Becoming 99% franchised has helped Applebee's and IHOP parent DineEquity reduce its overhead and cash-flow volatility, increase profits, reduce costs and improve its stock. "We look for passion, we look for commitment, we look for entrepreneurship. We're looking for somebody who will reinvest in the business," DineEquity CEO Julia A. Stewart said of the company's process for evaluating applications for franchisees.

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