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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Post# 238 - Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar: Not As Much A Bar As a Restaurant With Kids Menus and Reasonable Hours

I sent this to Applebee's on 8/2/2011:

Dear Applebee's,

As a man whose marriage ended after forty-three years, the dating world can be daunting, to say the least.  I took a recent blind date to Applebee's.  I had never been to Applebee's, but my date wanted to "go to a bar."  I picked your restaurant because your ads and signs suggest that you're the "Neighborhood Grill and Bar." 

The service was great.  The food was decent.  The date didn't go well, and that all stemmed from an argument about Applebee's.   I was chastised because she said "Applebee's isn't a real bar."  Her definition of a bar is as follows:

-A place that closes at 2AM (Applebee's closes at 12AM).
-A place where the kitchen closes down at some point, and there's only drinks.
-A place with a loud local band playing.
-A place that doesn't have a kids menu and crayons.
-A place where kids would never be seen after 9PM, let alone at closing time.
-A place where there may or may not be some drunk chick instigating a cat fight with another drunk chick.
-A place where there may, or may not be a lingerie show at lunchtime.
-A place where bikers like to hang out.
-A place with dartboards, pool tables, and a jukebox.
-A place where the restroom contains either ice in the urinals or a prophylactic and aspirin machine.

It got me to thinking.  How is Applebee's any different from Chili's, Buffalo Wild Wings, TGIFriday's, Bennigan's, or Red Robin.  Yes, each has a bar and liquor license, and each place has unique menu items.  But it ends there.  Each has early closing hours, laminated drink menus, kids menus, crayons, and no drunk chick.

My date ended badly, because you misrepresented yourselves.  Also, I said she wore too much perfume, so there's that too.  I think you need to make some changes if you're going to call yourselves a "bar."

Sincerely,

Jerry
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Subject: Thank you for contacting Applebee's! Here is a reply to your case number 1273326
Date: Wednesday, August 3, 2011, 5:00 PM

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for your e-mail.  We’re always looking for new ways to provide great guest service, and comments like yours help us to do that.  We’ve forwarded your comments to our Restaurant Operations and Marketing teams.  We appreciate your suggestions and we want to make sure that your voice is heard.  Thanks again.

If you have any other questions or comments, please give us a call at 888-592-7753.

Sincerely,

Adam L.
Guest Relations Coordinator II
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My note to Adam, sent 8/5/2011:
Adam,
I know I gave Applebee's some "tough love."  I know tough love can hurt a little. 
Here are some tips:
1) Hire a band in each region.  It doesn't have to be complicated--three piece, noncontroversial, non-confrontational, to play one Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday per restaurant per month.  Stick them in the corner and load them up on motza sticks and stale keg beer.  They'll love it.
2) No kids after 9:00.  Because that's when the place gets a hoppin!  They should be at home in bed at that time anyway!
3) You don't need a real drunk chick. There are plenty of out of work actresses who will work for scale.  Hire an actress, have an employee eating at a table in street clothes, and stage a catfight.  When it's over, have two "cops" come in and arrest them both.  Then give everyone a warm-baked chocolate chip cookie because you're "sorry" they "had to witness that."  The crowd will LOVE it!

These are some tips.  I'm sure there's already a Saturday workshop in your plans (sorry if I messed up everybody's weekend).

Sincerely,
Jerry

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