Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why does everybody hate Applebee's?




TGIFridays. Houlihan's. Bennigan's. Chili's. Applebee's. Aren't they all pretty much the same place? Sure they are. They're all corporate chain restaurants that desperately want you to believe that they're just an old-fashioned neighborhood bar & grill. If somebody blindfolded you and took you into one of them and then took the blindfold off and told you to tell them where you are, you'd probably be hard pressed to answer right away. They all have the same random knick-knacks pasted to the wall, they're all staffed by the same sullen college kids who won't be there when you go back in six months and they all serve the same $7.50 bacon cheeseburgers and the same chicken tenders with the same honey mustard dressing.

Yet when groups of people talk about where to get something to eat, rarely does Applebee's get mentioned. And if it does, the suggestion is met with scorn and derision. Why does everybody hate Applebee's?

Well, not me, of course. I mean, yes, of course I hate Applebee's too. But in my case, I know why. It's because there was one in Sarasota that had a Bob Natal baseball bat on the wall. Bob Natal, a lifetime .197 hitter, was my favorite baseball player at the time. I badly wanted that bat and offered to buy or trade for it but the manager said no, they weren't allowed to sell any of the "decor (his word, not mine) because it was against corporate policy. I'm pretty sure the manager of a real neighborhod bar & grill would have at least considered it and I know he wouldn't have refused it outright because it's against corporate policy because a real neighborhood bar & grill doesn't have corporate policies. Hell, a really good neighborhood bar & grill doesn't have policies at all. My kind of neighborhood bar & grill lets you do pretty much whatever you want, as long as it's not hurting someone else and so if you want one of their baseball bats, as long as it isn't for hitting a fellow bar patron, you're damn well welcome to it! Unless the other bar patron in question deserves it because he's a pain in the ass or some other valid reason, in which case you're still welcome to it.

But why does everyone else hate Applebee's? Well, here are a couple of possible reasons.

  • The name - Most people hate apples (be honest now, when was the last time you craved an apple that wasn't deep fried, baked in a sweet, sugary pie or slathered in caramel?) and most people hate bees (ooh, sting-ey!). Put them together and you're just asking for enmity.

  • Riblets - Applebee's signature menu item is Riblets, which are small barbecued spare ribs. The problem there is threefold:
  1. "Riblet" sounds like the noise a frog makes.

  2. It also sounds like something you use to hold iron girders together.

  3. As I said, they're small. People who enjoy barbecued spare ribs don't like them small. There's a reason that gag on the Flintstones where Fred orders a rack of ribs so huge it tips his car over is so popular; People who enjoy spare ribs fantasize about that exact thing happening to them every day of their lives.
  • That commercial where the high school team loses the big game and pulls into Applebee's for a post-game meal, only to find it closed, until a couple of dedicated employees decide to stay late to serve the valiant local heroes - Good god, how can you not hate that?

So those are three possible factors that spring to mind immediately. I don't know, there might be others. There might even be people out there who love Applebee's. I don't know any of them though.

PS: I eventually met Bob Natal and he gave me one of his bats himself. So take that, Jeff, the Applebee's manager on Fruitville Road in Sarasota or whatever your name was.

25 comments:

citizen jane said...

I unaffectionately refer to this establishment as Craplebees. Sub-average food. And those ridiculous riblets.

You've pretty much confirmed that I will continue to call it Craplebees ad infinitum.

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I needed a job directly out of college so I decided that I would work at Applebee's where I have been working for three weeks, and I must say that the intelligence of my fellow employees is so abysmally low that it pains me to think about what sorts of despicable ramblings go on in their dark minds. Mostly, the college students that I work with have limited vocabularies, but use the two hundred words they do know to talk about who they, or their friend, or another employee had sex with, where, how long it lasted, etc... The girls spend their time giggling and the guys spend their time trying to knock each others name tags off. At Craplebee's I am considered anti-social because I do not take part in such vile nonsense. Furthermore, one of the managers has eyes that are unnaturally close to the center of her head, and another of the managers looks exactly like Joe Dirt. In all, they seem highly uninformed and incapable of doing anything besides manage this disgusting place.
At first, I was convinced that no one could be dumber than the people I worked with. To my surprise there are indeed people who are dumber than the employees. Just recently, I realized that consistently roughly half the clientèle are mentally challenged. Everyday, some cross-eyed person yells at me to make them macaroni.
I generously oblige, of course, to all my orders, that is. And not just to the mentally challenged either (although the distinction between them and the "normal" customers is slim). Yes I happily serve, for nothing brings me joy like seeing a drove of pigs come in and eat from their troughs these glorious microwaved, pre-packaged, preservative packed, artificially flavored confections. It seems as though they prefer to eat Applebee's rather than the independently owned sushi place that costs less and is just down the street. But I must commend Applebee's for having the savvy not to make quality food. They are smart enough to realize that Americans have absolutely no taste or discretion and if you gave them something good, they probably wouldn't have anything to do with it. It is like that old sermon by that feller who
(ironically enough) the customers seem so fond of... "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces"... Instead give them the crispy orange chicken bowls.

