Friday, January 22, 2010

Is Applebee's Doomed?

According to Forbes, the answer is yes.  DineEquity, the corporation that owns Applebee's is struggling financially and may be the next victim of the flagging economy.  The chain recently discounted prices in an effort to attract more customers, a move which resulted in a 4.3% decrease in sales, and apparently their next move is going to be remodeling their restaurants.  I find it odd that the concept of selling edible food has not been discussed as a way to turn around the franchise.  I have a group of acquaintances who are regular patrons and in order to socialize, I am forced to eat there more often than I care to and can say unequivocally that the food there is sub par.  Lobbying to eat elsewhere has proven ineffective, so it could turn out that bankruptcy could come to the rescue.  To me, this article is just proof of mismanagement.  If any Applebee's executives stumble upon this, please forget pricing structures, remodels, and other peripheral issues and just improve your menu.

On the other end of the spectrum, Burger King is planning a change to increase business which I personally think will be far more effective.  They are planning on opening "Whopper Bars" in trial locations that will sell beer along with their greasy food.  Even though I don't drink, I'm surprised that more fast food chains don't sell beer.  I assume it has to do with the fact that they would have to hire employees over 21 to legally serve the beer, and those employees would demand a higher salary than the 16 & 17 year olds most fast food joints typically employ.  I have a feeling this will catch on though.
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