difficulties, including insolvency. Franchisees may also experience financial risks unrelated to the operation of restaurants under our brands, such as a decline in performance of other brands or businesses held by franchisees. Additionally, lenders to our franchisees may be less likely to provide current or prospective franchisees necessary financing on favorable terms, or at all, due to market conditions and our or our franchisees’ operating results. These and other factors could impact franchisees’ ability to make royalty and other payments owed to us when due and franchisees could default on their financial obligations to us. A decrease in franchisee profitability as well as other reasons could also cause franchisees’ failure or inability to meet new restaurant development obligations and other obligations such as maintenance or remodel requirements and rent obligations for certain leases on which we retain contingent liability.

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Additionally, our franchise agreements have expiration dates.  Upon expiration, franchisees are generally required to enter into new franchise agreements in order to extend the franchise relationship.  We or the franchisee may or may not elect to enter into these successor franchise agreements based on a number of factors, including a failure to meet our criteria, lack of interest by either party and/or the inability of franchisees to enter into successor franchise agreements.  It is expected that, in the ordinary course of business, some franchise agreements will expire without successor franchise agreements.  However, a substantial number of franchise agreements are set to expire in 2021 for Applebee’s and 2024 through 2028 for IHOP, and while we have begun efforts to extend the terms of these franchise agreements, we cannot ensure that we and/or our franchisees will enter into successor franchise agreements or extensions once current terms expire.  This may result in reduced royalties and other payments due to a decrease in the number of restaurants operating under our brands.

As independent third parties, franchisees own, operate and oversee the daily operations of their restaurants and their employees are not our employees. Accordingly, we do not control their actions. While our franchise agreements are designed to maintain brand consistency, having almost all franchisee-operated restaurants may expose us to risks not otherwise encountered if we maintained ownership and control of all of the restaurants. Franchisees may breach the terms of their franchise agreements in a manner that adversely affects our brands, such as failing to operate restaurants in accordance with our required standards, and we may be limited in our ability to enforce franchise obligations. Franchisees are required to conform to specified product quality standards and other requirements pursuant to their franchise agreements in order to protect our brands and to optimize restaurant performance. If franchisees do not successfully operate their restaurants in a manner consistent with our standards, or customers have negative experiences due to issues with food quality or operational execution, our reputation and brands could suffer, and we could be subject to claims by guests even if we are not legally liable for the franchisee's actions or failure to act. This could result in a material adverse effect on our business. The quality of franchisees’ operations may also be diminished by factors beyond our control, including a lack of investment in enhancing or maintaining acceptable standards for restaurant operations due to financial and other constraints. Franchisees also may fail or be unable to hire or retain qualified managers and other personnel and training of managers and other personnel may be inadequate. These and other such negative factors could reduce franchisees' restaurant revenues, impact payments to us under the franchise agreements and could have a material adverse effect on us.

Various other risks associated with the operation of a franchised business model that may have a material adverse effect on our business or financial condition include:

inability or unwillingness of franchisees to participate in implementing changes or to participate in business strategy changes;
inability or unwillingness of franchisees to support our marketing programs and strategic initiatives;
inability of franchisees to participate in business strategy changes due to financial constraints;
failure of franchisees to report sales information accurately;
greater proportional impact of general and administrative expenses on our business and financial condition; and
inability to retain franchisees in the future, both in terms of number and quality, and inability to attract, retain and motivate sufficient numbers of franchisees of the same caliber, including top performing franchisees.

While we try to maintain positive working relationships with our franchisees, the nature of the franchisor-franchisee relationship inherently subjects us to potential disagreements with our franchisees on matters pertaining to the business and/or our brands.  From time to time, we have experienced, and we may continue to experience, poor franchise relations caused by the efforts of one or more of our larger franchisees or an organized franchise association.
Concentration of Applebee's franchised restaurants in a limited number of franchisees subjects us to greater risk.  As of December 31, 2020, Applebee's franchisees operated 1,531 Applebee's restaurants in the United States. Of those restaurants, the ten largest Applebee's franchisees owned 1,160 restaurants, representing 76% of all franchised Applebee's restaurants in the United States. The largest Applebee's franchisee owned 444 restaurants, representing 29% of all franchised Applebee's restaurants in the United States. The concentration of franchised restaurants in a limited number of franchisees subjects us to a potentially higher level of risk with respect to such franchisees because their obligations to us, including financial obligations, are greater as compared to those franchisees with fewer restaurants. The risk associated with these franchisees is also greater where franchisees are the sole or dominant franchisee for a particular region of the United States, as is the case for most domestic Applebee's franchised territories. In particular, if any of these franchisees experience financial or other difficulties, the franchisee may default on its obligations under multiple franchise agreements, notes receivable or other agreements, including payments to us and the maintenance and improvement of its restaurants. From time to time, we may work with our franchisees who are experiencing financial difficulties to assess and address their financial health and their ability to satisfy their financial obligations to us. In certain of these situations, we may agree to alternative arrangements with franchisees for the payment of amounts due to us under our franchise and other agreements. We cannot assure you that these arrangements will be successful, nor can we assure you that they will result in us receiving all or any of the amounts due to us under our franchise agreements,
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notes receivable and other agreements. Any franchisee that owns and operates a significant number of Applebee's restaurants and fails to comply with other obligations under the franchise agreement, such as those relating to the quality and preparation of food and maintenance of restaurants, could cause significant harm to the Applebee's brand and subject us to claims by consumers even if we are not legally liable for the franchisee's actions or failure to act. Development rights for Applebee's restaurants are also concentrated among a limited number of existing franchisees. If any of these existing franchisees experience financial difficulties, future development of Applebee's restaurants may be materially adversely affected.

An insolvency or bankruptcy proceeding involving a franchisee could prevent or delay the collection of payments or the exercise of rights under the related franchise agreement.  An insolvency proceeding involving a franchisee could prevent or delay us from collecting payments or exercising any of our other rights under the related franchise agreement. If a franchisee is subject to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings, a bankruptcy court may prevent the termination of the related franchise and development agreement. In particular, the protection of the statutory automatic stay that arises under Section 362 of the United States Bankruptcy Code upon the commencement of a bankruptcy proceeding by or against a franchisee may prohibit us from terminating a franchise agreement previously entered into with a franchisee. Furthermore, a franchisee that is subject to bankruptcy proceedings may reject the franchise agreement in which case we would be limited to a general unsecured claim against the franchisee's bankruptcy estate on account of breach-of-contract damages arising from the rejection. Payments previously made to us by a franchisee that is subject to a bankruptcy proceeding also may be recoverable from us on behalf of the franchisee as a preferential transfer under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

We are subject to credit risk from our IHOP franchisees operating under our Previous IHOP Business Model, and a default by these franchisees may negatively affect our cash flows. Prior to 2003, new IHOP restaurants were generally developed by us, and we were involved in all aspects of the construction and financing of the restaurants. We typically identified and leased or purchased the restaurant sites for new company-developed IHOP restaurants, built and equipped the restaurants and then franchised them to franchisees. In addition, we typically financed as much as 80% of the franchise fee for periods ranging from five to eight years and leased the restaurant and equipment to the franchisee over a 25-year period. Therefore, in addition to franchise fees and royalties, the revenues received from an IHOP franchisee operating under the Previous IHOP Business Model may include, among other things, lease or sublease rents for the restaurant property building, rent under an equipment lease and interest income from the financing arrangements for the unpaid portion of the franchise fee under the franchise notes. If any of these IHOP franchisees were to default on their payment obligations to us, we may be unable to collect the amounts owed under the building property lease/sublease agreement and our notes and equipment contract receivables, as well as outstanding franchise royalties. The additional amounts owed to us by each of these IHOP franchisees subject us to greater credit risk and defaults by IHOP franchisees operating under our Previous IHOP Business Model and may negatively affect our cash flows. Of the 1,518 IHOP domestic franchise restaurants as of December 31, 2020, approximately 620 restaurants have property lease/sublease agreements and/or notes and equipment contract obligations outstanding.

