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.) :)
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 managers advise. 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
TROY -- I am vegetarian and it was company's lunch party that we went there for. I asked them to get me a simple house salad with no meat/chicken/bacon. The waitress smiled at me and said - "Our salads don't have chicken/meat but it has just only bacon, which we will take it off for you." I said "ok." Then they served me the salad with the bacon in it. I did took 2 bites and could not feel any different as never had any non-veg item in my life.
After a while one of my colleague pointed me that there is bacon in the plate. And I was so shocked! We called waitress and argued her that why salad plate has bacon in it. She said "I told kitchen people to not add it and still they did." I am sorry and that's it. They just don't care about anything. This is the worst lunch experience I had in my life. I feel so bad about it when I think of it.
NORTHVILLE, MICHIGAN -- This happened On January 30, 2015 at about 6:00 pm. The Long Island Tea drink was very weak. I mentioned it to the waitress, **, who called **, one of the managers to the table. ** was very rude. First she said the law does not allow her to change the drink or offer a refund. When I stated "there is no such law", she then changed her story and said the company's policy does not allow her to buy the drink back (Take it off the bill) or change it with another one. What a liar. I will let everyone know about my experience, particularly those who value their money.
ESTERO, FLORIDA -- We had a group from church, 8 people. Everyone was served after 65 minutes, they brought my shrimp Thai salad after everyone was almost done with their main course. I asked for dressing on side. They put it on salad. I sent it back. They took 23 minutes to bring it...... it was supposed to be a full salad, it looked like a side salad.
The manager came and said she was taking salad off my bill. She took it off someone else's bill. I also ordered Buffalo wings to go. I asked the waiter to put order with my salad as I was waiting for my son to call and picking him up from work. I asked him 3x for my wings, they came 20 mins. after my son had called. I was furious. The service and the food suck.
TEMPLE, TEXAS -- This is the worst salad I have ever ordered. The strawberries amount to maybe a whole strawberry and they were not edible! There was so much wilted arugula that I had to take 1/2 of it off and it filled the lid of the "to go" box. There was maybe a slice of avocado. This salad was $9.99. I called Applebee's and the manager was very nice and said to come back in for something else. I will take this food (2 orders) back after work tonight.
So, for lunch we went around the corner and had the best Wes's burger and onion rings in the county! Normally I order the pecan crusted chicken salad and it is always good. The strawberry and avocado salad should be taken off the menu immediately! My rating is for the food only. The manager was great when I told her it was the worst food I had ever ordered!
BANGOR, MAINE -- During a recent visit to Applebee's in Bangor, Maine, My granddaughter and I observed another customer sitting opposite of us, feeding her small dog from her plate with the same fork that she was eating with. The sight of that grossed us out. The thought that that dog may have recently licked its genitals and other places and now was licking a fork that other customers would unknowingly eating from later, was just too much.
I called for the manager and complained about it, but he smiled and said, "It's a service dog and I can't do anything about it." I replied that, "yes, service dogs are allowed to enter a restaurant, but allowing them to eat from restaurant dishes and utensils is extremely unsanitary." He said that might be offensive to me but he would not speak to the customer about it.
I have no idea what kind of service dog a Pekinese (sp) could be but the customer was not blind, cripple, or deaf and showed no signs of any other disability that would require the use of a "service dog." But that is not my issue, sanitation and the health of customers is. Personally, I would never enter an Applebee's again if I were starving! I intend to follow this up with report to the local health authorities.