The Truth About Applebee’s Finally Revealed

Even if you love the place, there’s a whole
lot you probably don’t know about Applebee’s. They’ve managed to find tremendous success
in recent years, but they’ve also faced their fair share of hardships and scandals. Grab your riblets and apple margarita… because
this is the untold truth of Applebee’s. Tender barbecued riblets? Delicious. Bourbon Street Chicken and Shrimp? Count us in. Plastic-coated broccoli and expired mashed
potatoes? We’ll pass, thanks. In 2012, a reporter went undercover to find
out what Applebee’s really puts in its food… and the findings aren’t exactly appetizing. Tracie McMillan is the author of The American
Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. She claims she received no formal food safety
training when she started working at Applebee’s… and neither did her fellow employees. For example, an employee reportedly told her
to heat up a tray of mashed potatoes that was two days past its expiration date… expressly
to serve the slop to customers. When McMillan brought up her concerns, she
was reportedly told: “You’re going to see a lot of things here.” And then there were the side dishes. They reportedly came pre-portioned in small
containers, which were later mixed with a sauce, placed in a plastic bag, and microwaved. After being exposed to the heat, the broccoli
would reportedly be served covered in flakes of plastic from the bag. If you want to avoid any of these potentially
sketchy dishes, McMillan recommends selecting items off the grill so that you can tell if
they’ve been properly prepared: She told The Fiscal Times: “Burgers, steaks and fish are industrial meat
and are defrosted and cooked.” Oh, and she also recommends the french fries…
so maybe you should listen to her and play it safe. “We’re talking burger.” “Fries.” “Pepsi.” These days, Applebee’s is known for its pub
grub, but back in the day, their menu was a bit more diverse. In 1981, one newspaper reviewed Applebee’s
and noted that “[The restaurant offered] menu items ranging
from munchies to steak and quail.” Applebee’s also apparently sold quiche, which
was exceptionally trendy in the ’80s. Here’s another fun fact: One of the restaurant’s
top-sellers used to be gumbo. So there. Applebee’s strives to be a neighborhood restaurant,
and chances are, there’s a location near you right this very minute. “Really? Fist bump.” In fact, there are now nearly 2,000 Applebee’s
locations across the country and worldwide. The restaurant started out humbly in the 1980s,
growing at a slow and steady crawl to 100 restaurants by the end of the decade. By 1994, they had ballooned to 500 restaurants,
and by 1998, they had doubled that number to 1,000. As of 2018, the chain had 1,693 restaurants
operating in the United States including 69 company-owned locations and 1,624 franchises
and there are now 144 locations operating internationally. If you’re abroad and craving some riblets,
just know that you can find Applebee’s in Brazil, Greece, China, and several other countries. Oh, and Applebee’s might be an option if you’re
looking for a new job they currently employ almost 28,000 people worldwide. Applebee’s is open late, and their late-night
happy hour is quite the draw. But in some cities in Florida, there’s an
even more exciting reason to head to your neighborhood bar and grill Club Applebee’s,
or Club ‘Bee’s for short. “This is a pretty good vibe. I’m not gonna lie.” Who would ever lie about this vibe? In the early 2010s, some Applebee’s locations
in Florida and across the south began turning into Club Applebee’s after 10 p.m., with throbbing
music, ecstatic dancing, and cocktails flowing until 2 a.m. “This place is dead.” “Yeah well the guy at The Comfy Night Inn
said it doesn’t really kick in until about 9:30, so…” At one time, about 100 Applebee’s restaurants
across the south turned into Club Applebee’s at night, though it now looks like most Club
Applebee’s locations are in Florida. These locations host the usual dance nights,
but also plenty of theme nights like Girls Night Out. Uh, excuse me, do you know how much a polar
bear weighs?” “No, how much?” “Enough to break the ice. Hi, I’m Fred Searing, how are you?” Club Applebee’s isn’t officially organized
by corporate, and it seems to be something that individual franchisees can decide to
host at their locations. If you live in Florida, you should probably
grab your glow sticks and start looking for a “Club ‘Bee’s” near you. In 2013, the company that owns Applebee’s
and IHOP announced that it would no longer source pork from farmers that use gestation
crates for any of their 3,500-plus restaurants. They pledged that by 2020, the company would
cease using gestation crate pork entirely, saying that “[We only want to use] ingredients that are
produced and sourced as responsibly and sustainably as possible.” The company started making moves to use more
cage-free eggs in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2016 that they announced both Applebee’s and
IHOP would go 100 percent cage-free by 2025. DineEquity’s Vice President of Communications
& Public Affairs Patrick Lenow told the website JustMeans, “As part of our ongoing commitment to animal
welfare we determined that it was time to expand our commitment to cage free primarily
because of consumer expectations.” The reason for the switch taking so long? Farmers need time to catch up with the new
demand for cage-free eggs, so they can modify their farms and move away from the use of
battery cages, which have been banned in the European Union since 2013. Applebee’s isn’t the only chain restaurant
that’s gone cage-free in recent years. They’re joining businesses like Taco Bell,
Sonic Drive-In, and Denny’s in changing how they source their eggs. 2017 was generally a rough year for Applebee’s. The chain closed 99 locations that year alone,
and they also planned closures of 60 to 80 restaurants in 2018. Part of the problem, according to the brand
president, was that they were having a hard time attracting millennial customers. Luckily, their fortunes turned around in September
2017. Applebee’s parent company got a new CEO named
Steve Joyce, and a month later, the chain introduced a $1 margarita called… the Dollarita. It may seem gimmicky, but it turns out that
the Dollarita was behind the restaurant’s turnaround in 2018. Sales were up 5.5 percent, and the company
was so inspired by the success of the Dollarita, they started offering other limited-time beverages
for between $1 and $3 every month. “It comes available in four flavors: Pineapple,