We and our franchisees are subject to potential losses that may not be covered by insurance. We and our franchisees may have insufficient insurance coverage to cover all of the potential risks associated with the ownership and operation of restaurants. We and our franchisees may have insufficient funds to cover future unanticipated increases in insurance premiums or losses that are not covered by insurance. Certain extraordinary hazards may not be insurable and insurance may not be available (or may be available only at prohibitively expensive rates) with respect to many other risks. Moreover, there is no assurance that any loss incurred will not exceed the limits on the policies obtained, or that claim payments on such policies will be received on a timely basis. Further, there can be no assurance that any such payments, even if obtained on a timely basis, will prevent losses to franchisees or enable timely franchise payments. Accordingly, in cases in which a franchisee experiences increased insurance premiums or must pay claims out-of-pocket, the franchisee may not have the funds necessary to make franchise and other payments to us, and franchisees may be unable to perform other obligations under their franchise agreements.

If franchisees and other licensees do not observe the required quality and trademark usage standards, our brands may suffer reputational damage, which could in turn adversely affect our business.   We license our intellectual property to our franchisees, product suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, advertisers and other third parties. The franchise agreements and other license agreements require that each franchisee or other licensee use our intellectual property in accordance with established or approved quality control guidelines. However, there can be no assurance that the franchisees or other licensees will use the intellectual property assets in accordance with such guidelines. Franchisee and licensee noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the governing franchise agreement or other license agreement may reduce the overall goodwill associated with our brands. Franchisees and other licensees may refer to our intellectual property improperly in communications, resulting in the weakening of the distinctiveness of our intellectual property. There can be no assurance that the franchisees or other licensees will not take actions that could have a material adverse effect on the Applebee's or IHOP intellectual property.
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In addition, even if the licensee product suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, or advertisers observe and maintain the quality and integrity of our intellectual property assets in accordance with the relevant license agreement, any product manufactured by such suppliers may be subject to regulatory sanctions and other actions by third parties which can, in turn, negatively impact the perceived quality of our restaurants and the overall goodwill of our brands, regardless of the nature and type of product involved. Any such sanctions or actions could reduce restaurant revenues and corresponding franchise payments to us.
Our business strategy may not achieve anticipated results. We expect to continue to apply a business strategy that includes operation of a significantly franchised restaurant system across multiple brands and brand-specific business strategies suited to each brand. There can be no assurance that the business strategy we apply to one franchise system will be suitable or will achieve results similar to the application of such business strategy to another franchise system. In addition, operational improvement, purchasing and other strategic initiatives for any of our brands may not be successful or achieve the desired results, and there can be no assurance that franchisees will respond favorably to such initiatives. Additionally, our strategic initiatives may subject us and our franchisees to new and additional risks. Our business strategy includes the addition of new brands to our restaurant portfolio through mergers and acquisitions. There can be no assurance that any such transaction will be successful or produce favorable financial or other results.

Risks Related to Operating in the Restaurant Industry

Our performance is subject to risks associated with the restaurant industry, including the highly competitive nature of the industry. We derive a substantial portion of our revenues in the form of (i) royalties based on the gross sales of our franchised restaurants and (ii) gross sales derived from company-operated restaurants. Sales and profitability of these restaurants may be negatively impacted by a number of factors associated with operating in the restaurant industry, some of which are outside of our control. These factors include:

changes in consumer behavior driven by macro-level shifts in retail, technology, media, e-commerce, global safety and demography which may impact where, when, whether and how often customers visit full-service restaurants;
declines in comparable restaurant sales growth rates due to: (i) failure to meet or adequately adapt to changing customer expectations for food type, quality and taste, or to innovate and develop new menu items to retain existing customers and attract new customers; (ii) competitive intrusions in our markets, including competitive pricing initiatives and daypart expansion by competitors; (iii) opening new restaurants that cannibalize the sales of existing restaurants; (iv) failure of national or local marketing to be effective; and (v) natural or man-made disasters or adverse weather conditions;
negative trends in operating expenses such as: (i) increases in food and other commodity costs or related distribution costs; (ii) increases in labor costs due to minimum wage and other employment laws or regulations, immigration reform, the potential impact of union organizing efforts and tight labor market conditions; and (iii) increases in other operating costs including advertising, utilities, lease-related expenses and credit card processing fees;
the highly competitive nature of the restaurant and related industries with respect to, among other things: (i) price, service, location, personnel and the type and quality of food; (ii) the trend toward convergence in grocery, deli, retail and restaurant services, as well as the continued expansion of restaurants into the breakfast daypart; (iii) the entry of major market players in non-competing industries into the food services market; (iv) the decline in the price of groceries which may increase the attractiveness of dining at home versus dining out; and (v) the emergence of new or improved technologies and changes in consumer behavior facilitated by such technology;
the inability to increase menu pricing to offset increased operating expenses; and
failure to effectively manage further penetration into mature markets.

Factors outside our control may harm our brands' reputations.  The success of our business is largely dependent upon brand recognition and the strength of our franchise systems. Our and our franchisees’ continued success is directly dependent upon maintaining a favorable public view of the Applebee's and IHOP brands. Negative publicity (e.g., crime, scandal, litigation, on-site accidents and injuries or other harm to customers, social issues, and food-borne illness) at a single Applebee's or IHOP location can have a substantial negative impact on all restaurants within the Applebee's or IHOP system. Multi-unit food service businesses such as ours can be materially and adversely affected by widespread negative publicity of any type, including through social media, but particularly regarding food quality, food-borne illness, food tampering or preparation, obesity, discrimination or bias, injury or other health concerns with respect to certain foods and actions of our or our franchisees’ managers or employees, regardless of whether such claims are accurate or valid.

The risk of food-borne illness or food tampering cannot be completely eliminated. Any outbreak of food-borne illness or other food-related incidents attributed to Applebee's or IHOP restaurants or within the food service industry or any widespread negative publicity regarding the Applebee's or IHOP brands or the restaurant industry in general could harm our reputation.
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Even where such food-related incidents occur solely at restaurants of our competitors or within the industry, our business could be adversely affected by negative publicity about the restaurant industry generally. Our company-owned restaurants and our franchisees may produce or receive through the supply chain sub-standard or non-compliant food or beverage products. In addition, our franchisees’ failure to comply with food quality and preparation requirements may subject us to potential losses, even when we are not legally liable for a franchisee's actions or failure to act. Although the Company maintains liability insurance, and each franchisee is required to maintain liability insurance pursuant to its franchise agreements, a liability claim could injure the reputation of all Applebee's or IHOP restaurants, whether or not it is ultimately successful.

