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Applebee’s Dharod likes Roy’s so much, he buys it


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Sunil Dharod and his wife spent so much time eating at Roy’s Restaurant in Plano, Texas, the last several years, they decided to buy the 29-store chain.

Dharod, a long-time Applebee’s franchisee in Dallas with 69 stores, now owns a brand of his own: the Roy’s Restaurant chain, started in 1988 by chef Roy Yamaguchi in Honolulu.

The seller is Bloomin’ Brands, whose holdings also include Outback Steakhouse, Carraba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. In a December call to analysts, Bloomin’ execs said they considered all the brands as core concepts, except for Roy’s. Roy’s has 29 company-owned restaurants around the world, 26 in the U.S. including six in Hawaii.

“That’s pretty much the only reason” he bought it, Dharod said, because of the food. “We ate there, ate there, ate there, we have eaten there literally every week.”

Under Bloomin’s ownership, Roy’s didn’t thrive as other brands received more attention. Dharod has no plans to franchise Roy’s, and will look to expand the chain only after the current restaurants are turned around.

Dharod will maintain his Applebee’s holdings. “I love Applebee’s,” he said, and he’s gotten the blessing from DineEquity’s CEO, Julia Stewart, which owns Applebee’s. “Julia and I talked about this early on when it started,” he said about his plans to acquire Roy’s. “You learn from different brands: new ideas, new efficiencies.”

 

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