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(USA Today)   There goes the neighborhood (bar & grill)   ( usatoday.com) divider line
    More: Sad, Income, Dine Brands, Revenue, Dine Brands Global, Pancake, Dine Brands stock, hot fast-casual segments, regional fast-casual chains  
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2400 clicks; posted to Business » on 22 Feb 2018 at 3:28 AM (20 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2018-02-21 11:57:24 PM  
I think it was 1995.  Maybe 1996.  I went to Applebee's with my parents.  Totally uneventful really.  I don't even remember what I ate.  The memory starts when I was waiting for my parents to finish drinking their coffee so we could get going.

I went into the bathroom, and someone was taking a crap.  I'm sure of that because I could smell it.  I went about my business, and as I was washing my hands an employee walked out of the stall, past me, and out of the bathroom.  I was using the only sink, so I know he didn't wash his hands.

Then I went back out to the table, and had a view of the bar.  There he was.  The poop-then-leave-the-bathroom-without-a​-token-hand-rinse guy.  He was a bartender, and he was serving drinks by holding the glass by the rim.

It's been at least 20 years ago, and I just can't imagine going back to Applebee's again.  He probably washed his hands behind the bar for all I know.  I wasn't even 21 yet, so he probably didn't serve anything I drank.  I hoped he hadn't poured my parents coffee.  Hell, that location closed at some point in the last 10 years, and it still just...  Ugh...

No thanks, I'll pass on Applebee's.
 
2018-02-22 12:01:30 AM  
Whatever will we do?
 
2018-02-22 12:06:38 AM  
Strangled to death by millennials.
 
2018-02-22 12:17:50 AM  
I have no problem with fewer International Houses of Dirty Utensils in the world.
 
2018-02-22 12:31:36 AM  
Cracker Barrel's always packed so there's always that. If you're white.
 
2018-02-22 12:39:28 AM  
Moon over my hammy.
 
2018-02-22 01:22:20 AM  

Scorpitron is reduced to a thin red paste: Strangled to death by millennials.


LOL. Applebees has sucked for years. It might be the worst chain restaurant on the planet. It's so bad it's almost amazing how consistently bad it is across all stores.

As for IHOP - I mean, seriously, how f*cking hard is it to make pancakes and waffles? I make mine at home with mix and water (Kodiak Cakes is the bomb) and bonus, I use real maple syrup. It takes me all of 5 minutes. Eggs 5 minutes, bacon takes maybe 10 minutes tops, and I don't have to deal with the smell of whatever piss drunk person wandered in at 2am the night before, or a shiatty waitress.

If you're really drunk and hungry, then the your best option is the local chicken and waffles place, followed by the Waffle House, I guess. Don't blame millenials for a company that strangled their own profits by cheapening the experience top to bottom.
 
2018-02-22 01:26:17 AM  

bdub77: Don't blame millenials for a company that strangled their own profits by cheapening the experience top to bottom.


I think we're supposed to blame millennials for everything. Because blaming the baby boomers is so last decade. I don't know how we Gen Xers came out unscathed.
 
2018-02-22 01:30:25 AM  
I just hope the Buffalo Wild Wings are okay...
 
2018-02-22 04:31:07 AM  
We have great bar & grills here... they're just one-off, independently o55 wned. One, if it's slow (and we usually have lunch around 3pm) will change the radio to a punk station for me and my best friend, make sure we have our drinks, so on, so forth.  Applebees is full of kids - screaming ones at that, and assholes. And the food sucks.  Also: good luck getting a drink refill.
 
2018-02-22 04:56:02 AM  
I will shamefully admit it, at one time I thought that Applebee's was a perfectly suitable place to eat. And then I quit smoking and got my taste buds back. With the level of salt that they apply to their food I am surprised that people are not having heart attacks by desert.
 
2018-02-22 06:44:29 AM  

End_Of_Line: I will shamefully admit it, at one time I thought that Applebee's was a perfectly suitable place to eat. And then I quit smoking and got my taste buds back. With the level of salt that they apply to their food I am surprised that people are not having heart attacks by desert.


Word. I made the monumental gaffe of ordering a steak there. It wasn't a steak; it was a meat-colored salt lick.
 
2018-02-22 06:49:21 AM  
The only reason for a corporate "ethnic" restaurant has to be airport food court access. Otherwise you you go to places that are owned by the ethnics whose food you are craving.

/it's all cooked by Mexicans anyway
 
2018-02-22 07:11:23 AM  

Mugato: bdub77: Don't blame millenials for a company that strangled their own profits by cheapening the experience top to bottom.

I think we're supposed to blame millennials for everything. Because blaming the baby boomers is so last decade. I don't know how we Gen Xers came out unscathed.


it's love for the Billy Idol band in the back of many minds. IHOP has only themselves to blame. as a boy I loved my pigs in a blanket with boysenberry syrup. TTBOMK this treat went the way of the dodo. a big F U to IHOP for failing to correctly operate a simple operation.
 