A lack of availability of suitable locations for new restaurants or a decline in the quality of the locations of our current restaurants may adversely affect our sales and results of operations. The success of our brands depends in large part on restaurant locations. As demographic and economic patterns change, current locations may not continue to be attractive or profitable. Potential declines in neighborhoods where restaurants are located or adverse economic conditions in areas surrounding those neighborhoods could result in reduced sales in those locations. In addition, desirable locations for new restaurant openings or for the relocation of existing restaurants may not be available at an acceptable cost when we identify a particular opportunity for a new restaurant or relocation. Additionally, restaurant revitalization initiatives may not be completed as and when projected and may not produce the results we expect. We also may be unable to operate effectively in new and/or highly competitive geographic regions or local markets in which our franchisees have limited operating experience.

We may experience shortages or interruptions in the supply or delivery of food and other products from third parties or in the availability of utilities. Our and our franchised restaurants are dependent on frequent deliveries of fresh produce, food, beverages and other products. Shortages or interruptions in food and beverage supplies may result from a variety of causes, including shortages due to adverse weather, labor unrest, labor shortages, political unrest, terrorism, pandemics, epidemics, outbreaks of food-borne illness, disruption of operation of production facilities, financial difficulties (including bankruptcy) of our distributors or suppliers or other unforeseen circumstances. Such shortages could adversely affect our and our franchisees’ ability to operate our restaurants and, in turn, affect our and our franchisees’ revenue and profits. Additionally, the inability to secure adequate and reliable supplies or distribution of food and beverage products could limit our ability to make changes to our core menus or offer promotional "limited time only" menu items, which may limit our ability to implement our business strategies. Our and our franchisees’ restaurants bear risks associated with the timeliness of deliveries by suppliers and distributors as well as the solvency, reputation, labor relationships, freight rates, prices of raw materials and health and safety standards of each supplier and distributor. Other significant risks associated with our suppliers and distributors include improper handling of food and beverage products and/or the adulteration or contamination of such food and beverage products. Disruptions in our relationships with suppliers and distributors may reduce the payments we receive from our franchisees or our pancake and waffle dry mix distributors or the profits generated by our company-operated restaurants. In addition, interruptions to the availability of gas, electric, water or other utilities may adversely affect the operations of our and our franchised restaurants.

Any inability to effectively manage or forecast appropriate inventory levels may adversely affect our business. Effective management of inventory levels depends, in part, on our ability to anticipate and respond in a timely manner to changing consumer demand and preferences. From time to time, we may carry excessive inventory resulting from menu events that vary from forecasted demand which may result in financial loss to us and/or to our franchisees. Conversely, if we underestimate demand, we may experience inventory shortages which may result in lost revenues.

A failure to develop and implement innovative marketing and guest relationship initiatives, ineffective or improper use of social media or other marketing initiatives and increased advertising and marketing costs could adversely affect our business results. If our competitors increase their spending on advertising and promotions, if our advertising, media or marketing expenses increase, or if our advertising and promotions become less effective than those of our competitors, we could experience a material adverse effect on our business results. A failure to sufficiently innovate, develop guest relationship initiatives, or maintain adequate and effective advertising could inhibit our ability to maintain brand relevance and drive increased sales.

As part of our marketing efforts, we rely on search engine marketing and social media platforms to attract and retain guests. These efforts may not be successful, resulting in expenses incurred without the benefit of higher revenues or increased employee engagement. In addition, a variety of risks are associated with the use of social media, including the improper disclosure of proprietary information, posting of negative comments about our brands or experiences in our or our franchisees’ restaurants, exposure of personal information, fraud, and use of outdated information. The use, including any inappropriate or otherwise harmful use, of social media vehicles by our franchisees and their employees, guests, our employees or others in the general public could increase our costs, lead to litigation or result in negative publicity that could damage our reputation.

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Changing health or dietary preferences may cause consumers to avoid Applebee's and IHOP restaurants in favor of alternative options.  The food service industry as a whole rests on consumer preferences and demographic trends at the local, regional, national and international levels. Franchise development and system-wide sales depend on the sustained demand for our products, which may be affected by factors we do not control. New information regarding diet, nutrition and health and efforts by advocacy groups to influence consumer eating habits may negatively affect the demand for our food. Various additional factors such as: (i) the Food and Drug Administration’s menu labeling rules, (ii) nutritional guidelines issued by the United States Department of Agriculture and issuance of similar guidelines or statistical information by state or local municipalities, (iii) academic studies; or (iv) efforts by environmental, animal welfare and sustainability advocacy groups, may impact consumer choice and cause consumers to select foods other than those that are offered by Applebee's or IHOP restaurants. We may not be able to adequately adapt Applebee's or IHOP restaurants' menu offerings to keep pace with developments in consumer preferences, which may result in reduced royalty revenues from a decline in demand for our food and fewer guests visiting Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock

Declines in our financial performance have resulted in and could result in future impairment charges.   United States generally accepted accounting principles (“U.S. GAAP”) require annual (or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances warrant) impairment tests of goodwill, intangible assets and other long-lived assets. Generally speaking, if the carrying value of the asset is in excess of the estimated fair value of the asset, the carrying value will be adjusted to fair value through an impairment charge. Fair values of goodwill and intangible assets are primarily estimated using discounted cash flows based on five-year forecasts of financial results that incorporate assumptions including, among other things, same-restaurant sales trends, future development plans, brand-enhancing initiatives, restaurant closures and an appropriate discount rate. Fair values of long-lived tangible assets are primarily estimated using discounted cash flows over the estimated useful lives of the assets. Significant underachievement of forecasted results or changes in the discount rate assumption could reduce the estimated fair value of these assets below the carrying value, requiring non-cash impairment charges to reduce the carrying value of the asset. In the second quarter of 2020, as a result of performing the interim quantitative test, we recognized an impairment of Applebee's goodwill of $92.2 million, an impairment of Applebee's tradename of $11.0 million and an impairment of various long-lived assets of $17.2 million. As of December 31, 2020, our total stockholders' deficit was $354.7 million. Any significant impairment write-down of goodwill, intangible assets or long-lived assets in the future could increase the stockholders' deficit. Repurchases of our common stock will also increase the stockholders' deficit. While such a deficit balance does not create an event of default in any of our contractual agreements, the negative perception of such a deficit could have an adverse effect on our stock price and could impair our ability to obtain new financing, or refinance existing indebtedness on commercially reasonable terms or at all.

Many factors, including those over which we have no control, affect the trading volatility and price of our stock. Many factors, in addition to our operating results, may have an impact on the trading volatility and price of our common stock. These factors include general economic and market conditions, publicity regarding us, our competitors, or the restaurant industry generally, changes in financial estimates by securities analysts, changes in financial or tax reporting and accounting principles or practices, trading activity in our common stock, overall liquidity and the impact of our capital allocation initiatives, including any future stock repurchase programs or dividend declarations. Many of these factors are outside of our control, and any failure to meet market expectations whether for sales growth, earnings per share or other metrics could cause our share price to decline.

