GLENDALE, Calif. -- Darren Rebelez, who most recently served as COO of Dallas-based convenience-store chain 7-Eleven Inc., has a new gig. DineEquity Inc., the parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP restaurants, has appointed Rebelez as president of the IHOP brand, effective May 4, 2015.
He takes over for DineEquity CEO Julia Stewart, who for the last three years has led IHOP’s resurgence in the additional role as interim brand president.
During his more than seven years with 7-Eleven, Rebelez led a drive to improve operations and culture change as part of his P&L responsibility for more than 8,300 c-stores and 5,000 franchisees.
"Throughout our search process, we’ve focused on finding a very specific person to fill the president’s role and continue the fantastic results and momentum we’ve built over the past few years," said Stewart. "What was most important, and what we’ve found in Darren, is someone with superior leadership qualities, extensive experience and a unique understanding of the franchisor/franchisee relationship. I look forward to partnering with him as we continue to ensure the IHOP brand’s position as the number one choice for breakfast."
Before 7-Eleven, Rebelez held executive-level positions with Exxon Mobil Corp.’s On the Run convenience store division, working directly with existing and new franchisees, while leading the establishment of enhanced franchisee communications. He has also served in executive positions for Fresh Serve Bakeries (Dunkin’ Donuts’) for Thornton Oil Corp., Daka International’s Fuddruckers brand and PepsiCo’s KFC brand.
"IHOP is a one-of-a-kind brand that has endured as a beloved dining option for more than five decades," said Rebelez. "I’m excited by the opportunity to work alongside Julia in leading a great team and franchise system, and a brand that has both a tremendous history as well as a future that is built on fantastic recent results."
Based in Glendale, Calif., DineEquity, through its subsidiaries, franchises and operates restaurants under the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP brands. With more than 3,600 restaurants combined in 19 countries, more than 400 franchisees and approximately 200,000 team members (including franchisee- and company-operated restaurant employees), DineEquity is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world.