2018-02-22 07:44:02 AM  
There are five local brew pubs in my town with better food and better beer. That an Applebee's and TGIFridays can stay open here is a testament to the American love of the mediocre.
 
2018-02-22 07:52:44 AM  
A new IHOP just opened here in Flagstaff. Hadn't been to one in years, and decided to go.  It was about 2 weeks after their grand opening.  I think they build those places with filth as part of the decor. It was already dirty, the service was terrible and the food was bland. I used to love IHOP, but then again, I was a fat kid that loved the funny face pancake.
It seems to stay busy so it'll survive, but I'm not going back.
 
2018-02-22 08:00:18 AM  
I feel like a snob and a hypocrite when I deride Applebee's and its ilk, but.... well, that's all there is to say for it. I've been there, service is hit-or-miss, food is generic - basically 'fancier' fast food, plated, the atmosphere is contrived and off-putting. In general situations, I will not go unless forced... except when I do because there are no reasonable alternatives at hand.

Around the 4th of July there's a park where I take my kids to watch fireworks. There are only two places to get food that are within walking distance - McDonalds and 99 Restaurant (same thing as Applebees, slightly different crap stuck on the walls). For convenience, we go to the 99.

The other situation where I'll go to a TGI/Chili/Bee/Tuesdays is when I'm travelling for work. I often seem to end up in the little developed areas that pop up near interstate exits (not really in the local town, where the decent restaurants are). It could be late, I have no idea what (if anything) is nearby, and I'm hungry and these places are close to the hotels. And they have cold beer.  I'll swallow my pride and get over myself in those situations.

/Ex used to love going to Ruby Tuesdays, probably because she knew I hated it. She'd want to go out, tell me to pick, I'd list off a dozen places and she'd find fault with every one until I said Ruby Tuesdays. Then I'd be like "biatch, if you wanted to go to Ruby Tuesdays, why didn't you just say you wanted to go there..."
//I really said that
///I said... *looks around, lowers voice*....  "biiiiiitch"
 
2018-02-22 08:18:53 AM  
Their food sucks.
 
2018-02-22 08:24:48 AM  

bdub77: Scorpitron is reduced to a thin red paste: Strangled to death by millennials.

LOL. Applebees has sucked for years. It might be the worst chain restaurant on the planet. It's so bad it's almost amazing how consistently bad it is across all stores.


I wish I could credit the millennials here because I applaud them for not going to places that suck.  I always wondered why my friends and others of my generation were/are satisfied with some of the dreck we put up with.

But I don't understand why this is even a story.  They're closing 3.5% of their Applebees and 1.5% of their IHOPs.  And they're opening more IHOPs than they are closing.  A successful big restaurant company should be closing that many stores every year as neighborhoods move, restaurants age, etc.

The only interesting thing in the article was this: "Signaling change is in the air, Dine Brands Global just changed its name from DineEquity. It hopes the change signals a new chapter for the company is coming and how it is attempting to broaden its scope."  I wish a Wall Street analyst would tell him the new deck chair arrangement looks great.
 
2018-02-22 08:45:43 AM  
hot fast-casual segments

Reminds me of sex in my 20s.
 
2018-02-22 08:47:15 AM  

Mugato: bdub77: Don't blame millenials for a company that strangled their own profits by cheapening the experience top to bottom.

I think we're supposed to blame millennials for everything. Because blaming the baby boomers is so last decade. I don't know how we Gen Xers came out unscathed.


we got blamed for not caring and being cynical about advertising and commercialism.  then the next generation of suckers came along and we got ignored, which is sort of what we wanted

being sandwiched between 2 larger and more self-centered generations helps as well
 
2018-02-22 08:47:45 AM  
Never got the love for Applebee's, even when it was the original here in Atlanta. It looked like a Bennigan's fern bar ripoff with worse food and uglier single girls.

And there are better alternatives for IHOP in just about any town if you ask (although I still have a weakness for Boysenberry syrup)
 
2018-02-22 08:49:54 AM  
applebee's has a sort of following here because suburban people like bland crap as long as they know it will be the same consistent bland crap, but ihop has no chance because there are a million actual diners
 
2018-02-22 09:08:30 AM  
My husband likes Applebee's because he's a pig and it's cheap to get a huge thing of ribs. He's calmed on it since we have no money to go out to eat, though the decent thing to do would have been to not go there, anyway, since I do not eat high-fat meals, nor do I require portions the size of my head. Nor do I eat meat. It's not a me-friendly menu at all.  IIRC, they don't even have a freaking veggie burger, like most places have the decency to.
 
