The marketing team at Applebee’s is using pop music to interest people in its food, although it’s clear that “Eating good in the neighborhood” takes more than just food. Ideally, Applebee’s offers a restaurant experience that Americans from many walks of life can enjoy.
Barry White and Pat Benatar are in play here to support the decadence of fajitas smothered in queso. These two spots also maker the food the hero, something that is rarely done well today.
Applebee’s To Go: A Good Answer for Overworked Moms and Dads
Going way back into the musical archives, ‘Runaround Sue’ the 1961 hit by Dion, is featured in the commercials for Applebee’s To Go.
These spots from Grey Advertising don’t rely on the copy to tell the story. The lyrics tell the story.
The chain’s to-go business grew at a rate of about 30 percent in 2018. Applebee’s off-premises comp sales hiked 32 percent in 2018, driven mainly by double-digit traffic growth.
Restaurant Operations Is No Song and Dance
Are the commercials helping to drive traffic to Applebee’s? Possibly. In the fourth quarter of 2018, same-store sales lifted 3.5 percent, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of sales growth for Applebee’s.
Applebee’s president John Cywinski told FSR Magazine, when he rejoined the company in 2017, there was an alarming gap between Applebee’s bottom and top performers. And the drag on the entire system was significant. Not just from a sales standpoint, but also how it affected the chain’s standing in the court of public opinion.
“There weren’t a few bad restaurants here and there; there were hundreds. Deliver one bad experience in today’s flooded marketplace and you’ve likely lost the customer for good unless you lure them back with deep discounting that stresses franchisee profitability.”