Dine Brands Makes Room at the Table for ESG – Part 2

November 07, 2023
By iQ Staff
iQ interview series with Gary

Dine Brands Global Inc. is a publicly traded food and beverage company based in Pasadena, California. It is one of the world’s largest full-service restaurant companies, and it franchises three iconic brands: Applebee's, IHOP and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

Gary DuBois, Vice President of Quality Assurance, along with his Dine Brands communications and sustainability colleagues, teamed up with iQ 360 to deliver an ESG report (an accounting of an entity’s environmental, social and governance impact) that would tell a strong story and drive support for the company’s ESG initiatives. Here, Gary continues sharing some of his learnings from the experience as he and his team gear up to produce the next report. Click here for Part 1 of the interview.

 

Were there any opportunities that presented themselves as a result of working through this report?

One thing that has really evolved in parallel with our work on the ESG report is how we engage our supplier base. We are reaching out to them year-round so that we can better understand and learn more about what they are doing and how they are doing it, particularly if there is a direct connection to how it supports us.

 

Dine ESG report on sustainability

Dine Brands works alongside its suppliers to assess its impact on the environment.

 

We have really grown into that mindset of all of us being a collaborative ecosystem. Many of our suppliers are pioneering new approaches in terms of sustainability, and we are proud to work alongside them. For example, by partnering with packaging suppliers like Sabert Corp. and Direct Pack, Inc. we have reduced the amount of plastic used and increased the amount of post-consumer recycled material. We have also partnered with Ecolab and their innovative products used in participating restaurants save water, energy, and waste with application use.

ADA compliance is another area where we have proudly stepped up our game, this is a no brainer, and we will continue to educate ourselves on best practices.

We also make sure that every time our CEO gets up in front of our franchisees or other important stakeholder groups, that he is highlighting the work of our ESG initiatives. We are leveraging every opportunity to share our progress.

 

What makes a good ESG report?

The report must be authentic and ring true to those who really know the brand. The report that we published last year, thanks to this amazing team effort, really speaks to who we are. For 2022, we were able to collaborate with more team members across the business from franchisees to our Restaurant Support Centers (RSCs) which allows us to shine more attention on local and community accomplishments and wins. The attention to detail, presentation of ideas, flow of content, and imagery are supported by people across the organization with a singular mission to make a positive impact in communities and spotlight those who do an exceptional job.

 

Dine ESG report on community fundraisers

Dine Brands' 2022 ESG report highlights individuals and organizations doing good in the community.

 

We are always evolving our approach. There must be balance between imagery and storytelling. We put a premium on telling peoples’ stories, which we feel is our strongest tent pole. We’ve gotten much more effective at mining for those stories and sharing them effectively. Also, we have to keep in mind all of our collective dwindling attention spans; it can’t be too long!

 

What would you do differently next time?

We are always learning from others and understanding what’s most relevant in our reporting. Educating our subject matter experts is an ongoing process and we will continue to work at that. As mentioned earlier, our approach has evolved so that we are talking about ESG year-round, and increasingly our stakeholders are becoming accustomed to this.

 

What lies ahead for ESG in the restaurant industry?

It’s too hard to anticipate what lies ahead for the industry. What we are focused on is controlling what is in our scope and continuously evolving as regulations shift, and as our guests expectations of us continue to change. Any changes we undertake will be focused on providing more options to our guests and supporting the experiences they enjoy — that’s who we are, we are a restaurant company and we will always remain true to our values and how we support the local communities and neighborhoods we serve.

 

Dine ESG report on governance

As regulations shift, Dine Brands' Executive Leadership Team continues to evolve to support its communities.

 

In case you missed it, click here to read part 1 of our interview with Gary DuBois, Vice President of Quality Assurance at Dine Brands.