Bags said...

Well said. My Applebee's experience was also quite atrocious, and ironically, it involved baseball as well. This could be an anomaly. Or maybe Applebee's... wait, Craplebee's just flat out sucks.

Yup, I'm going to have to go with the latter.

Kyle said...

Applebee's may not be the best restaurant on the face of the Earth, but it is a good place to work.
I don't know what restaurants that you're talking about, but just about every employee of the applebee's I work at has worked there at least a year..

It's really not that bad...

And yes... Corporate restaurants HAVE regulations.

And actually the manager on duty, is pretty low on the ladder, and doesn't have much say in what really goes on..

Just sayin...

mikexoo said...

3 dollar 23oz beers, 3 dollar LIT and Margs, 3 appetizers...cant beat the happy hour...everything else sucks.

Anonymous said...

I hate Applebees more than any of you could possibly imagine.

The one and only time I ate there, I ordered a hamburger which wasn't very good. I stayed up all night unable to sleep due to an upset stomach, which finally burst out spectacularly at about four in the morning....

The only big meal I had that day was the burger. I consumed no drugs or alcohol or whatever. It was just a reeaaally botchulized burger.

I woke up that evening and, after vowing never to eat there again, called the place up to tell them what happened. The manager told me about six hundred times, 'we check our ingredients very thoroughly', 'I do not know about that sir'. It was pretty insulting.

I'm sure you will be happy to know that this is the fifth article down on a Google search for 'hate applebees'.

Anonymous said...

No I hate Applebees more than anyone except a fellow employee of this particular establishment could imagine. The managers have no clue what they're doing and take it out on the people "below them" one in particular tells servers that when they fall and die he's going to stand over them laughing. It's probably similar elsewhere but it's wrong that because they're stuck working there until they retire they don't believe in treating people humanely or in karma. And one of the rules of this particular establishment is you can't call human resources you have to speak to a district manager who doesn't do shit. This goes against employment law

Jeff Hickmott said...

Zaxby's is another crappy retaurant adorned, nay, festooned with 'gosh-we-are-so-retro-and-neighborhoodish' crap on the walls, too. What were they thinking? People actually like this stuff or did Hobby Lobby have a closeout sale?

Anonymous said...

Applebees Sucks major ass, the food is way overpriced and meh at best. The bar and drink specials seem pretty good at least, but the food is not good.

Anonymous said...

I love their Texas burger. There is nothing wrong with applebee's and you are all a bunch of spoiled brats.

PeterM said...

Applebee's here in Canada is no better, way overpriced, service is terrible and food quality below average. I have no idea how they stay open!
From the Toronto area.

Anonymous said...

Their 4-oz. steak was full of gristle and would have had no flavor at all if it hadn't been for the ridiculous "seasonings" that a real steak does not need. And they never brought the appetizer. So, yeah, screw Applebees.

Anonymous said...

Hey to the idiot that got food poisoning, you cant get it that fast and probably got it from your own refrigerator. You didnt eat anything else that day, right.

Anonymous said...

Wow....worst experience at any place I've ever eaten...miami 20405 S Dixie HWY. When they first opened it was bad...that was about maybe 3 years ago, I'm guessing. Gave it another try....never again...From the service to the food, the worst...what's the point going any futher. Beware.

Anonymous said...

Applebees on South Dixie Highway in Cutler Ridge Miami Florida worse restaurant I have ever been to, service is terrible, the food is horrible...this is just a warning so that it might not happen to someone else. I even spoke with the manager something I have never done before. he offered a complementary dessert we declined. Never again. Beware.

Emily Harmon said...

Have you ever looked at their nutritional menu? Did you know that you could eat 10 big mac's and u would still eat healthier then having the spinach artichoke dip, a burger, fries, a dessert and a drink! That meal includes over 5,000 calories, 293 grams of fat and 7,700 mg of sodium. That should be illegal!

Michael Noble said...

"But why does everyone else hate Applebee's?"

I'm glad you asked ... here's why:

Long, long, long ago I saw a commercial (it might have been an ad in the paper) boasting of Applebee's riblets of which the establishment is (supposedly) well known.

Never having heard the term "riblet" before, I figured they were simply small ribs, that's all.