Our actual operating and financial results in any given period may differ from guidance we provide to the public, including our most recent public guidance.   From time to time, in press releases, SEC filings, public conference calls and other contexts, we have provided guidance to the public regarding current business conditions and our expectations for our future financial results. We expect that we will provide guidance periodically in the future. Our guidance is based upon a number of assumptions, expectations and estimates that are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. In providing our guidance, we also make various assumptions with respect to our future business decisions, some of which will change. Our actual financial results, therefore, may vary from our guidance due to our inability to meet the assumptions upon which our guidance is based and the impact on our business of the various risks and uncertainties described in these risk factors and in our public filings with the SEC. Variances between our actual results and our guidance may be material. To the extent that our actual financial results do not meet or exceed our guidance, the trading prices of our securities may be materially adversely affected.


Item 1B.    Unresolved Staff Comments.
None.
26


Item 2.    Properties.
The table below shows the location and ownership type of Applebee's and IHOP restaurants as of December 31, 2020:
 Applebee's (a)IHOP (a)
 FranchiseCompanyTotal Applebee'sFranchiseCompanyArea LicenseTotal IHOP
United States       
Alabama30 — 30 16 — — 16 
Alaska— — — 
Arizona21 — 21 45 — — 45 
Arkansas— 15 — — 15 
California107 — 107 225 — — 225 
Colorado24 — 24 36 — — 36 
Connecticut— — — 
Delaware12 — 12 — — 
District of Columbia— — — — — 
Florida96 — 96 — — 146 (b)146 
Georgia58 — 58 80 — 83 
Hawaii— — — — — 
Idaho12 — 12 — — 
Illinois37 — 37 47 — — 47 
Indiana57 — 57 27 — — 27 
Iowa25 — 25 11 — — 11 
Kansas29 — 29 30 — — 30 
Kentucky27 — 27 11 — — 11 
Louisiana14 — 14 31 — — 31 
Maine12 — 12 — — 
Maryland19 — 19 51 — — 51 
Massachusetts26 — 26 22 — — 22 
Michigan84 — 84 28 — — 28 
Minnesota47 — 47 — — 
Mississippi20 — 20 13 — — 13 
Missouri48 — 48 32 — — 32 
Montana— — — 
Nebraska16 — 16 — — 
Nevada13 — 13 23 — — 23 
New Hampshire13 — 13 — — 
New Jersey56 — 56 50 — — 50 
New Mexico20 — 20 13 — 16 
New York99 — 99 59 — — 59 
North Carolina42 43 49 — — 49 
North Dakota11 — 11 — — 
Ohio77 — 77 39 — — 39 
Oklahoma12 — 12 33 — — 33 
Oregon17 — 17 11 — — 11 
Pennsylvania78 — 78 29 — — 29 
Rhode Island— — — 
South Carolina— 27 27 31 — — 31 
South Dakota— — — 
Tennessee29 — 29 37 — — 37 
Texas91 — 91 207 — — 207 
Utah— 22 — — 22 
Vermont— — — 
Virginia54 — 54 65 — — 65 
Washington41 — 41 31 — — 31 
West Virginia14 — 14 — — 
Wisconsin31 — 31 14 — — 14 
Wyoming— — — 
Total Domestic1,531 69 1,600 1,518 149 1,670 
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 Applebee's (a)IHOP (a)
 FranchiseCompanyTotal Applebee'sFranchiseCompanyArea LicenseTotal IHOP
International       
Bahrain— — — — — 
Brazil— — — — — 
Canada13 — 13 18 — (b)27 
Dominican Republic— — — — — 
Ecuador— — — — 
Egypt— — — — — 
Guam— — — 
Guatemala— — — — — 
India— — — — — 
Kuwait— — — — — 
Mexico44 — 44 46 — — 46 
Pakistan— — — — — 
Panama— — — 
Peru— — — — 
Puerto Rico— — — 
Qatar— — — — — 
Saudi Arabia20 — 20 — — 
Thailand— — — — — 
Total International111 — 111 93 — 102 
Totals1,642 69 1,711 1,611 158 1,772 
(a) The properties identified in this table generate revenue in our franchise, rental, financing and company restaurant operating segments.
(b) Of these restaurants, 25 in Florida and six in Canada have been sub-licensed by the area licensee.
Of the 1,611 IHOP restaurants operated by franchisees, 57 were located on sites owned by us, 564 were located on sites leased by us from third parties and 990 were located on sites owned or leased by franchisees. All of the IHOP restaurants operated by area licensees and 1,640 of the franchisee-operated Applebee's restaurants were located on sites owned or leased by the area licensees or the franchisees. We owned one site on which a franchisee-operated Applebee's restaurant was located and one franchisee-operated Applebee's restaurant was located on site leased by us from third parties. The 69 Applebee's restaurants we operated as of December 31, 2020 were located on sites leased by us from third parties.
Leases of IHOP restaurants generally provide for an initial term of 20 to 25 years, with most having one or more five-year renewal options. Leases of Applebee's restaurants generally have an initial term of 10 to 20 years, with renewal terms of five to 20 years. In addition, a substantial number of the leases for both IHOP and Applebee's restaurants include provisions calling for the periodic escalation of rents during the initial term and/or during renewal terms. The leases typically provide for payment of rents in an amount equal to the greater of a fixed amount or a specified percentage of gross sales and for payment of taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance expenses and certain other costs. Historically, it has been our practice to seek to extend, through negotiation, those leases that expire without renewal options. However, from time to time, we choose not to renew a lease or are unsuccessful in negotiating satisfactory renewal terms. When this occurs, the restaurant is closed and possession of the premises is returned to the landlord.
Under our Applebee's franchise agreements, we have certain rights to gain control of a restaurant site in the event of default under the franchise agreement. Because substantially all IHOP franchised restaurants developed by us under our Previous IHOP Business Model are subleased to the franchisees, IHOP has the ability to regain possession of the subleased restaurant if the franchisee defaults in the payment of rent or other terms of the sublease.
We currently occupy our principal corporate offices and restaurant support center located in Glendale, California, under a lease expiring in April 2023. We lease approximately 50,000 square feet of office space in Kansas City, Missouri, under a lease expiring in October 2021. We lease approximately 3,000 square feet of office space in Raleigh, North Carolina under a lease expiring in April 2024.

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Item 3.    Legal Proceedings.
We are subject to various lawsuits, administrative proceedings, audits, and claims arising in the ordinary course of business. Some of these lawsuits purport to be class actions and/or seek substantial damages. We are required to record an accrual for litigation loss contingencies that are both probable and reasonably estimable. Legal fees and expenses associated with the defense of all of our litigation are expensed as such fees and expenses are incurred. Management regularly assesses our insurance deductibles, analyzes litigation information with our attorneys and evaluates our loss experience in connection with pending legal proceedings. While we do not presently believe that any of the legal proceedings to which we are currently a party will ultimately have a material adverse impact on us, there can be no assurance that we will prevail in all the proceedings we are party to, or that we will not incur material losses from them.


Item 4.   Mine Safety Disclosure.

Not Applicable.


PART II

Item 5.    Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

Market Information

Our common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “DIN”.

Holders

As of February 23, 2021, there were 381 holders of our common stock. This number does not include beneficial owners whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees.

