Applebee's Operator Likes Roy's so Much, He Buys It
Roy's Restaurant has Hawaiian roots.
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 and Bonefish Grill. Roy’s has 29 company-owned restaurants around the world, 26 in the U.S. including six in Hawaii, one in Japan and one in Guam.
“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 ate 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. “Me and Julia 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.”