Responding to DineEquity's decision to shutter as many as 135 Applebee's locations nationwide, the Chief Operating Officer of the firm that oversees franchises throughout New Jersey and neighboring state insists that not only are his properties staying open, but also that the company's still growing.

Tim Doherty heads Doherty Enterprises, which owns and operates more than 150 dining spots in New Jersey, New York City, Long Island, Georgia and Florida. All told, approximately 60 restaurants in New Jersey reportedly operate under the Applebee's brand.

Doherty's statement follows:

"DineEquity, the parent company of the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar brand, announced last week that it expects to close between 105 - 135 restaurants across the country. Doherty Enterprises wants to assure our valued guests and employees that the franchised Applebee’s locations that we own and operate are 100 percent open for business. As an organization, Doherty Enterprises has a strong financial footing with a strategic plan that calls for continued new unit growth. We are a recognized leader in the industry, operating more than 150 restaurants across seven strong concepts. We look forward to continuing to fulfill our company’s mission to Wow Every Guest Every Time, Wow Our People, Wow Our Communities and Wow Our Suppliers while delivering a quality dining experience that our guests have come to expect."

Supplemental information about Doherty Enterprises reveals that it also operates franchises under the Panera, Chevys Fresh Mex, Quaker Steak & Lube, and Noodles & Company brands. Two more, Shannon Irish Rose Pub and Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, are original Doherty ventures.

According to Florham Park-based BML Public Relations, Crain's Business ranks the 32-year-old company at number 68 on its list of the largest privately-held businesses in the New York metropolitan area, and Restaurant Finance Monitor listed it as the 11th largest franchisee in the United States. Nation's Restaurant News placed the firm as the 78th largest U.S. food service company in terms of revenue.

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