GLENDALE, Calif. – DineEquity, Inc., the parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP restaurants, announced March 9 that John Cywinski has been appointed to the role of president of Applebee's restaurants, effective immediately. Cywinski had a previous stint working at Applebee’s, from 2001 to 2006, as the chief marketing officer.

"We are pleased that John is rejoining the Applebee's team, this time as brand president," said Richard J. Dahl, DineEquity's chairman and interim CEO. "John is a highly regarded industry veteran with more than 25 years of leadership experience, including leading quick service and casual dining brands.”

John Cywinksi
John Cywinski, president of Applebee's restaurants

Cywinski most recently served as executive vice president of strategic innovation and marketing at Brinker International, parent company of Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy. Prior to joining Brinker, Cywinski worked at Yum! Brands as president of KFC’s US business from 2010 to 2014. In addition he was a franchise owner of Dunkin’ Donuts and Sonic restaurants in Chicago and worked for McDonald’s Corp, Buena Vista Pictures Marketing and Burger King.

“Through his previous work with KFC and Applebee's, John has proven his ability to work with franchisees to revitalize a brand, and we couldn't imagine a better fit to lead Applebee's turnaround,” Dahl added.

"I'm thrilled to be back at Applebee's, where I was previously part of a terrific senior team and franchise community that led the transformation of the company," Cywinski said. "This is a very meaningful homecoming for me and I'm looking forward to partnering with Applebee's franchisees as well as the Applebee's and DineEquity teams to unlock the growth within this great brand. I am both proud and humbled to have this opportunity and I'm committed to working tirelessly with all partners to reestablish Applebee's excellence and leadership in the category."