Greg Flynn, founder, chairman and CEO of Applebee's franchisee Apple American Group, has created Flynn Restaurant Group LLC after acquiring Southern Bells Inc., a Yum! Brands' franchisee with 76 units, principally Taco Bells.

The company will now operate with two divisions, Apple American Group and Bell American Group.

The new Bell American Group resulted from the acquisition of the assets of Southern Bells Inc., which operates restaurants throughout Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. The Southern Bells business was founded Craig Fenneman and Charles Brown.

Bell American Group will operate under the day-to-day leadership of Brown, who will stay on as president.

Apple American Group, Flynn's expanding casual dining group, is comprised of 438 Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar restaurants in 23 states.

"We are excited to kick off 2013 with this re-organization and the opportunity to take the talent we've developed for restaurant franchising to another concept while keeping our focus on Applebee's intact," Flynn said.

Recognized as the largest franchisee in the Applebee's system, this expansion and rebranding represents a diversification of Flynn's restaurant portfolio which up until now has been solely focused on the Applebee's brand.

Flynn Restaurant Group LLC owns and operates 514 restaurants in 25 states, employing more approximately 28,000 employees and generating $1.25 billion in annual revenues. It is the largest U.S. franchisee in the restaurant industry, according to a news release.

Read more franchising news.

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