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All Southwest Ohio Applebee’s to get new owner

All southwest Ohio Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar restaurants — including those in Springfield, Hamilton, Middletown, Fairfield, Mason, West Chester and eight in the Dayton area — are about to get new ownership.

Lexington, Kentucky-based restaurant management company Thomas & King announced that it is selling its Applebee’s franchise operations, which includes 88 Applebee’s in Ohio and several other states, to RMH Franchise Corp. of Lincoln, Neb., according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The sale is expected to close before the end of the year, the newspaper said.

Thomas & King has been the nation’s sixth-largest Applebee’s franchisee, with more than 5,500 employees. In addition to its Hamilton, Middletown, Springfield, West Chester, Mason and Fairfield locations, Thomas & King’s Dayton-area locations include restaurants in Huber Heights, West Carrollton, Troy, Sugarcreek Twp.-Centerville, Springboro, Xenia, and two in Kettering.

RMH owns and operates 60 Applebee’s restaurants in 10 states. The acquisition would make RMH the second-largest Applebee’s franchisee in the nation, the Herald-Leader reported.

The sale’s potential impact on southwest Ohio restaurants was unclear. Attempts to reach officials from RMH Franchise Group and Thomas & King on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Thomas & King’s CEO, Mike Scanlon, said in a news release that RMH “is a very professional and highly regarded franchisee of Applebee’s and will bring energy, expertise and a passion for our restaurants that will continue our 25 years of success in the business.”

In July, DineEquity Inc. — Applebee’s parent company, which also owns IHOP restaurants —reported a 1.3 percent rise in same-store sales in the second quarter for Applebee’s restaurants. The sales increase reflected a higher average guest check, partially offset by a slight decline in traffic, according to the company’s earnings news release.

DineEquity is scheduled to report its third-quarter sales Oct. 29.

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