DineEquity, Inc., the parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP restaurants, announced plans to serve 100 percent cage-free eggs across both brands in domestic restaurants no later than 2025. This commitment builds on IHOP's initial steps toward cage-free eggs that started in 2008.
"Between IHOP and Applebee's we have thousands of restaurants in the U.S. serving eggs on a daily basis, so our procurement policies can have a significant impact," says Julia Stewart, chairman and CEO of DineEquity. "We're committed to sourcing eggs and other ingredients in a responsible manner that meets our guests' expectations, considers scientific principles and promotes the welfare of animals. The evolution of the ingredients in our kitchens is an ongoing journey that we are approaching thoughtfully."
Though Applebee's uses eggs in its kitchens, the biggest impact of the commitment to cage-free eggs will be at IHOP; the leading family dining brand serves 65 different signature, made-to-order breakfast options, including omelettes, breakfast samplers, scrambles and, of course, pancakes.
In conjunction with the transition to cage-free eggs, DineEquity also announced a formal partnership with Suzanne T. Millman, PhD., a widely respected expert on animal welfare, to advise on the continual development of comprehensive animal welfare policies. Dr. Millman is an associate professor at Iowa State University holding joint appointments in the Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine and Biomedical Sciences departments. Dr. Millman is an applied ethnologist, whose research interests include animal welfare assessment, pain and sickness behavior, and practical solutions to address animal welfare in livestock and poultry production environments.
"Our guests are increasingly interested in how their food is sourced," says Stewart. "As we work to ensure a more transparent and socially conscious supply chain, it's incredibly valuable to have Dr. Millman assisting us."