You read that correctly.
applebee's, your local neighborhood bar and grill has decided to once again pivot their brand; and this time, they think they figured it out for good. According to CMO Darin Dugan, applebee's has been in a "sea of sameness" and it has come to their attention that their model is now the same as thousands of other 'Fast casual' restaurants. and for them, that's a problem.
for years now, sales have been declining and most recently sales dipped 3.7% in just the last quarter. all this despite the dozens of turn around initiatives that just never caught on or never lasted long enough to turn their image completely around. dugan refers to this "comprehensive business transformation" as the most significant in the franchise's history, and they're betting it all on one piece of restaurant equipment - the wood fire grill.
yes, wood fire grills, and the anticipation is overwhelming. because let's be honest, a wood fire grill elevates any menu to a level that is hard to match dish for dish and applebee's knows this. they want to add culinary credibility to their brand and help establish a definitive line between themselves and other "fast casual" restaurants.
the logistics behind the major move will end up with over 2,000 ovens being installed across america and over 40% of their menu being CHANGED to revolve around the usage of these new wood fire grills. this just goes to show how just the slightest change in a restaurant's kitchen equipment lineup can effect their entire brand, model and eventually, their profit margins.
we have to say, this is a genius move by applebee's.