OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS -- Back in 1983/84 there was this new restaurant chain called Applebee's that opened a store at College Blvd. and Metcalf Avenue. This was their second store opening. For numerous years, I dined there so often, I could have had my name emblazoned on the back of one of their chairs. The food, the service, the experience was always awesome. In 1987, I moved from the KC metro area to OKC, but returned often to this same Applebee's for the experience until about 1997.
Recently after a 15-year absence from being in the KC metro area, I returned for a niece's wedding in Lee's Summit. On Friday 24 February 2012, I forged my way North from East Central Oklahoma towards Overland Park. Upon my arrival after a good 5-hour drive, my first stop was at the same ole Applebee's before checking into my hotel room.
Walking into what I thought would be the same ole welcoming Applebee's; I attained a lesson in not what to do with a successful business. First thing, I realize that Applebee's is a franchised operation. Many stores have retained the old oak finish, the circular bar, greeters at the front door, and lighted atmosphere without blaring crude music, an environment welcomed by most people. At this restaurant, no greeters, find a chair or a table on your own, the new seating was a cold hard steel chairs, not the good ole oak chairs and oak tables. Lighting was horrible, blaring music, and the wait staff, took forever to greet me and inquire as to what I would desire to eat or drink.
It was a good fifteen minutes before I was ever acknowledged. I ordered one of their lunch specials, a half a sandwich and a French onion soup, with a cup of decaf. The coffee took a good 12 minutes before it reached my table. The sandwich and soup arrived at my table in a full twenty minutes, time now, 1:50 pm and the place was not in a lunch rush either.
The food and soup all look somewhat appetizing. I sipped the coffee, it was cold, I gagged. Next, the sandwich and soup, both tasted as if they just came out of the freezer. The lettuce on the sandwich tasted as if it had come out of the dead pile. The beef in the sandwich was so salty, it would have melted the ice on the sidewalk. The soup was so nasty it would have killed a fly attempting a backstroke.
The waiter never returned to see if I was a happy camper with my food or service. The total bill came to about $11.00 and mixed change. In Summary: No meet and greet, lousy food, lousy service, overpriced. What else do you want to know? Your Overland Park franchise, it sucks.
NORTH DAKOTA -- A month ago my husband and I decided to go Applebee's in Wiliston, ND for supper after both working (my husband just had worked 18 hours.) We entered around the supper rush and waited about 15 minutes before we got our booth (which is normal and fine.) We sat and sat and no one greeted us, gave us menus or even acknowledged us, even though there were at least 3 staff members in our section. After 15 minutes my husband mentioned to me he was going to get someone to help us.
All of sudden, like magic a young waiter came to us, who happen to be at the table behind for whole 15 minutes laughing and talking to some high schools kids (clearly not doing his job.) We ordered a martini and beer and I ordered wings right away for an appetizer because we were starving. The first drinks came in normal average time. My wings came a 1/2 hour later after being ordered and they were wrong. I asked for wings with bones and normal Buffalo sauce. I got boneless wings with BBQ sauce.
The waiter said something like he must have understood me wrong on the wing type and took them back. Which is funny, how would that explain the sauce being wrong too then? We were irritated at service this point but brushed it off because I have been a waiter and bartender and knew what it is like. While waiting my husband wanted a 2nd beer but it took forever to track down the waiter to order one. An hour and half after waiting I got my wings (correctly this time) my husband's entree, and my entree all at once. The young boy who brought our food was not even our waiter.
My husband had ordered a 12 oz. Rare Ribeye and I had ordered a Fire Pit Bacon Burger (no tomatoes.) My husband's steak was well-done, not even pink and it looked gross. We didn't expect the greatest steak ever but it did not look like ribeye and it looked nasty shoe leather that had been dropped on floor (not hardly worth the $17.99.) My burger had the tomatoes on (which I requested off) and was missing parts (cheese & chipotle sauce) listed on the menu description. We did not take a single bite of anything.
I grabbed the young man that brought our food because our waiter for was nowhere to be seen nor was the 2nd beer that had been ordered earlier. I politely explained the food being wrong and the poor service. I said "I hated to complain but it was awful and we just wanted to leave." He nicely apologized and said he could get new food, we said "we just wanted to go and pay for the drinks and go somewhere else to eat."
He went and got the manager who was quick and was also polite. He offered new food and it would be free. I said "I didn't want to wait." He said he take the food off the bill and we could take the food given. I told him "I wouldn't eat something I wasn't paying for. " and he said he send the ticket.
Like a genie, after the manager left, our waiter showed up and brought the ticket and beer (requested how long ago?) We didn't even want the beer anymore but my husband did not want to argue so he drank it quickly and we paid for the 2 beers and martini which about $16. After 2+ hours of this charade we were still had no food and had to go somewhere else for food.
WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK -- On Sunday, July 11, my friend and I decided to eat at Applebee's. One of the reasons that I like Applebee's is that you can request to watch sports and other programs and have a sound machine to listen. I frequent Applebee's in New Rochelle weekly and have enjoyed the food, the service and being able to watch either a game or a show that I and others are interested in.
When we were being seated I requested to be seated in the bar so that we could watch the Yankee game which began at 4:00 pm. The waitress informed me that she could not have the channel changed even though on the ten or more TV screens was the same soccer game. I requested to speak to the manager. When the manager came over to the table, I requested to watch the Yankee game. The manager responded that since it was the Final World Soccer game and that all the customers were watching the game he could not honor my request.
I asked again, he then said he would put the game on a TV that was to my back. I would have to turn around in the booth and kneel if I wanted to see the game. Again I asked to see the game on one of the other TVs. I told him that I had no interest to watch the soccer game, and that I didn't care if it was the soccer final. He held his hands tightly to his stomach and again responded to me as in reprimand that he was not changing to the Yankee Game. I gestured the same, the manager then asked me why I was mimicking him. I guess it is OK for him but not for the customer to do display this type of behavior. His behavior to me was demeaning and condescending.
I find it odd that every person sitting at the bar was only interested in watching the soccer game. I am positive that there were other people who would have preferred to watch the baseball game. Perhaps if there was a flier or an ad announcing that the Soccer game was being shown exclusively at Applebee's- no other games etc - Do Not Ask! This exclusive program will be shown until one team wins signed "The Management." I guess I was unaware that Applebee's is not open to diversity or different interest.
I then understood that my request would not be honored, the only remedy was for me to view the game on the TV facing my back. Unacceptable! My friend and I agreed that we could go to another sports restaurant to have dinner and watch the game. I requested the manager's name.
As we leaving the manager handed me a card with his name - unfortunately his name was scribbled - I could not read it. He then in a loud annoyed voice called out that I had previously been at Applebee's was rude and caused a scene. He made sure that the wait staff as well as the patron's heard him. It was offensive that he tried to belittle in front of others. What was he trying to prove - he wasn't acting professional representing Applebee's.
But the bright side of the day - My friend and I went to New Rochelle -Buffalo Wild Wings, they also have 10 or more TVs. Yes many were showing the soccer game but others displayed Yankee, golf, tennis, etc. My friend and I had a delicious, hot, spicy wing and rib dinner, had a few laughs watched the Yankee game, played a little Texas hold'em. We even yelled excitedly with the crowd when Spain won the final. I am so glad that Buffalo Wild Wings is moving right next door to the Applebee's in White Plains, it will always be my recommended favorite. Good-bye Applebee's I really don't like to be treated like a "soccer." Professionally yours, A Devoted NY Yankee Fan.
HUDSON, NEW YORK -- First, let me say, the food is excellent! For that I will not complain. I went to this Applebee's to have a quiet dinner and get out of the house. First, they pack you in like sardines. Uncomfortable, but not too bad. The wait isn't bad at all (well, at least it's never been for me).
However, the waitresses act as if they were prostitutes, liars and thieves. I do not believe they have every been taught manners. The waitresses are absolutely terrible. After they have ruined your day they will then expect a tip. Got one for ya hunny, tip: don't drink and drive! They were waiting on my party and, as I stationed my teenage children in another location with their friends so they could socialize privately. I, as a food critic, could get a good idea on the waiters and waitresses and the types they had.
They decided that behind my back they would try to flirt with my husband by caressing and touching each other as to allow him to see this and not me. The waitresses, keeping eye contact with him as to allow him to know it was him they were performing for. This was just the waitress for my section. The waitress for my kids section were trying to rush them out.
After rushing them out brought their check to me (as was asked). She then proceeded to ask me to pay for it in the middle of my meal, to take care of it now because she didn't want to wait. (Okay!!!) I was nice enough to do this for her and when I asked her how well they had tipped her she then thought it was time to lie to me.
My children were given $10 to give to this woman for a $54 meal. (I felt this was a more than a gracious tip). To my dismay she responded by telling me they had only given her $3.50 for a tip. Me feeling mortified that maybe my children did do this I then proceeded to give her $7 more with my apologies. Well, before I left I found out from the kids that not only did they leave her the $10 tip, but other kids from around the table also left her money totaling a $22 tip from all the kids and myself. As I said liars and thieves.
After I left I contacted the manager to tell him of this, told him of what she had done, he did nothing about it. To ensure he had done his job, I returned to Applebee's the next day and specially requested her table and bingo, she was there. No reprimand had even been made. She acted as if nothing ever happened then tried to nail me again. She didn't receive a tip this time. (No go sister!) If you plan on eating in this Applebee's make sure to ask for a waiter.
