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date night pass.jpg Photo courtesy of Alicia Kelso
Applebee's said its Date Night Pass sold out within 1 minute.

Applebee’s Date Night Passes sell out within 1 minute

Fans of the casual dining chain are threatening a boycott and calling the Date Night Pass a ‘scam’ on social media.

Apparently, it’s more than just a song lyric – a lot of people really do want Applebee’s to be their date night destination.

The chain sold out of its Date Night Pass within minutes after the opportunity went live this week. The card’s unavailability has ignited some anger across social media, with conversations even veering into “boycott Applebee’s” territory.

The depletion of a novelty promotional item certainly isn’t new, but the swift pace of this one may underscore consumers’ increasing demand for value offerings. For context, the $200 Date Night Pass was created to provide cardholders with 52 date nights – one per week – with up to $30 on food and non-alcoholic beverages, equating to more than $1,500 in value.

The high demand of this card may have been more compounded given that the promotion came from Applebee’s, a casual dining chain that has consistently embraced its value position with offerings like the Dollarita and all-you-can-eat boneless wings, riblets and shrimp.

Of course, these types of promotions reliably create buzz and excitement and anticipation, and having a limited amount of such passes could easily create a sense of urgency and exclusivity. But selling out – especially in early days – comes with the risk of reputational erosion, as evidenced by the Date Night Pass conversations happening on TikTok and Reddit calling the entire promotion a “scam.” Those conversations indicate the passes sold out within seconds and the website crashed early and often the day they were released, which was Jan. 22. Applebee’s denies its website crashed.

The company is not disclosing how many passes were available but said the demand “far surpassed” expectations.

“If we've learned one thing from our Applebee's Date Night Pass, it's that our guests are hungry for date night at Applebee's. We're always looking for ways to make date night special for our guests. Thank you to our fans for their interest in our Applebee’s Date Night Pass – the response far exceeded our expectations, as the passes sold out within the first minute,” a company spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Applebee’s website notes that “due to popular demand” the pass has sold out, and encourages fans to join its Club Applebee’s for “future updates.” The chain also reminds visitors that it’s “always a great destination for date night.”

As to whether Applebee’s will revisit this promotion to meet demand? The company said nothing is off the table.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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