Pros: Comfortable dining atmosphere, pleasant wait-staff (mostly), Free refills
Cons: AWFUL & cold food, absolutely *no* vegetarian fare, small portions
Applebee's is one of those restaurants that you *think* you're going to have a nice, good time. In fact, I've been to Applebee's many, many times, each time with the mistaken impression that I would find something decent to eat.
I've been a vegetarian since 1990, and never have I found a restaurant so unforgiving towards them. (Even TGI Fridays, owned by the same people has WAY more vegetarian fare!) Once, the following conversation took place:
Me: "I'll have a...ummmmmmmmmm....salad...and....ummm... soup. What kind of soup do you have?"
Them: "Blah blah blah...and minestrone."
Me: "Does it have meat?"
Them: Um, no.
Me: OK. Thanks!
So, needless to say, the salad arrives, and it's covered..no, SMOTHERED with bacon. Real bacon. So I have them send it back. Then the soup arrives, and there's chicken in it. Lots of it.
Me: "There's chicken in this."
Them: "No there's not."
Me: "Yes, there is."
Them: "NO. There's NOT."
Me: "Uh...YES, there is! What's THIS then?"
Them: "Ummmm...It's not chicken." (I SWEAR to God this is what happened!)
Me: "That's CHICKEN."
Them: (Sarcastically) "I'm so sorry..."
Again, needless to say, we didn't even get a refund or free coffee or *anything*. I even sent the following letter (via PlanetFeedback) with absolutely zero response. Twice!
May 29, 2001
TO: Lloyd L Hill, CEO
Applebee's International, Inc.
4551 West 107th Street
Overland Park , KS 66207
Dear Mr. Hill,
I'm writing to bring your attention to a problem I had with the menu choices at your restaurant. I'm sure you value your customers and want to keep them, so I hope you will take this complaint seriously and come up with a quick resolution. I'm specifically talking about your restaurant located at Mt. Kisco, NY.
Here's what happened: I have been to Applebees several times, always with friends. I don't choose to go to Applebees because I'm a vegetarian, and you have absolutely NO entrees available for vegetarians. Even TGI Fridays (which I believe is owned by the same people) has gardenburgers! The last time I ate there (this past weekend) I ordered the "Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo" without the chicken. Sure, it came without the chicken, but it was STILL the most expensive thing on our bill! ($12.99?!?!? For PASTA?!?!?)
My overall experiences with your company have been very unpleasant. On average, I visit Applebee's International, Inc. less than once a month. I usually spend about $11-$15 with you. I will never eat at your restaurant again. I will avoid recommending you to others.
Here's how I'm hoping you will fix the problem: Please add more vegetarian fare. I think it's absolutely silly that I can't find anything to eat.
I appreciate your taking the time to read this. I hope you can help me with my problem. The sooner, the better.
UPDATE 08/06/2001 - Here's a copy of their response:
Thank you for contacting us. We are sorry you are unhappy with the recent decision to discontinue our vegetarian menu items. Any time we make the tough decision to discontinue an item, we know that there will be some unhappy customers. So we make these decisions only after a great deal of research and analysis. Unfortunately, the sales
of these items were not sufficient enough for us to continue to offer them on our menu.
Your server, or the manager on duty at any of our restaurants will be happy to assist you in selecting an entree that meets your taste and dietary needs! The good news is that any of the following items can be made "meatless".
Blacken Chicken Fettuccine Chicken Fajita Roll-up
Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Alfredo
Quesadilla Grande Sizzling Stir-Fry
We value you as a loyal Applebee's consumer and hope you understand that our decision to discontinue the vegetarian selections was a difficult one to make. However, we will do our part to see that your needs are met whenever possible. We hope you'll give the above items a try!
Guest Relations Coordinator
Notice how they say that any of the items can be made meatless? Notice how she completely ignored my comment about how I *did* ask for the "Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo" without the chicken and it cost THE SAME AMOUNT?!?! Amazing...
So, if you're a veggie, like me, avoid this restaurant at all costs! :-(
UPDATE as of 04-11-02: I've had a few comments as to why I've kept going back. Really, it hasn't been my choice. The absolutely ONLY reason I go back to this poor excuse for a restaurant is that friends DRAG me there - THAT'S IT! Imagine, if you will, that you go out to the movies with a bunch of friends. Afterwards, they say "Let's go somewhere to eat!" You say "OK! Sounds good to me!" and the next thing you know, you're sitting in the fake-TGIFriday's...AGAIN...pondering over the menu for something substansial that won't make you vomit. And you become infuriated by the lack of service, the lack of decent food and the general uncaring attitude by the "staff" (I use the term loosely.
That's why I've gone back there. Other than that, I don't frequent the place and have since made numerous plaintive pleas to my friends and wife as to the abysmal nature of their business. :-) Hope that helps!