Applebee’s Introduces New Wood-Fired Grills to 2,000 Restaurants

by Katie Lee

Glendale, Calif. — Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar® is spending $75 million to unveil new, American-made, wood-fired grills as the centerpiece of its 2,000 U.S. restaurants as part of a revamped and streamlined menu.

“We’re in the midst of a transformation at Applebee’s, and we are recommitting ourselves to every aspect of the guest experience,” says Julia Stewart, chairman and CEO of Applebee’s parent company, DineEquity, Inc., and president of Applebee’s. “Food is, of course, central to that.”

Adds Stewart: “This goes far beyond a few new menu items or a limited-time offer. This is the biggest investment in culinary excellence in the company’s history — transforming the menu, instilling pride in franchisee team members, delighting current guests and giving others a reason to come back.”

The first menu items to hit the grills are certified USDA Choice Top Sirloin Steaks and Bone-In Pork Chops. Wood corrals stacked with split American oak logs will greet guests at the entrance along with the aroma of oak wood grilling.

Since its creation in suburban Atlanta in 1980, Applebee’s has become part of the fabric of American life. But in recent years, shifting consumer tastes and brand perception issues have challenged its business performance.

The moves being initiated today are the first in a series of actions meant to change the story. Through the introduction of its new food platform and ongoing efforts to revitalize its bar offering, remodel existing restaurants and introduce new restaurant designs, the brand aims to tell its story anew.

Purchase and installation of the grills, a combined 60,000 hours of training for meat cutters, and the marketing campaign to support the introduction represent an investment of more than $75 million by Applebee’s franchisees.

“Together with our franchisees, we’re building the Applebee’s of tomorrow — embracing the best parts of our neighborhood roots and our passion for bringing people together, while transforming the guest experience in ways that enhance our connection with today’s consumers,” says Stewart. “If you haven’t been to Applebee’s in a while, it’s a different place than you remember.”

With more than 2,000 locations in 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and 15 countries, Applebee’s is one of the world’s largest casual dining brands. Applebee’s is franchised by subsidiaries of DineEquity, Inc., which is among the world’s largest full-service restaurant companies.

SOURCE: Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar

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