Hoping to steal market share from late-night delivery and appeal to younger guests, Applebee’s on Monday launched half-priced appetizers during the late daypart — but only for dine-in.
The move comes just months after Glendale, Calif.-based parent Dine Brand Global Inc. said Applebee’s and sister chain IHOP were struggling to return to pre-pandemic staffing levels, particularly during late-night hours.
In May, however, Applebee’s president John Cywinski said restaurants were about 90% back to pre-pandemic sales volumes, and they were expecting an “eventual dine-in tailwind” from late-night and older diners who were ready to come back into restaurants. Applebee’s is also enjoying a younger demographic more likely to be looking for food during late-night hours, with about 34% being Millennials.
For a limited time, guests can order from seven different appetizers including boneless wings, mozzarella sticks, chicken wonton tacos, spinach artichoke dip and chicken quesadilla, as well as a new Brew Pub Loaded Waffle Fries and Pretzels and Beer Cheese Dip. Late-night hours vary by location for the mostly franchised chain.
The dine-in aspect prevents competition with Applebee’s Cosmic Wings virtual brand, which is also likely to appeal to a late-night audience looking for delivery.
“Late Night Half-Priced Appetizers at Applebee’s combine the fun vibe and energy in our restaurants with a great value offer that our guests are looking for,” said
Applebee’s Chief Marketing Officer Joel Yashinsky, in a statement. “Our Late Night program gives our neighbors the chance to go out, have fun and escape the everyday pressures on their wallets.”
In addition, Applebee’s also launched the latest in its ongoing $5 Mucho Cocktails lineup: the red-white-and-blue All-American Mucho frozen cocktail, along with the Blue Bahama Mama, which has a red, white and blue sugar sugar rim.
With food costs continuing to rise, operators in the casual dining segment have been less aggressive with value menu offerings this year.
Chili’s Grill & Bar earlier this month launched a new “3 for Me” deal that replaced the longstanding “3 for $10.99” and “2 for $25” offers. The “3 for Me” menu offers a beverage, appetizer and main course for $10.99 to $14.99.
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