UPDATE: I want to take a minute and thank Patrick Lenow, Executive Director, Communications of DineEquity, Inc. (parent company of Applebee’s), for commenting and setting the record straight about this promotion being a trial. This post probably reflected some portion of my feeling that the sour grapes of seeing one city having 3 restaurants to choose from and my region having no option in a 250 mile radius. The other part of it was seeing the excitement generated by an e-mail chain forwarded around an the office where no one could take advantage of it.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, Applebee’s is giving back to military active duty and veterans. Tonight you can go to Applebee’s and pick up a House Sirloin, hearty Riblet Basket, Fiesta Lime ChickenÂ®, a Quesadilla Burger or Oriental Chicken Salad with sides for free.
Mike Archer, President, Applebee’s Services, Inc. said, “It’s an honor to host an event that helps the neighborhood come together and say thanks to our veterans and active servicemen and women.”
So why do I have the word “maybe” in the title?
Applebee’s is having this promotion in select locations only. There are 164 locations, but only about 12 states are represented and more than half of the participating restaurants are in Virginia or Wisconsin. My entire state of California has one participating restaurant… about 300 miles away from where I live. However, if you live in Yuma, Arizona you can take your pick of three participating Applebee’s (the only ones in the state).
I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but this promotion seems a little crazy. Is Applebee’s saying that some neighborhoods are not worth getting people together? Are they saying that it’s only worth honoring some of the military? This promotion is getting spread like wildfire through email. I bet thousands of families miss the fine print and show up at their Applebee’s only to find out that their location isn’t participating. I’m betting some of the families will end up eating there because they promised it to their children and families. I’m pretty sure it’s not Applebee’s plan, but I wonder if they make as much on these new customers to offset the free food they are giving away.
I just hope it doesn’t backfire on them, because if I had gone to my local one and found that they weren’t participating, I’d be a pretty upset customer.
(Let me head off one comment right away… I realize that Applebee’s is a franchise and each one may be owned by individual people. Each one can run their business how they like. That doesn’t make the end result any better. If Applebee’s can get every restaurant to agree on their 2 for $20 deal, they should be able to pull this off for one night.)