2018-02-22 09:57:17 AM  

Dead for Tax Reasons: Mugato: bdub77: Don't blame millenials for a company that strangled their own profits by cheapening the experience top to bottom.

I think we're supposed to blame millennials for everything. Because blaming the baby boomers is so last decade. I don't know how we Gen Xers came out unscathed.

we got blamed for not caring and being cynical about advertising and commercialism.  then the next generation of suckers came along and we got ignored, which is sort of what we wanted

being sandwiched between 2 larger and more self-centered generations helps as well


I find it rich you think millenials are self centered when most of their hate/attention comes from Boomers/Xers.
 
2018-02-22 10:03:16 AM  

Scorpitron is reduced to a thin red paste: Strangled to death by millennials.


To which I will say: Thank you millennials.
 
2018-02-22 10:14:11 AM  

Dead for Tax Reasons: we got blamed for not caring and being cynical about advertising and commerciali


Yeah I liked being labeled a cynical slacker. It's like they know me.
 
2018-02-22 10:17:04 AM  

bdub77: Scorpitron is reduced to a thin red paste: Strangled to death by millennials.

LOL. Applebees has sucked for years. It might be the worst chain restaurant on the planet. It's so bad it's almost amazing how consistently bad it is across all stores.

As for IHOP - I mean, seriously, how f*cking hard is it to make pancakes and waffles? I make mine at home with mix and water (Kodiak Cakes is the bomb) and bonus, I use real maple syrup. It takes me all of 5 minutes. Eggs 5 minutes, bacon takes maybe 10 minutes tops, and I don't have to deal with the smell of whatever piss drunk person wandered in at 2am the night before, or a shiatty waitress.

If you're really drunk and hungry, then the your best option is the local chicken and waffles place, followed by the Waffle House, I guess. Don't blame millenials for a company that strangled their own profits by cheapening the experience top to bottom.


A number of years ago, when I was still in the restaurant biz, I worked with a very talented exec chef who was offered a $250,000 for a one year consulting agreement with Applebees. He ended up walking away from the offer.

He was specifically targeted because he spent the previous like 12+ years at Legal Seafood. So he knows how to do corporate menus in a consistent manner.

He told me that he went through several interviews, even did a brainstorming session with them and they poopooed every single idea he had. He was met with total resistance. "But that's not how we have done it in the past!" they would tell him.

Their demise has been long coming.
 
2018-02-22 10:18:32 AM  

serpent_sky: My husband likes Applebee's because he's a pig and it's cheap to get a huge thing of ribs. He's calmed on it since we have no money to go out to eat, though the decent thing to do would have been to not go there, anyway, since I do not eat high-fat meals, nor do I require portions the size of my head. Nor do I eat meat. It's not a me-friendly menu at all.  IIRC, they don't even have a freaking veggie burger, like most places have the decency to.


Have you tried their Fire Roasted Chicken Salad Wrap?  If your Applebee's is anything like the one near me, they don't actually put chicken in it half the time.
 
2018-02-22 10:22:44 AM  

Girion47: Dead for Tax Reasons: Mugato: bdub77: Don't blame millenials for a company that strangled their own profits by cheapening the experience top to bottom.

I think we're supposed to blame millennials for everything. Because blaming the baby boomers is so last decade. I don't know how we Gen Xers came out unscathed.

we got blamed for not caring and being cynical about advertising and commercialism.  then the next generation of suckers came along and we got ignored, which is sort of what we wanted

being sandwiched between 2 larger and more self-centered generations helps as well

I find it rich you think millenials are self centered when most of their hate/attention comes from Boomers/Xers.


applebee's doesn't make a good backdrop for selfies and food pictures to post on instagram anyway
 
2018-02-22 10:29:10 AM  
An IHOP just opened here, the first one ever I've been told.  It opened up right down the street from a Cracker Barrel.  Granted, we kinda wanted to try it but given everybody else did too it made getting into Cracker Barrel a lot easier.
 
2018-02-22 10:51:04 AM  

Mugato: Dead for Tax Reasons: we got blamed for not caring and being cynical about advertising and commerciali

Yeah I liked being labeled a cynical slacker. It's like they know me.


they can call me a lot worse than that if it keeps from being overwhelmed with ads.  and ads targeted at other people are much easier to ignore
 
2018-02-22 11:25:23 AM  

Nobody Here: An IHOP just opened here, the first one ever I've been told.  It opened up right down the street from a Cracker Barrel.  Granted, we kinda wanted to try it but given everybody else did too it made getting into Cracker Barrel a lot easier.


I love the restaurant-gift shop combo.
 
