Irene Kim: By the
end of 2017, it seemed like the
end for Applebee’s. The company had just
closed 99 locations, with plans to close
up to 80 more. And this was just the
end of a struggle that Applebee’s had
been fighting for years. But then something
unexpected happened: Applebee’s made
a comeback. Sales went up 5.5% in the first nine
months of 2018. After falling nearly
8% just a year before. It looks like people
are once again Commercial: Eatin’ good
in the neighborhood. Kim: So, what happened? Bill and TJ Palmer opened the first Applebee’s in 1980. Three years later, they sold the
restaurant concept to WR Grace and Company, and it quickly blew up. By 1994, there
were more than 500 Applebee’s locations across the US. And just four years
later, in 1998, the company opened
its 1,000th restaurant, rivaling competitors’
store locations, like IHOP, with 800, and Denny’s, with more than
1,000 stores nationwide. Kate Taylor: Applebee’s
was really doing well because they were reliable. They weren’t too fancy,
they weren’t too cheap, but they hit a nice
sweet spot in the middle for people. Kim: Dishes like Applebee’s
boneless buffalo wings became a fan favorite, and promotions like
half-priced appetizers made Applebee’s a
popular spot for customers looking
for a good deal. But then, at the
end of 2007, the recession happened, and people stopped
eating out as much. Katie Couric: We are
in a recession. News anchor: The longest
recession since World War II. Couric: But the question
now: When will it end? Kim: As Applebee’s
sales struggled in the post-recession
economy, it attempted to
reinvent itself as a modern bar and grill to draw in up-and-coming
millennials. But it didn’t work. Taylor: Applebee’s tried
to be a little bit trendy, a little bit cool. And it just came off as kind
of corny for most people, where it felt like they
were trying too hard to win over millennials. Kim: New menu items
like hand-cut $20 steaks and brisket nachos
not only failed to bring in new
millennial diners; they alienated
the very customers who had made Applebee’s
successful in the first place: People looking for a
reliable, affordable meal out. By 2015, Applebee’s
sales were falling. And only continued to
fall, year after year. In 2017, the company
closed 99 locations and announced plans to
close 60 to 80 more the following year. Julia Stewart, the CEO of
Applebee’s parent company, Dine Brands Global,
reportedly stepped down because of Applebee’s
poor performance. The former waitress was
one of the industry’s most celebrated and
longest-serving executives. For a brief time, it looked like
Applebee’s was done for. But instead of folding,
it turned things around. Taylor: Starting in
late 2017, 2018, Applebee’s parent
company, Dine Brands, had new
leadership come in, and this new leadership
was very, very focused on being inexpensive and
not trying to be too trendy. Basically, they
took Applebee’s back to the basics. They’re not gonna try
and win over millennials with these fancy
new menu items. They’re gonna find
something that’s inexpensive that people are
proven to like. The biggest thing that kind
of kicked off the turnaround for Applebee’s was the
Dollarita, the $1 margarita. Kim: After the success
of the Dollarita, Applebee’s
quickly launched its Neighborhood
Drink program, releasing a new $1 to
$3 drink every month. And that move has paid off. Alcohol now accounts for
15% of Applebee’s business. John Cywinski: We’ve
sold more than 55 million Neighborhood
Drinks at Applebee’s since we launched this
program in October of 2017. Kim: And although
overall revenue hasn’t quite caught up, the company is going
pretty strong. Cywinski: 2018 was the best
year that Applebee’s had in the past 25 years. We’re very proud of that. When I think
about Applebee’s, we are, in many respects,
America’s kitchen table. We’ve got 1,700 locations,
and we very much believe “eatin’ good in
the neighborhood” embodies who we are and America resonates or
connects with our brand. Kim: But will Applebee’s
be able to keep up
the momentum? Taylor: Applebee’s has
lost momentum a little bit so far in 2019. It’s hard because they had
such a good year last year. It’s hard to keep that going. Millennials, they
figured it out. They want, honestly, the same thing every
generation wants: good prices, cheap drinks. They need to
kind of figure out if there’s anything
different that they need to do for Gen Z. Kim: What do you think
of the new Applebee’s? Let us know in the
comments below.

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100 thoughts on “Applebee’s Shocking Comeback”

  1. Lol the Dollarita is what made me try out Applebee’s .. and the food wasn’t that bad for a chill week meal, chili’s relaxed cousin

  2. Honestly I stopped eating Applebee’s 2 years ago but I got myself going back this past week… cause of their happy hour

  3. Applebee’s is a fad among other popular fast food
    Places like this.
    It all depends on word of mouth, social networking trending, and the marketing.
    Doing regular promotions helps a lot.

    That recession we were in hit retail stores and restaurants a lot.
    Many people shut down businesses, shopping malls shut down, etc.

    Applebee’s should keep thing simple, high quality, and consistent. They shouldn’t try to appeal to certain demographics and doing what they think is trendy.