Dividends on Common Stock

Please refer to Note 12 - Stockholders' Deficit, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for information on dividends declared and paid in the fiscal years ended December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Board of Directors did not declare a dividend for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2020. We will reevaluate our capital allocation strategy as industry conditions improve and normal restaurant operations resume, in consideration of our current and forecast earnings, financial condition, cash requirements and other factors.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Purchases of Equity Securities by the Company
PeriodTotal number of
shares
purchased
Average price
paid per
share
Total number of
shares purchased as
part of publicly
announced plans or
programs (b)
Approximate dollar value of
shares that may yet be
purchased under the
plans or programs (b)
September 28, 2020 – October 25, 2020(a)
— — — $70,200,000 
October 26, 2020 – November 22, 2020(a)
498 $59.75 — $70,200,000 
November 23, 2020 – January 3, 2021(a)
181 $65.75 — $70,200,000 
Total679 $61.35 — $70,200,000 
(a)  These amounts represent shares owned and tendered by employees to satisfy tax withholding obligations arising upon the vesting of restricted stock awards. Shares so surrendered by the participants are repurchased by us pursuant to the terms of the plan under which the shares were issued and the applicable individual award agreements and not pursuant to publicly announced repurchase authorizations.

(b)  In February 2019, our Board of Directors approved the 2019 Repurchase Program authorizing the Company to repurchase up to $200 million of the Company's common stock. The 2019 Repurchase Program, as approved by the Board of Directors, does not require the repurchase of a specific number of shares and can be terminated at any time.
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Stock Performance Graph
The graph below shows a comparison of the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock with the cumulative total return on the Standard & Poor's 500 Composite Index and the Value-Line Restaurants Index (“Restaurant Index”) over the five-year period ended December 31, 2020. The graph and table assume $100 was invested at the close of trading on the last day of trading in 2015 in our common stock and in each of the market indices, with reinvestment of all dividends. Stockholder returns over the indicated periods should not be considered indicative of future stock prices or stockholder returns.
Comparison of Five-Year Cumulative Total Stockholder Return
Dine Brands Global, Inc., Standard & Poor's 500 and Value Line Restaurants Index
(Performance Results through December 31, 2020)

din-20201231_g3.jpg
201520162017201820192020
Dine Brands Global, Inc. $100.00 $95.07 $68.07 $93.47 $119.86 $86.80 
Standard & Poor's 500100.00 111.96 136.40 130.42 171.49 203.05 
Value Line Restaurants Index (1)
100.00 107.20 132.99 147.79 185.97 230.72 
(1) The Value Line Restaurants index is a comprehensive restaurant industry index. In addition to family dining and casual dining, the Index includes the fast-casual and quick-service segments of the restaurant industry.
The foregoing performance graph is being furnished as part of this report solely in accordance with the requirement under Rule 14a-3(b)(9) to furnish our stockholders with such information, and therefore, shall not be deemed to be filed or incorporated by reference into any filings by the Company under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) or the Exchange Act.

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Item 6.    Selected Financial Data.
Not Applicable

Item 7.    Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
General
The following discussion provides an analysis of our results of operations and reasons for material changes for 2020 as compared to 2019 and should be read together with the financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. For a detailed discussion of year-to-year comparisons between fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2018, please refer to “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” contained in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, filed with the SEC on February 24, 2020.

The financial tables appearing in Management's Discussion and Analysis present amounts in millions of dollars that are rounded from our consolidated financial statements presented in thousands of dollars. As a result, the tables may not foot or cross foot due to rounding.
The first International House of Pancakes restaurant opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California. Shortly thereafter, the Company's predecessor began developing and franchising additional restaurants. The Company was incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware in 1976 with the name IHOP Corp. In November 2007, the Company completed the acquisition of Applebee's International, Inc., which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. Effective June 2, 2008, the name of the Company was changed to DineEquity, Inc. and on February 20, 2018, the name of the Company was changed to Dine Brands Global, Inc.SM (“Dine Brands Global,” “we” or “our”). Through various subsidiaries (see Exhibit 21, Subsidiaries of Dine Brands Global, Inc.), we own, franchise and operate the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar® (“Applebee's”) concept in the bar and grill segment within the casual dining category of the restaurant industry and we own and franchise the International House of Pancakes® (“IHOP”) concept in the family dining category of the restaurant industry. References herein to Applebee's® and IHOP® restaurants are to these two concepts, whether operated by franchisees, area licensees or us.
Domestically, IHOP restaurants are in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, while Applebee's restaurants are located in every state except Hawaii. Internationally, IHOP restaurants are in two United States territories and nine countries; Applebee's restaurants are in two United States territories and 11 countries. With over 3,400 restaurants combined, the substantial majority of which are franchised, we believe we are one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world. The June 15, 2020 issue of Nation's Restaurant News reported that IHOP and Applebee's were the largest restaurant systems in the family dining and casual dining categories, respectively, in terms of United States system-wide sales during 2019.

We have a 52/53 week fiscal year ending on the Sunday nearest to December 31 of each year. For convenience, in this annual report on Form 10-K, we refer to all fiscal years as ending on December 31 and all interim fiscal quarters as ending on March 31, June 30 and September 30 of the respective fiscal year. There were 53 calendar weeks in our 2020 fiscal year ended January 3, 2021 and our fiscal 2020 fourth quarter contained 14 calendar weeks. There were 52 calendar weeks in our 2019 and 2018 fiscal years that ended on December 29, 2019 and December 30, 2018, respectively.
COVID-19 Pandemic
In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic related to the outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus, designated “COVID-19.” Initially, federal, state, local and international governments reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging or requiring social distancing, instituting shelter-in-place orders, and requiring, in varying degrees, reduced operating hours, restaurant dine-in and/or indoor dining limitations, capacity limitations or other restrictions that largely limited restaurants to off-premise sales (take-out and delivery) in the early months of the pandemic. Over the course of 2020, certain of these restrictions on indoor dining were relaxed as incidents of infection from the initial outbreak declined, but many of the restrictions were reinstituted as incidents of infection surged. The nature, degree and duration of the restrictions varied by individual geographic area.

Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, we have taken numerous actions to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company, its operations and its franchisees, as discussed below:

