Applebee's restaurants shut down across B.C.

Applebee’s at Tuscany Village has closed its doors.The casual dining restaurant, which opened  on McKenzie Avenue near Shelbourne Street in the summer of 2009, was to shutter for good Friday night after the last customer left. A spokesman at Applebee’s head office said all three locations for the restaurant in B.C. — Victoria, Port Coquitlam and Courtenay — are closing.In a statement, the company said it came down to finances.“Ongoing efforts to solve financial problems confronting Island Apple, the Applebee's franchisee in British Columbia, have proven unsuccessful and the company’s franchise agreement has been terminated,” said the statement. “This is an unfortunate situation for everyone involved and never the desired outcome.”Attempts to contact Chad Huff, who holds the Applebee’s development rights to the Island, were unsuccessful on Friday. Tuscany Village owners First Capital Realty could not be reached to discuss possible tenant changes or expansion.Applebee’s head office said it was not ruling out a return to the B.C. market. It gave no indication of how many staff are affected by the closings.“Applebee’s and its other six Canadian franchisees remain committed to the country, where 20 restaurants continue to operate in 17 cities. We look forward to returning to British Columbia in the future and welcoming our guests back,” the company said in its statement.Calgary-based restaurant  Original Joe’s is scheduled to open in the former Applebee’s location at Tuscany Village in the first quarter of 2013.The Original Joe’s addition — the restaurant chain has been in aggressive expansion mode, having added 19 new restaurants in the last two years — would be the second foray for it into the Greater Victoria market.Original Joe’s opened a restaurant in Langford in the fall of 2010. It has 14 locations in B.C. and 55 in Western Canada. Of the 35 in Alberta, 11 are in Calgary.Applebee’s is the world’s largest casual-dining chain with 1,900 outlets. The brand is owned by Dine Equity, the parent company of International House of Pancakes, or IHOP, which franchises and operates 3,400 restaurants in the

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