Chairman and chief executive, DineEquity Inc.

Operating the largest casual-dining and family-dining chains — both of which have struggled at times with negative sales — puts DineEquity in a party of one. The company’s chains together boast about 3,600 units, and while legacy brands, they are making some bold moves into new phases of technology and menu development.

Applebee’s, for example, is rolling out the use of touch-screen tablets to its 1,865 U.S. restaurants next year. The yearlong rollout is scheduled to begin in March and will include about 100,000 tabletop tablets.

At IHOP, a menu redesign led to the chain’s largest same-store sales increase in more than five years as guests chose to order more appetizers and higher-priced dishes. For the Sept. 30-ended third quarter, same-store sales for the once-struggling family-dining chain rose 3.6 percent, the largest increase since the 3.7-percent climb recorded during the first quarter of 2008.

Applebee’s to roll out tablets at all U.S. restaurants
IHOP menu redesign leads to higher average check