We drew down a total of $220 million from our revolving credit facility. Including approximately $3 million in letters of credit, $223 million of the total $225 million available under our revolving facility has been utilized. We had no immediate need for additional liquidity, but in light of then-current market conditions and uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we drew on the revolving facility to maximize our financial flexibility. We plan to repay the $220 million drawn on the revolving credit facility in the month of March 2021.
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We have stopped repurchasing our common stock and our Board of Directors did not declare a dividend for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2020. We will reevaluate our capital allocation strategy as industry conditions improve and normal restaurant operations resume, in consideration of our current and forecast earnings, financial condition, cash requirements and other factors. Prior to taking these actions, we used cash totaling $53.8 million for dividends and stock repurchases in 2020 as compared to using cash of $156.6 million for dividends and stock repurchases in 2019.
We voluntarily increased the interest reserve set aside for our securitized debt, from the required $16.4 million to $32.8 million. We also voluntarily accelerated the funding of interest on our securitized debt with the redirection of cash receipts within the securitization structure. As of the date of this report, the interest payments on long-term debt due March 5, 2021 and June 5, 2021 have been fully funded.
We have reduced discretionary costs, limited new hiring and significantly reduced the use of independent contractors. At the outset of the pandemic, we temporarily furloughed certain team members across various functional groups in our restaurant support centers and company-operated restaurants and curtailed the hours of substantially all of the hourly restaurant associates at our company-operated restaurants. Most hourly restaurant associates at our company-operated restaurants returned to work following re-opening of those restaurants, and there were no team members from the restaurant support centers remaining on furlough as of December 31, 2020. Our General & Administrative (“G&A”) expenses for the year ended December 31, 2020 were $18.0 million lower than the prior year.
We offered Applebee's franchisees the opportunity to defer payment of their royalty, advertising and other fees, primarily for the months of March and April. A total of 30 franchisees representing 94% of Applebee’s restaurants have deferred payments totaling $33.4 million. Repayment of deferred amounts, scheduled over up to nine months, began in the third quarter of 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the outstanding balance was approximately $13.7 million, with five franchisees having repaid their deferred balances in full.
We offered IHOP franchisees the opportunity to defer their royalty, advertising, equipment rent and sublease rent payments, primarily for the months of March and April. Initially, 193 franchisees representing 58% of IHOP restaurants deferred payments totaling $24.1 million. Including subsequent deferrals made on a case-by case basis, the deferral program totaled $27.4 million. Repayment of deferred amounts, scheduled over up to 36 weeks, began in the third quarter of 2020. In certain instances, repayments were temporarily paused for up to 60 days. As of December 31, 2020, the outstanding balance was approximately $15.4 million, with 56 franchisees having repaid their deferred balances in full.
We received rent deferrals and abatements on properties we lease of approximately $11 million, primarily related to rent deferrals for properties on which IHOP restaurants are located. As of December 31, 2020, the deferred rent balance was approximately $5 million, the significant majority of which is due to be paid in 2021.
We allowed franchisees to defer their development obligations for up to 15 months and we allowed franchisees to defer their 2020 unit remodel obligations until the end of 2022.
We have worked with our franchisees to offer a limited menu and to modify their operating hours in a manner that optimizes the functionality of their restaurants. Our expectation is restaurants will return to normal operating hours as sales return to pre-pandemic levels.
We hired external consultants to work with franchisees in assessing their financial health and to better understand performance variability. We began this process in the third quarter of 2020 working closely with key franchise leaders.

In March 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Standard & Poor's (“S&P”) placed the Company on “credit watch-negative” with respect to its 2019 Class A-2 Notes. In September 2020, S&P removed the Company from the credit watch and reaffirmed the BBB rating of the 2019 Class A-2 Notes.

The significance of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in our performing impairment assessments of our long-lived assets, goodwill and other intangible assets. As a result of these assessments, we recorded impairment charges of $123.7 million in the second fiscal quarter of 2020. See “Consolidated Results of Operations - Fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018 - Impairment and Closure Costs” for further discussion of the impairments. Additional impairment and closure charges of $8.1 million were recorded during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2020, primarily related to closure of IHOP restaurants.

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the various provisions in the CARES Act, the Company is utilizing the payroll tax deferrals and has claimed an Employee Retention Credit. As of December 31, 2020, the Company has deferred the payment of $3.1 million of payroll taxes, of which 50% is due to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the remaining 50% is due to be paid by December 31, 2022. The Company also has claimed an Employee Retention Credit of $0.6 million as of December 31, 2020. The Company did not receive any form of loan pursuant the Paycheck Protection Program established under the CARES Act. Other than the deferrals and credits noted above, the Company did not receive financial aid pursuant to assistance programs offered by the federal government related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
32




The severity of the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company's business will depend on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, how long the pandemic will last, whether/when recurrences of the virus may arise, what restrictions on restaurant operations may be enacted or re-enacted, the availability and acceptance of vaccines, the timing and extent of customer re-engagement with the Company's brands and, in general, what short- and long-term impact on consumer discretionary spending the COVID-19 pandemic might have on the Company and the restaurant industry as a whole, all of which are uncertain and cannot be predicted.

Overview of 2020 Performance

Key Performance Indicators

In evaluating the performance of each restaurant concept, we consider the key performance indicators to be the system-wide sales percentage change, the percentage change in domestic system-wide same-restaurant sales (“domestic same-restaurant sales”), net franchise restaurant development/reduction and the change in total effective restaurants. Changes in both domestic same-restaurant sales and in the number of Applebee's and IHOP restaurants will impact our system-wide retail sales that drive franchise royalty revenues. Net franchise restaurant development/reduction also impacts franchise revenues in the form of initial franchise fees and, in the case of IHOP restaurants, sales of proprietary pancake and waffle dry mix and, where applicable, rental payments under leases that partially may be based on a percentage of their sales.

An overview of our key performance indicators for the year ended December 31, 2020 is as follows:
Applebee's
IHOP
System-wide sales percentage decrease(24.1)%(34.9)%
Domestic system-wide same-restaurant sales percentage decrease(22.4)%(32.8)%
Net franchise restaurant reduction (1)
(76)(69)
Net decrease in total effective restaurants (2)
(122)(133)
________________________________________
(1) Franchise and area license restaurant closings, net of openings, during the year ended December 31, 2020.
(2) Change in the weighted average number of franchise, area license and company-operated restaurants open during the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to the weighted average number of those open during the same period of 2019.

The Applebee's and IHOP sales percentage decreases for the year ended December 31, 2020 were due to a decrease in domestic same-restaurant sales primarily as a result of the effects of COVID-19, as well as a decrease in total effective restaurants. The decrease in total effective restaurants for each brand reflects both a net reduction in franchise restaurants due to permanent closures, net of openings, and the weighted effect of restaurants temporarily closed during the course of the year ended December 31, 2020.
Financial Summary

Favorable
(Unfavorable) Variance
20202019
 (In millions, except per share amounts)
(Loss) income before income taxes$(108.6)$(247.0)$138.4 
Income tax benefit (provision)4.6 38.7 (34.1)
Net (loss) income $(104.0)$(208.3)$104.3 
Variance
Effective tax rate4.2 %20.4 %24.6 %
Net (loss) income per diluted share$(6.43)$(12.28)$5.85 
Weighted average diluted shares outstanding16.2 (1.0)17.2 


33


Income before income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2020 decreased $247.0 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2019. The primary reasons for the decrease are summarized as follows:
(In millions)
Decrease in gross profit:
Franchise operations
$(107.9)
Company operations
(11.5)
All other operations
(14.7)
Total gross profit decrease(134.1)
Increase in impairment and closure charges(131.1)
Decrease in G&A expenses18.0 
All other0.2 
Decrease in income before income taxes$(247.0)

Each of these material changes resulted in some manner from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenues and cash flows of our franchise, company-operated restaurant and rental operations were significantly affected by the varying degrees of limitations imposed on restaurant operations throughout the majority of 2020. The impacts of the pandemic were considered a potential indicator of impairment which required interim tests of impairment of our goodwill, intangible assets and long-lived assets that resulted in impairment charges of $123.7 million recorded in the second quarter of 2020. To partially mitigate the impact on cash flow, management undertook actions to reduce G&A, such as the furloughing of employees noted above.
Our 2020 effective tax rate of 4.2% applied to pretax book loss was significantly different than the statutory Federal income tax rate of 21% primarily because a $92.2 million impairment of goodwill incurred in the second quarter is not deductible for income tax purposes and therefore has no associated tax benefit. See Note 16 - Income Taxes, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for a reconciliation between our effective rate and the statutory Federal income tax rate.