2018-02-22 11:36:12 AM  
This is really economics.  These places cater to the middle class.  The middle class is shrinking.  Wages are stagnant at best.  Less money in pocket, less money to go out.  Simple.
It forces me to cook.  I eat-in.  Brown bag lunches.  Eat leftovers.  I have found that I can make a cheeseburger and fries just as well as Applebees, and I can watch porn on my computer while in my underwear while doing it.  I can't do that at Applebees, now can I?
 
2018-02-22 11:41:19 AM  

Girion47: I find it rich you think millenials are self centered when most of their hate/attention comes from Boomers/Xers.


I was born in 1975 and relate to Millenials more than my own generation, overall. Though I'm not 100% sure the lines are drawn and it's certainly been suggested I am less than interested in being a full-on adult.
 
2018-02-22 11:47:03 AM  
Applebee's is food for people who think Olive Garden is too spicy and ethnic.
 
2018-02-22 12:16:20 PM  

Cubs300: This is really economics.  These places cater to the middle class.  The middle class is shrinking.  Wages are stagnant at best.  Less money in pocket, less money to go out.  Simple.
It forces me to cook.  I eat-in.  Brown bag lunches.  Eat leftovers.  I have found that I can make a cheeseburger and fries just as well as Applebees, and I can watch porn on my computer while in my underwear while doing it.  I can't do that at Applebees, now can I?


The continual 5% year over year increases in prices is making them unaffordable to the middle class.  The middle class is switching to the less costly 'fast casual' chains.

Upper middle class wouldn't be caught dead in an Applebee's.
 
2018-02-22 12:19:20 PM  

mcreadyblue: Cubs300: This is really economics.  These places cater to the middle class.  The middle class is shrinking.  Wages are stagnant at best.  Less money in pocket, less money to go out.  Simple.
It forces me to cook.  I eat-in.  Brown bag lunches.  Eat leftovers.  I have found that I can make a cheeseburger and fries just as well as Applebees, and I can watch porn on my computer while in my underwear while doing it.  I can't do that at Applebees, now can I?

The continual 5% year over year increases in prices is making them unaffordable to the middle class.  The middle class is switching to the less costly 'fast casual' chains.

Upper middle class wouldn't be caught dead in an Applebee's.


Yep... we didn't even go out to eat on my birthday because it's too expensive and I don't mind cooking.  Though I swear to god, when I get a job and we have two incomes (my unemployment sucks) again, it will be months before either of us will even look at spaghetti with tomato sauce.
 
2018-02-22 12:56:27 PM  

Mugato: Cracker Barrel's always packed so there's always that. If you're white.


Didn't Denny's fall off the radar not long after their "brown out" policies became so blindingly obvious that Secret Servicemen were suing for racial discrimination?  Might be a short term gain, but don't expect them to survive long-term.
/stock ticker seems to have recovered
//can't remember eating in a Dennys for 20 years
///"big breakfast" was a pretty good value
 
2018-02-22 01:09:51 PM  
eKonk:
The other situation where I'll go to a TGI/Chili/Bee/Tuesdays is when I'm travelling for work. I often seem to end up in the little developed areas that pop up near interstate exits (not really in the local town, where the decent restaurants are). It could be late, I have no idea what (if anything) is nearby, and I'm hungry and these places are close to the hotels. And they have cold beer.  I'll swallow my pride and get over myself in those situations.

/Ex used to love going to Ruby Tuesdays, probably because she knew I hated it.


Yeah, the chain restaurants have their place like the example you gave, but not every damn suburban town needs one.

/If I have to go to a chain place, I actually like Ruby Tuesday, and Chili's isn't too terrible either. If I'm going to go to Applebee's though, I might as well go to McDonald's and save on a tip.
 
2018-02-22 01:34:03 PM  
I'm sure it's been said over and over, but if their food didn't suck they wouldn't have an issue.

All of those chain restaurants have crappy food.

I grew up on well-made, home-cooked food and that's how I'm raising my family and the quality is far beyond what you get in any but the nicest of restaurants.

Add in the fact that people have less and less disposable income and therefore go out to eat less and of course those places will continue to decline.
 
2018-02-22 03:02:15 PM  
In the past 15 years here Applebees is probably from 6 to 2 but ihop is 0 to 2
 
2018-02-22 04:23:46 PM  

serpent_sky: My husband likes Applebee's because he's a pig and it's cheap to get a huge thing of ribs. He's calmed on it since we have no money to go out to eat, though the decent thing to do would have been to not go there, anyway, since I do not eat high-fat meals, nor do I require portions the size of my head. Nor do I eat meat. It's not a me-friendly menu at all.  IIRC, they don't even have a freaking veggie burger, like most places have the decency to.


So why did you let him drag you there?
 
2018-02-22 06:38:49 PM  
This headline comes just a day after I learned of an independent neighborhood bar and grill closing where I grew up, so I am not getting a kick.

Forget Applebees, though. I can usually find better options within a few blocks.
 
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