After receiving incentives to move to Missouri, Applebee's is eliminating jobs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Less than a year after hopping across the state line to Missouri, Applebee's is cutting jobs from its headquarters in Kansas City.

On Friday, 41 Action News confirmed the company is shedding 47 positions.

In a statement, Applebee's said it made the move to "align our organization with its current state as a fully franchised organization."

So what does the news mean for the millions of dollars in incentives offered to lure Applebee's from its previous base in Lenexa, Kan.?

The move to Missouri was announced last May and employees unpacked boxes at the new headquarters at 8140 Ward Parkway in November.

At the time, Kansas City leaders hailed the move as a big victory in what had become a lopsided border battle for businesses. Prior to the Applebee's announcement, Kansas City had lost several companies to Kansas.

To attract Applebee's, the State of Missouri offered big money and Kansas City kicked in its own incentives.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development agreed to roughly $11 million in tax breaks spread out over five years.

However, department spokesman John Fougere said the Missouri Quality Jobs program is a performance-based benefit.

In this case, the full benefit is available if Applebee's maintains 380 jobs in annual job reports. If the company cuts jobs, fewer of the tax credits will be provided, Fougere said.

Kansas City offered roughly $75,000 in sales and personal property tax breaks, said Dan Bagunu with Kansas City's Finance Department. Those incentives were provided to furnish the headquarters building.

City leaders are more concerned about a bigger loss.

"From a revenue standpoint, you have 47 folks who are not going to pay earnings tax and are going to be struggling," said Danny Rotert, a spokesman with Mayor Sly James. "Anytime you move a company into a new location and then you find out they're losing jobs, that's not what you want to hear. You want to hear they're adding another 10 to 20 jobs."

In a statement, Applebee's spokeswoman Nancy Mays said the company will continue to run 23 Kansas City area restaurants, which employ about 1200 people.

Mays said Applebee's also recently completed a $4.5 million investment in renovating restaurants around Kansas City.

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