In an effort to revitalize itself and appeal a younger audience, Applebee's is jumping on cool kid trends like "seasonality" and "freshness." (Which makes you wonder: what were they serving before they started serving fresh food?) The makeover includes new ads with the slogan "See You Tomorrow," store remodels (the tchotckes are gone), and new menu items.
And hold on to your iPhones, kids, because they put strawberries in a salad. According to Applebee's president Mike Archer, "Until now, strawberries were used only in desserts and beverages at Applebee's." (Note: the "Seasonal Berry & Spinach Salad" also contains blueberries, grilled chicken, bleu cheese, and pecans. Wild.) A press release expands on the new Summer menu: "Seasonal ingredients are the foundation of everything we prepare, and summer is the perfect time to introduce new ingredients like strawberries, blueberries, artichokes and asparagus to the Applebee's menu." Wait, where do they grow asparagus in the Summer?
When asked by USA Today whether these changes should been made years ago, Archer responded "The bottom line is, yes, the brand should continue to evolve." Indeed, strawberries were relegated to drinks and desserts for far too long. Here are two ads and a press release:
Video: Applebee's New Lemon Shrimp Fettucine
Video: Applebee's New Florentine House Sirloin
Applebee’s® Pledges to “See You Tomorrow” with Fresh Approach to Dining in the Neighborhood First Work from Crispin Porter + Bogusky Reflects Broader Brand Revitalization; New Fresh Flavors of Summer Menu Features Ingredients Picked at Peak of Season
KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Marking a new chapter in its 32-year history, Applebee’s today launched “See You TomorrowSM” the first advertising campaign produced by agency of record Crispin Porter + Bogusky and the foundation of an outside-in revitalization of the world’s largest casual dining chain.
“Seasonal ingredients are the foundation of everything we prepare, and summer is the perfect time to introduce new ingredients like strawberries, blueberries, artichokes and asparagus to the Applebee’s menu.”
The new ads communicate that Applebee's is doing whatever it takes to make sure they see customers tomorrow, which means keeping it fresh, always, and using new ingredients, new preparations, new combinations and new flavors, combined with everyday value that encourages regular visits. The campaign launches today with a series of TV, online, radio, outdoor ads and in-store elements highlighting the fresh flavors of summer.
The campaign reflects broader changes for the brand, including a systemwide look-and-feel update of Applebee’s nearly 1,900 restaurants. By the end of 2012, more than half of Applebee’s restaurants will be revitalized with a nearly $200 million investment in new design elements, including all-new signage and awnings with the brand’s updated logo; stone-faced entryways; bar upgrades and high-tech, flat screen TVs.
Gone, too, are the stained glass light fixtures and 3D pop art synonymous with Applebee’s since its founding in 1980. In their place: sleek new lighting and murals that link each restaurant with its neighborhood.
Applebee’s is also taking a fresh approach to training, ensuring every team member – from cook to host – is equipped to deliver an experience that invites guests to return.
"'See You Tomorrow' isn't just a line in a commercial. It's our commitment to build on the strengths that made Applebee's a foundation in the neighborhood and to do what it takes going forward to earn our guests' business every day," said Mike Archer, Applebee's President. "'See You Tomorrow' is how we will tell our story, literally every day, in every booth and on every plate, in a new and welcoming environment that invites guests to focus on our high-quality ingredients, prepared perfectly for them."
Today also marks the launch of Applebee’s new Fresh Flavors of Summer menu, featuring new pasta, chicken and salad items with seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices picked at the height of the season and prepared to order:
NEW! Lemon Shrimp Fettucine: A gremolata of garlic, parsley and lemon zest prepared each morning at Applebee’s provides the zing to this new dish. Seared plump shrimp are seasoned and tossed with tender artichokes – a new ingredient at Applebee’s – ripe tomatoes, sautéed fresh spinach and basil, then served over fettucine noodles with a roasted garlic cream sauce and topped with Parmesan cheese.
NEW! Garlic Rosemary Chicken Pasta: This Mediterranean-feel pasta features Applebee’s scratch-made-daily bruschetta, cooked down to a light sauce. Artichokes, oven-roasted tomatoes, grilled-in-house asparagus and sautéed Portobello mushrooms are perfect complements to the grilled chicken breast. Fresh-chopped-daily rosemary, combined with fresh-squeezed lemon and butter, creates the signature finish.
NEW! Seasonal Berry & Spinach Salad: Until now, strawberries were used only in desserts and beverages at Applebee’s. This new summer statement salad moves sliced-ripe-daily strawberries to the lunch and dinner menu, combined with blueberries – another fresh, new ingredient at Applebee’s – full flavor spinach, grilled chicken breast, bleu cheese crumbles and honey-glazed pecans. To top it off, a strawberry vinaigrette with exclusive ingredients available only at Applebee’s.
Florentine House Sirloin: Our classic 7-ounce signature sirloin is grilled to order and topped with fresh spinach, sliced mushrooms, onions, and bruschetta over red potatoes cut, steamed, fried and seasoned each day in the back of the house.
“The Fresh Flavors of Summer menu brings the colors, tastes and smells of the season to life,” said Applebee’s Chef Melissa Haupt. “Seasonal ingredients are the foundation of everything we prepare, and summer is the perfect time to introduce new ingredients like strawberries, blueberries, artichokes and asparagus to the Applebee’s menu.”
See You Tomorrow Advertising Campaign
The Fresh Flavors of Summer menu is also the focus of breaking advertising. For every new item that hits the Applebee's menu, there is an Applebee's chef with an intricate story to share about ingredients and flavors, how the dish comes together and the science and art of why it tastes so good.
The first ads highlight the story behind Applebee’s new dishes and take guests to the source – fields of fresh tomatoes, strawberries, lemons, herbs and spinach – but stopping our chefs short of divulging every last detail and boring our customers.
“’See You Tomorrow’ represents the next step of our revitalization and a departure for the Applebee’s brand. We’re focusing on our culinary credibility, sharing where our fresh ingredients come from and having some fun along the way,” said Becky Johnson, Applebee’s Vice President of Culinary and Marketing. “We’re excited with the energy Crispin Porter + Bogusky provides us, and we look forward to telling our story in this new and compelling way.”
· Applebee’s® Pledges to “See You Tomorrow” with Fresh Approach to Dining in the Neighborhood [BusinessWire]
· Applebee's Trying Out Fresh Food, Look and Campaign [USAToday]
· All Applebee's Coverage on Eater [-E-]