Like the Olive Garden and the Cheesecake Factory, Applebee's has a cult following. Thanks to surprisingly innovative menu items and fun, boozy drinks, it makes sense. Plus, you can always depend on the menu holding true no matter where you are in the country. But the chain didn't just gave rise to one of my favorite movie quotes / advice on relationships from the trashy Rom-Com Couples Retreat:
It's also got a lot of fun facts that you need to know about before you head over to the neighborhood for the next time.
1. It's been around since the '80s.
Founded in Decatur, Georgia by Bill and T.J. Palmer, Applebee's was originally inspired by another restaurant that was popular in Atlanta during the 1970s called Billy's.
2. The restaurant was almost called Cinnamon's.
And Pepper's. And, most awkwardly, Appleby's (with the same pronunciation). We're glad the owners had to change it up due to trademarks and licensing.
2. There are now more than 1,900 locations in the world.
They're dotted around the globe, in 15 countries like Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Greece, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, China, and Egypt. Because of this, the company employs about 28,000 people.
3. Applebee's is owned by IHOP.
Back in 2007, DineEquity—the same parent company that runs IHOP—acquired the red-apple restaurant chain.
4. The chain took soda off the kids' menu.
Back in December it announced that it would join IHOP, Wendy's, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Subway, and Panera in removing the syrupy drink from the menus handed to little ones.
4. There's an exclusive Applebee's app.
While you're waiting for your meal to arrive, you can chat up fellow diners with the company's interactive chatting app. It's called WhatApplebee's (an obvious play on the insanely popular messaging service, WhatsApp) and it's only available to customers currently inside restaurants.
5. They keep recipes under lock and key.
Don't expect to ever be privvy to the recipe behind the Awesome Blossom or trademark Riblets. Due to proprietary and confidential reasons, recipes are not available for any menu items at all.
6. You can *always* order Carside To-Go.
Even if your location doesn't technically offer it. Just call in (or order online) what you'd like and the restaurant will have it waiting for you when you arrive. Launched in 2004, the take-out service operates like an old-school drive-in restaurant, where Applebee's employees bring your hot order directly to your car window.
7. There's almost always a new appetizer or entree on the menu.
Though the company keeps its recipes on the DL, it's always experimenting with new ideas. And we get to reap the benefits in the form of new appetizers like Sriracha shrimp and s'mores-style churros. Plus, desserts like Crack Jack cake. The best part: Sometimes the newbies are on the house to help promote them.
8. Applebee's has won awards for being a stellar workplace.
Industry awards like Forbes' "America's Best Managed Companies" and Hospitality Magazine's "Chain of the Year" set Applebee's apart from other fast-casual chains. Specifically, it's been recognized for its care for its people and its work to provide a stable career path that fosters growth.
9. Most of the regular menu is totally healthy.
Like hot-shot whiskey chicken for just 660 calories and 12-ounce New York strip for 510 calories (without sides). Though there are a few outliers with 1,000+ calories, like the 1,500-calorie chicken tender platter and a 1,420 Oriental chicken salad. Cringe.
10. The lighter fare menu is far from skimpy.
Applebee's did something kind of genius with its calorie-conscious menu: It took customer favorites from the regular grill and bar menus and cut them back just a bit. So you can still eat craving-satisfying dishes like shrimp wonton stir fry and grilled onion steak with stout gravy without guilt.
11. You can take bae on a date for just $20.
The two for $20 deal is back with 12 of your favorite entrées, such as the quesadilla burger and the famous riblets (woot!). Bonus: It also includes an appetizer to start, like those addictive boneless buffalo wings and creamy spinach and artichoke dip.
12. It basically made the molten chocolate cake famous.
Lava cake, soufflé—whatever you wanna call it, this rich cocoa mini cake (a.k.a. The Triple Chocolate Meltdown) can thanks Applebee's for its ever-growing popularity with fast casual chains.
13. Appetizers are always half priced.
After 9 p.m., that is. And this deal is good every. single. day.