Your dependable, casual grill chain seems to be going through some things. A manager and former server at Applebee's recently spilled all of his secrets in an enlightening Reddit Ask Me Anything. During the honest discussion, the employee shared a lot of startling revelations about the quality of the food, as well as the current state of the business. Read on for the most interesting tidbits straight from the source.
A lot of the food is microwaved.
When someone asked how much of the food at Applebee's is microwaved, the employee responded, "I'll give you an answer no one will, the amount of food cooked in a microwave is pretty high." He also clarified that most menu items are microwaved just before being served. "We prep food that morning for the day and then heat it up in the microwave for your meal," he said.
The most overpriced items are also the most popular.
When asked what the most overpriced menu item is, the employee said, "anything with grilled chicken." He added, "Those chicken breasts, individually, cost like 30 cents. I think those are our biggest profit margin items. So things like the Fiesta Lime Chicken, Cedar Grilled Lemon Chicken, and the 3 Cheese Chicken Cavatappi." The employee also said he was never specifically instructed to promote these chicken dishes; however, they do tend to be the most popular.
But if you're looking for a healthy option, chicken is your best bet.
Though he admittedly doesn't eat at work often, the employee said his pick would be the grilled chicken. "I'm a health nut so I don't eat at work a lot, but when I do I spring for the grilled chicken breast," he said, adding, "It usually depends on who's on the grill though. Some guys cook dry chicken. Nothing is worse than when chicken acts like turkey."
It's pretty easy to get your money back.
At certain locations, it's pretty likely that you can be refunded if you're unhappy with the service or anything you ordered. How likely? The employee said, "Honestly? At my store, very. Very. Very. Likely." He added, "I mean our discount percentage is pretty reasonable and I can afford to discount a fair amount of meals."
A lot of the good deals have gone away — and customers are upset.
The employee revealed how removing discounts and deals has affected the business. "In our district they also did away with half priced apps for a while. People complained, and we lost a lot of business," he said. Amazingly, Applebee's also used to offer free refills on fries! "It's dumb we did away with that," he astutely noted.
There is a rivalry with Chili's.
Let's face it — Applebee's is often thrown into the same culinary category as Chili's. When asked if a rivalry exists between the two, he explained that there is a slight one. "They recognize that they are catering to the same clientele," he said, adding, "I think Chili's has done a good job of avoiding all the problems Applebee's has created for themselves."