DineEquity's revenue falls as fewer customers visit IHOP, Applebee's

Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:29pm EST

An IHOP restaurant is seen in Baldwin Park, California August 2, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

An IHOP restaurant is seen in Baldwin Park, California August 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - DineEquity Inc (DIN.N) reported quarterly revenue that missed analysts' expectations as fewer customers visited its restaurants and due to lower average spending at its IHOP chain.

Rival Darden Restaurants Inc (DRI.N) last week warned that profit at its Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains were being squeezed as customers reduced eating out.

DineEquity said it expects U.S. same-restaurant sales growth at Applebee's and IHOP to be between negative 1.5 percent and positive 1.5 percent in 2013.

Applebee's same-restaurant sales increased 1.2 percent, while IHOP's declined 1.6 percent in 2012 from a year earlier.

Total revenue at DineEquity fell 35 percent to $158.6 million in the fourth quarter. Analysts on average expected revenue of $161.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company, which has been selling restaurants to franchisees, said net income fell to $18 million, or 97 cents per share, from $27.3 million, or $1.51 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, DineEquity earned 83 cents per share in the quarter ended December 31, slightly above analysts' expectations of 82 cents per share.

Fourth-quarter sales at U.S. restaurants open at least 18 months rose 0.9 percent at Applebee's and fell 2.

DineEquity was formed following IHOP's $2 billion leveraged buyout of the Applebee's bar-and-grill restaurant chain in 2007.

(Reporting by Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)