    Alcohol giving them so much business is no surprise. 🤣🥃🍸

    As long as they keep things consistent they’ll be fine. They shouldn’t go back to trend following. That’s just dumb and won’t work.

  4. Can you guys do a documentary about the people who are in charge of the rating (rated R or PG) of movies…. im curious about the occupation.

  5. This video had great information and was beautiful shot, and edited, but it was painful to watch. It all moves so slow, the music doesn’t match the video well and the two women driving the forward are all over the place. One seems like she talking about snails for a public access channel, and the other is on Ridellan.

  6. I’m glad to hear they’re getting back on track. I’ve only eaten here a few times, but my mom always talks about how much she loves Applebee’s.

  7. Until they stop charging so high for bland food I could make at home way better and cheaper, they need to stop tooting their horn like they're something special.

  8. I remember once in 5th grade I went on a ~fancy~ field trip to see Aladdin on Broadway (I lived in NYC at the time) and we stopped at Applebee's for dinner. All I ordered was a grilled cheese and fries but I loved it so much I asked my family to go again a couple weeks later. Surprise, surprise, I got food poisoning. Never been able to eat there again.

  9. Applebees is popular over here in Dallas ….its a dam club me and all my friends go. …its fun and great food…I'm go again Friday….

  10. Both Applebee’s in my city did not close thankfully, I didn’t even know that they were having problems. I love their spinach artichoke dip and 3 Cheese Chicken Penne.

  11. I don't wanna be that guy, but the way the asian girl talks in this video gives out too much that she's reading it. That alone isn't a problem, but listening to somebody talk like that for more than 2 minutes is as irritating as a cat waking you up too early. I'm just not gonna dislike the video because the content is very interesting, but let's not allow this to happen again, shall we?

  12. Melenials are ending their 30's as Gen Z's are starting to really get out onto the world, so pretty soon the whole food corporation will be different

  13. So they “tried” to appeal to millennials and yet they pushed a low quality menu with no vegetarian/vegan options—how sway? Almost has the same vibe as Chili’s, which always wins between the 2. kind of restaurant I’d only visit for drinks

  14. long story short Applebee's was hit hard during the recession, then tried to chase trends in desperation. Chasing the trends alienated fail and even alienated the original business. Then they swapped the CEO that went back to the original menu and introduced $1-3 cocktails which is saving the company.

  15. Applebee's is defiantly geared towards those on a budget that need to feed a group…or those with damaged tastebuds. Cafeteria food with sugar and sodium packed sauces to excuse the poor quality. Disgusting.

  16. Wow I didn’t know they fell down I LUV Applebee’s drinks and appetizers….Millennials?? I’m generation X🤣🤣

  17. I like them because the bar doesn't feel like a dive bar. I can eat alone at the bar without feeling awkward as a single man. I go between 6 and 9 monthly for a half price app and drinks are not as expensive.

  18. It's always millenials fault lol. I use to do contracting work doing repairs at Applebees, Chilis, Hooters, and Panera Bread. The shit I've seen in back of those kitchens would make everyone stop eating out at all these franchises.

  19. Bruh… really YouTube I’m tired asf and you recommend a video centered around Applebee’s(where I conveniently work there)

  20. There food is alright doesn't seem to high quality. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there even though I pass by one everyday. The interior needs a makeover. The one near me is pretty looks run down and service is hit or miss. It is popular especially during happy hour but the drinks are sugary sweet like Dallas BBQ for the diabetics.

  21. Im 24, so im a cusper millennial. Basically the youngest that a millennial can factually be, but young enough to relate a decent amount to gen z. With that being said, i think applebees is outdated. They have a basic menu and dont even prepare them right. The food in my expirience is never freshly hot, just an awkward warm. Amd id much rather pay an extra $5 for better quality food. The cheap drinks are nice but if i want to have a decent meal applebees is not the place, and if all i want to do is drink and socialize, I go to a bar 🤷🏾‍♀️

  22. It’s because they don’t chase out the people that smell like weed or they just leave and feed the drunks lol good job society should take that step. Leave everyone be until they hurt anyone then society can hurt them through anew justice system

  23. I lived 5 mins away from applebees for a year, and ngl literally only been there a hand full of times. Mainly the service was terrible. Though that could just be that particular franchise

  24. Ate at Applebee's tonight with the wife and kids. Decent crowd. Two for thirty was good as well as the dessert. $1.00 Halloween drinks too!

  25. I always enjoyed going to Applebee’s. There was always a fight and at least one waiter trying to sell me a mix tape or their new mix cd… LoL True quality entertainment.

  26. Never understood why people eat there. It’s basically Denny’s with a bar. But at least Denny’s has decent breakfast. Support LOCAL eateries.

  27. I would rather eat at local restaurants, they have great food for good prices and more options. Applebees is near the bottom of the list when I'm asked where I want to eat at

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