passionfruit, cherry, and lime.” After the drinks introduction, Applebee’s
saw growth for four quarters in a row. In fact, Joyce told Business Insider that “Dollarita turned everything around. It was a 13-point swing between September
and October in Applebee’s performance.” Initially, some franchise-operated restaurants
weren’t so keen on adding the dollar drink to the menu, afraid that people would come
in for cheap drinks and not order any food. But according to Joyce: “Ninety-eight percent of the people who came
in and ordered those, ordered food.” Yup: People came for the dollar cocktails,
ordered some food to go with it, and sales soared at Applebee’s for the first time in
years. Employee turnover is a big problem in the
restaurant industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that restaurants
saw an 81.9 percent turnover rate for 2015-2017, meaning that each year 81.9 percent of the
workforce wound up being replaced by new employees.Other experts in the restaurant ‘biz say that number
is even higher maybe by as much as 150 percent. Applebee’s isn’t at all immune to these issues,
as it turns out. In 2000, they experienced an employee turnover
rate of 146 percent. However, over the years, they’ve tried to
reduce turnover and increase employee retention using a number of different methods. Something is obviously working: By 2004, they
had reduced their turnover to 84 percent. These days, the company uses “gamification”
to improve employee retention, letting staff earn points and prizes for jobs well done,
and it seems like their efforts to create a welcoming workplace are working. In fact, the company has won several awards
for its employment practices, including the Nation’s Restaurant News Excellence in Retention
Award. If you’ve ever fallen in love with a particular
menu item at your favorite restaurant, chances are you’ve tried to find a way to make the
dish at home. Unfortunately, if you want to make your own
version of, say, Applebee’s spinach and artichoke dip, you’re basically on your own. The chain is notorious for keeping its recipes
ultra- top-secret. In fact, any Applebee’s recipe you find online
is likely a fake, or at least a vain attempt whipped up by some desperate Applebee’s fan. As far as we can tell, the closest the restaurant
ever got to officially revealing one of their recipes was back in 1997. That’s when an Applebee’s manager in South
Hill, Washington shared how they make their Asian chicken salad – minus the recipe for
the salad dressing. That’s a pretty big minus, considering that
most people think that’s what makes the dish so delicious in the first place. It seems like Applebee’s has always been part
of the American landscape, but in fact, it’s only been around for 40 years. The business was started by Bill and TJ Palmer
in 1980, who opened their first restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. Since then, the business has been sold quite
a few times. The duo first sold their restaurant concept
to W.R. Grace and Company in 1983, and in 1989 they completed an IPO and started selling
shares of their stock on the market. One of the things that sets Applebee’s apart
from other chain restaurants is their focus on being a “neighborhood” restaurant. Franchise managers used to be allowed to hand-pick
certain items on the menu in order to cater to local tastes… though every restaurant
served the chain’s signature dishes like riblets and fajitas. “This is one serving!!!!!” “One serving.” “I… I love it!! I think I could probably come here and share
it or have leftovers for lunch the next day.” Managers were also encouraged to decorate
their restaurants with some unique local flair, and to get involved with local charities and
fundraising events. Though several Applebee’s restaurants have
closed in recent years, the chain still has a strong presence, and we doubt it’s going
anywhere anytime soon. In other words, it’s time to get this party
started. Dining out and saving money doesn’t always
go hand in hand… but Applebee’s generally keeps things reasonably priced, offering a
large selection of entrees under $15, and appetizers under $11. But if you’re really looking to score a bargain,
you should head to your neighborhood Applebee’s on weeknights after 9 p.m., or on weekends
after 10 p.m. That’s because they have a late-night happy
hour at most locations, when you can score half-price appetizers and wildly discounted
cocktails. “11 to 7 from 10 to close, we’re meeting at
the place everybody knows.” You might also be interested in Applebee’s
2 for $20 meals, although please note that prices may vary by location. With this deal, you can order two entrees
and one appetizer for just $20… That’s a pretty decent price for a two-person
meal at a restaurant. So how does one go about naming a restaurant? For Bill and TJ Palmer, the brains behind
Applebee’s, the answer is simple you flip through the phone book. Initially, they apparently let their fingers
do the walking and landed on the name Appleby… and that’s what they initially tried to name
the restaurant. Sadly, Appleby had already been copyrighted
just two weeks prior. Other names they considered included Cinnamon’s
and Pepper’s, but they’d already been claimed by other restaurants. Ultimately, they settled on a slightly modified
version of their original favorite: Applebee’s. Applebee’s has a long acquisition and sales
history. They’re no stranger to buying up other chains
— but the biggest sale in the company’s history occurred in 2007. That’s when they were purchased by IHOP Corp.
for $2.1 billion. Together, the two restaurants became the largest
full-service restaurant company in the world. After the sale, IHOP Corp. changed its name
to DineEquity, Inc., which is today known as Dine Brands Global, Inc. Today, Dine Brands Global, Inc. operates more
than 3,700 restaurants in 18 countries, and it oversees the franchising of both restaurant
chains. The acquisition of Applebee’s by IHOP is considered
to be one of the biggest restaurant sales of the past 20 years. However, both chains have faced hardships
in recent years. In 2017, Dine Brands Global announced that
they would be closing 100 Applebee’s and 20 or more IHOP locations, and noted that sales
had fallen at both chains. But as we said earlier, sales at Applebee’s
were up 5.5 percent in 2018, so things are looking good for the chain.. and Applebee’s
seems to be on its way back up. “I believe it.” “I can dig it!” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about fast food
restaurants are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

