Marley Abowitz, 9, right, with her siblings 7-year-old Brody, Aidan and Ruby, 6, sips on a drink at IHOP restaurant in Los Angeles. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times / May 10, 2013)

DineEquity Inc. isn't a name that would be familiar to most people, but they've probably eaten at one of the Glendale company's well-known restaurant chains: Applebee's and IHOP.

The first International House of Pancakes opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, a family-friendly place that inspired the IHOP Corp. chain and introduced children to colored syrups and gooey, whipped-cream-covered chocolate-chip pancakes.

That company acquired the larger Applebee's chain in 2007 and became DineEquity the following year. Applebee's restaurants are meat-and-potatoes diners that serve alcohol, a key reason their sales outpace IHOP's.

At the end of March, DineEquity had 2,031 Applebee's and 1,589 IHOP restaurants in 17 countries. In the U.S., IHOP is in every state, and Applebee's is in all except Hawaii.

Continue reading >>