I was partially right on this point.

My disappointment in making plans and having dinner at that Applebee's so very long ago stems directly from those riblets.

You see ... riblets aren't "small ribs" at all. Quite the contrary. They were normal size ribs "cross cut" against the grain of the bone, joined by the meat between the bones to form a - you guessed it - "riblet."

Cute idea ... but that's where it effectively stops. You know why? Here's why: Any idea how much actual edible meat you get on an order of riblets? about 1/4 of an ounce. And I'm not kidding. Once you gnaw around those little circular cuts of bone to get at the delightfulness surrounding them, it's precious little enough even to get a mouthful. You're finished with an order of riblets in as long as it takes you to work your way around the bones ... or 7.9 seconds, whichever comes first. (Usually the latter.)

News Flash In Case You Didn't Get The Gist Of What Was Stated Above: THERE IS NO MEAT ON AN ORDER OF RIBLETS! This is the bottom line and main reason why people do not like Applebee's and, especially, their riblets. Take a look at Clark's Point #3 in his post: Rib people like MEAT, not slivers of sinew that doesn't come close to satisfaction.

When there, I went with the flow and requested another order of riblets after finishing (if you could call what I at "finishing") with the first. By the second order's end, I was frustrated and done with the entire affair. The meal (such that it was) was unsatisfying to say the least.

And I have not been back inside an Applebee's since. That time span has to be going easily on a good 20-some-odd years. That meal was enough a crushing blow it left an impression that resounds to this very day.

And that is why I will not partake of Applebee's - or their signature riblets - any longer ...

Anonymous said...

The anonymous Applebee's worker who posted near top of this page has pretty much summed up the reasons I personally hate working at Applebee's. Yes, most the people who work at Applebee's are quite unintelligent. Sadly, I get grouped with these people constantly. Applebee's generally appeals to a redneck sort of crowd that is terrible to wait on. One night when I was "bartending" (really just mixing high fructose corn syrup with alcohol) I was screamed at to change the televisions to Nascar. This is a regular experience at the Neighborhood Bar and Grill. The thing that agitates me more than anything else is that plastic is microwaved constantly. I don't know if the cooks don't understand that they shouldn't microwave plastic, or if they microwave plastic just because they are disgruntled workers at corporate restaurant.

Kalbi-san said...

who is the dolt that described cross-cut ribs? Cross-cust ribs and riblets are two different items. Cross-cut ribs have been adapted from a Korean dish called "Kalbi" or "Galbi".

nursejenn said...

Hey to the idiot who obviously knows nothing about food poisoning. Before you call someone else an idiot, maybe you should make sure you,.yourself, does not look like one. The onset of an adverse affect on the digestive system after consuming contaminated food can happen in less than an hour. As little as 30 minutes. Maybe you should get facts straight before acting like an IDIOT

Anonymous said...

I worked at crapplebees for 11 years and yes it is a horrible place to work the harder you work the more you get crapped on (hence the name) they payed OK but removed all benifits to save money I now work for a job that takes care of there employees it is quite the difference.

Anonymous said...

I was one of those "on no, it's a great place to work, I can't wait to work my way up and be a manager!".
Then I saw what they were sending us from their management "training" program. I feel as though they are finding the people who are unemployable anywhere else and bringing them into the "family".
I've worked many places doing many things and I have never had another company blatantly break so many laws. Telling an employee that they have to finish their tables and sidework before they go home while vomiting is just nasty.
Oh and the whole crap on your best employees is a thing. You have employees who kill themselves for You? Then treat them like crap and make them want to burn the place down, or just leave, which we do.
This place sucks.

Anonymous said...

We change label's at my crapplebee's on out of date food so managers food cost wont be to high. If you say something your complaining and lazy. Im not lazy I show up and just try to do the RIGHT thing. I got to feed my family so I do what im told.

Anonymous said...

The restaurant is the same as TGI Fridays or any other chain, The people they hire are lazy and unconcerned about the customers, That's the real reason,they expect their 20% but do not expect to do a good job to earn it,and the whole curb service is nothing more than a scam to milk more of a tip off of you. Who can't walk 20 yards to get their carry out. To me it is a lot better to go there with 4 and not get raped for 100.00 like Red Lobster or Texas Roadhouse. The food isn't all that bad and just because they offer riblets don't mean you have to buy em. The staff is just noncaring and stupid. Pretty much the bottom of barrel working there. To many snooty minorities with an attitude though. Don't mind minorities but I do mind the attitude.I tip 20% because I feel the server earned it not because I'm supposed too. Everyone else is afraid to say it. That is why people avoid the place,but it's still in business lucky for them.