Not my first dining choice - Applebee's (the World's Worst Restaurant) is my last choice
Written: Aug 31, 2005 (Updated Apr 5, 2007)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Moderately priced, reasonable portion size, big selection
Cons:Poor service, bland food, highly variable food quality
The Bottom Line: I try to avoid Applebee’s at all costs - unless I’m starving and there is nowhere else to go – I would rather go almost anywhere other than Applebee’s
Could I have possibly found the worst chain food restaurant out there? From bad service to bland and cold food, Ive rarely ever had a good experience at the Applebees.
First, my apologies to anyone who actually enjoys eating at Applebees, but I honestly can say that a good experience at this restaurant has been incredibly rare for me.
Applebees Restaurants are scattered throughout the northeastern United States (Im not sure about the rest of the country) and at least in this area they seem to be the pioneering chain restaurant. They seem to be the first into an area and thus, they seem to be almost everywhere.
All of the restaurants follow the same basic theme Applebees is a neighborhood restaurant and thus are decorated with a mixture of generic Applebees décor along with posters, signs, and other memorabilia that has a local flavor. This could be a local sports hero, high school memorabilia or just about anything else from the local area to give the restaurant its local flair.
All of the Applebees that Ive been in have both a dining area and a bar, though the seating in the bar area is usually considered regular seating. You can however go up and get a drink while waiting for a table or hang around the bar itself if you dont want to be eating.
I will give Applebees credit for having a large menu with plenty of different selections. This includes a line of appetizers, salads and soups, pasta dishes, chicken, fish and steak meals, along with sandwiches and special entrees for people who are taking part in Weight Watchers.
Overall the pricing at Applebees is reasonable and a dinner for two should run somewhere between $25 and $30 dollars (without alcohol). The appetizers average are about $7 dollars, while the entrees are about $13 to $15 dollars and the sandwiches are about $8 to $10 dollars. Obviously the shrimp and the steak cost the most, with most of the chicken dishes being the cheapest.
The appetizers at Applebees include the standards youll find at most other restaurants and include nachos, mozzarella sticks, quesadillas and boneless buffalo wings. The portion size on the appetizers is more than enough for 2 people and about right for 4 people (depending on their appetite). Quality is mixed as it is with most of Applebees food. Personally I stick to the honey bbq boneless chicken wings, though they dont hold a candle compared to the Ninety Nines. Instead of being cooked with the honey bbq sauce, these boneless wings are simply Applebees chicken fingers with honey bbq sauce dribbled over them.
Youll find the basic chicken caesar salad at Applebees, along with several other salads that including a fried chicken salad (chicken fingers on top of a garden salad), a shrimp caesar salad, oriental chicken salad and a mesquite chicken salad. Honestly none of them really have ever been that good. I like salads but tend to like the more traditional garden salad with some grilled chicken on it, along with some basic salad dressing and I just cant find that at Applebees, so I find myself not bothering with a salad.
Applebees offers several different pasta dishes, which include a chicken and broccoli alfredo bowl and a shrimp fettuccine alfredo bowl. Ive tried the chicken and broccoli bowl a few times and the alfredo sauce has been tasteless and one of the times the entire dish has been cold so cold that I had to send it back.
There is fairly extensive selection of chicken, steak and fish dishes at Applebees, which includes sirloin steak, baby-back ribs, bbq riblets, various types of chicken, salmon and shrimp. They also offer a take-two menu that allows you to combine these into one entrée so you would get a steak and a chicken breast, or chicken and shrimp, or ribs and steak. These entrees are either served with fries or rice pilaf. My experiences with the steak and the chicken entrees have been mediocre at best portion size tends to be significantly smaller than the pictures would lead you to believe on the menu (which isnt necessarily a bad thing) and the quality of the entrees has varied from acceptable on a few of my chicken dishes to unacceptable when it came to a steak that was so overcooked, it reminded me of a hockey puck.
When I do have to eat at Applebees, I tend to stick with choices from the sandwich section. Its a lot harder to mess up a chicken sandwich, than most other menu choices and at the very least, I know what Im getting. I usually stick to the bbq chicken sandwich, which is a grilled chicken breast with bbq sauce, monterey jack cheese and bacon. They also offer hamburgers, roll-ups (wraps) and several different kinds of chicken sandwiches. All of the sandwiches are served with fries.
For those people on Weight Watchers, there is a special section of the menu dedicated to them. These are all items from the regular menu, but are low-calorie and/or low fat. The menu gives you the point and nutrition information you need for the program. Ive never been in the program, so I cant vouch for how good the menu is.
Desserts at Applebees are okay, but none really are all that great. You can get cheesecake, a brownie sundae type desert, a sizzling apple pie and chocolate cake to name a few. There are quite a few choices, unlike some other chain restaurants so most people, if they are in the mood for a desert should be able to find something that they would enjoy.
Applebees also has a full-service bar, so you can order pretty much any alcoholic drink you can think of while you are there either with dinner or alone at the bar.
Its been very rare that Ive gotten good service at an Applebees. From a lack of coordination up front during busy times to waitresses and waiters who seem to forget they have tables, Applebees doesnt seem to focus on customer service when it comes to training their wait staff. While most have been pleasant enough, its been my experience that servers in general take their time, focus on trying to upsell customers everything on the menu and really dont try to hustle or move along to keep a customers experience pleasant. Ive even been at a table when drinks have been spilled on other people at the table (luckily not me) and the server almost started to laugh and then forgot to bring over a towel.
While there have been a few shining stand-outs, the vast majority of my service experiences at this restaurant have been disappointing and in general, I expect slow, if not simply poor service when I am there.
Generally for me, Applebees is the restaurant of last resort. When all other options have been exhausted or there is simply nowhere else to eat, I will relent and go to Applebees. I even convince myself that it cant be as bad as the time I was there before and each time, I am unimpressed and disappointed with the meal that I have there.
I really couldnt recommend Applebees to anyone, its just never impressed me and for the same price, there are plenty of other options for diners out there.
Personally I try to avoid Applebees at all costs. Between the poor service and food quality unless Im starving and there is nowhere else to go I would rather go almost anywhere other than Applebees.
Ive eaten at many different Applebees including several in Massachusetts (Milford, Franklin, Millbury), New Hampshire and New York.
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