About the author


  1. I ordered the turkey sandwich there recently. It was ridiculous how little turkey there was. Just two or three very thin slices.

  2. One of the worst places to eat near me food is always horrible as well as the service, only place worse is golden coral never not gotten food poisoning the 3 chances i gave it

  3. I don't know where these idiots are getting there info, But this coming from somebody who worked for this shithole company can tell you the real truth about just how corrupt Applebee's really is. This is IT !!! I'm tired of holding it in and I'm tired of all the lies and bullshit that goes with it. The Applebee's in South Florida, especially in Jacksonville, Fl has hired nothing short of some of the worst of humanity to cook and serve. The employees and employers from certain areas were filled with ex-cons, Con-artist who claim they know everything about the arts and crafts of cooking and they don't. The company is famous for hiding the fact that almost 98 percent of the working staff are known and unknown drug dealers, convicted drug traffickers, and in the total 15 years combined that I worked for two different companies using the Apple Bee's name not once has anything ever changed for the better. The company is also known to hire illegal aliens and anyone that was living out of state all while the servers and cooks would create scams to allow their own kin to be employed which nepotism had run amock! Also, they would only hire people of color or sexual orientation only to make a name for themselves but have no job skills whatsoever! On top of that, the servers and cooks of Apple Bee's would often put down other workers they didn't like with threats of violence, contaminating another co-workers food by using rat poison or create threats of sexual harassment while the real perps of the crimes were allowed to get away with work-related violence. The servers and cooks were mostly made up of crack heads or Meth addicts who were only working to steal tip money or the food supply rising food cost. And ho yes, The management had the highest level of Ego driven incompetence in the history of any fast-food chain for gross negligence by bending the rules whenever they felt like it. This is a franchise that is dying, crashing and burning from within. Don't let this video fool you, please !!! Avoid this overpriced hype of a restaurant chain at all cost and find another place to spend your hard-earned money on! We are all grateful that only two Apple Bee's stores are left in town and hopefully they too will go out of business fading away like the dinosaurs in a tar pit!

  4. I cant remember the last good experience at one. Something always goes wrong…undercooked chicken, plastic in food, or bad service. That place is cursed in my book 😅

  5. Shittiest restaurant in Winnipeg, Canada that I have ever gone to. Went once and never again. My friend and I ordered rare steaks and they were well done. No comp or nothing. Then he complained online and they were going to give him a $10 voucher….never came.

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