Restaurant Data - System-wide Sales and Domestic Same-Restaurant Sales

The following table sets forth for each of the past three years the number of Effective Restaurants in the Applebee’s and IHOP systems and information regarding the percentage change in sales at those restaurants compared to the same periods in the prior two years. Sales at restaurants that are owned by franchisees and area licensees are not attributable to the Company and, as such, the percentage changes in sales presented below are based on non-GAAP sales data. However, we believe that presentation of this information is useful in analyzing our revenues because franchisees and area licensees pay us royalties and advertising fees that are generally based on a percentage of their sales, and, where applicable, rental payments under leases that partially may be based on a percentage of their sales. Management also uses this information to make decisions about future plans for the development of additional restaurants as well as evaluation of current operations.

Applebee's
Year Ended December 31,
Global Effective Restaurants:(a)
202020192018
Franchise1,624 1,745 1,883 
Company68 69 
Total1,692 1,814 1,886 
System-wide:(b)
Domestic sales percentage change(c)
(24.1)%(3.0)%2.3 %
Domestic same-restaurant sales percentage change(d)
(22.4)%(0.7)%5.0 %
Franchise:(b)
Domestic sales percentage change(c) (e)
(24.3)%(5.9)%2.1 %
Domestic same-restaurant sales percentage change(d)
(22.6)%(0.7)%4.9 %
Domestic average weekly unit sales (in thousands)$37.1 $47.3 $46.7 
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IHOP
 Year Ended December 31,
 202020192018
Global Effective Restaurants:(a)
  
Franchise1,532 1,663 1,633 
Area license155 157 162 
Total1,687 1,820 1,795 
System-wide:(b)
 
Sales percentage change(c)
(34.9)%2.2 %3.9 %
Domestic same-restaurant sales percentage change(d) (f)
(32.8)%1.1 %1.5 %
Franchise:(b)
 
Sales percentage change(c)
(35.0)%2.2 %4.4 %
Domestic same-restaurant sales percentage change(d)
(32.8)%1.0 %1.5 %
Average weekly unit sales (in thousands)$25.4 $36.7 $36.6 
Area License:(b)
  
IHOP sales percentage change(c)
(34.2)%2.7 %0.5 %
_________________________________
(a)“Global Effective Restaurants” are the weighted average number of restaurants open in a given fiscal period, adjusted to account for restaurants open for only a portion of the period. Information is presented for all Effective Restaurants in the Applebee’s and IHOP systems, domestic and international, which includes restaurants owned by franchisees and area licensees as well as those owned by the Company.
(b)“System-wide sales” are retail sales at Applebee’s restaurants operated by franchisees and IHOP restaurants operated by franchisees and area licensees, as reported to the Company, in addition to retail sales at company-operated restaurants.  Sales at restaurants that are owned by franchisees and area licensees are not attributable to the Company. An increase or decrease in franchisees' reported sales will result in a corresponding increase or decrease in our royalty revenue. ales at company-operated restaurants and unaudited reported sales for Applebee's domestic franchise restaurants, IHOP franchise restaurants and IHOP area license restaurants for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 and were as follows:
 Year Ended December 31,
Reported sales202020192018
 (In millions)
Applebee's domestic franchise restaurant sales$2,993.0 $3,954.3 $4,204.1 
Applebee's company-operated restaurants108.0 131.2 7.1 
IHOP franchise restaurant sales2,063.6 3,174.2 3,106.7 
IHOP area license restaurant sales190.5 289.5 282.0 
Total
$5,355.1 $7,549.2 $7,599.9 
(c)“Sales percentage change” reflects, for each category of restaurants, the percentage change in sales in any given fiscal year compared to the prior fiscal year for all restaurants in that category.
(d)“Domestic same-restaurant sales change” reflects the percentage change in sales in any given fiscal year, compared to the same weeks in the prior year, for domestic restaurants that have been operated throughout both fiscal years that are being compared and have been open for at least 18 months. Because of new restaurant openings and restaurant closures, the domestic restaurants open throughout the fiscal years being compared may be different from year to year.
(e)The Applebee's franchise sales percentage change for 2019 was impacted by the acquisition of 69 franchise restaurants in December 2018 now reported as company-operated.
(f)IHOP system-wide same-restaurant sales data includes area license restaurants beginning in 2019


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Domestic Same-Restaurant Sales Trends

din-20201231_g4.jpg

 Applebee’s domestic same-restaurant sales decreased 17.6% for the three months ended December 31, 2020 from the same period in 2019. The decrease primarily was due to a significant decline in customer traffic as a result of the effects of COVID-19, partially offset by an increase in average check. Applebee's same-restaurant sales for the fourth quarter of 2020 outperformed the casual dining segment of the restaurant industry. Based on data from Black Box Intelligence, a restaurant sales reporting firm (“Black Box”), the casual dining segment of the restaurant industry experienced a decrease in same-restaurant sales during the fourth quarter of 2020 resulting from a large decline in customer traffic that was somewhat offset by an increase in average customer check. The primary reason for the performance differential between Applebee's and the casual dining segment during the fourth quarter of 2020 was the increase in average customer check, as Applebee's increase in average customer check was larger than that of the casual dining segment.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, Applebee’s domestic same-restaurant sales decreased 22.4%. This decrease for the full year 2020 was due to a significant decline in customer traffic as a result of the effects of COVID-19, partially offset by an increase in average check. Applebee's same-restaurant sales for the year ended December 31, 2020 underperformed the casual dining segment of the restaurant industry. Based on data from Black Box, the casual dining segment experienced a decrease in same-restaurant sales due to a decline in customer traffic that was slightly offset by an increase in average customer check. The primary reason for the performance differential between Applebee's and the casual dining segment for the year ended December 31, 2020 was the decrease in traffic, as Applebee's decrease in traffic was larger than that of the casual dining segment.

Applebee’s system-wide domestic same-restaurant sales had significant variability over the course of fiscal 2020. This variability was due to several factors. Restrictions on indoor dining were relaxed after the incidents of infection from the initial outbreak of COVID-19 declined, but the restrictions were reinstituted in varying degrees during the fourth quarter of 2020 as incidents of the virus surged in individual geographic areas. Another factor was the Company's return to national media advertising in July 2020 after having temporarily discontinued its national advertising programs in March 2020. Other factors were the resilience of the consumers' desire to patronize restaurants as dine-in restrictions were lifted and the retention of off-premise sales.


