Retired Applebee’s International chief executive and chairman Abraham Joseph “Abe” Gustin Jr., who died last week, was a man who used his ears and heart, as well as strategic vision, to help forge the single largest casual-dining brand in the world, long-time associates and successors said. Gustin, 75, died on Oct. 7 after a brief illness in Kansas City, Mo., where he lived. Along with John Hamra, Gustin acquired the Applebee’s chain when it had just 54 units from ...

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