JUST IN: Applebee’s franchise owner breaks silence about local restaurant closing

The restaurant franchise company that operates Dayton-area Applebee’s Grill & Bar locations has broken its silence about Saturday’s abrupt closure of its restaurant on Wilmington Pike in Sugarcreek Twp..

The restaurant’s manager, when reached by phone Saturday afternoon, referred all questions to Robin Jenkins, brand manager for team member and guest engagement for RMH Franchise Holdings, the Atlanta-based company that operates Applebee’s locations in 15 states, including Ohio.

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Email and phone messages left Saturday, June 9 with Jenkins elicited an email response on Tuesday, June 12, confirming that the Wilmington Pike restaurant did indeed close on Saturday, and adding that all employees of the closed restaurant “were offered employment” at other Dayton-area Applebee's.

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Jenkins did not respond to questions about how many employees were affected by the closure. She also said she “cannot comment on the factors that led to this closure.”

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“We greatly appreciate our neighbors' patronage and look forward to continuing to serve guests at the nearby Applebee's restaurants in the area,” the RMH spokeswoman said.

Customers who showed up to dine at the Sugarcreek Plaza restaurant on Saturday were given a $10-off coupon for two other local Applebee’s locations at 1795 Delco Park Drive in Kettering and at 105 N. Springboro Pike (Ohio 741) just north of the Dayton Mall.

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Atlanta-based RMH Franchise, which also has corporate offices in Lincoln, Nebraska, purchased all of the Applebee’s in central and southwest Ohio from a Lexington, Ky. franchise company in late 2013, a transaction that more than doubled the number of Applebee’s restaurants run by RMH. Just before that transaction closed, three Applebee’s locations in southwest and central Ohio, including one at 1450 W. Dorothy Lane in Kettering and others in Milford and Dublin, shut down. The Kettering space now houses an El Rancho Grande Mexican restaurant.

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When the purchase was complete, a spokesman for Applebee’s corporate said his company was committed to working with the new franchise owner to expand the Applebee’s footprint.

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“RMH is a strong, growing franchise partner, and they are committed to sustainable growth” in its markets, including southwest Ohio, Applebee’s spokesman Dan Smith said in December 2013.

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