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As shown in the following table, prior to the large-scale initiation of restrictions on restaurant operations, Applebee's began 2020 with positive domestic same-restaurant sales. For the first 10 weeks of the first quarter of fiscal 2020, Applebee's domestic same-restaurant sales increased 3.2%, primarily due to an increase in customer traffic as well as an increase in average customer check. During March and April, virtually all Applebee's restaurants were limited to off-premise sales or were temporarily closed. After reaching a low point in same-restaurant sales in April 2020, Applebee's experienced progressive improvement in same-restaurant sales for the months of May through October 2020. However, as incidents of the virus surged in the fourth quarter and restrictions on restaurant operations were reinstituted, the trend of improvement in same-restaurant sales reversed for the months of November and December.
 din-20201231_g5.jpg

The following table reflects the impact of restaurant dine-in restrictions on Applebee's domestic restaurant operations by month since dine-in restrictions were first instituted:
Restaurant StatusStatus as of 2020 Fiscal Month Ended
MarAprMayJuneJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
Dining rooms open*46 815 1,5221,5051,5581,5951,5971,2971,276 
Limited to off-premise sales1,402 1,397 761 70943731294315 
Temporarily closed251 208 71 413124161212
Total1,657 1,651 1,647 1,6331,6301,6191,6141,6101,6031,600 
* In most instances, limited to 50% capacity or less and/or reduced operating hours

While Applebee's off-premise sales as a percentage of Applebee's total sales have declined from the April 2020 peak as restrictions on in-restaurant dining were relaxed, off-premise sales as a percentage of Applebee's total sales have increased compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Off-premise sales as % total Applebee's domestic sales
2020 Fiscal Month Ended
JanFebMarAprMayJuneJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
13.1 %14.4 %22.2 %99.8 %76.4 %40.2 %38.0 %34.9 %31.7 %30.1 %34.5 %44.8 %



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* Same-restaurant sales data includes area license restaurants beginning in 2019

IHOP’s domestic same-restaurant sales decreased 30.1% for the three months ended December 31, 2020 from the same period in 2019. The decrease primarily was due to a significant decline in customer traffic as a result of the effects of COVID-19, as well as a slight decrease in average check. IHOP's same-restaurant sales for the fourth quarter of 2020 underperformed the family dining segment of the restaurant industry. Based on data from Black Box, the family dining segment of the restaurant industry experienced a decrease in same-restaurant sales during the fourth quarter of 2020 resulting from a large decline in customer traffic that was partially offset by an increase in average customer check. The primary reason for the performance differential between IHOP and the family dining segment during the fourth quarter of 2020 was the change in average customer check, as IHOP experienced a small decrease in average customer check while the family dining segment reported an increase in average check. The breakfast category, in general, has experienced larger transaction declines than other dayparts.
For the year ended December 31, 2020, IHOP's domestic same-restaurant sales decreased 32.8% due to a significant decline in customer traffic as a result of the effects of COVID-19, partially offset by a slight increase in average check. IHOP's same-restaurant sales for the fourth quarter of 2020 underperformed the family dining segment of the restaurant industry. Based on data from Black Box, for the full year of 2020, the family dining segment experienced a decrease in same-restaurant sales resulting from a large decline in customer traffic that was partially offset by an increase in average customer check. The reason for the performance differential between IHOP and the family dining segment during 2020 was the change in average check as IHOP experienced a smaller increase in average customer check than the family dining segment, partially offset by a smaller decrease in traffic.

IHOP’s system-wide domestic same-restaurant sales had significant variability over the course of fiscal 2020. This variability was due to several factors. Restrictions on indoor dining were relaxed as incidents of infection from the initial outbreak of COVID-19 declined, but the restrictions were reinstituted in varying degrees during the fourth quarter of 2020 as incidents of infection from the virus surged in individual geographic areas. Another factor was the Company's return to national media advertising in July 2020 after having temporarily discontinued its national advertising programs in March 2020. Other factors were the resilience of the consumers' desire to patronize restaurants as dine-in restrictions were lifted and the retention of off-premise sales.

As shown in the following table, prior to the large-scale initiation of restrictions on restaurant operations, IHOP began 2020 with positive domestic same-restaurant sales for the month of January. For the first 10 weeks of the first quarter of fiscal 2020, IHOP's domestic same-restaurant sales decreased 0.6%. During March and April, the significant majority of IHOP restaurants were limited to off-premise sales or were temporarily closed. After reaching a low point in same-restaurant sales in April 2020, IHOP experienced progressive improvement in same-restaurant sales for the months of May through September 2020. However, as incidents of the virus surged in the fourth quarter and restrictions on restaurant operations were reinstituted, the trend of improvement in same-restaurant sales reversed for the months of October, November and December.

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The following table reflects the impact of restaurant dine-in restrictions on IHOP's domestic restaurant operations by month since dine-in restrictions were first instituted:
Restaurant StatusStatus as of 2020 Fiscal Month Ended
MarAprMayJuneJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
Dining rooms open*204 925 1,4851,3211,3491,4251,5431,3321,174
Limited to off-premise sales1,158 1,334 593 7624423416771294446
Temporarily closed347 366 182 1341289991746250
Total1,709 1,703 1,700 1,6951,6931,6821,6831,6881,6881,670
* In most instances, limited to 50% capacity or less and/or reduced operating hours
While IHOP off-premise sales as a percentage of IHOP total sales have declined from the April 2020 peak as restrictions on in-restaurant dining were relaxed, off-premise sales as a percentage of IHOP total sales have increased compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Off-premise sales as % total IHOP domestic sales
2020 Fiscal Month Ended
JanFebMarAprMayJuneJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
9.7 %10.4 %17.0 %94.7 %68.8 %35.8 %35.0 %32.5 %30.6 %29.5 %30.2 %38.4 %


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Net Franchise Restaurant Development
The total number of Applebee's restaurants open at December 31, 2020 declined 4.3% from the number open at December 31, 2019, as franchisees opened six new restaurants but closed 82 restaurants. The total number of IHOP restaurants open at December 31, 2020 decreased 3.7% from the number open at December 31, 2019, as IHOP franchisees and area licensees opened 27 restaurants in 2020 but closed 96 restaurants.
Internationally, franchisees of both brands opened 11 restaurants and closed 51, a net decrease of 40 international restaurants. This international development activity is included in the total activity for each brand cited above.

In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our franchisees, we allowed our franchisees to defer their development obligations for up to 15 months.

Restaurant closures can occur for a variety of reasons that may differ for each restaurant and for each franchisee. Closures generally fall into one of two categories: restaurants in older locations whose retail, residential and traffic demographics have changed unfavorably over time, and restaurants with non-viable unit economics. Our franchisees are independent businesses and their decisions to close restaurants, both temporarily and permanently, can be impacted by numerous factors that are outside of our control, including but not limited to, the impact of COVID-19 on individual franchisees as well as franchisees' agreements with their lenders and landlords.
The following tables present Applebee's and IHOP restaurant development and franchising activity over the past three years:
 Year Ended December 31,
 202020192018
Applebee's Restaurant Development Activity  
Summary - beginning of period:
Franchise
1,718 1,768 1,936 
Company restaurants (a)
69 69 — 
Total Applebee's restaurants, beginning of period1,787 1,837 1,936 
Domestic
1,665 1,693 1,782 
International
122 144 154 
Franchise restaurants opened:
Domestic
International
Total franchise restaurants opened
Franchise restaurants closed:  
Domestic(68)(29)(91)
International(14)(24)(15)
Total franchise restaurants closed
(82)(53)(106)
Net franchise restaurant reduction(76)(50)(99)
Franchise restaurants acquired by the Company (a)
— — (69)
Net franchise restaurant decrease(76)(50)(168)
Summary - end of period:  
Franchise
1,642 1,718 1,768 
Company restaurants (a)
69 69 69 
Total Applebee's restaurants, end of period1,711 1,787 1,837 
Domestic
1,600 1,665 1,693 
International
111 122 144 
% Decrease in total Applebee's restaurants from prior year(4.3)%(2.7)%(5.1)%
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
(a) In December 2018, the Company acquired 69 Applebee's restaurants from a former franchisee.
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Year Ended December 31,
 202020192018
IHOP Restaurant Development Activity