The waiters on the other hand are excellent. Very good indeed! They were attentive to every detail. They took my order without writing it down (the order came back perfect, may I add). They smiled and greeted everyone in my party. They never allowed a glass to be empty. They didn't rush anyone and asked all appropriate questions and waited for a response. Never felt rushed or asked any rude questions. (They never made a pass at me either.) :)
BECKLEY, WEST VIRGINIA -- I ordered a hamburger off the menu and when the server brought it to table I ordered no tomato but, there was a tomato. I asked for mayo on the side, no mayo was on burger nor was it on the side, easy fix. The picture showed 3 pieces of bacon on the burger, so when I looked for the bacon I found bacon bits instead. Who would put bacon bits on a burger, if you are going to put a picture on your menu make it that way. The manager comped part of the bill. I've never had good food or experience at Applebees and will never go back.
BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA -- On Wednesday, June third, 2015 I mistakenly left my rain jacket at their restaurant at 9601 Lyndale Av. S. in Bloomington, Minn. Since it quit raining when we left, I didn't miss my jacket until the following Sunday. (My house key was in a pocket. At this point I still had not realized I had left the jacket there and that my key was in it. I just thought, drat, I don't have a key. I had a spare key hidden, so I could enter my house.) I called Applebee's to report the incident. Then, I personally went there and talked to a manager. He looked in the lost and found area; no jacket. I gave them my telephone number in case it got turned in.
Today, June 15, I reported the theft to the local police. I also, a few days ago, had four locks re-keyed, $200. Also today, after I left the police dept., I stopped at Applebee's and talked to a different manager. She went to their office (note: not lost and found) and returned with my jacket. Key was still in the pocket. When I got home, upset because of the $200 I had to spend for the new locks, I asked myself why nobody called me; after all, they had my phone number. I called the restaurant, but so far no one has returned my call. I am a frequent guest at this location, but this incident left a bad taste in my mouth.
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA -- This started out not so great from the beginning... Asked for dressing on the side, instead salad was DRENCHED in dressing. Making matters worse, it was a hot chili dressing, very spicy and no getting away from the heat. No offer from the server to bring something different. Ordered the blonde brownie which is supposed to be topped with ice cream. When the server brought it she said "oh we had a little problem with the ice cream being too soft." What she had looked like someone had poured a cup of cream over the blondie. Why was this even allowed to leave the kitchen??
Asked for 1 check, she brought 2. NOT sure if all these mistakes are purely the fault of the server or a prime example of POOR training. This place was not busy and our server brought the food out, she should have caught these issues. I will not return to this location.
CONWAY, SOUTH CAROLINA -- Went there to have dinner after church Sunday. We were seated after about ten minutes, still no waiter. The person that seated us got us something to drink, still no waiter for us. Then the people seated next to us after we were there about twenty minutes before them the waiter came and offered them drinks and when she brought their drinks back then began to take their order.
So as we decided maybe this isn't the kind of place for all then the manager stepped in and asked why we were leaving and offered to take the dinner off. I didn't come looking for a handout. I could afford my dinner and she was going around to other tables talking to others but didn't have anything to say to us until we got up to leave. Is that what management at Applebee's are hired for? Well good thing Fatz is just down the street.
GRESHAM, OREGON -- My husband and I thought we would enjoy a late lunch after spending the afternoon at the movies. The food was good, however at a nearby table there was a young, unattended child playing with either a cell phone or another small electronic device. Said child was in and out of her booth and calling across the room, "Mommie." A waitress soon stopped by the table of the little girl, grabbed some food off of her plate and popped it in her mouth. The child addressed her as Mommie.
A little while later another female with a toddler in her arms came in and sat at the same table, the waitress came by, lifted the child and carried him back to the kitchen area. She soon returned, gave the child to the other female, then met another employee in the aisle and took two plates of food from her and took it to a nearby table.
I understand that there may be days when child care is unavailable to someone, but don't think that I as a customer should have these unattended children sitting at a nearby table. If it's necessary to bring them to work can they not be seated away from customers?
ELK RIVER, MINNESOTA -- Monday 25th - I will never eat at Applebee's again!! After we ordered we realized there was a Monday special from a hanging poster and our hamburger would be half the price. The server said they can't advise on daily specials if the patron doesn't know - he said it was the manager's advice. False advertising to me!!! AND then once we paid the bill they preferred we just leave as we were never asked again if we wanted anything else as we stayed another 30 minutes (lots of open tables). POOR SERVICE and not customer friendly!! Don't eat at Applebee's in ELK River, Mn.