The latest Applebee’ s CEO says the business model is working and that the company is “making great strides” to boost earnings and keep the company’s focus on its core consumer businesses.
In a conference call with analysts on Friday, Craig Federighi said the company was “making real progress” in building out its new food-service business, which is in the early stages of development and has yet to be announced.
He said it’s a great fit for Applebees, and that he’s pleased the company has been able to take the “next step” on this new business.
“We’re really excited about it,” Federighis said.
“We’ve done it before and we’ve made great strides and we’re just now getting started.”
“Applebees’ consumer business is a fantastic fit for the company,” Federfeis said, noting that the restaurant chain has been a strong contributor to the economy, with about 60,000 employees.
“The company’s success and customer engagement, both at the retail level and through the restaurant-to-table segment, has been very strong,” Federigo said.
The company also has a growing presence in the travel industry, which has seen a surge in growth in recent years.
“It’s great to be able to have a global brand that is relevant to our customer base and the travel sector,” Federiqueis said of the expansion.
“It’s really important to us to be relevant to the travel world.”
In the fourth quarter, Applebee said its travel business saw “significant increases” in revenue and adjusted earnings per share.
The company reported earnings per common share of $0.26 and revenue of $10.4 billion, a 13 percent increase.
The Applebee business, in its latest annual report, reported a $1.6 billion loss in the fourth-quarter, but Federighs said he thinks the company can make up for that in the coming year.
“The key is to maintain our momentum and keep growing,” Federi said.
Applebees is owned by WPP Group, the conglomerate that owns the Wall Street Journal and Fox Business Network.
Applebee’s is the latest of several fast-growing food chains to be acquired in recent months.
PepsiCo last year bought Tim Hortons for $24 billion, and Burger King recently announced it was buying the chain’s coffee chain.
Apple’s new strategy for expanding its restaurant business is being driven by a shift to more premium foods, which have been growing in popularity as consumers become more active in their dining habits.
Federighias view of Applebee as a great food-serving brand is based on his experience as a long-time consumer, he said.
“I think Applebees is going to continue to grow, and I think that as we grow our business and grow our food-to of course we’re going to grow our customer engagement,” Federihs said.