Saturday, October 12, 2019

Applebee’s Late to the Game but now is on the Field

Regular readers of this blog remember the confluence of the great recession and restaurant sector customer defections, and high-end restaurant closing or being sold for pennies on the dollar.  When Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® was first to note that there was one stand out; that was Morton’s Steakhouse
Back in the day 2009, the recession was kicking into high gear, Subway was selling a $5 Footlong and one brave high-end steakhouse introduced “Power Hour”.  ‘Power Hour was a happy hour that runs from 5-6:30 pm, Monday through Friday at the restaurant’s bar and lounge that included include select $4 beers (Sam Adams Seasonal, Budweiser and Bud Light), select $5 glasses of house wines, both red and white.
Pricing matters Morton’s surrived the recession better off than most white table cloth restaurants and other chains the ilk of Ruby Tuesday and Applebee’s and their franchisees did not do so well in the minds-eye of Johnson.
It took 8 years from then for Applebee's to sell sold its first $1 cocktail but now 10 years later Applebee’s Dollarita, a $1 margarita, has since become a hallmark holding the chain together. So, why did it take 10 years? Is you chain simply doing what they always did and doing it the same way?  How’s that working?
Well, the Dollarita came on the heels of a period of considerable changes for the brand. It had a new president, John Cywinski, who came on board in in March. There was new leadership at the parent company, too, when CEO Steve Joyce came on five months later. He replaced Julia Stewart, who was pushed out earlier in 2017 after having spent the prior few years trying to elevate the Applebee's brand with moves like those fancy steaks. What is you chain not doing they could?  Grocerant niche Foods? The Price, Value, Service equilibrium’s focus need to be on the consumer.
Applebee’s announced its first national third-party delivery partnership, with DoorDash, and a few weeks later announced another partnership with Grubhub. Again, late to the game. Why? Will it work.  Hell yes! Consumer want delivery regular readers of this blog have know that since 2009.  Where have you been?
Consumers are dynamic not static.  All food retailers must be dynamic as well. Don’t wait 10 years to edify your relationship with your consumer. Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

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